This Sunday, I’m going to be spinning weird records at Brillobox in the good ol’ PGH. Which is great, because I can finally get myself a pair of skinny jeans. DJing on vinyl at Brillobox is basically like getting blackout in Hipster Bingo.

It should be a fun night. I’ve been going through my stacks of vinyl in the studio looking for prime cuts to play. I’ve been leaning heavily towards the odd and obscure. I tend to enjoy buying random albums from cutout bins and thrift stores. I usually don’t care what I get. If a record has an interesting name, or weird cover art, I’ll buy it. Thrift store vinyl usually goes from $0.50 to $2 a record. If I get a stack of ten or twenty discs, I’m not out much money. If I find three records that I like, I’m ahead of the game. Usually I’ll find some good sample fodder for my music as a bonus. I’ve found some real gems over the years, several of which I will be playing on Sunday.

I’ve named the event, Pop Garbage because I think of these records as the lost and discarded sounds of our popular past. Records that were pressed and then mostly forgotten about until someone needed to clean out their living rooms or decided that it was time to put away childish things. These records were once cherished items, that now collect dust and molder in stacks in the back corner of thrift stores. Some of them are records by once chart topping giants, and some by virtual unknowns. All of them are trash now. Most of the artists are long gone from the scene (if they ever were really in it to begin with). Some turn out to be small vanity releases. Those are the saddest records. When I play them, I am hearing the sound of someones dream that never became a reality. They either quit trying to “make it” or died without “arriving”. Either way, their proud moments end up in the rubbish heap of culture. I try to honor them, even when their work is ridiculous. They put their heart into it. After all, in the end, my work may end up in the bone yard with them.

In any event, if you are anywhere near Pittsburgh (specifically Lawrenceville) on Sunday the 20th around 9pm, you should come out to spend some time with me and my records. If enough people show up, I’ll get to do it again. I’ve got too many records to play in one night!

POP GARBAGE @ Brillobox

Music That Makes You Go Hmmmm…

 

Today my amazing and beautiful son turns ten. In the twelve years in which I have been married to Michele, we have moved halfway across the country, lost friends and gained new ones, traveled thousands of miles by plane, train, and automobile, took a big boat and decided never to do that again, buried cats and adopted more. We’ve laughed and cried, we’ve snuggled under blankets for warmth while laying in rooms so cold that we could see our breath. We have had to flee our new house at three in the morning because the fleas in the carpet all came out at once to attack us. And, throughout the vast majority of the time, we had our son right next to us.

Elijah is the most important thing in my life, and watching him grow has been such an insanely beautiful experience. Seeing how his mind and body has grown, witnessing the slow process that has brought him from this tiny thing that I could hold in my arms to the strong young man that he is now, has been the absolute joy of my life. When I look at my son, I see not only an almost alchemical distillation of Michele and I, but the ways in which he is so remarkably his own person. I feel so honored to be able to watch that person come into being. To be allowed to witness his evolution from a kick and fluttering heartbeat in my wife’s uterus, to the strong-willed and independent young man that he is. To watch as he educates himself, and learns the ways of the world.

Right now, my parents are in town. Tonight, all of us are going to go out to eat dinner. At that table, there will be three generations of Parham men. It is a thing that doesn’t get to happen much these days, and it is also something that might not get to happen much longer. But, today, the day that my son begins the process of coming out of childhood, my father and I can sit with our wives, those strong and fierce women that have supported us and given us the gift of fatherhood. All of us can sit, and break bread and witness someone who is gathering up the knowledge to build on the ground that we have won[1] for him. We get to watch this beautiful boy gain the strength to climb across the ridge to see what waits for him in the next valley.

It is so strange to have been a part of this wild ride. It is a thing that I almost can’t believe is happening. But, every day Elijah wakes up and hugs me, and I know that I am involved in something magic.


  1. Yes, constant reader, that is a Queen reference!  ↩

Today is my twelfth anniversary with my wife. I have no idea where the time has gone. It seems like it was only a short time ago that we came together. My life has been so enriched by her presence and love. I would not be the person that I am now without her. Michele is the greatest gift that I have ever received. She is my strength and my heart and I truly would be a much worse person without her support and love. I could type a million words about how much she means to me, but they would not come close to the true essence of the feeling. The most honest and simple way that I can explain it is to say that I am better with and because of her. Our life is an alchemical process that returns more than was put in.

This anniversary is traditionally the silk anniversary. I didn’t get her anything silk, but I can offer her the smooth voice of Nick Drake singing one of the finest love songs ever put to tape.

 

 

The wheel of the year will turn about again, and I shall find myself still in awe of the wonder and the magic that is my life. Thank you so much, Michele. Thank you for fixing me and making me whole.

Selah