I’ve always thought downtown Glendale would be just a little bit hipper if, instead of having approximately 138 competing antique shops, it had literally anything else. Not to say the antique shops aren’t fine, but it always seemed like overkill. Replacing just one of them with, say, a cool bar or a vegan lunch spot (LOL) would, I always thought, go a long way toward attracting a more diverse clientele.
I held this line of thinking, however, without ever having stepped foot inside one of these antique shops. Not that I ever had anything against antiquing (legitimate verb, apparently), but I don’t know a good antique from a bad antique, and my perpetual mission in life is to get rid of stuff, not acquire more stuff. If my wife and I were both acquiring stuff, we would be on “Hoarders” next week and I would be buried in scented candles and children’s toys.
Walking through downtown Glendale after Oktoberfest last month, my wife and some of our friends did a little window shopping at the antique stores, and expressed a keen interest in several items. I decided this would be a good opportunity to get some Christmas gifts, which would make for a wonderful surprise for my wife and friends were I not writing this sentence right now. So … shhhhh!
This forced me to venture into several downtown Glendale antique shops during my lunch break at work, and guess what? It wasn’t so bad! I even did a little casual browsing—CAN’T TALK NOW, I’M ANTIQUING. The general feeling was like walking through a giant house occupied by 100 grandmothers on steroids, but, in several stores, I did locate something that caught my eye: records.
I have a turntable at home. Two, actually, because when I’m not wearing khakis while working as publications manager for two community newspapers, I am DJing the hottest clubs in the area. My favorite club is called “our dining room,” and I spin some sick beats from underground artists like Billy Joel and Ella Fitzgerald. You should come by and check it out. Two drink minimum. Club closes at 8:30 p.m.
My point is, I love record shopping. And I prefer to find records the old fashioned way—at a garage sale or because somebody died—not at some hipster record store because my hipsterdom is genuine and not contrived. (I am proud to say I have owned turntables for almost all of my adult life, not because they are cool again now. And yes, the reason for this is because I hilariously imagined myself to be a DJ in college. Let’s move on.)
So now, not only did I find myself in various antique shops, I was camped out in them, flipping through crates of records. Did I have any success? Depends on whether or not you think the Beatles freakin’ WHITE ALBUM ON VINYL is a success, or “Elvis Sings Christmas Songs” is a success (mos def), or basically any Dan Folgelberg album is a success (not really, but still). Speaking of Caucasian musicians, I have also discovered that Conway Twitty was an actual person and not a hilariously named country caricature. My bad, Conway Twitty! You have a lot of records.
I also discovered this:
I guess what I’m trying to say is, I take back everything I’ve thought, and maybe said, about the surplus of antique shops in downtown Glendale. They are all cool and hipper than they even know. We should have more, actually. Let’s tear down Subway. That place is the worst.
Note: This column appears in the 11/27 issue of The Glendale Star and the 11/28 issue of the Peoria Times.