Monday, March 27, 2006

The Mart: A Wretched Hive of Scum and Villainy

I don't know if other states have them, but in the great state of Pennsylvania we have indoor flea markets referred to as "Marts." They're awesome. To walk into a mart is like walking into Mos Eisley. By that, I don't mean to imply that Marts are a "wretched hive of scum and villainy," (although I always do manage to see quite a few sketchy people milling about) but more just the fact that at a Mart, the typical crowd looks a bit more alien than other places where people gather in society.

Everything at a Mart is usually pre-owned, close to expiration, a crappy knock-off, or new -- but for some reason -- dirt cheap. Add the mart mutants into the mix, and it completes the Sci-Fi black market vibe: bearded ladies, Romulans, dudes with their arms melted to their sides, more midgets than you can shake a stick at. I always go to the Mart fully expecting to see something amazing. I go for the produce (so fucking cheap) and stay for the people.

This past weekend, I lingered a bit longer than usual, checking out most of the um, "stores." A lot of them had collections of used CDs that you could pick up for $2.00 a pop. I always love coming across hardcore releases nestled between Silverchair and Whitney Houston CDs. No, it's not quite finding "Cough Cool" in a bin somewhere for a quarter, but I always get excited at the prospect of the hardcore deal. Some finds this week:

Sheer Terror "Bulldog Edition" CD -- Blackout!
Negative FX/Last Rites "Discography" CD -- Taang!
Absolution "Discography" CD -- Temperance
Earth Crisis "Slither" CD -- Vicotry
Sensfield -- advanced release CD

In a stunning display of adult crash, I walked away with:

Frank Sinatra "Super Hits" CD
Lyle Lovette and his Large Band CD
Benny Goodman "Big Bands" CD
Sheer Terror "Bulldog Edition" CD
Presidents of the United States CD

I thought all were solid pick-ups. Dinner music for the most part, with a smidge of filthy hate, sprinked with some Top 40 cheese.

The Presidents of the United States CD was a bit of a surprise. I picked it up because I noticed there was a cover of MC5's "Kick Out the Jams," and I was shocked to find that the entire record was pretty good. Think Primus, without the band going out of it's way to be overly bizarre.

Another thing I really dig about the band is their aversion to strings. The bass player has only the top 2 strings on his bass. The guitar player only has the top 3 strings on his axe. They don't use the other strings, so what's the point? How cool is that? I know, I know. All the guitar players out there are saying "dude, you can't keep your guitar in tune without the other strings." Yeah, fine. I'll concede that point. But if hardcore bands would just ditch the extra strings, I truly believe there would be a hell of a lot less post-hardcore bands out there.

While at the mart, I was also reminded of the Super Power I possess. I'm not sure how it would translate in terms of crime fighting or saving humanity, but I have an uncanny ability to spot an ex-skinhead at about 100 paces. It's really odd. I can just look at some dude, size him up immediately, and get a bald-headed vibe. From there, I start to look for other indicators to confirm the gut feeling. First the shoes. Then the presence of tattoos. Then what kind of tatoos (almost always something racist or skinhead. The Lehigh Valley is PACKED with tons of former skins, and I see these a lot). Without noticing any of these first, I always seem to pick up on the vibe. What can I say. It's either a talent or a mutant super power. Either way, fit me for some spandex.

Anyway, that was my weekend of excitement and adventure. It would've been cooler if I got to cut some dude's arm off with my lightsaber, but I'll just go listen to Sheer Terror instead.

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