Saturday, August 22, 2009

Nostalgia post

There's some kind of basic human drive to order and categorize things, right? So I wonder if, High Fidelity-style, that drive is more pronounced in audiophiles. From all the time spent processing songs, shows, music history, and other people's best-of lists in an attempt to create your own, ultimate hierarchy.

But that's just my junk theory. I like lists because they lend themselves to more concise writing. Though, uh, clearly the following isn't proof of that.

This is my D.C. top five, plus some. Top five what, says you? I dunno...maybe things I'd take with me if I could.

5. Kramerbooks @ Dupont Circle

Rarely do you find an establishment that's a) cool, b) free, c) open late, for d) non-drinkers to e) hang out in on f) weeknights. Okay, the books aren't free, but quality browsing always feels like getting something for nothing.

This here shelf is the music section, which I picked over pretty good in the last two months. The other music section is Afterwords Cafe in the back, which always has some kind of ruckus going on. Which I like -- keeps it from feeling all tomblike, like some other bookstores.

4. Julia's Empanadas
@ Adams Morgan

One empanada = one delicious, filling meal for $3.41. Cheap Asian win!

3. Caliyogurt @ Adams Morgan

We went here a lot, not just because it was nearby and delicious, but because you get every 10th yogurt free. What can I say. We go wherever they value loyalty the most.

2. Smash Records @ Adams Morgan

This is where I picked up the flier for my first Andalusians show, got Jason to buy Signals, Calls, and Marches, and hunkered down to flip through that bargain bin at least once a week.

The second to last time I went in there, I talked to the clerk. You'd think that someone with moderately obscure taste in music would jump at the chance to talk to record store clerks, the people most likely to be like-minded. The nerdy Asian girl thing gets in the way though. Gives you this chronic not-cool-enough complex.

Anyway. I had this list of bands I keep forgetting to check out, and I asked the clerk if she knew any of them. Dwarves were on that list...I think she described them as "like a punk band, but a lot more offensive." She put on one of their records, and then one by Nation of Ulysses. Dwarves were too slick for me, but the NoU record was great. She showed me this little pink-leather bound manifesto under the counter called Psychic Soviet, which is by Ulysses singer Ian Svenonius -- easily the most ridiculous figure in D.C. punk. I'd seen the book under the counter a bunch of times before, but of course I'd never asked anyone to take it out from under the glass.

We shot the breeze until she had to close up. I was out the door and halfway down the stairs, when she came out and asked my name. I'm Tara, she said, and shook my hand.

There were a lot of "goddamn I don't want to leave" moments last week. For some reason that one was the biggest.

1. Fort Reno @ Tenleytown

D.C., this better still be here when I get back.


  1. empanadas are of spanish and south american origin. not asian.

  2. Um, Penelope, I think the cheap asian in question is the blog's author, not the empanada. But thanks for the lesson on the culinary origins of the empanada.