Thursday, March 23, 2006

good days of shopping and bad days of sodom

The other day Cub and I went to sell cd's. Doing this feels pathetic in a way - like I'm desperate for a fix or something. Let me explain. I've never worked in a used cd store, but I've worked at 2 large music chainstores and even in those I've seen some pathetic sights. People bringing in old scratched up cd's that they totally got from Columbia House (12 cd's for a penny?) in 1990 and they think we are going to take this in as a return and give them $18.99!?! It can be a sad sight as these folks are usually not looking their best. Desperation. Over at the used stores they must have seen it all. People coming in with scratched cd's and dog eared booklets, but no cases or back liner notes? The explanation? A cd binder got lifted from somebody's car. How about people selling still wrapped cd's? Well, that was me, at least half the shit I was selling was unopened, but I was in the clear. For those in the know, and the best record store clerks surely are, you could tell that I got many of these discs as promos as the bar code is punched with a small circle. Often, the punch is the only marking that separates a promo from a cd that belongs in a store's inventory. Therefore, a customer buying a used promo at the store is not being shortchanged in any way and that's good for me as I get full credit for selling back a promo cd just as if it were a disc I purchased from Tower for $18.99. I've scored promos in various was over the years. In L.A., for example, there is an excess of shit and buying a full priced cd can be avoided, even if it means buying a used promo at Amoeba, which is often overflowing with promos of the latest releases, that industry types must have unloaded just as they got their copies.

I got the most promos ever - while working in school radio stations. Tip: avoid the rest of the station staff, there are surely some among them who view taking cd's from the station library as wrong. What the fuck is up that? I'll never understand. Anyway, since I was mostly selling off a bunch of obvious (to store clerks) promos I was saved from the kind of scrutiny one would feel when selling off the embarrassing cd's that they were once into. Still, I could not avoid discomfort completely - it's awkward because the clerk know I want the most for each cd regardless of what it means to me. He wants to give me the least that he can - well if he's loyal to his store he does - and we can assume that he is. Trying to act like you don't care does not work, cause you do care.

Cub went first and sold off a bunch of cd's that I gave to her. This is typical. She often sells clothes that I bought for her - that's the next part of the story - I'm getting ahead of myself. Funny thing is Cub tried to sell this rare import cd by Suede. It had been floating freely in her trunk for a couple of years and was covered with gunk on the playing side. I told her not to bother with this one, but she did anyway. I gave lots of advice. Some stuff just won't sell no matter how much you don't want it. I did not bother with trying to lose my promos for Kill Radio or El Pus. These major label records bombed bigtime. If anyone, anywhere, got promos of these, and many did, they already sold them to the store and the store did not sell the copies that they took in. Trust me. Other shit, from the past year or so that I guarantee you can't sell... Busted (I tried), Hazen Street, Amen, and Eighteen Visions.

Next we went to a vintage store where Cub tried her luck at selling off 3 bags of clothes. She did pretty well, considering how discriminating they are. This is not a Goodwill, they pay you cash for what they take. I've had interviews at this particular chain multiple times. They gave me a test, a sack of clothes, and I was to tell them which items I'd buy and which I would refuse. How did I do? "There are no right or wrong answers", I was told. Yeah right, I did not get the job. It's for the best though. Even if these stores are packed with high fashion items, they still smell like thrift shops. Gross.

I could go on forever about the details of a certain shopping day, but it's time to get on topic and continue our look at Salo, or The 120 Days of Sodom, which I started to review last post. It turns out I was extremely close to the finish when stopping this tape last time. The last chapter of this movie revolves around violence and torture, all shot through a telephoto lens that is meant to represent binoculars that the elite perverts are watching this action through. Though graphic, the violent scenes were less shocking to me than all the other elements in this movie which break all taboos. Sodomy is the norm in this movie, in fact those who practice male/female sex are told they will be punished with the loss of a limb. Perhaps sodomy does not shock today, but shit-eating, that will shock Pretty much everything in this movie has ties to bodily fluids or discharge, whether described or depicted on camera. Calling it porno is absurd. It would be an unusual case for someone to get-off on this film. It's not erotic, it's a very cruel picture.

Salo is number 7 on the top ten sickest movies list that I discussed
here. To quote, "By far the most heady and artsy film on the list, Pier Paolo Pasolini’s Salo, or 120 Days of Sodom is also one of the most disturbing and (dare we say) damaging. There are very few films that, upon viewing, will have us running to the showers to try and scrub ourselves clean. This is one of those films."

Here are
collected links (and a few screen shots if you click around) on Salo at

Without getting political, though that is fun, it is easy to point out that the shit that went down at Abu Gharib is very much like this. You can see
here - many naked and forced gay sex positions, a man smeared in feces, and the famous naked pyramid that is very similar to the judging of the asses in Salo. That said, Salo is real.

Can Salo make anyone think about the perversions of power? In the meantime I'll know what to say if the ruling homeowners association in my apartment complex gets on my case again. "I know what you guys do behind closed doors, you sick, disgusting fucks!"


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