Oh internets, let me tell you an amazing story… a Christmas tale to warm the heart of even the most inveterate Scrooge.
You see, I am a Sloan fan. Have been for years (the first show of theirs I saw, which was my introduction to them, was in the fall of 1993). Over the years, I’ve bought all of their records, and seen them in concert five times. I know most of the words to their discography, and surely every note of every song. Their music makes me very happy.
A little while ago the band released an official bootleg vinyl, of a 1993 show in Winnipeg – which, as luck would have it, was from a couple of months before the show I attended on that same first tour mentioned above. For this edition, there were only 300, hand-numbered copies pressed. 25 of those copies would come with an original poster from that tour, golden ticket-style.
Of course, my lovely wife and I spent a good part of the day that it went on sale attempting to buy a copy through the band’s web site. Neither of us could get through, and we were among the many who were fruitlessly jamming the servers. We finally gave up, and without an order placed.
I placated myself, knowing that this was a special release, yes, and I do now have a record player, sure, but it was quite alright to not get one. After all, these rare things are fleeting. Besides, the band posted the tracks for free download the day after the records sold out, and so I managed to get the album in MP3 for free. Still, that’s not anywhere near as cool as having the vinyl, but so be it.
Fast-forward a few weeks and it’s Christmas. James had mailed wonderfully-wrapped parcels for us and our kids, easily on time for the big day. Our gifts to him and his lovely wife remained here until well after Christmas because I am completely disorganized and I suck, but that’s another tale all by itself.
And so came the big day and… well, you can probably see where this is going…
James had got through to the site, that fateful day.
And James sent me a copy of the Sloan vinyl.
Number 95 of 300.
I couldn’t speak. I just stared at it. My lovely wife says she had an inkling of what it was before I opened it, but I honestly had no idea. Sure, the parcel was vinyl-shaped, but it never crossed my mind to even consider this particular album as a possibility. It could have been anything (there are a ton of vinyls I’d like to own). But this…
I had the video camera at hand, and from the throes of my initial shock, I recorded my thanks. A video sent almost immediately to James which, I realized only later, contained an f-bomb. Imagine. James said it was a beautiful f-bomb.
You know, I haven’t opened it, the vinyl. I don’t know if I have a poster or not. James had also got one for his lovely wife, and she didn’t get a poster. Neither did the guy I’m in contact with from the record shop in Kitchener, who also managed to get a copy.
Somehow, I’m not ready to open it yet. It’s just such a beautiful, thoughtful gesture. I still just stare at it… Fine, I’m a geek. I can live with that. And yes, it would drive most people nuts, to not know if there’s a poster in there or not. Oh, I will open it. When I’m ready.
James. Thank you.