Silly Sickness

I look at Craigslist bicycle listings a couple of times a day (at least).  Fine when I am looking for a bicycle for someone (say my nephew), but it sometimes feels odd when I go (so frequently) just to browse.  I most certainly don’t need a bicycle, let alone three.

But just look at them!  Panasonic Villagers.  Perfect city rides.  Upright bars.  Gears (maybe 10?).  Skinny tires.  White plastic fenders.  Racks, too.  I can’t tell when they were made.  I looked at catalogs from 1977 to 1989 here, but couldn’t find a Villager with upright bars and fenders.  They don’t look older than 1977, but perhaps they are (they certainly aren’t newer, because the end of US catalogs suggest Panasonic pulled out of our market rather than fight the exchange rate).  What I did find were years and years of models called Tourist that look a lot like these (upright bars and fenders).  The Villagers I found all had drop bars (no fenders).  Anyway, I want to buy all three and find homes for them.  Maybe take two to Provincetown, ride them for a week with for sale signs on them and arrange for delivery at the end of our visit.  It would work in NYC, too.  Buy them, why don’t you, so I can stop thinking about them!

I did enjoy the bicycle pictured below (from the 1980 catalog).  Single speed set up for road use including a steel chain guard.  Described as good for training.  That was the general wisdom (which I accepted as a kid when I set up my first fixed gear–would have been 1982 or so).  Very handsome, don’t you think?   

I’ve rehabbed three or so Panasonics (for friends) and have loved working on all of them.  If you find a DX-3000, 4000 or 5000, don’t hesitate to make it yours.  I am forgetting the Mountain Cat I sent to a friend in LA.  That was very cool, too.  We have only one (Lacey’s DX-5000) the catalog page for which is below.  Nice, huh?

Played a round of disc golf this morning.  Threw a 69.  Anything in the 60s is fine by me, and the company was nice, so I am not complaining.  Stopped by All Good Bakers‘ new location for a sandwich after the round.  Same great baking, bigger space.  Perfect!  Go!

Found a package on my doorstep when I got home.  Echo and the Bunnymen’s Heaven Up Here.  LP rereleased by Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab.  The LP is described as a Silver Label LP.  Their site says:

About Silver Series: New from Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab, the MoFi Silver Label Vinyl Series will feature an eclectic mix of recordings. This series is mastered and cut on the famous Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab state-of-the-art Tim de Paravacini-designed mastering system. Vinyl will be pressed at RTI on audiophile-grade standard vinyl and will be numbered limited-editions. Future releases will continue to stretch stylistic boundaries, as the MoFi Silver Label continues to explore music from many different genres. Expand your musical horizons with the Silver Label!

I haven’t dropped the needle and I am already disappointed.  I think if you pay north of $20 for an LP it should be pressed into 180 gram vinyl.  This vinyl is lighter, same as any average domestic pressing.  My album has a minor but easily visible hop in it.  180 gram vinyl tends to solve that problem.  Why go to all the trouble of remastering an LP and then press it into thin vinyl?  Whatever.  Live and learn.

I am excited to hear an Echo and the Bunnymen LP (their second) that had previously escaped my notice.  Looks like some folks think this was their strongest work.  When I was a kid I relied on my local record stores (and my near obsessive shopping) to make sure I didn’t miss important events (like the release of Echo and the Bunnymen LPs, EPs, 10″s or 7″s).  I recently pulled out what I thought to be a pretty complete collection of their work and listened to it start to finish in a couple of sittings.  Then I looked online and found I didn’t have their second LP (Heaven Up Here).  What a treat to have missed some work from one of my favorite bands only to discover it 31 years later!  THIRTY ONE YEARS!  Yikes.  The hifi is warmed up now.  Time to drop the needle!

Fifty minutes or so later…  So… Wow.  Great album.  Great mastering.  Great pressing.  I still think they should press their great work into heavier vinyl or charge a bit less, but I’ll forgive them for now [UPDATE:  A little more reading shows Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab offers a huge catalog of 180 gram vinyl (at $30-40) so the Silver Series must be intended to be a lower cost alternative].  Then I bother to read a Stereophile interview with Tim de Paravicini.  Gosh.  I understand about five percent of the exchange, but I get a clear sense that he has worked very hard to bring to me this record (that I am now listening to for the second time–it is really that good).  You really need to come over and have a listen.  You won’t have to twist my arm.

Odd, but I have heard all the songs already.  A casual inventory of songs on my LPs and EPs didn’t uncover the overlap.  I feel like I have a concert on VHS or some other way I would have heard the songs, but I can’t find it.  Whatever.  Great LP and overall a killer Thursday.

Be well!


4 responses to “Silly Sickness

  1. So great to see you and Jay today, Randal! Our sous chef is looking for an inexpensive bike to get to and from work. We have an old one in our basement, but not sure it’s right for commuting. I’ll clue her in on these! Hope to see you again soon 🙂

    • Thanks! Great to see you, too! Please do pass the link to your sous chef and soon. This is the second time they have been listed and the price has dropped. No reason they will stick around long. See you soon!

  2. I got that same Craigslist bug! I’ve been reading your blog for a while now – super enjoyable. I’ll probably revisit some more of your food posts since a few of us here are transitioning to a vegan diet! My main request/question though; Have you ever thought about doing (or done) a post about your current bike collection? I vaguely remember seeing a picture of your entire stable up here once, if I’m not mistaken. I’d get a kick out of it! – Tony

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