Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Now, um, usually I dont do this, but...
A couple of years ago, back when we were in the earlier stages of this filmmaking quest, Koko and I had a discussion about financing in which I ran down some of the creative methods through which other indie upstarts had raised the capital for their debut productions: Robert Townsend and the string of maxed credit cards that powered Hollywood Shuffle... Robert Rodriguez donating his body to science to make El Mariachi... Darren Aronofsky pulling together the completion funds for π by bumming $100 off of everybody he knew... Kevin Smith pawning a good portion of his cherished comic book collection to finance Clerks... Then Koko says to me: "You still have all those old records, don't you?"
"Yeah," I says. "Why?"
"You said a lot of collectors would pay good money for those things, right?"
"Yeah, I did mention that."
A tense silence fills the next few seconds, though it feels like hours. Finally, I speak: "I'm not selling my records."
"Why not? Don't you have multiple copies of a lot of them?"
"I have multiples of some of them, yes. And God willing, I will keep it that way!"
"FOR GOD'S SAKE, WHY?"
(Mind you, Koko was not asking why I was keeping multiples; he sincerely wanted to know why I kept ANY of them at all. As I've mentioned before, he has never had anything but contempt for the vast majority of Nigerian popular music and remains puzzled by my need to collect these records that he considers pure garbage.)
"You think I don't want to raise this cash, too? It's just that... Some things are more important than money."
Koko is genuinely bewildered now: "LIKE WHAT?"
At this point, I launch into a long spiel, the content of which I cannot remember. I am fairly certain, though, that it contained the phrases "guard our cultural heritage," "sell our birthright" and "FESTAC mask."
Koko is silent for a while, and then he says "Seriously... You have got to be the most un-Igbo Igbo man I have ever met in my life."
And that was that.
Well... Not really. Time and time again, the subject would intermittently re-arise, with Koko goading and pleading (and Enyi occasionally chiming in, asking what I had against making money while rhetorically questioning my Igboness), but like the eyebrows below Sylvester Stallone's Botoxed forehead in the new Rambo movie, I remained unmoved.
Flash forward to now: Some of you who shop for records on eBay might have noticed that over the past two or three months, I've occasionally been up on there hawking vinyl.
To what can we attribute my change of heart? Well...
1) Back when I first started (seriously) collecting old Nigerian records about 8 or 9 years ago, it was mostly a barren landscape. These things were hard as hell to find--even in Nigeria--and I had to go to often absurd and brutally taxing lengths just to find someone who remembered these records, let alone who could grant me access to them. Under these circumstances, I actually entertained the possibility that I was in possession of the last surviving copies of some of these albums, and I was like an ethnomusicological L.S.B Leakey digging up and preserving the fragile remains of a disappeared culture.
But with time, I've learned that it's not that deep. As the popularity of African pop music of all kinds has exploded over the past few years, all these rare vinyl nuggets have continued to come to light by the truckload, so it's not like I have to hoard and curate that much; there's enough vinyl to go round... provided you're willing to pay for it. And if so, why should you not pay me? Because, you see...
2) Comb & Razor, Inc. needs to acquire a few pieces of fairly expensive production hardware, and it's not like we can just charge it to the game. Also...
3) The amount of clutter in my pad is getting ridiculous. My sister visited this past weekend and threatened to call Niecy Nash on my ass.
So yeah... Let me officially state that I am indeed selling records, so if you want to buy them, come see about me.
Check back frequently, and add me to your favorite sellers ("combrazor" is the ID), as I'll be putting up more stuff with time. It'll probably be mostly Nigerian records of the type I post about here, though I might occasionally throw in other stuff, too. Also, feel free to hit me up with requests; I can't promise I'll be able to fill them all, but I'll try!
For some reason, I feel the need to apologize for placing this advertisement in this space: the idea of selling or shilling on this blog for my own pecuniary profit makes me cringe more than a little. But hey... The original raison d'etre of the blog was to document the making of TOO MUCH BEAUTIFUL WOMAN, and this is kinda part of that saga, so I guess I can get a pass here.
(Look at me, expressing embarrassment over mercantile activity! Seriously... What kind of Igbo man am I?)
Let the sell out begin!