Mar 19, 2009


When I was little, my dad used to tape his LP's onto cassette for me. He worked at a Buick dealer and they would toss out piles of these audio tapes with Buick hawk logos on them. I think they were supposed to give them away as promo items, maybe to demonstrate the newfangled Delco AM/FM/cassette car radios.

One spring, my dad scooped up a pile, taped over the tabs and made me copies of Van Halen I, Black Sabbath's Master of Reality and Vol. 4, Journey's Frontiers, Billy Crystal's Mahvelous, Deep Purple's Perfect Strangers, Queen's A Night at the Opera. I know I'll remember more later. Aerosmith's Walk the Line, with that awesome Hirschfeld cover.

My tape case was full of these. My dad would pull out the cover, flip it around and write the band names on the blank insides of the cover. With the old Sanford marker, the pre-Sharpie, pre-Magnum, WWII-era Sanford marker. The smell never, ever dissipated. The line bled like pure-black alcohol as soon as it hit the paper, because it was pure-black alcohol. It was impossible to draw with, because the next morning, your lines would be twice as thick as when you went to bed.

I pulled out my big markers this afternoon to do some large scale sketching in a permanent medium. The sissy-ass Avery Marks-a-Lot was dead, the ink turned to a syrup at the end of the chiseled tip. My Sanford Magnum had a little bit of pep in it, but I'd stored it nose-up like a dummy. Nonetheless, using it to fill in some areas on my sketch has filled the house with that same old, wonderful smell.


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