My First Blind Date

I was finally moving into my new apartment and it had only taken me a week to find it despite the numerous ‘No Vacancy’ signs hanging outside most of the high rises in the West End.  It was located on Alberni Street, a few feet from Stanley Park and it had an awesome view of Coal Harbour and the north shore mountains.  It’s probably a lot easier to find an apartment or condo to rent in Vancouver today than it was when I first moved here from Etobicoke, Ontario in 1973.  Back then, the vacancy rate in downtown Vancouver was less than 1%.

We had just started a business in Toronto and I would be living in Vancouver, Bobby would be in Montreal and Jack, the senior partner would remain in Toronto where our office and warehouse were located.  Basically, we were a textile company that sold to department stores and fabric stores.  Jack, the senior partner, was somewhat famous because he was the person who first brought polyester to Canada from Japan.  Back then, polyester was known by various names such as crimplene, crimpknit, trevira, dacron, terylene, and others, depending on country of origin.  We were importers and converters of textiles but most of our fabrics came from the United States.  But this story isn’t about fabrics… I just wanted to explain why I had moved to Vancouver.

I had been a manufacturers’ agent (self-employed salesman) that represented a number of companies in the textile industry.  I had a button and zipper line (HA Kidd & Co); trim and lace line (Morgan Uster Ltd); velvet line (Martin Fabrics) and my territory included Central and Northern Ontario.  I called on all of the established customers as well as constantly looking for new customers.  I was on a draw against commission – which means that each of these companies sent me a monetary advance on the first of each month.  I had to pay all of my expenses (living and work-related) out of that draw and hoped that my commissions for the month covered the advances.  My work-related expenses included leasing a vehicle, gas, meals, hotels, entertainment for others and dry cleaning bills for the suits I wore.  My living expenses were the usual – rent, utilities, clothes, and girls.  It was those combined expenses that made me become the best possible salesman I could ever be – I was too terrified of not covering my monthly expenses!

I can remember filling my car up with gas in Toronto and paying 39 cents a gallon!  I didn’t have a CHARGEX credit card at the time, so all of my purchases were in cash.  My monthly draw worked out to $175 per week – with no deductions for income tax etc.  And it used to cost me one hundred dollars to travel on the road for a week – gas, hotel and food.  Now you can better understand the source of my financial worries.  But I was happy – and within a few months – making good money!

Over the course of a few visits, I became friends with many of my customers in northern Ontario.    Later, when I went into business I decided to give my customers a phone call to thank them for their business and advise them of my upcoming move to Vancouver.  One store owner in Timmins became a close friend – she was like an aunt to me.   She said that although she was sad to see me moving, she did want me to know that her best friend had a daughter who now lived in Vancouver and she knew that the girl would really like me.  But I wasn’t interested – except – how do I say no to my friend (and customer)?  So I agreed and was given the girl’s name and phone number.  My friend, whose name I forget, said that she would call the girl and tell her to expect a call from me.  When I arrived in Vancouver, the last thing I wanted to do was call this girl – after all, I didn’t believe in blind dates (for both’s sake).  Besides, I had to get a new vehicle and find an apartment to rent in the West End – where the vacancy rate was less than 1%.

My priorities were like any self-respecting single guy – car first; pad second; business third; romance fourth.  I walked into BOWMAC – if you’ve lived in Vancouver – it used to have this huge sign on Broadway.  It was a GM Dealership and that’s all a kid from Oshawa would ever drive.  Anyways, I met Jim, a salesman about my age and within minutes, I had leased a ’74 Trans Am.  He invited me to his place on 10th Avenue – it was a large house and he shared it with three other guys.  Did I mention that it was a stone throw from the nurses’ residence?  Each of his roommates were also salesmen, so we had a lot in common.  And the nurses’ residence was nearby – but I probably already mentioned that.

That weekend, Jim and the guys and me did a little pub crawling – it was the first titty bar I’d ever been in and I was somewhat shocked.  It also gave me a sudden attack of loneliness.  But I was staying in a hotel and needed to focus on getting myself a place to rent.  Jim or one of the other guys would drive me around the West End, looking for a  ‘Vacancy’ sign outside, until one night we found the place on Alberni, close to Stanley Park.  I paid the rent and security deposit and waited until my furniture arrived before I could truly feel I was now a resident of Vancouver!

Sometime later, while sitting alone in my apartment, I pulled the paper with the girl’s name and number.  I fumbled with the paper – staring at it and wondering – should I call?  I gave into the loneliness and called her.  

Although it’s been many years, my memory only seems to remember important events and personal incidents – as opposed to remembering people’s names.  But I always remember a face and the memorable experiences things that I associate with that person.  So, if you asked me what this girl’s name was – I couldn’t tell you.  But I remember a number of things about her and I certainly remember that phone call and the date that followed.

She answered my phone call with a pleasant sounding voice and our conversation went something like this:

Girl:  Oh Danny!  [Timmins store owner] told me all about you.  I was expecting to hear from you weeks ago – I assumed you weren’t interested in meeting me.  

Danny:  Oh no, I’m sorry but I’ve been busy getting some wheels, finding a place to rent and conduct business at the same time.  I would like to get together with you – if you’re interested – but I know that blind dates are scary and …

Girl:  Yes, how about Friday night?

Danny:  Okay, yes, uh-duh, what’s your address?

She gave me her address and then quickly said goodbye.  She didn’t ask me anything about myself – which I thought was a bit weird.  And that’s when the doubts and fears started to ebb and flow inside my tiny brain. 

‘She’s probably desperate’ I thought, ‘maybe I’m the first guy that’s even called her in months!  Why did I ever agree with [Timmins store owner] to go out with her friend’s daughter?  I am such a ‘mark’ for a sob story!  But what the heck did I have to lose – being stuck with someone with whom I have nothing in common with? 

My new friend Jim almost answered that question for me, when I told him about the phone call and pending blind date.  Because after I told him that she lived in Surrey, he threw his arms up into the air and screamed that it was geographically impossible to have a girlfriend, who lived that far away from downtown Vancouver.  (Remember, this was 1973 – before the new bridges and skytrain!)

I bought a city map from a gas station and looked for her address.  I gauged the distance to be the equivalent of driving from Oshawa to Toronto (30 miles), which was a ‘piece of cake’ for a kid from Ontario!

I parked in the parking lot of her complex and then rang the buzzer to her apartment.

Girl:  Hello?

In the background, was the sound of either a baby crying or fifty fingernails scratching down the blackboard at school!  Now, don’t get me wrong – I love kids!  It’s just when the pitch of their crying is so high that it breaks windshields, that I get a little uncomfortable.

Danny:  It’s Danny… uh, duh…

Girl:  I’ll be down in a minute! I’m just giving the babysitter instructions.

I stood in the lobby and waited for the elevator door to open.  It did several times but not with anyone resembling a twenty-something-year-old girl.  After about ten minutes, she appeared – and I was shocked – she was nothing like what I had imagined.

I’d almost talked myself into believing that my blind date would appear wearing a t-shirt with a ‘eat your heart out – I’m married’ slogan; a cigarette hanging from her mouth; her hair in curlers, no makeup, and no front teeth.  Was I ever wrong – because the girl that appeared in the lobby was as beautiful as any girl I’d ever dated.  And although I still can’t remember her name – I can remember her face and body, and both were stunning!

She appeared to be surprised as she gave me the once-over, but her eyes seemed to light up and suddenly she flashed a beautiful smile – and she had teeth, too!

Girl:  Hi Danny. 

Danny:  Hi (Girl).

I didn’t want to appear too interested or anxious, but I couldn’t keep from smiling – from ear to ear. 

Danny:  You’re the prettiest girl I’ve seen in 3 weeks! 

I cringed immediately after saying it – even though it had always been my most effective ‘opening line’.  You should never let a person know you’re interested in them by acting too anxious.  ‘Try to maintain a little mystery, you jerk!’ I mumbled to myself.

Girl:  You’re not what I’d envisioned.

Danny:  In a good or bad way?

Girl:  I’m not sure.  It’s just that I’ve never been on a blind date before, but my Mom’s best friend kept calling me and insisting that I go out with you.

Danny:  I hate blind dates, too!  So, do I pass the test?

Girl:  I don’t know – it’s too early.  But I’ll know soon enough – it’s my job to be a quick study on people.

Danny:  Are you a cop?

Girl:  No.  I’m a customs officer.

Danny: ‘WTF!  (Why That’s Fascinating!) I shouted out loud, [The other WTF hadn’t been invented, yet] my Dad’s a customs officer in Toronto!

Oops!  I instantly regretted opening my big pie hole.  ‘Try to maintain a little mystery, you jerk!’ I mumbled to myself, again.

But she liked my car and within minutes we were on our way downtown.  I had found an awesome multi-level nightclub called Oil Can Harry’s at 752 Thurlow Street and it had live bands playing on each of the three levels.  I was hoping that she’d be seeing the place for the first time – because I knew it would impress her – and that is what any self-respecting guy would do on a date.  But as we entered the first level, the bouncer at the door – a giant of a man – suddenly started hugging my date and within a few seconds they were laughing and hugging and laughing and hugging and I was standing there like one of those wax figures you’d see in Madame Tussauds Famous Wax Museum.  I wasn’t jealous – I’ve never been jealous – but I felt kind of left out. 

February 25 1975 Vancouver Sun advertisement for Oil Can Harry’s on Thurlow Street [PNG Merlin Archive]

We grabbed a table and ordered drinks, but it was too loud to carry a conversation – so we just drank and danced.  I remember that she was a very good dancer and she smelled pretty good, too.  I was hoping for a slow dance, but the band kept playing fast songs.  But when they played the first slow song, I reached my left hand out to grab her right hand, but she instead put both of her arms around me in a hug – so I followed and soon we were standing alone, almost motionless on the dance floor.  I’m sure that there were people watching us and thinking that we should leave enough room between us for daylight, but we were both oblivious to the surroundings.  There’s something about a slow dance that if done properly, can be a green light to other, more passionate activity. 

Suddenly, she stopped hugging me and grabbed my hand and led me off the dance floor.  Within minutes, we were heading back to her place in Surrey.  I don’t remember much about the drive, but I do remember what happened when we arrived at her place.  How could I ever forget?

My date paid the babysitter and then put on some music.  I remember that it was Barry White, her favorite singer – whose songs were perfect for the evening.  Soon the living room was dark, with only the light of a single candle.  I could feel the excitement and anticipation growing, as she threw a couple of cushions on the floor.

Soon our eyes locked and she began moving closer until our faces almost touched.  Her eyes began to close, and I knew that she would be waiting for our lips to meet.  As we kissed, a debate began inside my little brain – should I try for more or just be content with kissing and hugging?  Most guys faced with this type of dilemma would think with their ‘other’ brain and make the mistake of trying to get to first base too soon (as though making out is like baseball!).  Nope, a person once told me that you should wait until you’re both ready to make a commitment to each other – such as going steady or marriage.  But just before our kissing got to the point of no return – she stopped and looked deeply into my eyes and said:

“Do you think I’m promiscuous?”

I stared back into her eyes, but I didn’t know how to answer her because I didn’t know what the word ‘promiscuous’ meant!  I had never heard the word before but in the heat of the moment, and somewhat out-of-breath, I guessed that it meant someone who was attractive or desirable – so I said YES!

It was the first time that I have ever had my face slapped and I was shocked and confused! 

‘WTF!’ (Why The Face!) I shouted, ‘I didn’t mean to upset you.  To tell you the truth, I don’t even know what that word means.’

But she was already standing and soon all the lights in her apartment were on and I was driving back to Vancouver.  She never told me what the word meant and we never saw each other again. 

The other mistake I made that evening was telling my new friend Jim about what had happened.  He couldn’t tell me what the word ‘promiscuous’  meant because he was laughing so hard.

And that, dear reader, is when I learned a new word.  True story.


Dedicated to my friend Doug Jackson – The World’s #1 Salesman (Retired)!



Not a creature was stirring…

Originally published on December 24, 2012

It was the morning of Christmas Eve and once again it didn’t feel like Christmas. 

It had been years since I last celebrated Christmas – but I remember it well.  It was in 1983 at my Mom & Dad’s place in Midland, Ontario.  My family always got together to celebrate Christmas at my parent’s place – but I had missed the last couple of Christmases because I was living in Vancouver.  My Dad came to the Toronto airport to pick me up – I had yet to see their new home in Midland – but I was more excited about seeing my Mom and brothers and sisters and my niece and nephew.  That’s what Christmas was all about to the St. Andrews family – being together and enjoying our own special traditions.  Some of those traditions included arriving on Christmas Eve and spending the night – so we could all get up together – just like when we were all growing up at our home in Oshawa and then later in Georgetown.

At my parents home in Georgetown, my Dad had built a wonderful bar in the rec room and he would wear a Christmas hat while he served drinks from his perch on a stool – behind the bar – which he considered “sacred” ground.  You NEVER went behind the bar when Dad was on duty – the words “self-serve” did not exist in his bar.  So as we arrived on Christmas Eve, the first thing you heard when you entered their house was the laughter and shouting from downstairs.  A few hugs and kisses with Mom and then you would head downstairs to reunite with the clan.

Early on Christmas morning – probably no later than 6:00 AM, my Dad would be the first one to awake and ready to act as Santa.  We would all gather around the Christmas Tree in the family room and my Dad would give each person one gift to open – beginning with my Mom.  Everyone would watch quietly as each person opened their gift – and then there would be loud outbursts of “ooh’s and ahh’s”.  My brothers, sisters and I would then prepare a large breakfast for everyone – and let Mom have the day off from the kitchen.  Immediately after breakfast we would all gather at the Christmas Tree and continue to open all the gifts. 

About mid-morning, Dad would announce that the bar was open.  Later, Mom would bring a platter of Scotch Eggs for us to snack on.  And then about mid-afternoon, we would all gather in the dining room for a sumptuous turkey dinner.  Later, my brother-in-law Brian – a professional photographer, would get everyone together for a family portrait – which we would all receive framed copies.  Then some of us would start to leave to go to our respective homes – which always made my Mom cry.  She was happiest when she had every one of us together – as a family – and always pleaded with us – “Do you have to go so soon?”

So, on this morning of Christmas Eve, I was having a coffee and looking at one of those family portraits – and I got homesick.  Homesick because I missed my Mom and Dad – and family – and those magical Christmases we shared together.  And I missed not having that special feeling that I used to get every year – at Christmas.  Two years ago, I went to Costco and bought a ton of outdoor Christmas lights – and decorated all of the hedges, evergreens, and fence – I had just finished my cancer treatments and didn’t know how many more Christmases I would be around for – and desperately hoping that the lights would bring back that special Christmas feeling.  But it didn’t.

Last week I wrote a blog about buying a complete Santa Claus outfit – so I could visit all of the patients at the Fraser Valley Cancer Centre – where I was treated – and where I have been volunteering every week for the past 16 months.  And as I made my way through the various clinics – almost all of the patients’ eyes would light up with excitement.  I was hearing voices from all sides – things like:  “Hi Santa!” and “Merry Christmas Santa” and “Hey Santa, can we get a picture of you with us?”  Within five minutes that special feeling returned – and I was a kid again.  I didn’t rush home and decorate the house with lights though; in fact, within hours of leaving the Cancer Centre, I lost the feeling – which made me really sad.

So on the morning of Christmas Eve, I decided to get dressed as Santa Claus, again – and go to the Cancer Centre and to Surrey Memorial Hospital.  As soon as I walked into the hospital lobby a woman ran up to me, pleading, “Oh Santa, could I get a picture with you and my Mom?”  I said “Sure – Ho, Ho Ho!”  The mother slowly walked up to me – she was in her patient gown and was wearing a Christmas hat.  I gave her a hug and was posing with her for the picture – when her daughter suddenly said: “Mom, why are you crying?”  Before the mother could answer, I squeezed her closer to me and asked her why she was crying.  She stared up at me and with tears rolling down her cheek, she cried, “Because I never thought I would ever meet Santa Claus!”   I kissed her on the cheek and whispered into her ear “I will always be with you”. 

I toured the Cancer Centre and then walked down the hall to the adjoining Surrey Memorial Hospital and took the elevator up to 51 North – the Oncology Floor.  I had been a patient there several times during my cancer treatments – when I was at my lowest point.  I walked into each of the patients’ room and wished them all a Happy Holiday.  On my way back to the elevator, I noticed a Palliative Care sign over the entrance to another wing of the floor.  “This is where the very sick and/or terminally ill patients are”, I thought to myself.  I walked into the ward and all of the medical staff were surprised to see Santa.  After posing for several photos I asked if it would be okay to say hello to the patients.  They replied in unison  “Of course you can – you’re Santa Claus!”

I made my way around the ward; entering each of the rooms and then holding the hand of each of the patients.  I didn’t know what to say but what suddenly burst out of my mouth was “I know that you’ve always believed in me, and I just wanted to drop by to say hello”.  One patient – an older man – was wearing a Christmas hat and said that he had awoken that morning excited with the hope that maybe a friend or family member might drop by for a visit.  But none had – until Santa Claus.  He held my hand for the longest time and just stared at me and then muttered: “Thank you Santa – Merry Christmas”.  I turned to leave his room – my eyes were filling with tears and I didn’t want him to see me cry.  After all, he believed in Santa Claus. 

And now so do I.

Santa Danny in the Chemo Room, December 24, 2012




Today’s Tune (from Danny’s library of purchased music):




Last Night’s Awesome Concert


There aren’t many singers still alive or rock bands still together that I currently have on my bucket list to see live in concert but Reginald Kenneth Dwight was definitely on the top of the list. So having a great seat at last night’s concert at Rogers Arena in Vancouver was awesome!

I had already graduated from high school when Reggie cut his first album in 1969 and one of the songs from that album is still my all-time favourite. He has had many hit songs over the past 5 decades:

  • (more than fifty Top 40 hits, including seven consecutive No. 1 US albums,
  • fifty-eight Billboard Top 40 singles,
  • twenty-seven Top 10, four No. 2, and nine No. 1 hits
  • For 31 consecutive years he has had at least one song in the Billboard Hot 100.
  • He has the most No. 1 hits on the US Adult Contemporary Chart (16 No. 1’s).
  • One of his singles sold over 33 million copies worldwide and it’s the best selling single of all time.

He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994 and he received a knighthood from the Queen in 1998.

So I was pretty excited to finally see this legend perform last night and it was one of the Top 10 concerts that I have ever attended (Eagles, Van Morrison, Mark Knopfler, Marvin Gaye, Beach Boys, Bob Seger, Cher, Lady Gaga, and Bruno Mars are also included on that list). He played for more than 2 hours and for those 2 hours many of the fans remained on their feet – myself included.

But the biggest difference between Reginald Kenneth Dwight’s concerts and those of other musicians is that nobody in the audience played an “air guitar“.  Nope, they were all playing “air pianos” instead! And with this clue, you’ve probably figured out that Reginald Kenneth Dwight is also known as Sir Elton Hercules John.

Here are a few pictures that I took last night… and I’ve also included my favourite Elton John song.



Today’s tune… (click on link to play song)

Your Song

Your Song


Photos from last night’s concert (Section 118 Row 1, Seat 1)…







Chips or French Fries?

Originally published May 31, 2012

Fresh-cut french fries

Fresh-cut french fries

Recently, I received an email, with a picture of a sign – of a famous fast food chain – which read:

“Saying your kids are fat because of us….. is like saying it’s HOOTERS fault your husband likes big boobs!”

Now I don’t want to upset you if you are one (or more) of the following:

a)  A parent

b)  A parent with a fat kid (or kids)

c)  A kid with fat parents

d)  A fat kid with fat parents

e)  A person addicted to fast food

f)  A person addicted to HOOTERS

g)  A person who flips burgers at a famous, fast-food chain

h)  A person who flips burgers at HOOTERS

i)  A waitress at HOOTERS

j)  A regular customer of a famous, fast-food chain

k)  A regular customer of HOOTERS

But you are what you eat – or at least that’s what my Grandma Puffer used to say.  She also used to say “Show me your friends, and I’ll know what you are”, but I’m not sure that that has much, if anything, to do with being fat.  

Don’t get me wrong – there’s nothing wrong with a treat now and then.  My parents never ever took us out to restaurants – but the day that the new A&W opened on Simcoe Street in Oshawa, we were all crammed into our family’s 1955 Poncho (it’s what we called Pontiacs back then) and ordering Momma, Papa and Teen Burgers – with fries and frosted mugs of Root Beer.  Car Hops (waitresses) would come to your car – smile – take your food and drink order and then bring it to you on a tray, which hung on the outside of the car window.

Now anyone who ever knew my Mom would agree that she was a great cook – she had over 100 ways of cooking hamburger meat but almost never on a bun.  But there was nothing like a Teen Burger, Fries and an ice-cold Root Beer.  But we didn’t go there very often – and we remained a skinny and healthy family.

Then Kentucky Fried Chicken opened on Simcoe Street in Oshawa.  But it wasn’t a restaurant or drive-in.  Nope, it was for take-out or delivery only.  You ordered your chicken in a large bucket – fries and coleslaw were packaged separately.  The chicken was deep-fried and the crispy coating was a secret recipe of herbs and spices – invented by none other than an old Colonel in a white suit.   My mom sure didn’t cook chicken like this – in fact, we never had fried chicken – let alone, chicken with a crispy coating.  But every once in a while – probably on my Dad’s payday, we would get a treat of Kentucky Fried Chicken.  Funny, but that crispy, greasy and golden chicken skin was the best part of the chicken!  But the treat wasn’t often and we remained a skinny and healthy family.

As I got older, and started to earn money (delivering newspapers, shoveling snow, mowing lawns, cashing in pop bottles etc), I would sometimes buy french fries from the “chip truck”, that parked outside of the ball park.  We never called them french fries in those days – they were always called chips (as in fish and chips).  The chip truck used fresh-cut potatoes and fried them right there in the back of the truck.  They served them piping hot – in a white paper cone.  They would sprinkle on some vinegar and salt and then added a toothpick – which you used as a fork and then later as a toothpick.  But the chip truck wasn’t always around, so I remained a skinny and healthy kid.

As a teenager, I always had a part-time job (but you probably already knew that if you’d read my previous blog posts) but I seldom spent my money on food – I was interested in girls, buying clothes, girls, buying cigarettes, girls, buying beer, girls and buying records.  Did I mention girls?  After dances, we would walk downtown to the Globe Restaurant – a great Chinese Restaurant – but we never ordered Chinese Food.  Nope, because they had the best “shoestring chips” in the city. They would bring you a large plate of shoestring chips and a bottle of Coke for 50 cents.  But I didn’t go to the Globe very often and I remained a skinny and healthy teenager.

I didn’t start to gain weight until I was in my thirties.  About the same time that I started to drive everywhere instead of walking; eating all of the foods that I never had as a kid – and always having a second helping; and driving everywhere instead of walking; and drinking several hundred bottles of beer each week; and driving everywhere instead of walking; and then, sadly,  it was too late.  I awoke one morning and just as I was about to shave, I looked into the mirror and saw a giant man staring back at me!  I ran screaming into the hallway – filled with the Fear and tripped over a large box of Krispy Kreme Donuts that were laying on the floor – rolled down two flights of stairs (similar to the guy who rolled over Niagara Falls in a barrel in the ’60’s) and then came to an abrupt stop beside Jesse James, my German Shepherd dog, who was fast asleep on the floor.

Over the years my weight has been up and down – but mostly up – way, way up!  I am not a genius but I’d bet money – any amount of money – that lifestyle controls weight.  I was living proof.  I was so heavy,  chairs used to scream “Get off of me!”

And although I gave up smoking several years before getting throat cancer – the damage was already done.  Smoking will definitely make you sick – just as burgers, large fries and gravy will make you fat.  Been there – done it!

I am no longer the “fat” guy I used to be – but only because I lost 100 lbs during my radiation and chemo treatments and haven’t been able to eat solid foods since the summer of 2009.  But I’m not complaining – simply trying to “learn you something”.  Oh, and did you know that if you have a diet pop with your fries and hamburger – it cancels out all of the calories?

By the way, I have only been to HOOTERS twice in my life and both times on the same day.  But that’s another story and you probably have to leave anyway….



Favourite Record Stores on Yonge Street

Originally published December 8, 2012

Sam the Record Man store on Yonge Street

Sam the Record Man store on Yonge Street

A&A Records on Yonge Street

A&A Records on Yonge Street

 In the mid-70’s, my buddies and I would drive to Yonge Street in Toronto – just to buy record albums.  We would go every couple of months (when we were “flush with cash”) and would spend most of the day checking out LPs at both Sam The Record Man and A & A Records, which at the time were the biggest record stores in Canada.

 First, we would go to Sam’s and check out their featured albums – there would always be a couple of dozen of the latest LPs on display – and all at great prices.  We would spend hours searching out the best LPs from our favourite singers/bands and then we’d see what A & A had on sale. Then we would go for lunch, have a few beers and compare notes on what albums to buy.  Usually, we would buy about 10 LPs but always at a fraction of the cost had we shopped at Eatons, Simpsons-Sears or at any of the smaller music stores.  I still have most of the LPs that  I bought from that era – all stored in protective sleeves – to keep them in pristine playing condition.

I remember one particular trek when I discovered that Eric Carmen – former lead singer in the group The Raspberries – had just released his first solo album.  They were playing it in the store and I really liked it – so I bought it.  About 30 years later, I noticed a copy of the album on CD (from Japan) being offered on eBay.  It was at a time when many of the older albums or cassettes were not yet available on CDs – so I immediately bought it (after a frenzied bidding war).

A friend of mine and I were recently discussing music and both agreed that it was always great listening to music via records played on a record player.  And that’s kinda funny because when we were teenagers, we had these small record players – and the records were mono not stereo.  We would usually only buy singles (45 RPM) because most LPs only had one or two good songs.  We didn’t take much care in how we handled our records – and the noises created by the scratches, dust and grease from our fingers were just part of the listening experience.  In fact, it was normal to stack several 45’s on top of each other on the player.   I remember going to one of my friend’s house to listen to his record collection.  We would lay on the floor listening to music by the hour.  But that was a different time – before the internet, YouTube, Amazon, eBay and iTunes.

I still love music and have a large collection of records, cassettes, cds and MP3 downloads.  But I have never downloaded free music – ever.  I have bought some through iTunes but most of my music purchases are on CD.  I have transferred them all on both my iTunes library and Windows Media Player.  I currently have over 10,500 songs.  And although I enjoy listening to music from my iPod – I still prefer to have the CD in my hand – to look at the picture and/or read the album notes or lyrics.  The best LPs or CDs always include the lyrics.

And I still like to lay on the floor while listening to music.

BTW, if you’re ever in Toronto looking for a good place to buy records – you won’t be able to find Sam The Record Man or A & A Records – they both went bankrupt.

Too bad – too sad, because shopping for music on the Internet is so lame!