Monday, August 26, 2013

No. 283 – Mystic Rhythms

Performer: Rush
Songwriters: Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson, Neil Peart
Original Release: Power Windows
Year: 1985
Definitive Version: A Show of Hands, 1989.

As I mentioned, when I lived in Herald City, I didn’t spend a lot of money—not only because I didn’t HAVE a lot of money, but also because most of the money I did have was earmarked to other things, including my brain-dead video-dating membership.

That didn’t mean I didn’t buy anything, I just became judicious with my cash. Heck, I even went to see a couple of movies for the first time in more than a year. (I loved sitting in the front row of the balcony at the now long-gone Golf-Mill 1-2-3.) One of my luxuries was baseball cards.

Even when I lived in New Buffalo, I couldn’t give those up completely, but I seriously scaled back my purchasing. It used to be, during college, I’d buy a bunch of packs from each of Topps, Fleer and Donruss just to have around before I’d make the inevitable purchase of all three sets when I got home for the summer.

When the parental money well ran dry in 1988 and a fourth card-maker (Score) got into the game, I had enough to buy a couple packs of each at the New Buffalo drugstore. Before my transmission broke my car and finances, I made a trip to a card show in Michigan City to buy all four sets.

In 1989, however, two more sets were added to the mix: Bowman, by Topps; and Upper Deck, a brand-new company that charged an unheard-of and outrageous (back then) $1 per pack. UD’s entry caused everyone else to quickly jump up to 50 cents per pack, so I stopped buying packs completely.

An aside: This was first-hand evidence of my major contention of how card manufacturers lost kids forever. It wasn’t that cards weren’t cool; it was that they were too expensive to be a throw-away purchase. When cards were 25 cents a pack, a parent could give a kid a dollar in a drugstore, and he or she could buy four packs of cards. Now to do the same, it would cost $4. A parent might not miss a buck, but four bucks? Handed a buck, a kid would buy something else where he or she could get more for the money, like pogs.

Card manufacturers never got this, or at least never were interested in getting this. After a spurt of profitability in the early ’90s when everyone jumped on the cards-are-worth-a-lot bandwagon, the industry irretrievably went down the drain.

Anyway, I couldn’t buy all six sets, so I had to choose. The choices seemed obvious: Topps and Donruss. I had to have Topps, because it was the standard-bearer; and Donruss, because it had a Ken Griffey Jr. rookie card.

Every month, there was a show at the Meadows Town Mall in Rolling Meadows, so I went and bought my sets, but I decided at the last second to add a Bowman set to my purchases. Bowman, of course, was a glorious old name in collecting, and I thought that it might be worth having the first set of its return. I dropped about $50, which was the extent of my baseball card purchases for a while.

I then went across the street to the record store to see what was what. So, Rush has a new live album out, huh … ?

(To be continued)

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