Darrell Vickers: Perhaps I Should Have Just Bought Candy


It was a Christmas morning a very long time ago, when the world was still rosy-cheeked and I was but a sprig of a lad. And behold, there was much rejoicing in the land, for the Jolliest Elf had gifted me with 10 whole dollars. The Queen’s picture was on it back then and I’m not talking about Sir John A. MacDonald.

10 old canadian dollarsIt was that very evening, as revelry abounded and nog of an egg-y nature was swigged unmercifully that I did perpend my goodly fortune and what untold eggnogdelights might be purchased with it. The colorful lights adorning the recently massacred pine tree in our living room did sparkle and songs concerning less than desirable accommodation and hallucinating shepherds filled the yuletide air.

hallucinating shepards

Comity and goodwill were as plentiful as the steaming cups of tea and greedily nibbled British comestibles piled high on decorative plates joyfully depicting a feastofststephenandboxingday_categorywinter we would soon grow unbearably sick of. But the most-festive-of-seasons’ magical glow was lost upon my fevered mind for verily that crisp and purplish sawbuck did scorch my pink and tender palm. “Spend me!” it vociferously importuned and its bellicose insistence on exiting my fluff-filled pocket did not wane throughout the long Boxing Day that followed.

St-stephenangel descendingAnd it was on that very celebration of St. Stephen (whoever the fuck he was) that the swanked-out angel of consumerism did descend from the heavens on gossamer wings and divinely whispered into my nascent ear, “Why not buy some records with it?”

Hmm,” thinks I, “I’d be a real groovin’ cat, if I had a super rockin’ album collection.”

So, when the stores at last did open their gleaming glass doors for business (this was so long ago, shit was actually closed on holidays), I was inside those suckers like they were a Hilton sister. My aural avarice was a sight to behold, flipping psychotically through bin after bin of rock and roll heaven. Covers adorned with long hair, exotic swirling colors and Nehru jackets dazzled and beguiled me, 61+AYIE3TcL._SL500_SS500_promising to fill my young and innocent head with sounds of incalculable coolness and deep psychedelic meaning.  Having once secured my black and circular bounty, I rushed home to plop it onto my parents’ Gerard stackable turntable. As the dark rich vinyl spun gloriously beneath the suspect discount needle, I knew one thing to be incontrovertibly true.  Today, I had arrived. Today, I was a man!

Approximately 47 years later….

I am in my three-car garage with an aching back and a weary soul. There are no vehicles in this cavernous space. There is simply no room for them. To my right are almost two hundred heavy, heavy boxes of vinyl albums. To my left are almost three hundred cartons of CD’s, boxed sets and 78’s.

lots of boxes

Alas, this isn’t even the whole collection. In the loft, above my head, I have almost 6,000 additional records and probably 10,000 more CD’s. I stand and look at this astounding acoustical accumulation with a numbness akin to being poleaxed. “What the fucking fucky-fuck am I going to do with all of this?” I quite reasonably inquired to no one in particular.

Sturdy Men

Artist rendering of “Two Sturdy-Spined Men”

Two men of far sturdier spine than myself would soon be arriving to whisk the lot away to an austere and dusty storage unit, while my house is being prettied up for sale.

man with aching back

Artist rendering of “Myself”

I did not envy them their daunting task. Max and his young nephew loaded the CD’s first. They’re the light ones (though, not that light). The big boxes of vinyl weigh about 50 pounds a piece (I’ve been in the U.S. far too long to deal with those silly modern and efficient measurements of weight). The truck that Max had procured for this uninviting assignment was quite large but quickly filled as row upon row of myriad musical treasures were gruntingly loaded onto the poor mechanical beast of burden.

over-packed truck

With about 60 boxes to go, the driver wandered around to the side of his fossil-fuel-gobbling steed (perhaps to suss out an escape route?). A look of definite concern crossed his sweat-dappled countenance. Yikes! His back tires were being pushed flat, due to the astronomic mass of the cargo.


While truly perplexed by this unexpected occurrence, it was crystal clear that he in no way wished to return to my humble abode and load-up a second helping of harmonious heft.

“It’s your decision,” Max informed me. “If I get a flat tire, it will cost about a hundred bucks. I think we should risk it and pack the rest.”

man fixing flat tire

This could have Happened!

The tense deliberations lasted several minutes but in the end I managed to convince my reluctant musical chauffeur that attempting to jack up a truck with 12,000 pounds of righteous rockin’ on board by the side of a busy road defied all the laws of known physics.

storage-unitFinally, he acquiesced and agreed to just pile on one more row of boxes and call it a day. Once the exceedingly precious hoard was secured, I excitedly jumped in my car. The arrangement was that he supposed to follow me to the storage unit. This well thought out plan lasted all of about 25 feet. That’s as far as the truck got before it chugged to a halt.

I pulled over. Max got out and inspected the front of his vehicle. Then his youthful partner jumped out and he too gave it a very close eye. After several minutes of close-eye-giving, I reluctantly popped out of the Volvo and walked back to investigate. It was not hard to discern the source of their apprehension and anxiety. The front tires were splayed out like a three-year-old’s ankles on ice skates. Yikes!

splayed ice skates

“Perhaps we should take out some of the boxes,” Max sadly conceded.

Back to the garage we motored and removed about a ton of vinyl. The difference was not as perceptible as we had hoped. Regardless, my hired help was determined to continue on…but very, very slowly.

The 2.5 mile trip (again, I have dwelled in this backward land far too long to attempt any meaningful conversion to world recognized standards) began to resemble “The Wages of Fear” but instead of a petrified Jo, Mario, Luigi and Bimba driving nitroglycerin uber-cautiously along Hell’s Highway, I had ashen-faced Max and his nephew puttering at a sub-snail’s pace up Kester Blvd.

wages of fear

To my horror, every time I chanced a glance into my rear view mirror, I did espy the front tires buckling mightily under the toe-tapping tonnage as these poor laborers risked their livelihoods to complete their mission.

driving worried

This is insane,” thought I. “I have amassed a collection that, only a portion of which, has crushed a truck!”

If that wasn’t sobering enough, it quickly became apparent that if I didn’t lend a very substantial hand in unloading my bulky burden, I would be stuck waiting at that storage facility until William Shatner’s hair grew back. Owing to Christian charity, I will spare you the harrowing and unmitigated horror of the next hour downloador so of my now shortened life.

As I lay in bed that eve, under a blanket comprised of sewn together Solanpas patches, I forlornly realized that the only sensible course of action was sell the damn thing before it killed me and possibly tilted the Earth off its axis.  But alas, I am a man. Am I really capable of doing the sensible thing? Do I really possess the strength of will to part with my Jack Wild albums or Ricky Segall & the Segalls? (They’re all beautifully sealed, by the way).

ricky segall and the segalls

I’ve always found it immeasurably heartbreaking, when a gigantic collection of cool anything (lovingly assembled over dedicated decades) is handed over to the dispassionate butchers of commerce to be chopped up into edible chunks and sold off. How can it be so dispiritingly easy to slap a price tag onto a fellow’s life’s work and passion? And in the end, all that’s left of one’s entire existence is the hollow echo of the auctioneer’s gavel.

standing at the crossroads

And yet, here I stand at that very crossroad, contemplating offering up my musical soul for a few tawdry pieces of silver. I only hope, if the devil should choose to meet me at this fabled intersection that he brings a motherfucker of a truck with him.



Darrell Vickers appears here every 4th Monday 

Contact us at dbawis@rogers.co

DBAWIS_ButtonDarrell Vickers started out as one half of Toronto area band, Nobby Clegg.  CFNY fans may remember the cheery song “Me Dad” which still gets airplay.  From there, he valiantly ventured to L.A. and eventually became head writer for The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.  Since then, he’s created numerous sitcoms and animation shows in Canada and the U.S.  He still writes music and has an internet band called Death of the Author Brigade (members in Croatia, Canada and the U.S.)   Mr. Vickers also had a private music mailing-list where he features new and pre-loved music.  Anyone who would like to be added to his daily mailing list, just write him at Radiovickers1@gmail.com . 

2 Responses to “Darrell Vickers: Perhaps I Should Have Just Bought Candy”

  1. VonRiesling Says:

    The end of an era plays a melancholy chord…like air escaping from a tire.

  2. […] It was only as I was packing up my record an CD collection, that I realized how crazy my life as a collector has been. Perhaps I Should Have Just Bought Candy […]

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