So Goldmine magazine has a story out (but not available online) on music-geek dramageddon. In a nutshell: Dude buys some records for a few bucks at a sidewalk sale in New York. One of them turns out to be a studio acetate of the first recorded version of The Velvet Underground and Nico, as it was originally intended to be released. The songs are in different order, and some of them are takes that are very different from the ones we all know, and some are at least radically different mixes. It is very possibly the only existing copy of this version of the album. How much is this thing worth? God only knows (and He might’ve told the late Sterling Morrison, who might be looking down from up there crackin’ his shit up over it) but as of today bidding on eBay is over the $100,000 mark, with four days still to go.
This is the kind of thing that only happens in geeks’ wildest fantasies—except when it happens for real. There are people for whom this trumps anything to do with lottery numbers, Presidential elections, and/or Johnny Depp in hot pants. Come to think of it, the romance and tragedy of underdocumented music history played such a huge part in my teenage-girl emo-drama that it’s entirely possible that this very recording is the ghost that lured me into what Lester Bangs called “the dubious profession” in the first place, and therefore there’s always going to be a part of my inner snark demon that thinks it might be liberating if I were rich enough to buy the thing so I could smash it.
I want to hear it every bit as badly as you do. Trust me.
But honestly—eBay? Tawdry. This Grail deserves a better plotline at least—I mean, for all its countless flaws, The Da Vinci Code at least had some memorable characters and some car chases. The real meat of this story would be in its provenance, of course—just how did this hallowed and fragile item wind up in a corn-pickin’ yard sale? It’s like finding the Shroud of Turin among a bunch of equally dubiously stained old sheets in the 25-cent bin at Village Thrift. It just couldn’t happen. Except, apparently, it did.