I get on particularly well with one of the senior managers in my store. We're roughly the same age, but unlike me who has moved from pillar to post throughout my working life, he's resolutely old school, a one company man, 45 years man and boy. I might never have met him at all, were it not for unfortunate circumstances. He'd intended to retire in his fifties, buoyed by the healthy company pension he'd accumulated, but his wife of 25 years left him just as he was about to hang his hat up, relieving him of their house and a substantial amount of said pension in the process. So he was forced to work on, in order to re-stock the retirement fund.
Anyway, long story short, he's decided that now is the time to quit. He's not retiring altogether though, there's no way he could stop just like that - retail is in his blood. But he's going to step down from the ridiculous stress of supermarket management and move to another store as a regular general assistant, back to the position he started in 45 years ago. I'll miss him. He's always been on hand with encouraging words during my own intermittent bumps in the road. He's also well into his music, so we often waffle on about that. He's not an obsessive by any means, in fact he's largely oblivious to any post-1990s musical developments, but he knows what he likes and he's got pretty good taste - Reggae, Motown, Northern Soul, The Jam, The Specials etc.
I've always respected his position and never pushed my luck in spite of our amiable relationship, until one day a few weeks ago at least, when I completely lost my head and let rip at him in front of everybody in the staffroom! It happened when we were discussing turntables and he voiced a concern that his was too old. I countered that my own deck is over 30 years old and that as long as he looked after it and changed the stylus regularly it should be fine for his needs. It was then he let it slip that he's had his deck for over 40 years and (honestly, I can barely bring myself to type these words).....he's NEVER changed the stylus in all that time! Can you imagine? I'm amazed that he gets any sound out of it at all by this stage. Anyway, after I'd calmed down a bit, I got him to bring in the details so that I could source him a replacement stylus post-haste. I've bought him a Lee Perry compilation LP as a leaving present and I can't have him disappearing over the horizon with that on my mind.
Here's the dark, dark tale of a very different kind of needle from one Harry Snyder. The song was originally tucked away on the b-side of a single in 1966, but I have it as the opening track on a 2016 compilation entitled 'Hillbillies in Hell: Country Music's Tormented Testament', which should give you some idea of what you're in for.
I was worried there for a minute - thought you'd snapped at someone who could still have fired you ahead of his retirement, but no, a "I just can't believe you live like that" snap. Glad you hear you've now got him sorted out. And, a nice gesture to get him that compliation LP. Hopefully, you'll stay in touch.
Ha ha. Just laughed out loud reading this.
What a lovely tale - albeit shocking stuff! He'll surely be stunned by the sound quality when he hears things through the new stylus you're going to source for him, what a kind gesture too. Hope you'll still be able to see and talk music with him after he leaves.
Lee "Scratch" Perry, surely... or was that the gag? (D'oh!)
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