I’m a collector, which is to say I collect things.
In 1975 I was just a kid and went bonkers for beer cans. I’d walk miles from my home in Calumet City, Illinois, just to score a Big Cat Malt Liquor (I once scored a tall boy Big Cat in mint condition in an alley behind a White Hen Pantry!), or an old Candian Ace can…and my god! – if I found a flat top, or even (gasp!) a cone top, I had to run home just to clean my underpants…and then show off my can to the kids in the neighborhood.
Then, for a while – from like 1978 to 1987 – I was a jock…and lost my soul.
When I came to, it was books…specifically, anything I could find by Charles Bukowski. First, it was all the books with paintings by him. That’s right, his publisher would issue limited edition books with real paintings and silkscreen prints done by Buk. After that, I had to have all his poetry chapbooks published in the 60’s, and those fuckers were expensive back then. After that, all his little mag appearences sparked my interest…but nothing after 1970 (or so).
After I consumed Bukowski, I went nuts on all the Beats – Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, and, of course, William S. Burroughs. And of course, I had to buy every first edition, signed first edition, and limited edition thing I could afford. From the Beats I had to collect anything that was considered counterculture literature – Paul Bowles, ANY little mag from the 50’s and 60’s, anything drug related (LSD literature was close to my heart), Ken Kesey, Hunter S. Thompson…the list goes on and on. Then I just bought any book I could afford, if I had to have it.
Collectors know what I’m talking about. And it doesn’t matter what you collect, really…there’s some sort of fucked up psychotic thing happening in your head when you’re dumpster diving for beer cans, or spending your entire life scouring thrift stores for tiki mugs, or figuring ways to fuck over people who are bidding on whatever it is you’re bidding on at eBay.
I sold my Bukowski collection a long time ago. Since then, all the books I sold are worth even more, and that’s OK. It comes with the territory. Now I go out of my way for records…jazz records, mostly…hell, any records…and books (now it’s paperback sleaze and juvenile deliquency titles)…and vintage porn.
Vintage porn is so fucking cool. Old girlie mags like Adam, and Knight, and Cavalier, and the nudist camp mags, and, when I’m really lucky, I’ll come across glossy pics from the 50’s that you could buy out of the back ads from all those girlie mags I collect…I’m really on the lookout now for 8mm stag films from the 50’s, too. They pop up on eBay, but scoring shit on eBay doesn’t really count, does it?
So, if your grandpa died, and he was a pervy old dude and kept his shit in perfect condition – like most collectors do – call me, ok? I’ll pat ya on the back and say how sorry I am cause you’re all bummed that grandpa died, and then, if I can use it, I’ll offer you cash for the lot.
And I promise not to cherry pick.