Getting caught eyeing the ads too closely in an alt-weekly publication can get you some odd stares on public transit. Well, fair enough. But an eye-catching spot of a different sort appeared in this and other publications this week: An impassioned plea from a serious record collector to return his prized possessions for a $1,000 no-questions-asked reward.
We reached out to the aggrieved collector. He's upset and embarrassed about the whole thing, so we'll just call him Desmond. Either way, he's still happy to plunk down a grand in return for his rare, irreplaceable late 1960s Jamaican 45 RPM records.
"I've had my moments where I've left my phone in a cab. But I could care less about that," he said. But leaving a small blue shoulder bag with about 45 45 RPMs in it -- that he cares about. "I just spaced out. I've been beating myself up over it ever since."
Desmond has many, many records. But these were his best of the best, the creme de la creme, his All-Star team. He'd just finished spinning them on a friend's DJ show for Radio Valencia. And that may be the last time for a while anyone around here hears the songs performed and/or produced by Derrick Harriott, Keith and Tex, The Gay Lads, or Coxsone Dodd.
Collecting 45s isn't the same as amassing LPs. You don't find stuff like the aforementioned in record stores. It involved great deals of time -- and no shortage of money -- to scour catalogs and online offerings. At times, Desmond was able to identify 45s labeled as "unknown" by tracking down the "matrix numbers" in the records' run-out grooves.
The folks picking up the phones at the city's 30-odd cab companies have grown tired of hearing this (Desmond can't remember what line he took home). So he's turned to the general public. If you -- by any means -- came across a mess of 1960s Jamaican 45s, drop their rightful owner an e-mail here and collect a $1,000 reward. Simple as that.
"They're just possessions," laments the collector. "But I feel like they're a part of me that I lost."