Wild side

Lou Reed may have walked on the wild side, but he had a lot of baggage. Three hundred linear feet to be accurate. Or at least that is what his bequeath to the New York Public Library amounts to. A taste of this vast collection of papers, music and memorabilia – although perhaps not a record player – was on display for just a couple of weeks at the 42nd street branch. The entire archive will take years to collate, but if a letter from Paul McCartney is an indication of the historical treasures to be found, it will be worth waiting for.

Back in Lou’s old stomping ground downtown, Jamal from Village Music World spoke about the good old days. About recently selling an original banana album for over $700 – he has the new release at much less – and about cheerfully trying to bribe Mr Reed’s assistant into bringing him to the store to sign a few records. Unfortunately the $500 didn’t swing it, and so the original pressings remain on the shelf. But the store itself is amazing – a museum of music and memories – and one of the few remaining record stores in the city.

The letter that Paul wrote to Lou only 20 years ago seems to defy my own recollection of the timeline of music players and their availability. But I walked mainly on the tamer side, where record-turned-pot-plant-holders may have more quirky curiosity than the original version. So I’ll wait for the Reed exhibition and see if that record really did go to pot…

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