Many, many years ago I worked at a used bookstore called Bookmans in Tucson. Everybody from Arizona knows Bookmans. They have several stores around the state and they’re all as big as supermarkets, filled with used books, music, and games. Most books are half cover price, and employees got a 50% discount. Sometimes the manager would be like, “You did a good job today, Sean, take a book.”
I realized that I would never get another opportunity like that in my life and took full advantage. My library exploded with books on every topic imaginable. I also learned the joy of collecting vintage paperbacks, with the added joy of getting them for next to nothing.
So when I came across Ted Mark’s I Was A Teeny-Bopper For The CIA I just had to get it. I’d never heard of the title or author before (I wasn’t about to forget that title!) and figured this would be something I’d never see again. I was right, I’ve never seen that book again, and now, 20 years later, I finally got around to reading it.
We love our vintage Historical Adventure, Science Fiction, Fantasy and Sword and Sorcery/Planet/ Sandal/Wombat etc. Call it Vintage Genre Fiction. This despite the fact that most old stuff is crap.
Listen: We’re on a road trip and my wife — Driver’s Privilege, and bear with me — puts on a retro chart show for 1968. We bop along to The Rolling Stones and some Soul, then on comes a song called MacArthur Park.
Go on, click the link I dare you. You’ll love the maudlin delivery, the lush strings and perky keyboard arrangement. Better yet are the lyrics. Here’s the refrain:
Someone left the cake out in the rain,
I don’t think that I can take it,
‘Cause it took so long to bake it,
And I’ll never have that recipe again, oh noooooo
At this point the kids and I are howling with pain.
Now if you like 60s music, know about, then right now you’re fighting the urge to dive down to the comments and start explaining why it’s good (please don’t). And it’s true, if you have a specialist interest then your cultural pleasures aren’t always mainstream.
Everybody else is still trying to unhear that song (Someone left the cake out in the rain/ I don’t think that I can take it/ Cause it took so long to bake it…).