Dead Can Dance

It’s the name of a group, apparently. How it happened. I was in Camden Lock. How I came to Camden Lock, well, obviously a trip on the tube while playing, and losing, at a game of Mornington Crescent, but that’s not the point. I was looking for inspiration. Found it in the basement CD “store,” labeled as “Punk/Goth/Industrial.”

Camden Lock: tribal techno

Cold winter’s morning, afternoon. The Lock was full of people and stuff. Bright stores, shouting, tourists and locals commingling in rapture and varying states of distaste and deshabille. I came to Camden Lock, based on the recommendation of a girl (Libra), who, by the way, worked at Amy’s in Austin. Airport and then South Congress. What’s that got to do with Camden Lock? Nothing. Just her recommendation a few years ago.

Walking down the street, heavy bass was thumping in one store, a techno beat, no doubt. Next store, eastern rhythm and joss stick. Sandalwood. Patchouli. Tie-die, Beatles music. I passed one Asian vendor, “Here, you try,” gesturing with a piece of chicken – looked like chicken – at the end of chopsticks. I tasted it, got some over dirty rice (‘dirty rice’ is the Louisiana term, no idea what they called it in the UK), and I asked which sauce was the hottest. I had something that I hoped was Serrano peppers in hot oil. Bland sauce but good chicken.

Beatles, Doors, Beatles, Pink Floyd, Beatles, Metal. Seeing a trend in the various stalls. I quite looking when I realized that some of what I was looking at originated in America. Or some third world country, like so many useless souvenirs.

The smells and textures, the fabric of the air was delightful with German, Slavic languages, French and even some cockney peppered in. Mostly German and French. Some Hindu or Indian, or whatever that’s called. I’ve been here before. In the moment, I was looking for something that might not be available state-side. Odd.

I got side-tracked, thinking they might have The Big Boys, rare Austin punk from before my time. Didn’t find that, but I happened across a pair of CDs with one evocatively titled, “Rheingold.” I’m not sure what the other CD was called, but the “Rheingold” CD was a live performance, so I got the other one. One “Rheingold” is the first opera in Wagner’s four-part harmony, the Ring Cycle, and most of my friends just know the smell of victory bit, ‘Ride of the Valkyries.’

I was looking for a record store, and I found one, in SoHo, I thought would be the best, as it was world-famous store for House, Deep Trance, and so on. Sister and I wandered in, late one evening, and I looked in dismay.

“Vinyl. All you got is vinyl.”


Rows and rows of bins stretched around the cramped, but clean and well-lit store. House, trance, dance, ‘two turntables and a microphone,’ vinyl.

A record store. They only sold records.

I don’t even own a turntable. However, I’ll admit, the audio quality is superior. Still, not my style.

About the author: Born and raised in East Texas, Kramer Wetzel, settled in a South Austin trailer park before trailer parks were cool. He now lives in San Antonio, Texas.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • liebe Mar 19, 2010 @ 17:11

    I can’t believe you like Dead Can Dance.

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