Thursday, May 7, 2015

There's a great person behind every great collection!

Well, it must be spring fever, because everybody's been cleaning out their closets, basements and garages lately and selling their old records.  We don't mind! Without the used selection in our store, there would be few surprises and fewer collectibles.

Arnita walked into the store the other day and left her name and number, saying she had a collection to sell: "Oh, a little bit of everything," is what she said.  What she meant was "a lot of everything, especially great soul, funk, disco, and jazz."

Arnita's house was a crazy visual puzzle of collecting cool stuff over 4 decades. A macrame hanging, a cassette player in the shape of a Cadillac, an oil self-portrait her son Duriel made at CCAD, an oversized coffee cup proclaiming "Huge Mug of Shut the F&(k Up," and a light-up aquarium she uses as a gigantic floral arrangement container were the first things to catch the eye. Her office literally had not a single space of wall unadorned. Post-it notes, papers, pictures, books, and piles of cool old stuff were everywhere. A vintage faux-leather suitcase full of old cameras. A Star Trek board game. An album of Lead Belly 78s. Gizmo & GI Joe dolls lined the tops of shelves. Just for starters.

Like her house, Arnita herself is a whirlwind of activity. The sweet warm scent of barbecue filled the house as she prepares & delivers meal-on-wheels for shut-ins in her area. She volunteers for the King Arts Center and spent 16 hours working the polls for the mayoral election. She's a blogger and an educator in her spare time, and that's just what we learned about her in a couple of hours.  Even as we packed up and hauled out 26 heavy boxes of records and an IKEA bookcase out of her house, somehow she still managed to keep busier than we did.

Her ex-husband was a DJ at a Columbus jazz radio station back in the day. We asked if the records were mostly his. She laughed and said, "When I met him, he was green as a pool table and twice as square." No, the collection is mostly hers.  Arnita grew up in the DC area and worked at a record store called the Harmony Hut. (She asked the owner for a job and he said, "well, who is John Lennon?," and she said, "he's a Beatle," so he hired her.) She moved to Columbus in 1979.

A keen & inquisitive mind is evident through her collection: Philip Glass, Pink Floyd, Miles Davis and Windham Hill recordings are sprinkled into a deep collection of the disco, funk, soul & fusion of the 70's and 80's, strongly represented by Ohio Players, Funkadelic, Parliament, Curtis Mayfield, and Herbie Hancock.

If you happen to walk into Spoonful in the next few months and we are spinning disco, you can thank Arnita. It's full on dance party time.