To read the introduction and first installment of Philly in Photos, click here
By Harry Watermeier, Arden Professional Apprentice
This is “Creamy,” the other Vespa I pass on my way to work. “Creamy” lives a few blocks down from “Captain” on Spruce. They used to live together, but they had a bit of a falling out, and now things are kind of weird. Yeah, I’ll nod to “Creamy,” but only if he sees me and nods first. I know that’s immature, but, I’m friends with ”Captain,” and…I don’t know. These things get so complicated.
When I sit and have a coffee at Red Hook, I feel like I’m on a date with a girl who’s way too pretty for me. I’m nowhere near cool enough to drink coffee at Red Hook. All the employees are tatted and pierced–and I’m sure they’re all former musicians. I’m a bit of a square, so I stand out a little when I’m there. I’m hoping that the hepcats at Red Hook think I’m wearing Eddie Bauer khaki ironically. My esteem hang-ups aside, they make a solid cup of coffee, they’re always friendly (friendlier than they should be, considering my clothes), and great music is always pumping out of a fuzzy stereo.
I could waste days in this place. This small, dimly lit store, that smells of old paper and glue, contains some of the most beautiful books I’ve ever seen. Pristine, first edition prints of pulp classics like Jim Thompson’s Pop 1280 and Dashell Hammit’s The Maltese Falcon sit quietly on bare wood shelves. Paperbacks from the sixties and seventies are wrapped safely in plastic pockets, and copies of rare Silver Surfer comic books are shelved between leather-bound works by Tolstoy, and massive tomes of Warhol photographs. The organization of Brickbat seems to be scattershot and random at first, but, after a few laps around the store, it makes perfect sense.
This is the greatest album cover of all time.You can find it upstairs at Philadelphia Record Exchange. As soon as I have twelve bucks to throw away, I’m going to buy it and frame it. Look, there’s Dave Brubeck, and those other guys. Wearing suits and eating ice cream. ‘Cause the album’s called “a la Mode.”
Harry’s Philly in Photos series will conclude on Friday!