My buddy Dick Herculanum recently purchased some rather heavy machinery to produce notebooks for his business. However, to test out the notebook-making process, he had the brilliant idea of making notebooks out of record album sleeves.
Last year, <a href=”http://www.vintagevantage.com/”>one of my favorite T-shirt sites</a> introduced a limited number of one-of-a-kind notebooks made from album sleeves. I emailed the link to both Dick and Continental, knowing they would share my amazement at the sheer Awesomeness of Kenny Rogers, Neil Diamond and Sergio Mendes with Brasil ’68! notebooks.
Continental responded back with his trademark one-sentence quippery. “If anyone is still looking for Christmas gifts for me, you can totally buy me that sweet Lionel Richie notebook.”
I tried to buy it for myself — $35 price tag be damned. But it was sold out by the time the order was processed. I took a Neil Diamond one instead, and two free t-shirts in exchange for my trouble. This is where my “Advertising Helps Me Decide” shirt came from, and my as-yet unworn “Vietnam: We Were Winning When I Left” shirt. Not many places would be appropriate to wear that last one. (And yes, I can hear Dick reading this and responding, “There’s not many places it WOULDN’T be appropriate to wear that”, but I digress…)
I summarily forgot all about the Lionel Richie notebook. It was the cover of “Can’t Slow Down”, blue hues, feminine, decidedly not cool, except for the fact Sir Lionel graced the cover.
When Dick had the idea to make our own notebooks from album covers, I knew immediately which one we had to make first. And not the blue hues of “Can’t Slow Down” either. I was envisioning the green sweater-pink polo-gold background-giant afro awesomeness of his self-titled debut album.
A trip to Harry-O’s Groovee Records in Benson yielded us a nearly pristine copy of that album for the bargain price of $1. Several other gems were purchased at Harry-O’s for production at a later date.
Incidentally, if you haven’t been to Harry-O’s Groovee Records, you need to drop whatever you’re doing right now and go immediately. The floor might collapse at any moment and destroy your chance of experiencing the both the unique aroma and the hundreds of signed photos lining the walls that make Harry-O’s, well, Harry-O’s.
We also made a trip two blocks down from Harry-O’s to Zero Street Records, which has a better selection and a nicer shopping experience but no signed pictures of Burt Reynolds or Dom DeLuise. Two steps forward, one step back.
When we got into cutting apart the Lionel Richie record, we noticed that the front and back were nearly identical — just a slightly different pose. If we cut it just right, it would be possible to get not one but TWO notebooks from one album! Better yet, the album was a fold-out with additional photos inside the flap. This meant the notebook that used the cover would have the hidden surprise of Double Lionel Action!
Laying the two notebooks side-by-side, it was difficult to decide which to keep for myself and which to give away. The back of the notebooks made the decision easier.
Yeah, the one signed “Thanks for all your love, Lionel” is the one Continental gets. So we custom-printed the pages to say, “From the desk of Stu Stavies”, bound it, and voila — Continental’s Lionel Richie notebook was ready!
Decent. When he got back into town from a trip to the islands, Dick and I told him to meet us at the bar so we could give him a “surprise gift”, using lots of Lionel song titles to entice him. “You’ll love it so much you’ll be Dancing on the Ceiling.”, etc.
Needless to say, he was speechless when he saw it. Who wouldn’t be? You bet.