Q: What’s That Floating in the Water?

On January 14, 2002 by Eden M. Kennedy

A: Old Neptuna’s Only Daughter!

It was a beautiful Sunday so I drove down along the coast to Ventura to go to my favorite record store, Beat City. Jackson slept in the back and I played a Pixies CD at a moderate volume. But Beat City wasn’t there anymore, and the whole downtown part of Ventura had changed. They now call it The Ventura Cultural District, and a lot of the best thrift stores are gone, only to be replaced by fancy little places that sell microbrews (aren’t we done with that yet?) and a multiplex movie theater (cinema one-too-many, right? with those terrible tiny screens). But Ventura still has a lot of old California character, that great WPA-era civic architecture and old-style bars like the Sans Souci that have gone to seed (“They’re all toilets,” says Jack). I was kicking myself that I hadn’t brought my camera.

I drove a little farther into the boarded-up part of Main Street when lo and behold! Beat City! It was a total Clerks/High Fidelity experience, with the two hipster-nerd guys behind the counter debating Velvet Underground vs. The Strokes vs. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. One of the guys even asked to hold Jackson (he was so guileless that I didn’t think of saying no until it was too late). But nothing happened, the guy just carried Jackson behind the counter and showed him pictures of Emmylou Harris and Gram Parsons. I bought a used XTC (English Settlement) and we listened to it on the drive back. I think Jackson liked “Snowman” and “English Roundabout” best. We’ll try the Pixies again tomorrow.

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