As has been long and laboriously established, I am something of an insufferable fanboy for a lot of silly pop-culture things. I revel in minutia, seek out the furthest flung iterations, feverishly scrutinize the incidentals and celebrate the accompanying ephemera. I have still-sealed copies of certain cassettes (!!!) and multiple copies of certain albums based solely on miniscule cover-art differences and track-listing. In some instances, I refuse to part with obsolete versions of certain media despite being no longer able to play them on anything. Yeah, I’m that guy. Sorry.
For whatever reason, I take exception to folks getting their facts wrong about comparatively silly, stupid shit that, ultimately, doesn’t really matter as much as the amount of exasperation I display might suggest. Don’t believe me? Back in 2012, I devoted a post to an error Time Out New York made in identifying a certain location in my favorite movie, “After Hours.” I took Getty Images to task for misidentifying Marky Ramone as Arturo Vega. Hell, I even railed at the New York Times for getting their facts wrong about the various lead singers of Journey …. I don’t even really LIKE Journey!
A big part of this particular syndrome, of course, is the giddy ability to chime into certain conversations to deliver roundly unsolicited corrections (usually prefaced with the cloying adverb, Actually….). In my circles, this sort of irritating behavior involves predominantly music, cinema and New York City trivia, but you’re likely to find equally noxious pedants in virtually every field of human interest. From sports to the stock market and bird-watching to trainspotting, there is doubtlessly a variant of precious nerd, geek or knowitall to suit every subject. I’m sure you know a few.
As I expounded on here, however, I try to stay full aware of these tendencies and keep them more or less in check. This blog, for example, has become instrumental in exercising these demons, as it’s better to use this platform to rant about this type of idiotic bullshit than anywhere else. By doing it here, and keeping it all in perspective, I try to keep it at least amusing and informative, and not misguided and obsessive.
Enter Dave Marin.
As profiled recently in the Wall Street Journal, Marin is a 59-year-old retired salesman from Pleasantville, NY (erstwhile home of Ace Frehley) who is singularly obsessed with an alleged inaccuracy on the sleeve of the Clash’s celebrated third album, London Calling. He is steadfastly devoted to correcting this perceived mistake. “It’s my life goal,” he remarks. Incidentally – and that’s the perfect adverb to start this next sentence, as the subject is the quintessence of incidental -– the correction in question involves the cited date of the album’s iconic cover photo. I’ll let you read the whole article -– which really belongs in The Onion -- but Marin contends that the photo, shot by Pennie Smith at the Palladium on East 14th Street, was taken the day before the notes of the sleeve would suggest. He takes this position because he says he was there and still has the ticket stub.
Now, again, I am the fucking last person in the world who should be ridiculing this guy, but I just find this whole story so tragic. I mean, let’s say he manages to achieve his, once again, “life goal,” and get it officially corrected, resulting in any and all future, tactile re-issues –- should they ever happen -– reflecting his scrupulous amendment. Where does he go from there? I can hear him now. “At last, I can finally sleep at night, now that this great inaccuracty has been righted. Many nights have I tossed and turned, thinking that thousands upon thousands of oblivious Clash-fans were going about their lives blithely believing that Paul Simonon’s bass felt the unrelenting wrath of the Palladium floor on the 21st, when it was actually on the 20th! Those poor, deluded fools!”
It's not even that much of a quibble. I mean, if you’re going to get all super-dupe pedantic about something, at least make it something more substantial than a calendar error. That’s just fucking dull.
That did not stop him from making a video about it…
The thing is, he’s very possibly -– if not probably -- correct in his assertion. But why can’t he just have fun with it?
Speaking of having fun with it, my friend Ned on Facebook suggesting mass knockoff of Marin’s pose. I could not resist, making due with my colleague Peter’s vintage 3D copy of the Stoness’ Satanic Majesties Request.