It's that blur of pathos initiated by your second brunch mimosa, the precise moment where you realize that, uh-oh, you're about to be that asshole who doesn't (or has yet to) participate in the process of yuletide generosity. Your eyes dart from your half-empty champagne flute to whatever point of purchase matches your revving desperation. It's also a selfish moment, but you don't have time to think about that right now. In times like this, you can only project your own nostalgic perceptions of Christmas onto the consumptive ritual, because your toolbox is the only toolbox available. That star at the top of the tree? It's heaven. Right over there, across from your granite White Wolf Café table, is Rock & Roll Heaven. That'll do.
1. David Bowie Portrait of a Star box set ($100) First, there's the heft of classic vinyl in triplicate to contend with, presented here in a box that begs for minimalist wrapping. This French-only compilation of Bowie's snowy Berlin period (Heroes, Low, Lodger) finds the Dame in dystopian distress, scowling from the box cover at any tree that dares not worry about the Grande Dame's wild wind. It reeks of special. It costs of special. Also, prominent use of the word "star" assures holiday cheer in the face of miserablist fantasy.
2. Freddie Mercury singing action figure ($189.98) You'll find this sandwiched in between old 'N Sync dolls, which is depressing enough, but Mercury in all of his 18 inches of plastic majesty towers above the crooning teen castaways in both height and glamor. And with "motion activated sound" included – along with "a medley of Queen's hits" – you're sure to please a closeted parent and confuse an impressionable child. You are the champion, my friend.
3. Lovers Rock, Vol. 2 ($30) Who knows what's going on with this one? But with giant areolas a-bouncing and a look of ecstatic delight on the face of the model who graces the cover of this album, it almost doesn't matter. Just run with the theme of freaking everybody out in a
vaguely sexual way.
4. Duran Duran Mixing Italian 12-inch ($40) or Duran Duran Night Versions: Australian Tour '82 Limited Edition ($40) This is when the champagne kicks in. My most memorable Christmas came in 1984 when I got a hi-fi and Duran Duran's Arena in the same freaking box. Mixing was an Italian companion to that album, mostly as an excuse to put the wildly popular remixes of "Wild Boys" and "The Reflex" into a helium container filled with stickers, postcards and a poster! So, anyway, I bought this just now and you can't. You may want to choose to please your special aging nostalgist – or me – with the Australian tour pressing of 1982's Night Versions, which is super awesome for Nick Rhodes' headband alone.
5. Wham! Make It Big and Culture Club Colour by Numbers picture discs ($20 each) It's a fight, you guys! Wham vs. Culture Club! (Duran Duran already won, see.) Anyway, everybody over the age of 37 loves the notion of picture discs, even though you never really play them and they
eventually find their way into your closet for warping. Still, as the giver of gifts, the sheer homoerotic glee sure to be elicited by either of these choices is worth its weight in lube.
6. Latin Lover incense (10 for $2 or 100 for $18) Skip that Yankee Candle nonsense in favor of the olfactory arousal of exotic sex. Also, insert your own joke about stuffed stockings here! Look at that. You're done. Drink some more.
Rock & Roll Heaven
1814 N. Orange Ave.