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Thursday, December 5, 2013

The Audio Grim Reaper

Massimo is no more... like the late Gregory Corso would have dedicated to him a tombeau - i.e. one of his "contemporary haikus" - which would have sounded more or less like this: "When an audiophile and audio-lover dies, Death is so sad She spends all the afternoon in an empty, uncrowdy cinema, in tears, watching at b/w movies" or something... 

Massimo was a friend of friends and also if we never met, I had the pleasure to share with him in loooong phone conversations our audio dreams and projects and music-related elucubrations, talking the same audio lingo we all - audio lunatics - well know: cables, cartridges, speakers, horns and drivers etc. etc. in infinite combinations...

We shared same analog, vinyl-oriented vision, as collectors and scholars, in the never-ending path for the Quest - i.e. the endless search for the smoother, most natural and realistic and involving sound from our audio systems.

He recently and untimely passed away... I recently also spent some time at the phone with a common friend, Romano, who's supporting Massimo's family in managing the IMPRESSIVE estate he left behind him.

Strange or not, pals... this VERY same topic and problem is sincerely and deeply involving yours truly.

Gettin' older and reading more and more often on Ebay this or that sought after piece of gear came from "the estate of a passed away audio lover" or the like... well, there is enough to think about this.

Some years ago I found that a friend, a gentleman from Bologna, Italy, had a very, very "specialized" occupation, not an hobby, but a sort-of by-product to his music and audio passion: when a friend - a best one or just someone he knew at an audio exhibition - passed away, he contacted the widow, casually, showing a deep concern and condolence... after some days, a new contact to the (usually) desperate housewife;-) followed.

Expressing again his crocodile tears (just cynical black kidding...) to the widow, he offered his support to alleviate the heaviness of the sad moment and evenience... he always was well aware of the audio heirloom involved and of the value on pre-owned audio-market of the gears.

Usually the transaction was completed in a couple of days, with a full van of goodies... this Dickens-like character loaded several garages fuuuull of gears, JBL speakers, Audio Research amps, MacIntosh amps etc. etc. etc.

The deal was made at a symbolic, VERY underrated sum... usually a 10th or less of the Orion Blue Book's value, of course...

I'm not judging the above... shit happens!

... there are even worst eveniences, folks...

A dear, late long-time friend of mine, an audio sensei-san and the man who supported my audio infancy giving to me (almost) for free his pre-owned golden-face Quad ESL, a math professor with more than 10.000 vinyls and a one-of-a-kind audio system who passed away some years ago, fell into a nightmare... better, his widow, as he already was in Valhalla, in same Heaven-area of Colonel Klipsch and Mr. Walker (of Quad fame) and Wagner, of course.

We were best friends for more than 25 years.

The cold facts: some guys contacted the widow, a fragile, cute lady who loved her husband (il Capo - the Chief, how she fondly, lovingly called him...)  for fifty years, loving him and his devastating passion for Wagner... I remember him in tears, listening to Wagner "The Ring", translating from German to a younger me the words which moved him so much...

He used to listen to his multiamped system seated on a tennis-referee tall green painted metal-chair (...)

A master!

These above mentioned guys proved soon their truest essence: pirates, veritable audio-bastards, period.

They poured crocodile-tears in front of the widow, singing the merits of Professor D.... unfortunately, the dear, late Antonio was too busy in his Valhalla to appear in her wife dreams to support her in the HEAVY task of dealing and managing the tons of records and gears he left...

Well, making things short... those aliens organized two or three vans of goodies and the agreed payment was... some shitty, empty, unuseful, sad checks...

Some dirty colored pieces of paper without any value... no bank-covering for a life of passion which would have deserved a new home for all the discs and gears and some money for the widow.

When I heard that, I was in tears... and so were all the common friends of Prof. D.... the widow, well... she told me something which still resonates in my ears and soul, as well: "When the Chief was alive, thanking music and his (audio) passion, I met dozens of truly WONDERFUL people! Now Antonio is not, anymore... I'm not angry and it's almost OK things like "these" happens, as the pain is so heavy and world isn't the same beautiful place it was after his passing away..."

Love, pure love from her words...

I was faaaar more down-to-earth: I hoped... better, wished those crappy people to get "something" on same bastardness par after their robbery!

The plethora of execrations and anathemas was broad, VERY broad, indeed.       

So, after the above... Romano is doing "something" completely different from the two above cases... honestly supporting Massimo's heritage and his widow(s), who, like my wife and virtually all women with an audio-lover husband, are NOT aware of the value of those audio and musical toys.

I also have three "after-life friends"... when I'll pass away, and I'll do, like you and you and you;-) as I'm not an highlander;-)))... my beloved wife will hopefully have the support of someone fond and skilled and loving me and my intellectual/musical heritage and memory enough to do not robber my stuffs and spitting on my grave: one will deal for my sought-after instruments, one with records and one with my audio stuffs.

Do the same, folks... it's not only money-related: it's a musical heirloom to be preserved, not mesmerized and trashed away.

Heavy topic, folks? 

... not enjoying the above, at all or feeling some nausea thinking about that?

I don't care;-) as Death is Life and viceversa and "playing/behaving like an ostrich" - i.e. - a typical, yet effective "italian way" to describe someone burying his head in the sand - definitely (see above) isn't the way to go on the matter.

Let's leave some papers on the matter in an envelope, in a closet... it's called "holographic will" and this - including our toys listings - will GREATLY ease the people surviving us and will avoid years of care and attention and knowledge to be lost... in the dust of time.

In the meantime, let's enjoy life, love, sharing knowledge, being peaceful, friendly and gentle with people and animals and trees, taking care of ourselves and... kampai!

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