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Monthly Inventory, May

May 30, 2010

I’ve now been back in Athens for two weeks, and I’m almost back to where I was before I left. I should be talking with no fewer than three Elephant 6 folks in the next week or so (and possibly as many as seven or eight), but I don’t have a single specific time or date pinned down. I haven’t gotten back into the swing of things with regard to shows in town, but that should change slowly (at latest with AthFest, on June 23).

The two weeks I’ve spent in Athens this month have been almost as frustrating as the four I spent in Pennsylvania before it. Though I was away for a month, I feel like it’ll take twice that time to make up for it (and I don’t have that much time).

Though I no longer need to get my car back to Pennsylvania, my driver’s license expires on September 4, which means I physically need to be there by then. So I’ll probably leave Athens at the end of August without any immediate intent to return; whatever blanks I still need to fill and dots I still need to connect will be filled and connected via phone and e-mail. If need be, I can always fly back for a week or so. The issue now is finding somewhere to live for the month of August, as my lease runs out after July, but I don’t think that’ll be a terrible chore.

But I did get some things done. I was able to get in an interview with jacks of all bands Derek Almstead, as well as phone interviews with a couple music historians and the childhood friend of a prominent E6er. Jim McIntyre, with whom I had conducted a phone interview in April (he now lives in Birmingham, AL), sent me a 9,000-word e-mail filled with explanations and anecdotes. So it’s not like I’ve been sitting on my hands.

The biggest get of the month–and probably of the whole process so far–has been the trove of stuff given me by Will Hart and Kelly Ruberto. It was filled with photographs and drawings and posters and flyers (all of which I’ve spent half the last week scanning into my computer) as well as dozens of press clippings of various kinds (which I’ve spent the other half of the week transcribing [as many of them aren’t available online] and, in some cases, translating). The hard documents go back to Will and Kelly when they return from Circulatory System’s trip to Spain (probably mid-week), so it was important for me to get this all done quickly. It’s also something other than an in-person interview that I had to be in Athens for, as everything in these boxes is one-of-a-kind, and there’s just too much of it to mail.

Tomorrow, I’m going to Atlanta to, among other things, dig through a similar collection held by Henry Owings, a former Athenian who was close to a number of the big name Elephant 6ers and took tons of photos at the early shows in Athens. I suppose that should also be included in this month’s inventory.

All in all, this was a tough month, but one that afforded me some time away to put things in perspective. Unfortunately, advance planning doesn’t hold up well to the bohemian whimsy of the people I’m writing about.

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