The Name of This Band is Blur

I ordered a record a few weeks ago from a store in Austin– Backspin Records– and, this morning, it came: “Tender” (Radio Edit) b/w “Coffee and TV” by Blur. I heard the weight of the package thunk as it hit the runner inside the front door coming through the mail slot; the cardboard, scotch-taped square tumbling and rolling to rest just before the stairs. It had been on a truck and then on a plane and then on another truck, and here it was, facedown, address obscured, as I slippered down the steps to pick it up, turn it over in my hands and “Oooooo” across the house, causing my wife to ask “What?” from the depths of our room upstairs. I brought it to the kitchen, laid it across the yellow linoleum of our table, and drew a steak knife out of one of the drawers, holding it lengthwise against the edge of the cardboard as if deboning a fish. It pierced the tape as the knife slid down to the end, and, after it did, I turned the box over and repeated the motion on the other side. I cut, finally, across the top, at which point the cardboard folds waved open, exposing two more squares of cardboard protecting the record, which someone– in white snooker gloves, I imagined– had placed there, then covered to protect it; a perforated coat  meant to absorb whatever shock and weight might be pressed upon it. The record was in a clear plastic sleeve– white label– and I guided it free with one hand into my other hand, walking the 45 to the stereo, where I laid it flat on the matt before pinching the end crook of the tone arm between my fingers, cruising it above the clear flat rim at the record’s edge and laying it down, at which point a barely perceptible tone was sounded before the song started: guitar, drums, and handclaps. And so it was Wednesday.

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