I’ve taken an inordinate amount of time, getting around to writing this post, but don’t confuse my lateness with disinterest. The tale of Mingering Mike is one of the most incredible stories about art, music, records and obsession that I’ve ever heard about and I’m proud to have been witness to part of it.
Flashback to late 2003 when two Washington D.C. record collectors found a stash of records at a flea market. These were albums they had never seen before and the reason they had never seen them before is because these records – the sleeves, the covers, the actual record themselves – were all made by hand out of cardboard.
Just think on that for a moment. Someone created not one, not two, but an entire record collection, down to the fake, painted on cardboard “vinyl”, out of his imagination. We’re talking nearly 100 (if not more) LPs, 45s, etc. It seriously boggles the mind. It’s also astounding that this cache of art was discovered, relatively intact, before it ended up being dispersed or even worse, destroyed.
One of the first things these collectors did (lead by Dori Hadar) was scan and post images from the collection to Soulstrut which is where I first learned of it and began to put up my own posts (on the now-defunct Poplife blog). Second thing was that Hadar – who, as fate would have it, works as a private investigator – was figure out who the hell “Mingering Mike,” the artist on all these records, was…if he was still alive…and what the hell inspired him to do this. Hadar, in short order, found Mike, alive and well, and from there, the journey took a course that’s lead to media stories, museum exhibitions, and a book:
I can’t do justice to how incredibly amazing this story is but as it is: there’s plenty of places that have covered it:
- NPR had solid coverage, with a two part series by Xeni Jardin.
- Speaking of radio, Studio 360 also covered.
- The NY Times was the first major newspaper to pick up on this, with a story written by Neil Strauss (who also writes a short preface for the book).
I realize, of late, there have been a few things I’ve told people to absolutely, positively, pick up:
The Betty Davis albums,
Twinight’s Lunar Rotation, my, um, CD…but you have to add the Mingering Mike book to that list too. Essential.
BUT, hey – we got a copy to give away too!
The Betty Davis CD contest fell rather flat so I’ll try to simplify things in order to win the Mingering Mike book:
Write down the name of all the record labels represented in the new Soul Sides banner.
Send your reply to firstname.lastname@example.org. The winner will be selected, at random, from all correct entries that get all eight labels correct. You have until the end of next week to get your guesses in.
In the meantime, make sure you check out the Mingering Mike website.