Wherein Noggle Bends the Law of Supply and Demand

Back in the olden days of the early 1990s, I used to spend a lot of time and a lot of my disposable income at the local Mainstream Records because I could walk to it and because I could afford a couple of cheap audiocassettes for our weekend late night cruising expeditions. I gathered a reputation for finding old hits–old being from the middle 1980s–for us to ride to nowhere while learning to sing along. Back in those days, they offered cassette singles that featured, instead of a current song and a piece of filler from the album or a soundtrack, two hits by the same artist. On one of those excursions, I found “Electric Blue” by Icehouse, the best Australian band whose name was not just letters ever. The back side featured “Crazy”, which was pretty much all of their hits on one single since the paean to Australia required of all Australian bands who chart in the United States by an actual Australian law “Great Southern Land” sort of killed their charting in the United States.

The Mainstream Records only had one in stock, and I snapped it up to share with Deb and Chris in the comfort of Chris’s old Cutlass Sierra. Of course, by “old,” I mean it was only as old as the songs, but when you’re <20, there's a lot of things that are "old." During our rides through the Wisconsin dark, I convinced Deb I was singing to her, and she thought I sounded an awful lot like Iva Davies although in retrospect, of course I know I did not. So when an employee came along with the stone tablets that they used for ordering in those days, children, and noticed that Icehouse had sold, Mainstream ordered another copy. When that other copy arrived, I bought it immediately, and by immediately, I mean within a day or so of its shelving. As I said, I spent a lot of time there. I probably gave that copy directly to Deb. So when the Mainstream employee came along the next time with the tablet and chisel, he or she noticed that Icehouse had sold out, again. So they hammered a bigger number into the stone. Within short order, two copies of the Icehouse single arrived. Of course, I bought them immediately as well. One for Chris and one for my brother. Perfect! Then the Mainstream employee came along and thought he was seeing some revival of Icehouse or some strange musical fad blip, but this proactive Mainstream employee ordered four copies.

Which sat on the Mainstream shelf probably until the record store went out of business in the middle 1990s. They had no way of knowing that I was only a small-time taste maker and that the sudden surge in Icehouse’s popularity in the northwest corner of Milwaukee was very limited in scope indeed.