Flashbacks: May 19, 2006

The Boston Phoenix has been covering the trends and events that shape our times since 1966.
By EDITORIAL  |  May 17, 2006

Free trade | 5 years ago | May 18, 2001 | Michael Endelman traced back the file-sharing phenomenon to the tape-trading community.

“Contrary to what the media would have you think, music sharing didn’t begin with Napster. It originated in the tape-trading community. Unlike bootleggers, who sell illicit live recordings and rare studio outtakes, or CD pirates, who just hawk low-budget knockoffs of commercial releases, tapers share their recordings of live shows gratis; they make copies for friends, fellow collectors, and even complete strangers. Recordings are exchanged, but never sold: this is the cornerstone of the purist and staunchly anti-commercial taper philosophy, and the number-one rule of tape trading.

“Now, as Napster begins to crumble under pressure from the recording industry, the tape-trading community continues to grow, free of the legal pressures that plague bootleggers, CD pirates, and online file traders. Bringing together the sonic fanaticism of audiophiles, the breathless promotion of fanzine scribblers, and the obsessive tendencies of archivists and museum curators, tapers see themselves as defenders of American music culture — collecting, cataloguing, and disseminating a body of music that would otherwise be lost forever. And although critics (and some record labels) say that tape trading encourages bootlegging and hurts CD sales, the taper community points to the success of artists like the Dave Matthews Band and Phish, who allow fans to tape their concerts and distribute the recordings, to prove otherwise.”

Buttoned-up | 10 years ago | May 17, 1996 | Ellen Barry discovered the world of vintage jeans to be full of secrets.
“Ask how, or where, they find their stock, and vintage-denim dealers tend not to comment. Anywhere east of the Mississippi is commonly acknowledged to be a button-fly wasteland — zippered jeans were invented for New England winters, and old 501s are few and far between — but further information falls into the category of trade secrets. Press for specifics and you’ll end up with a very nervous dealer on your hands.

“ ‘We can’t divulge that information,’ says Lisa Leaverson, who buys vintage for Urban Outfitters in Philadelphia.

“ ‘They don’t tell me. Even if I knew, I wouldn’t be able to tell you,’ says a manager in Urban Outfitters’ Newbury Street store, looking wary. ‘Things like that are sacred.’

“In an industry that keeps its secrets to itself, Bobby Garnett has been one of the quietest for the longest. The word along Newbury Street is that no one, but no one, finds more denim. ‘I heard he found Big Es for $20,’ breathes Mercedes Roman, who is 19 and works as a clerk at the Boutique Unique. ‘He’s been in it for so long that it’s his whole life,’ says Strutters clerk Jay Sabatino, 25, with obvious reverence.”

Making peach | 15 years ago | May 17, 1991 | Robert Morris found that Jimmy Carter had come to terms with his political fate.
“Today, almost 11 years after losing the 1980 presidential race to Ronald Reagan, amid reports that the Reagan-Bush campaign may have negotiated with Iranian officials to keep 52 Americans hostages until after the 1980 election, Carter says he believes a member of his own National Security Council betrayed him by leaking information to the Republicans.

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