I Wanna Be Like Harry Houdini

Thank God for the World Wide Web and Wikipedia!

Many years ago, my cousin Alex and his family came up to Chicago in the winter… I can’t remember if it was for Christmas or for our grandmother’s funeral, but Alex stayed with our family.  Editor’s note: The album was released in 1989, and since Oma died in 1987, it would have to be Christmas.

Alex is a few years older than me, but he, his sister Karin and brother Steve all lived in Atlanta, so we didn’t get to see them very often. Being that there are quite a few years between me and my younger cousins, it was a bit difficult because I always felt a bit closer to the Atlanta three than my other cousins because of the age difference. (To be honest, though, now that has all changed because my cousins and I are all growed up now!)

Brian (my brother) and I would love when Alex stayed over. He was great at telling us these random, off-the-cuff stories and using this really gentle tone that would send us both to sleep (that was the point of the exercise, by the way). He just was always held in awe by both Brian and me because we thought he was the coolest guy.

Alex had brought some tapes up with him (yes, remember those, Joyce? Audio tapes… somewhere between 8-tracks and CDs?) and one of them he by accident left behind.

I listened to it and loved it. It was such an amazing album and opened my eyes to another type of music which was less pop-commercialised American stuff and more European-British hip hop. Luckily, I had a double deck cassette boom box (showing my age here a bit) and recorded the tape before sending it back to him.

Alex had used the tape so much that the writing was pretty much worn off the tape, so I never knew who sang the songs on it. Nor did I know the names of the songs. I only knew (in later years) that they used a sample of Nancy Sinatra’s “These Boots Are Made For Walkin’” in one of their songs. Over the years, I tried to remember to ask Alex (in those few and far between moments when we did see him) who sang the songs on that album, but I’d either forget or when I’d ask, he wouldn’t know what I was talking about.

Today, for some reason, a song playing at the gym (New Order’s “Bizarre Love Triangle”) triggered the thought of that missing album. Kinda the same sound and I thought, maybe that was the people who sang that album.

In my search on Wikipedia, I found it wasn’t them, but thought I’d take a random diversion and look up Nancy Sinatra, which flowed into “These Boots Are Made For Walkin’” to find… the band that resampled that song: Kon Kan.

Kon Kan Move to Move
Kon Kan “Move to Move”

So I rushed on iTunes to see if they had it, which they did. And all these memories came flooding back about the past and how if I am lucky enough to get old and if I’m unfortunate enough to lose my memory, I hope that I remember Alex by this album. It’s a strange thing, how we connect certain things and events to people. For him, I’ll always think of him every time I hear this album on my iPod now!