It’s was the perfect weather day for mooching around Asheville.
I had the Continental breakfast buffet space to myself. Headed in to downtown center Asheville, Wall Street and Battery. It smells like Irish vinegar and chips at the Parking.
It’s a very happening walk around down town, lots of cutsey little stores, with that happening hippy feel, bead and fabric shops, karma stores, tea stores, a good used books and records, vintage stores, antiques and street artists.
Encountered the most random mural of my trip . “Well , ain’t we a pair , Raggedy Man.” – for 10.
Great song, lousy film.
A lot of the streets have a West/East Village look and feel in Asheville, including the people.
They also have a very healthy smattering of homeless.
I had a pressing engagement in town. (Dad Joke # 147).
The first album I owned ever, was Oxygene. As such, I have had a thing for synthesizer music since I was a child. So first stop was the Moog Store and factory, they give tours.
Zac at the Moog store is a budding synthesizer composer. He composes long form pieces , much like Tangerine Dream (who I had seen in the Hammersmith Odeon back in my mind altered days). We compared favorite TD albums (mine the Thief score, most people know Risky Business).He does a two hour set of his original music each Friday at The Black Cloud, a heavy metal bar.
The Moog store and tour has an online reputation for having the nicest most interested staff. They do. Wayne in the Nashville Apple store had recommended seeing the place.
The next tour was at three-turty , I’d come back.
Seems the record shop mural is swapped out every few months. They do need another hero intermittently , it seems.
Popped in to Moonlight Makers to get some more souvenirs things, they make all their own products. It’s got that co-op look and feel.The girls in there wrote me a list of things to see around the town including best coffee and pastry’s and bookstores. Score.
Stopped at Donatello’s for a coffee and pie. Another man, in front of me, choosing a pastry like it was a life altering decision. Just get the f$@&$g merengue.
Very good cappuccino and eclair and Nancy at the counters Dad is from Ireland.
On recommendation I went by the Grove Arcade, a very European feeling high end mall. Outside they host stalls of local artists. Ground floor holds the stores, there are offices on the other two with wrap around , wrought iron balconies. Most unusual store combination yet, Book Exchange and Champagne Bar – lots of first editions. No thanks.
The Pinball Museum Of Asheville is infested with garden gnomes, they are all over the window ledges and intermittently spread around the store.
They have Pinball machines going all the way back to a 1937 Arlington. My favorite was probably the AC/DC, but the original Star Trek machine from 1968 was a close second and the original Batman.
The two back rooms were full of vintage video games and a video juke box loaded with the best terrible 80s videos. Shalamar anyone?
Lisa, originally from Pennsylvania , living here in Asheville for four years, gave me the tour. Free entry, $15 to play games all day. Bargain. I bought souvenirs.
They put my Funko collection to shame. The Pinball Museum has more crap than my office (for now that is).
I got back to the Moog store in plenty of time to spent plenty of money.
The Moog Tour, it was a nice small group today, only six of us. They do take up to 30. Bob Moog started his business in 1953, he had an electronics and musical background, a PhD from Cornell in engineering and pyschics. Moog started manufacturing Theremins – you’d know the weird sounding instrument sound from horror and sci-fi movies. It picks up on hand movement , without any physical contact. Paul gave the presentation and demoed the equipment.
On display was an original Moog model, used by ELP, one of synthesized musics innovators. The massive synthesizer cost $150k back in 1968, pre MiniMoog Model D, the classic, now 45 years old . The MiniMoogs are very much back in use with bands.
Paul , our guide was a fantastic presenter and extremely knowledgeable (and a Gary Numan fan, we both had seen him recently).
This is the only Moog factory in the world , with about 100 employees and Moog is mostly employee owned. To recreate a 1968 model it’s assembled the same way today as it was back in the day, by hand. The instruments do need tune ups every few years, much like a car tune up. Bands keep backup Moogs. They produce tens of thousands a year. They will customize the casings for the synthesizers, one artist got 24 carat gold. They have always tried to keep it all American made but tariffs recently are making that very difficult.
They were building a 1960s version in the back while we were thrrr, they still run to the original cost. With their unique sounds and functionality they are still used a lot in film scores .Moog are about to release the new model, 10 years in the making.
Great tour for anyone with an interest in music.
Passing back by the second hand record store, I met Jesse Hicks, the store owner, closing up. I asked him why Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome of all bad sequels?They previously had Lemny and Screamin Jay Hawkins and debated Tina for a couple of years. He likes the movie, he likes Tina. Why not? It’s his store.
My English Beat T-Shirt started two street conversations today. That one always works.
Since The Claddagh is part of Galway I went in to the namesake bar to be nosey. The owner is from Nebraska or somewhere that’s definitely not Ireland. They do get an Irish band for St. Patrick’s day and the bathroom signs were in Gaelic and they had fake sods of turf in a fake fire. He had no idea what the claddagh ring was.
Country roads , took me home , to the place I belong, West Virginia. Charleston – 290 miles from Asheville. Found the Aldelphia Sports Bar & Grill, the only place still open for food at 11.30, serves Greek. A gyro at midnight, mmmmm.
Booked in online to a Holiday Inn, a few miles outside the downtown.