Thursday, October 29, 2009
Sometimes you're lucky, most times you aren't. This time, I was.
Here are two different-coloured jersey cards from Upper Deck's 2006-07 Trilogy Honorary Swatches (card HS-PB) line of Patrice Bergeron, a Boston Bruins player I actually like. One of them is white, likely from the all-white jersey, and the other one's yellow, likely from a shoulder of wrist or bottom of either the home or away jersey. All I'd need to be really happy with these would be a black one, to complete all three official Bruins colours.
Bergeron was on his merry way to become a star player in the NHL: an All Star Game appearance, invitations to represent Canada in three straight World Championships (two gold medals), a long-term contract with the Bruins as their first-line center (before the arrival of Marc Savard) collecting nearly a point per game and being named Associate Captain to Zdeno Chara.
Unfortunately, a cheap hit by Randy Jones of the Philadelphia Flyers on October 27th, 2007 has cost him a full season and slowed his progress a bit, but he has shown flashes of recovery last year, totalling 39 points in 64 games.
It's good enough that he will not suffer permanent damage because of the cheap shot, now here's hoping he returns to form as one of the most promising players under the age of 30.
So what do card companies do when they run out of new ideas? They double-down on the old ones and try to not learn from their mistakes.
In this particular case, Upper Deck decided, for their 2006-07 Trilogy line, one of their more high-end collections, to have a jersey card selection like every single other one of their hokcey brands (named 'Honorary Swatches', in this case), and a selection of autographed cards ('Trilogy Scripts'). Then they upped the ante by having a few cards with both - 'Honorary Scripted Swatches'.
The idea isn't so bad, but to manufacture them and release them relatively on time, they couldn't have the players sign the cards when they were good and done, so they had them sign stickers that they apposed ont he front of the cards; in this particular case, you can clearly see that Kari Lehtonen went over the sticker's size, as one particular letter (possibly the 'H', but it's hard to be sure) as well as maybe the '3' seem to continue beyond the sticker - but not onto the card itself.
Nonetheless, a decent 2-for-1 collectible of a great athlete whose career has been plagued by numerous injuries but remains an elite goaltender who is a sure-fire Olympian, one of the best Finnish goalies of all time. It's too bad about the injuries - and about playing for the terrible Atlanta Thrashers in a market that doesn't care about his sport.
Monday, October 19, 2009
As I mentioned in the previous post, opening for Daniel Johnston last Friday was The Capitol Years, who also served as his backing band for the second half of the show.
Oddly enough, I preferred them on their own rather than just letting Mr. Johnston dictate the plays. The bandmembers have a real tangible chemistry that floats between all of them, both despite and fueled by the fact that their guitarist is actually a replacement musician - as their old guitarist is now behind the drum kit sitting in for the former the drummer - who is on hiatus.
Their set was relatively short, but sweet enough to seem to have lasted longer and been more enjoyable than the set they shared with Mr. Johnston - maybe not in a 'pure show' sense, but at least in an 'interaction with the public' one.
They were warm and personable - traits that also came out when I hung out backstage with them.
Here's a limited-edition blue vinyl seven-inch, which all four members signed the cover to. I'm eyeing a spot on my wall where the cold colours of the sleeve will fit nicely.
Saturday, October 17, 2009
I attended the Daniel Johnston concert at the Ukrainian Federation, basically a church, this weekend (Friday, October 16th, 2009, to be exact).
I did everything to see this show: I applied to be the opening act (and was declined because he didn't require a local opener, seeing as he's touring with his own openers who also work as his backing band for the second half of his set); then I purchased tickets - which I ended up giving away when, finally, I was hired to work security for the show.
They didn't know where to park me for this, though: they started by putting me out front to make sure the doors to the place were shut at all times, and to keep the conversation levels low for the people outside, so they don't disturb the neighbours of this residential area, who aren't used to having concerts be held at their local church.
But an acoustic/semi-rock show held in a church isn't the place where you require security in front of the stage to prevent moshing, body-surfing or injuries...
Eventually (and to my satisfaction), I was put in front of the backstage area, and my job was to make sure no one who shouldn't be allowed in to wander there. A really easy task that kept me in contact with everyone who was performing that night, from openers The Capitol Years (the likely subjects of my next post) to Mr. Johnston himself.
As a member of the staff, I was allowed free beer - and the show was co-organized my my 'arch-enemies' Pop Montreal, so - while I did remain in total control - I wasn't going to shy out on the free beverages. I likely ended up having a dozen Griffons - quality local microbrew.
Saving $80 on beer, though, I did spend cash on merchandise; I bought a vinyl from the opener, and a Daniel Johnston double-CD (one record a compilation of his songs, the second one the same songs, but by current idie musicians like the Flaming Lips, Beck and Eels), aDVD of The Devil And Daniel Johnston (a superb documentary), and was given a recyclable hand-made knit bag to stuff everything in it.
Which brings me to the subject of this post.
I really wanted Mr. Johnston's autograph, and two fellow fans wanted to have his picture taken with him after the show. But Johnston was just walking around everywhere, avoiding eye contact with anyone, turning around as soon as anyone would open their mouths in his direction. Like a shy child, you could say. Which, you know, fits with the character we've come to love from the documentary.
I ended up asking a member of his entourage, who said it'd be easier if we got a girl to pose with us, because he ''loves the ladies'' (can't blame him, really), so I did manage to find one, but it took so long to get the star close enough for a picture that she'd gone by then. But we got it made anyhow, it's right below, and you can see how thrilled he was...
As soon as the flash came on, he was ready to just up and leave - he made a 180-degree turn and was just going to walk into the wall right behind us when I asked him if he could sign my CD. He was gracious enough to say yes, grabbing a marker from the table right next to us, signing the inside jacket of the double-digipak I mentioned earlier, then proceeded to hand me the marker back as if it was mine.
- Uh, no, sir that's yours.
- Oh, it's mine?
Then he put it back on the table and left the scene quickly.
You probably can't tell from looking at the picture of seeing him in person, but that man is quick on his feet - I'm talking Olympian Speed Walker-type speed.
What a night. It was good, it was weird, it was short and definitely sweet. Everything I expected it to be, and I got souvenirs and saw it for free from a terrific angle.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
I wouldn't recommend it for uncertified autographs, but for something as simple as an Upper Deck jersey card, Ebay can work wonders.
Here we have three jersey cards from the 2006-07 SP Game-Used Edition series: Keith Primeau (Philadelphia Flyers), Martin Biron (Buffalo Sabres) and Jay Bouwmeester (Florida Panthers) - each sporting a uniform they no longer wear.
The advantage of purchasing more than one item from one seller is that you get to save on shipping - most times. Some don't reduce shipping fees from extra items bought or won, but most do, so it becomes more worth it to get the extra 2 cards at fifty cents per card (plus fifty cents shipping) than fifty cents a card plus three dollars or so. Add them up, and, on average, they become way more affordable.