Here is a touching and unflinching portrait of a rock and roll marriage. It was written by Denise Grollmus, who was married to Patrick Carney of the Black Keys. She certainly pulls no punches, but another part of this piece’s appeal, at least for me, is the aching specificity of her memories, and how in long term relationships certain artifacts can gain an almost totemistic power. Here, for instance, is her account of the fate of a particular album by the Feelies on white vinyl.
In the end, when it came to dividing our 500 records, we didn’t really fight. He told me to take what I wanted and leave the rest. I tried to be fair and remember exactly what I had brought into the relationship and what I had acquired, personally, during it. Bikini Kill’s “Pussy Whipped” and Nico’s “Chelsea Girl” were no-brainers, as were almost all of the bebop records that I had purchased during a “jazz” phase. He could keep the John Cale. And though I wanted to take Nick Drake’s “Bryter Layter,” it had belonged to his father originally.
The Feelies was the toughest to decide upon. Sure, I’d bought it for him. But there was so little for me to recover of what I gave that relationship. Most of my giving was immaterial. The Feelies record was the only tangible memory of my sacrifice, some physical evidence of my dedication.
A few days after I’d split up our records, he sent me an e-mail. “Did you take that Feelies record? I really want it. It has special memories for me,” he wrote. “You bought it for me when we had no money.”
“Exactly,” I wrote back.