|For August 29, 2001 "If she went out in those woods, you can forget about her." - Vol. II No. VIII published every other Wednesday|
Homewood() Gardendale resident Charles Whitcomb thought he had an idea about what to do with the Turtle's stamps that he had been saving since back in high school. Whitcomb needed a normal bias, 110 minute tape on which to record his latest mix creation. So Whitcomb drove to the Homewood location of Turtles, only to discover that it had been turned into a Wherehouse Music store. Thinking that the store would still honor the Turtle's stamps, Whitcomb proceeded to the counter with a Maxell tape and his stamp book. The clerk rejected Whitcomb's offer of stamps, and made it clear that he should leave the store.
A puzzled Whitcomb stumbled towards his truck, staring at the now useless Turtle's stamps. That is where the 'Hamster found him on Tuesday afternoon. "I'm not sure what to do now," he told us. "I've got this great mix in mind, but I don't have enough cash on me for a blank tape." This is the same mix that Whitcomb has been working on since his girlfriend left him on Valentine's day. "I guess I'll have to try some other stores now," said Whitcomb. "Maybe they will honor my Turtle's stamps." When we left him, Whitcomb was headed for the Honeybaked Ham (formerly Turtle's) store in Vestavia.
Downtown() In response to requests from members, The Quest Club has added a third level to its existing two level privacy fence. The second extension was put in place five years ago when several members were spied from a peephole in the attic of Bonds Brothers Auto Supply. "I remember the first time I noticed that hole in the brick," said Quest Club member Joseph Franks. "It was an unusual looking hole, and I was curious about it. When we discovered they could see us, it was unnerving to say the least. No one came to the club for several weeks after that, until they put up the second level privacy fence."
Now a UAB parking deck is under construction across 4th Avenue South that will be five stories tall. In order to avoid what will surely be another intrusion into club life, The Quest commissioned the firm of Giattina-Fisher-Aycock to design the new third level privacy fence. "We were very understanding of their needs," said Joseph P. Giattina. "These people are professionals, just like we are. In fact many of them are architects, or so I have heard."
Giattina initially ran into problems with the Birmingham Planning and Zoning commission, which keeps very close watch on urban development. In the past, the commission has ruled on a generally accepted privacy fence height of no more than ten feet. "We didn't want to go starting a privacy fence war," said commission chairman Bill Johnson. "We were sure that if we let The Quest have a higher privacy fence, then clubs like Misconceptions and The Odyssey would follow suit." But these businesses bring so much cash into the stagnant Birmingham economy that, in the end, the commission relented. "I don't know what goes on behind that fence, but they are always open," said Johnson. "I guess when these people gotta have it, they gotta have it. Well that's just more tax money for us."
Five Points() Amongst the throngs of unwashed youth populating the Five Points area is one teen who refuses to conform. Jimmy Sinclair was spotted last Friday night outside The Studio trying to get in with his fake id, when the crowd started to notice his naked nostril. "Most people didn't know what to think," said eyewitness Jill Grossman. "A lot of us were like 'oh man how lame', but some people thought it was kinda cool." Sinclair, who works at Johnny Rockets in the heart of Five Points, was stunned and a little scared by all of the attention. "I thought about getting the other nostril pierced, but felt I was making more of a statement with just the one. Like the true dichotomy of life. I guess other people don't see it like that."
To his credit Jimmy does have some wicked tattoos on his forearm and one on his neck, but the single nostril piercing is a bit unusual for Southside teens. The environment is very competitive, with all of the skaters, weeders, and agnostics that come from their suburban homes to hang out on the weekends. In fact, the last teen to come on the scene with improper piercings now works at the Galleria in Hoover.
According to UAB anthropologist Sax Rohmer, the Southside teens all have very high standards and do not take kindly to interlopers who aren't really hard core. "They refer to them as scenesters," says Rohmer. "They can tell if you are really into the life or just trying to fit in. This one nostril thing would be a clear indication of fakery." But Sinclair sees it differently. "I'm really into the whole body modification thing. Only I see it more as art, and I think I am making a statement about society. I have one side pierced and one side not. Our social structure is just like that." James's statement notwithstanding, the general consensus outside The Studio was that he is only a poser.