Operation Heavenly

August 17, 2011

Tonight, I write a love letter to one of my favorite albums.

I’ve been digging pretty deep into the records I love lately for potential money-rallying material. This week I sold one of my favorite albums, Operation Heavenly by Heavenly.

I bought this album brand-new my sophomore year of college, 1997. Consider the 19 year old me:

wardrobe – one pair of Levi’s 501 button-fly jeans, one pair of black jeans, one pair of ill-fitting off-brand ugly jeans, a half dozen t-shirts emblazoned with my favorite bands’ logos and comic strip panels custom-done in Mexico with my friend Tanya, a few 1960s shells, one light blue Harrington-style jacket, black Adidas Campuses, black steel-toed Oxfords, electric blue 10-hole Dr. Martens, a handful of school-uniform and Girl Scout-uniform dresses, and a few cardigan sweaters

haircut – totally DIY, either black, or platinum blonde, dyed myself, cut myself, short or in a bob, always with bangs

poverty – extreme

major – Latin

favorite past-times – reading fiction instead of studying for finals, getting drunk, avoiding eye contact, reading comics at Cody’s, taking the BART to San Francisco, going to shows, dancing at Popscene

I had a boyfriend. We’d just started dating my 2nd semester of college. I’d never had a boyfriend before. I lived at Andres Castro Arms, a 70+-bed co-op house just up the hill from campus, across the street from Delta Delta Delta, three houses down from the football stadium. The house sat directly on the San Andreas Faultline (you could see a crack running down the facade of the stadium), but it had the most glorious, sweeping, amazing view of the Bay, the Golden Gate, the Marin Headlands, the Berkeley flats, Oakland Bay Bridge, San Francisco, Alcatraz Island, and the Port of Oakland. Berkeley had a very extensive system of cooperative housing arrangements. It was great for the poorer, less mainstream students because it was cheap to live in a co-op compared with renting in Berkeley and meals were provided, cooperatively. It was awful for someone like me who enjoys a bare modicum of cleanliness and hates it when people steal my lunch out of the walk-in. There were some good parties though.

My friends and I devised our social life around Britpop music. We went to shows in San Francisco, we went dancing in clubs to Britpop music, we flirted with boys and girls with floppy haircuts at the record stores. Britpop got me into this cute little teenaged DIY poppy punky band from Scotland called Bis, who’d been putting out fun, enthusiastic EPs on 7 inch records for a little bit. My bug for buying 7 inches had begun. Bis had a split 7″ on K Records with Heavenly that was among those I bought. I fell absolutely mad for the Heavenly song, which was “Trophy Girlfriend”:

Of course I had to buy the album.

I shared a room at Andres Castro arms, and my room-mate was a quiet Biosciences major. Her computers were noisy. We didn’t share the same taste in music (I think she was into J-pop maybe), but we got along and tried to respect each others’ spaces, so I listened to my records on headphones. I spent an entire semester sitting on my bed with my Latin homework, conjugating and declining page after page, listening to Operation Heavenly.

This album keeps coming back into my life. Every other year or so I listen to it for a few weeks, and I fall in love with a new song. One year I learned that “Nous ne sommes pas des anges” was a cover of a really cool French song. Another year I chuckled at the cultural specifics in the lyrics for “Ben Sherman.” I learned that that funny voice in “Pet Monkey” was Calvin Johnson, who seemed like a cool dude I should check out.

In my junior year of college, an acquaintance gave me a box of records he’d scooped up on a visit home to Wales when he heard I liked Heavenly. He’d bought them when he was a kid; he didn’t need them anymore. There were about two dozen records, and they formed the nucleus of my Sarah Records collection. Half of those records became my most favorite songs EVER, including Heavenly’s “I Fell In Love Last Night.” I’m never selling that record.

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3 Responses to “Operation Heavenly”

  1. Sammy Says:

    You forgot Space Manatee!
    No doubt, this album is a gem. Can’t believe you’re selling it. There must be something else you can hock.
    Oh, and I lived in Stebbins Hall. Didn’t know you were a co-op girl. Shame we didn’t know each other back then.

  2. Christy Says:

    Ah, the records that are so closely tied to the formation of our souls. There are a few that rocket me back to making art at weird hours with no money and so much joy. I’m sorry you must cull the collection.


  3. Sammy, you lived in Stebbins!? I lived in Chateau one summer; that was pretty hardcore. I was only 19!

    It’s funny how the no-money-times are also the most-filled-with-music-times.


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