While shopping around for some XLR connectors, I came across the NC3MXX-B-CRYSTAL connector from Neutrik and just laughed. A ring of Swarovski crystals embedded into a black XLR connector for $25 each? Really? I thought that this must be some audio-nerd web-hacker's idea of humor you might see in The Onion. Then it occurred to me that this ring of crystals was so obviously not aimed at me, and that got me thinking about who it might be aimed at. "Bling" came to mind, as did images of similarly bejeweled items of hip-hop artists I've worked with. Then I easily saw one extending from Dolly Parton's mic as she cranked out a masterpiece in one of her sequined dresses. Then images of other amazing artists flooded in: Neil Diamond (such an obvious candidate), Prince, Buck Owens, Ella Fitzgerald, Miles Davis, David Johansen, Elton John, Bill Monroe, Flavor Flav, Beyoncé, Lena Horne, Michael Jackson, B.B. King... The King. Shit - any of these incredible performers could easily sport a Swarovski crystal XLR connector. What a list! As I reflected back on my initial response to the NC3MXX-B-CRYSTAL, I had to wonder how quickly I must assert my own, barely conscious pre-indie-post-rock-neo-music-dude aesthetics. I can just be so narrow-minded sometimes. While I'll still wear a flannel shirt to work, I am also buying male and female versions of this bejeweled XLR and setting them right on the console where I can see them as a reminder to myself that, while my XLR connectors gather dust behind racks of gear, the male and female artists I work with are on town-to-town journeys where XLR connectors are bound to gather the stardust of bright lights and great performances. Swarovski crystals indeed!
$20-$25 street; www.neutrik.com
Allen Farmelo is at www.pinknoisemag.com