Oak City Hustle
Saturday Morning Collector

Saturday Morning Collector

Back in my day, we didn’t have these 24hr cartoon channels to watch at our luxury. We had after school and Saturday mornings to catch our favorite shows. Sometimes, if you woke up early enough like Jay Blevins, you caught some GI Joe before heading out to school.  Understanding that “Knowing is half the battle”, puts you way ahead of everyone else for the day. It was those memories that would eventually lead Jay into the collection he has now.

We may reminisce on how we should have kept those toys we grew up with. Not for fond memories but usually because of how much we could sell them now. Jay, on the other hand, never really let those nostalgic feelings go. But he still was like most of us. As we started to hit seventeen or eighteen, we left those youthful memories behind. You get your driver’s license, start hanging out at the mall and get those funny feelings around girls. Around that time collecting toys wasn’t top priority anymore.  “I probably only have three or four toys that made it through my childhood”, Jay laments. For the span of four or five years, he didn’t do any collecting. Then, in his early 20’s, it hit him and hit him hard. You may remember the popular cartoons that everyone else does, but Jay remembers some of the most obscure like Biker Rats From Mars. This means his collection is vast. Not only does he have his “man cave’, but there are boxes and boxes in the attic. His GI Joe collection alone could fill a room. So how does he find worthy pieces to add to the collect?

“The feeling I have in this photo is the feeling I search for when I go hunting.”

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You can find Jay locally at the flea market at least twice a month. “It’s on the books.”, say Jay. And now with Instagram, he has been able to connect to other collectors like himself from all around the world. From Australia to England, they talk toys and even trade with each other. This really is a never ending search. There is always a memory that hits him about a character or show that he now needs a piece from. Purchasing all these rare pieces can become expensive quick. He, and I’m sure with help from his wife, is very level headed about his spending, though. “I make sure all the bills are paid first, I may not save as much as I should, but extra is fun money”, he relates. Fortunately for Jay, his wife is into this too. “She is into it but not even a quarter as much as I am” as Jay explains while laughing. That still goes a long way for a solid foundation in a relationship. For example, he has a Decepticon ring and she has a custom Autobots wedding ring that took six months to make. They even go toy hunting together at garage sales and the like. Now toys are only the physical manifestation of the actual cartoon. What about the cartoons themselves?

jay-1Miss your local blockbuster? Can’t find a RedBox? Come on down to Jay’s Classic Move Rental Emporium and find such gems as Fragel Rock, Toxic Crusaders, Legend of Zelda, and The Wuzzels.  No membership required, just a love of nostalgia. Yes, you can actually rent from his collection. The library of cartoons is quite extensive too. For example, he has a bootleg copy of banned cartoons from the early 40’s and 50’s that companies like Disney try to keep under wraps. This collection also allows him and his wife to recreate the Saturday morning experience. They actually make original Saturday morning cartoon lineups. Make a stack and watch one episode of each one.

Of course, video games are a part of his collection too. He has the classics such as the original NES, Super NES, and Sega. He is not impressed with new consoles where the games look realistic, has dual shock controllers, or co-opting on a war campaign. Give him a side scroller like Double Dragon or Kid Icuras and he will be set for hours. One new gaming console he recently acquired is a custom video game emulator. A video game emulator is a piece of software that mimics a gaming console platform and allows you to play the games on a particular platform. His version has just about every gaming console ever made with hundreds of games on it.

As you can tell, this is a lifestyle for him and heavily influences everything he is into, even music and tattoos. Jay, or ConPHuSioN as he is known, is a part of the nerdcore or nerd-rap scene. He is on Cobra LA Records, has one album out and is working on his second release. It’s not all about cartoons in his raps. You will find samples from Pee-Wee Herman, GI Joe, Thundercats, and more. Although there will be some lines dropping innuendos and references that if you’re not in the know, it will go over your head. And his first tattoo? It had to be the Cobra logo from GI Joe. His right arm is a full sleeve filled with Decepticons and plans to have an all Cobra left sleeve. Why all the bad guys? “Bad guys looked cooler, they have a mask, concealed identities, they are just cooler”, says Jay. We couldn’t agree more.

You may ask yourself, why all of this? It boils down to that feeling you had opening up presents Christmas morning and finding the Red Lion you have been asking for all year to complete your set to make Voltron. “The feeling I have in this photo is the feeling I search for when I go hunting. The emotion, the essence, everything that causes this house to look this way is in that photo.” Jay is able to not only relive his childhood but have that joy Christmas morning brought him, every day.

Fine Jay on Instagram @ConPHuSioN and watch his music video at youtube.com/watch?v=DOzRcQRN7lU

 

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Peter Fradella

Pete is always where the action is in Raleigh. Owner of Redirect Photography and chronicler of what's good.


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