Brian Russell is an unusual soul. As a member of the Detroit Police Department, the cop has found himself in more than a few drug raids. If that doesn’t prove his mettle, he was also a soldier in Operation Desert Storm during the early 1990s. The man has put his life on the line for country and city, so maybe it isn’t surprising that his extracurricular activity is inarguably more sedate — making greeting cards.
The Crafty Cop, as he calls himself, creates cards that are dedicated to Detroit. His Christmas cards, for example, are adorned with the old English D or a cassette marked “Detroit Rock City.” He’s keen to point out that these are men’s cards — for manly men.
“I was working on the raid crew and we’d just had our daughter, I think she was a year old,” Russell says. “For Christmas one year, I had this big box of stuff I’d saved and I started looking at stuff online. I made her a scrapbook for Christmas one year. It went over from there. I started doing cards and getting ideas for cards. To be honest, I find it relaxing going through pictures and stuff like that.”
Russell has been a Detroit police officer for 18 years and is still an active member of the force. He’s worked in the Eastern District, formerly the 9th Precinct, as well as narcotics — a decade of which was as a member of the raid crew. He has since moved off the street, which he says has dovetailed nicely with raising a growing family.
“This job inside came along and, with a couple of kids, I’ve been off the street for about three years,” he says. “It works out for me. Having kids, you don’t want to be running around in the night.”
Not surprisingly, he’s sometimes taunted by his colleagues about his artsy sideline. “Trust me, I get hassled about it from people at work,” he says. “I’ve done enough manly things in my life to justify me settling down and doing this.”
On Dec. 7 and 8, the Crafty Cop will be selling his wares at the Detroit Urban Craft Fair at the Masonic Temple (detroiturbancraftfair.com). For more information on the Crafty Cop, visit metrotimes.com.
The Audio Fidelity Collection
The packaging design for this Deep Purple box set isn’t too original — (how many hard rock collections have gone with the metallic, riveted look?) — and in keeping with that theme, there’s nothing new offered here musically either.
No re-mastering, no extra tracks. What we do get are the four albums recorded by the Ian Gillan-led Mark II lineup of Deep Purple (Fireball, Machine Head, In Rock and Who Do We Think We Are), repackaged with a “24K Gold CD” look. The discs certainly are pretty and, if you don’t own these albums already, this box is a fine holiday gift.
Everyone should own at least one version of proto-metal classics like “Strange Kind of Woman,” “Highway Star,” “Smoke on the Water,” “Child in Time” and “Speed King.” If you already have these albums, your money is probably best spent elsewhere. Maybe go for the excellent “Mark III” albums (Stormbringer and Burn).
The Heavy Metal Fun
Time Activity Book
In the foreword to this frankly wonderful book, singer-songwriter Andrew WK says, “Some may say celebration means a grateful appreciation of life in general — a delight in the opportunity we have to be alive, and an expression of that delight in every moment of our day-to-day existence.”
We fully agree, local boy, and what better way to express that delight than by coloring in pictures of Judas Priest’s Rob Halford, joining the moles on Lemmy’s face, or making as many words as possible out of the letters in “Yngwie Malmsteen?”
Those are just some of the awesome things to be done within the pages of a book which was published a few years ago, but we feel deserves another push for the holidays.