I went to a record store yesterday. It was a real record store just like the old days. It wasn’t Best Buy or Walmart or anything like that where most people who still actually buy music go. No this was a vintage record store called Record Theatre where you browse vinyl and CD alike and with a selectionso large, you can browse for hours.
Record stores like this are becoming extinct and should probably be on some kind of national endangered species list. As far as I know, Record Theatre is the last independent record store in this area and that is a shame. I spent close to an hour there looking at mostly the vinyl section and could have spent much more time but it looked like my wife was getting antsy. I did not purchase anything and am somewhat embarrassed by that. But the truth is I could not decide what to purchase so I did nothing.
I am taking this opportunity to vow that I will spend more time and money in this store. I am a big fan of the internet and places like amazon.com where everything is in stock and ready for delivery to your door in a day or two with free shipping. And I am no stranger to those transactions. But there is nothing like perusing the racksof records in a real store, handling them, smelling them. I found a copy of a Jefferson Airplane LP from about 1969 called “Crown of Creation.” That is probably not their best work but seeing it reminded me of a surprise 16th birthday party some friends threw for me back then when that record was new. They gave me that as a gift and I probably should have bought “Crown of Creation” yesterday just because of that.
Too few people understand music these days. It’s so easy to download or stream or buy from any number of e-sources. I know because I have done it myself. But the days when music was love, an event, an occasion when people lined up at the record stores on the release date are long gone. Now it’s streamed before it’s released or available to pirate from any number of internet sourced. No wonder they say the music industry is dead.
Real music is going to the store. It’s leafing through the alphabetical bins of albums (or CD’s if you must). It’s handling them, turning them over to read the back cover. It’s feeling the weight of the LP in your hands and anticipating how good it would sound on your stereo. And then making the buy and rushing home to slice off the plastic and play side one and reading the liner notes. Then flipping to side two and listening to the recording as a complete work instead of individual itune downloads.
I used to do it that way although that was a long time ago. But these days seem more about change to me than anything else. The Record Theatre isn’t all that close to me. It’s also not that far away.