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The Island of Obsolete Media

It took me a long time before I could call those stores at which one might buy music anything other than "record store." Far longer, in fact, than it took them to get out of the business of selling actual records.

I didn't buy my first CD player until my senior year of college (1990), and this was a little late in the game. I did already own some CDs, which I used for my radio show. (My first CD? Squeeze's East Side Story.)

(Yes, I had a weekly radio show in college. There may actually be a cassette tape of one of my shows somewhere, I think. But I probably hope not.)

Anyhow, I bought the CD player with money that I received for winning a fiction prize at my college. And now, I have boxes of obscure, dusty plastic cases filled with music I haven't listened to in years. And when the house I grew up in went on the market, I landfilled most of my record collection as well.

I was thinking about records today, because I recall inheriting (from my mother, I think) a box of old 45s, including some Beatles records that would probably be worth something if I hadn't (a) lost them, and (b) scratched the crap out of them. In that collection as well were a number of novelty songs as well (Monster Mash, anyone? It's a graveyard smash...). I was thinking about how, in the olden days, some of those novelty songs would actually crack the charts. (Yes, I used to listen to Dr. Demento in junior high school, too.) Where is novelty music now? Up until a couple of years ago, other than Weird Al Yankovic, I couldn't have answered. But now, after Lazy Sunday, A Special Christmas Box, and Natalie's Gangsta Rap, i'm thinking maybe it's the viral video phenomenon.

Fifty years from now, kids will sit in their family rooms, and pull out an old shoebox with a bunch of burnt out video iPods in it, loaded up with SNL videos, All your base are belong to us, and spoofs on the lightsaber kid, and their parents will try to explain to them how at one time, people couldn't eyetrack-select videos from GoogleFlix and have them beamed directly into their brains.


If you haven't already, check out Alanis Morrisette's "cover" of "My Humps."

What was the first 45 you ever bought? Mine was Asia's "Heat of the Moment"... Still have it...

I still call them record stores. And a guy at a used store of that kind in Milwaukee said that was ok. Cause they're still recordings, he said.

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