Thoughts From The Satellite – Before Things Got So…Digital
Despite my boyish good-looks, you should know that I am old enough to have spent quite a bit of time in record stores when I was a kid. You know what that is, don’t you? My favorite was Endless Horizons back when they were in Midland over on Meta Drive. They were stores that didn’t live by the rule of “location, location, location”, nor did they care about “curb appeal”. They were as dark and scary as the actual people who worked there. As a child of 12, I knew that asking a record store employee if they had “anything else in the back”, usually meant that they would have to artfully dodge the dozen or so corpses that they stored back there in order to get what you wanted. So, I was satisfied with what they had stocked on the sales floor and kept my mouth shut.
I miss those days of record store shopping. Back when you could spend an entire day just going through records, feeling the dust on your hands and smelling the vinyl. Usually, you didn’t have to pick an album, it kinda picked you. Like you were in a pet store and that Ozzy album looked up at you with those big, sad puppy dog eyes and said, “take me home”. So, you did and you knew as soon as you dropped the needle on track 1 of Blizzard of Ozz and heard “I Don’t Know” that you, and Ozzy, made the right choice. Nowadays, it’s go online, buy a tune, download it and enjoy. It’s easy and fast but there’s no intimacy involved. It’s like wham bam, thank you ma’am and no cuddling afterward. I can’t even have a conversation with someone while I shop. I might want an opinion from an expert or something. Hell, I might want to even have an argument about which live album is better, Exit Stage Left or Live After Death. The computer can’t give me that. As far as I can tell, iTunes thinks that Metallica’s ReLoad is better than …and Justice for All and I just can’t have friends that think such foolishness.
iTunes and Amazon won’t even tell you when you’re thinking about making a bad purchase. Let’s just say that you’ve had “Hopelessly Devoted to You” stuck in your head all day for some un-Godly reason and you think, “Hey, I’m gonna go on iTunes and buy that”. Well, a friend wouldn’t let you buy that if you were actually at a record store and the murderous serial killer behind the counter would just as soon cut your throat with a King Diamond record than sell you an Olivia Newton-John album. Plus, think about the utter embarrassment that would be involved, when walking home from the record store with your new purchase, then running into some friends that really wanna see what you just bought. When you un-bag your new Olivia Newton-John LP, you’ll at first be met with laughter, only to be followed by an ass-kicking from your so-called friends. The only thing you’ll remember when you wake up with that Nike logo branded into your forehead is them singing “Let’s get Physical” as they were beating you senselessly. See what all this digital nonsense has done to us. I bet there are actually people out there who have Paula Abdul in their iTunes library, and they’ll keep doing it because there are no repercussions.
Anyway, I’m not an idiot, so I’ll roll with the changes and keep buying digitally. I’ll load my iPod and listen without prejudice, but I’ll still try to live by those archaic laws of the old record store. So, if your iTunes library has some Taylor Swift that you claim belongs to your daughter or some ABBA that you say is your wife’s, you better delete it because I’m coming to check and I’m bringing my King Diamond album with me.