As a single woman I had an extensive list of places where to go for entertainment on a shoe-string budget; one favorite place I could count on to lift my spirits was a fun trip to the record store.
In the film Almost Famous there is even a quote about how loneliness can be captured through music. Although the film is about rock music, I went to see it since it combined writing and music. As a coming of age story it’s about a kid who is hired by Rolling Stone magazine to write about a rock band.
Being a supporter of indie labels and music stores, I enjoyed browsing the stacks of new and second hand music side by side. There was something magical about being in a record shop late at night, as if all the best music only comes out after dark.
One of my favorite past-times was store hopping on World Record Store Day, in early April, when patrons, and groupies are encouraged to support their local music dealers. It was an opportunity to discuss groups – and share tips with listeners about music that hadn’t been discovered yet, most of which came to me in Los Angeles by way of KPFK, or the lounges at the clubs; such as the Dresden Room, Largo and Spaceland.
A great hang-out of mine was Tower Records, on the Sunset Strip, although parking could be a problem, their music space was divided into large sections for rock, international, jazz, classical, urban and world music, and each section has its own information desk where the staff tended to be quite knowledgeable.
On more than one occasion I’d run into someone I knew or hadn’t seen for awhile, and for Los Angeles that’s a rare occurrence, which demonstrates how the power in music unites.
One thing that was and still is close to me is french music. I love the high-end street record shops in Paris where live sessions are part of the summertime concert series and even now outside of France, I still enjoy listening to french music. A trip to the international section of a record store isn’t complete without it, it’s something I can’t explain, it’s main virtue is its eclectic quality: with really cool pop numbers, intrigue in the language, all that pursing of the lips, and the intonation of the nasalized vowels.
Whenever I’m in a city, like San Francisco or Portland that caters to an alternative crowd, putting on a headset is a must do event that feels like a festivity. Sharing music is one of the many wonderful things I love and I hope that the experience doesn’t become automated and fade into oblivion.