If you asked 14-year-old Kevin how he thought his life would turn out, he’d likely give you a 14-year-old smartass reply. But deep down in his pubescent soul, this would have been his answer:
“First I’ll move to a way cooler place, where I’ll become employed at a record store. I will become a pillar of that particular town’s music community, but it won’t go to my head or anything. At this record store, I’ll form a long-lasting bond with a girl with a nose ring. Eventually, our love will blossom and we’ll ride skateboards to work at the record store and maybe I’ll get to second base with her.”
And how exactly did such a dreadfully stupid idea take root in my head? The same reason for all of the youth of America’s woes: movies! Let’s take a look, starting with…
The Disc-bootick- “A Clockwork Orange”
For fans of: Dystopian ultra-violence. A cold glass of milk plus vellocet or synthemesc or drencrom. A bit of the ol’ in-out in-out.
Buckle up, I’m gonna be using this bit a lot.
Music: Mostly classical, with a few indie releases of the time. Someone painstakingly went through frame-by-frame and picked out every piece of media featured, so now we know you can get Tim Buckley, The Incredible String Band, and Pink Floyd.
You’re Likely To Run Into: Devotchkas fit for some lubbilubbing, or perhaps a real horrorshow pan-handle jammiwam right in the sharries.
Overall: Not a bad place to pick up the day’s contemporary jams and classical standards, but no real crate digging to be had here. Best to get what you came for and take well-lit streets home, lest you get a nozh in the yarbles. That’s “knife in the testicles” for those of you wondering.
Empire Records-“Empire Records”
For Fans of: Poor money management. Self-involved diatribes. Consequence free environments. Flannel.
Music Selection: All your angsty 90’s butt rock is here: Cracker, Sponge, Gin Blossoms and motherfucking REX MANNING.
You’re Likely To Run Into: Let me be honest with you: I wanted to live in Empire Records. The music was relevant to my burgeoning tastes! The humorous banter ranged from dry, to madcap, back to dry! You spent your days painting on the roof, playing practical jokes, holding pretend funerals and making out!
And here’s the kicker…all the employees could give a fuck less. They are simply TOO cool, TOO disaffected to realize how good they have it. I mean think about it, some kid comes in with a loaded handgun to rob the place all because he wants to work there. And they’re mostly okay with that!
When one of the turds there gambles all the store’s profits to try and stop if from being bought out by Musictown, he is not immediately arrested but instead resigned to sit in time out.
Years later, I realize these people are the absolute worst. So yeah, you’re going to run into a bunch of self-absorbed assholes who really like Candlebox.
Overall: Great place to work, but as a customer you’re likely to find the same selection and better customer service at Best Buy. In fact, just about anywhere is going to be a better choice. Unless you have a thing for skinhead girls with resting bitch face. Which I absolutely do.
Championship Vinyl- “High Fidelity”
For Fans of: Aging. Judgement. Lists.
Music Selection: Pretty good, so long as you subscribe to a very specific set of ever-shifting and undefined standards. They also carry Lionel Richie.
You’re Likely To Run Into: A fidgety owner, a milksop of a clerk, some teenage ruffians, and this asshole:
Oh, Barry. Barry, Barry, Barry…you insufferable prick. The bad news is that Barry is going to mock you and deride you for everything you like, and because he’s working at a record store you’re going to sit there and take it like a chump. The good news is that in a few years, he will become a parody of himself who shouts outdated nonsensical garbage like “I’m bringing the gospel of ROCK to your FACE!”
Point is: don’t be a judgy asshole. Eventually the world will find out you’re a sham. Or you’ll wind up writing reviews of fictional record stores to pass the time.
Overall: Basically, this is Empire Records if they all resigned themselves to grow old and die there. Pretty decent tunes, though!
TRAX- “Pretty in Pink”
For Fans of: Being really nice guys.
Music Selection: To let the stickers tell it, you’re gonna find some 2 Tone ska, Subhumans, and of course, Steve Lawrence. But you’ll never get to find out, thanks to…
You’re Likely to run into: Ducky.
Overall: Fuck Ducky. The patron saint of fedoras, he never bought a record, chased off prospective customers, and acted like an all-around jackass at best and a serial killer in training in his darker moments
I can’t imagine being a customer who manages to catch the fancy of Ducky. There you are, just trying to buy the new A-ha record when you’re met with persistent harassment and unwarranted advances.
Apparently what would warrant a Falcon Punch to the groin and mace shower today was perfectly acceptable record store etiquette back then. Maybe it still is…thank god for the creature comforts of at-home music piracy.
Back in the real world, I would strongly urge each and every one of you to support your local record store. In fact, Record Store Black Friday is coming up! Play your cards right, and you may just get to punch a Ducky. Or a local ManBQue writer.