You Spin Me ‘Round, Like a Record Baby:
The Last of the Virgin Megastores Closing in Hollywood
I am quite saddened to know that the Virgin Megastores will be going the same route as Tower Records, Aron's Records,
and the Dodo. I mean whatever happened to the day when you got all excited to go to a record shop with the money that you
saved up to purchase the latest album of a band that would just change your whole existence? Or that one song that got stuck
in your head that was the latest dance craze that would eventually drive you insane by summer's end.
Personally I hate shopping, but the only time I have ever made an exception
to that rule was when I went on the hunt for music. It was an experience for me. I could come in a recordshop with the sole
intention of purchasing a specific band or song and then have my ears catch a glimpse of some other aural tasty tidbit that
I suddenly realized that I could not simply live without.
Being a shy person by nature, I find it hard to talk to strangers. But you best believe that if there was a song
to be added to MY collection - it would get me out of my shell enough to ask the clerk what was playing on the speakers. Sometimes
you could go up to ask one question and learn that there were 3 or four other bands that you should check out too.
My whole teenage existence was dedicated to music. So
much that it was what I decided to do as I entered the job market. There was absolutely NO desire to settle for that job at
the local McDonalds or the grocery mart. No sir. Not for me. I was going for the GLORY - the record store. It just seemed
to me to be so glamourous in my naive way. I set my mind on it at that's what I did. I worked in the fabulous world of music
Working in a record shop provided
me with several things. First and foremost there was a paycheck. But more importantly there was the music - Aisles and aisles
of music. Sure there was crap mixed in those bins too but there also were countless numbers of untapped jems just waiting
to be discovered. Working with other people who had an intense love of music that I hadn't been exposed to also helped me
grow. I learned that I do love the blues and just because I hate the modern state of country music doesn't mean that there
are some great singers in the classic variety to be discovered. Working in a record store meant that I had to drop my guard.
I had to do this or I might miss out on some really good stuff.
Walking into a Virgin Megastore was a pop culture junkie’s dream come true - From music, movies, games, and
books, you could wander about for hours getting more and more things added to your list that you didn’t even realize
that you couldn’t live without. Virgin melded together all these various obsessions all under one roof understanding
the necessity of the preservation of pop culture and it’s impact on society. People can laugh about pop culture as if
it doesn’t truly matter but ask anyone about their favorite song or movie and how it shaped them in someway, and you
will discover that everyone has at least one thing that has affected them on some level.
Ask any staff member who works there and they would unload a vast amount
of knowledge in their field of expertise and then some. You might even gain a new friend in the process. And for those hooked
on the celebrity lifestyle – this was a cool place to spot some out on the town doing things that everyone else does.
Working for Virgin, I also met some of the best friends
that I have ever known, many of whom I consider lifelong ones. I have met so many interesting characters that came in and
out of our doors on a weekly basis and it also provided me the ultimate experience of meeting my idol Morrissey. And this
particular meeting wasn't even an instore - he just happened to love shopping there.
Store openings were always spectacular events with a lot of hoopla surrounding them especially with Richard Branson
heading off the ribbon-cutting ceremonies with crazy stunts and live bands worthy of media attention. The closing will undoubtedly
be a much quieter affair. Please show your final respects to the company and its workers who actually gave a damn about the
products they were selling. With the closing of the final Megastore in the U.S., we are losing yet another pop cultural meeting
ground for like minds to meet and bulk up their awesome collections be it music, movies, or games.Prior to Virgin, I spent four years in the trenches of another defunct record store,
Music Plus, as a soldier informing the public of all the other music choices that lurked outside of the Top 40 spectrum. Today,
I have a 'respectable' desk job, albeit it is still connected to music. However, to this day I still find myself recommending
music to family and friends that I think they would be interested in. I guess you can take the girl out of the recordshop,
but you can't take the recordshop out of the girl. I could go on and on about how wonderful it was to be in an environment
that not only put food on my table but also fed my very soul. I worked in the now defunct Sunset store for 3 years of my life
and with the company for 11 total. There were high points and low points but the high points definitely out weigh the low
in the scope of how it changed my life.
I was fortunate to have experienced the phenomenon that was Virgin from
both sides of the counter. I know I must sound like an old fart reminiscing on - "the Good Old Days... when I had to
walk four miles knee deep in snow... and there wasn't any inside plumbing to boot!" But some how I feel that in this
age of digital music where there is no sense of community or nice packaging to go along with the music experience, that there
is definitely something lacking. So DAMMIT people please go out there and support your local record shops! Do it for the music!
Do it for the children! Do it for Yourself!