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06/08/2002 Entry: "RIP: A Musical Journey"

I've been re-reading Bootleg: The Secret History of the Other Recording Industry
by Clinton Heylin
which I haven't read since I got the hardcover in 1994. It made me think of my last record shopping experience (i.e. A Musical Journey... just like how U2 described the movie making process of Rattle And Hum) in New York City. I was there as a group lead for a disaster recovery exercise in beautiful East Rutherford New Jersey. We finished early and so we went in NYC. I split off from my group for some power record shopping... and so below you you will find the story.

Sent: Sunday, June 25, 2000 8:30 AM

Subject: RIP: Musical Journey


In case you didn't know, I've been in New Jersey for the past
couple of days participating in one of our disaster recovery exercises. (Right
now, I'm on the train to Philly.) We finished up early (although on time according
to my project plan. So it was off to Manhattan. I went with two other members
of my team and they held on pretty good, but I managed to shake them on the
subway. I've had enough of them, plus, not too many people can repetitively
go look for the same stuff.

So I get off the subway at Christopher St., right where Ethan
and I had gone shopping many years ago. I can't remember how long ago, but
Ethan and Audrey were living in a studio... that's how many years ago. Today
there's a huge gay pride parade, so it was packed full of rainbows and men
in tank tops. Some how instinctively I knew where to go.

I found my first store, Record Runner, which is great 80s-New
Wave-British Import type store. I've scored some really cool stuff there in
the past. The store itself has not changed since 1986 when I was first there...
and I think that I saw some stock still sitting there from then. Kinda disappointing.

I get to the park (can't remember which one, but I knew that
there was a bathroom there, and you all know how my bladder is) and there's
some sort of rally. Lots of peoples. Lots of lesbians, but none of them cute.

I head down to the infamous Generation Records, home of Eva
and her amazing bootleg collection. Nothing has really changed... or has it.
Price's are up ($22.99 for single, $44.99 for a double). But I don't really
see anything that great. All I see is bad ink-jet printer artwork. Some even
worse colour copier artwork. BTW, when I mean the artwork is bad: how about
a weird Pink Floyd rarieties collection, with a picture of Roger, Dave, and
a naked Jennifer Anniston. So I keep looking and I'm pretty much convinced
that everything's on CDRs. There's couple of real bootlegs here and there,
but nothing really cool. All of the stuff I saw from last year's Roger Waters
tour seemed very CDR-ish and. There was some nice stuff from the last fall's
Springsteen tour (nice artwork, not so nice artwork), but I've got so much
already, from MP3s, but it's good enough. Speaking of Bruce, I though that
I was going to get out of work early enough Friday to go Madison Square Garden
and see the show, but that didn't happen. I thought about 1987 when I scored
a U2 from a show from about a week earlier and figured perhaps I'd score a
new Springsteen show. Nope. It just didn't seem right. Monday I had downloaded
a Radiohead show that was less than 48 hours old. I'm in bootleg central,
Bruce is at the Garden... and there's no trace of it. Not even a Nine Inch
Nails show from this year.

Yes, I've become spoiled. Granted, "real" boots look
and sound better, but $65 for a triple Springsteen CDs versus downloading
it and burning it onto CDRs that cost $1 each... well, you know... it just
doesn't seem worth it. And what I can't download, I'm sure I can trade for.

I kept wandering around... Second Coming Records, Bleeker Bob's...
but the stories were all the same. Nothing was really that great... and still
a lot of vinyl around. I didn't see anything really rare and all of the boots
seems like CDRs, but did not have the CDR price. Even import and rarities
seemed not so exciting. (BTW, next to no video or promos.)

So I go back to Times Square. I'll hit the Virgin Megastore.
It's really packed. Great selection, but the prices are insane. I figure I'll
go pick up the new Philip Glass... $17.99. I can't do it. (Digression for
Mark: In the import section, I find a new Kent CD... and it's all in Swedish...
but not for $27.99. Plus they had a Swedish version of Isola... but not for
$27.99). I score a new copy of Q which for $7.50 was about a dollar cheap
than Minneapolis. I saw the new Gabriel, and it was even in a listening station,
but there was rap on it, and I couldn't find the 2CD version... and yes..
not for $27.99!!!

MP3s and the internet have ruined record shopping. I can download
show, get on trading trees, or do a trade almost instantly. People post when
they record shows. Yes, no artwork, but who buys a boot for the artwork. This
time, it's not about the packaging. Buying imports is easier because you can
find the stuff faster, and you know when it's coming out... or if it exists.
And finally, buying normal stuff is just cheaper... I'll go online and get
the new Philip Glass.. and get the new Kent because it will be reasonably

Don't get me wrong, I liked walking around New York, and every
now and then I saw some cool stuff, but it really seemed like an era was over.
There used to be such excitement going to a store that specialized in a certain
genre or specialty. Sadly, I just don't have time for that. I know where to
go to find stuff... and it shows up in my mailbox. I'm not saying that I'll
never go record shopping again. I still am dying to go to the UK again, and
Japan to see what's there, but I think in the US, it's just not worth it.
And as strange as it seems, I think that Tower, Virgin, and HMV working out
the best for me nowadays.

I'm going to Chicago next week to visit Jim and Lisa, and Jim
and I will go see Roger Waters. I'll probably want to go look around Lincoln
Park, and down to Tower or Virgin if I can. Hip Cat moved, so it might be
nice to see the new place... but I'm not planning on buying anything. And
there's nothing special I'm looking for.

I thought that I'd share this with you since you've all journeyed
with me in the past.

I guess my feeling still remain the same, except for one crucial difference... DSL has made the downloading process faster and easier. And the SHN format allows for no loss of quality. There are several group cleaning up infamous recordings and distributing them for free. Harvested-Weeds, Free Range Pigs for Pink Floyd, Hogweeds and FAde for Genesis, and there's one for Radiohead, Counting Crows, the Stones, and on and on and on. These are great people, doing great things... and for free. The demand for more recordings will always be there. Hopefully people will continue to make them available for everyone!

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Copyright 2001, Adam Stanley