If you're 'fortunate' to get a bit older, the one thing you get used to more than anything is well, losing everything. Often it starts with the hairline, then the waistline, or it's family and then later, friends. The fickle nature of one's love life is the precursor which probably steels you for that later list, I'm thinking ...comings and goings.
Earlier in the week I was talking to my Mom on the phone who's is in the middle to approaching the later stages of Alzheimer's. Her voice is the same but the words have no ground in reality. She's now in a phase where she's seeing her long dead mother and father as regular visitors to her home and even my dad who passed away over two years ago now still apparently drops by. And she doesn't even remember raising me, literally asking me in this last phone conversation who my mother was and just who raised me? Sad and peculiar it is indeed.
This week was also a tough one for those who choose to relinquish their expendable cash in the DC area's book and music stores. Olsson's Books and Records, after 36 years in the area, closed it's locally owned chain of seven stores--a victim of the declining economy, CD sales plummeting, and I'm guessing the proliferation of our download culture. I was heartened to see that about two years ago, Olsson's had reintroduced vinyl onto their shelves, something that I thought might bode well for the future, which I guess will arrive without an Olsson's to while away an hour or so within.
Next weekend, on October 12 to be specific, the 31-year old Orpheus Records who began life in Georgetown and later relocated to Clarendon, Virginia closes its doors for the final time. Many of you might have noticed that big ol' ad over there in the left corner announcing the store's closing (and the slashed prices) getting an update every month as Orpheus was granted a reprieve due to new tenant leasing issues....which seemed to go on...and on.
Frankly, I was happy to update the Orpheus ad with frequency if it meant another month trolling through the bins at Rick's place. That's him up there in the photo...see all those records back there? So many of those records--more than I'd ever imagine--are now housed in the TVD stacks. Oddly, Orpheus' closing and the subsequent major price reductions have literally been a boon to the amount of vinyl I own, and soon much of that stuff will find its way here to the blog, I'm betting.
Hanging out in Orpheus over these past months has been like having these conversations with my mom...the voice is clear with that familiar ring and I feel home here, yet an end is coming. Not just and end for these two particular mainstays, but for an appreciation in general of what these singular stores in any neighborhood MEAN.
Some of my fondest recollections of my dad are the times we spent together in whichever record store on any given weekend--but what DOES the future hold? Will the bloggers over the coming years write, "The fondest recollections of my dad are when he and I were downloading Mp3's from iTunes"...?
If I could, I'd post a mirror at the top of this post and ask us to take a long hard look at ourselves and ask just what the fuck is happening. But in the meantime, allow me to point out that left hand column once more. I ask you to visit and and be damn supportive of those independent record retailers who open and close a brick and mortar store each day.
The Clientele - Bookshop Casanova (Mp3)
ELO - Can't Get It Out of My Head (Mp3)
Any Trouble - Growing Up (Mp3)
Ace - How Long (Mp3)
Jim Croce - Operator (Mp3)