I used to buy albums (and before those - 45's) at a place called Barney Miller's. Every Saturday I would take the bus downtown, babysitting money tucked inside my wallet, and hang out among the record bins. At Barney Miller's, there was a listening both - kind of like a phone booth. Once I'd selected the albums I wanted to hear, I could go in there and give them each a listen. Grab a bunch of records, drop the needle on the vinyl and presto! you've got the perfect way to spend a Saturday afternoon.
Once I got to Kansas City, I hung out among the bins at Penny Lane. They didn't have a listening booth, but they did have Leroy. He was a sweet, hulking hippie with long thinning hair and oversized wire rims. He always wore overalls. Leroy knew my taste in music and always pointed me toward the right albums to take home.
Then came CDs, which I reluctantly started buying. Leroy would open up the ones he thought I should hear and play them on the store's sound system. My own giant listening booth.
Yesterday I decided I needed to add some new tunes to my music library, which is all neatly categorized and stored on my computer. (I've come a long way, baby.) At any rate, my shopping spree for records now consists of going to iTunes and scrolling through hundreds of releases. It's a daunting task. I can listen to snippets of songs to decide if I want to buy or not. There's a lot of clicking involved. I should have been framing photographs last night, but I went album shopping instead.
I should have been framing photographs this morning, but I went album shopping again - clicking my way through records by artists I like, then artists that iTunes thinks I might like since I liked the first artist, then artists who were favored by other consumers who also liked that first artist. It's a long trail down which to trek, and I could have spent all day with my hiking boots on.
The funny thing is, I came up empty handed. Audio overload, I guess.
The framing awaits, and so does a good record from my tried and true music library - something I will play on my way groovy Sonos system.