I would like to say a few words about an old, old friend.
It’s name is Tower Records, and it is on it’s deathbed as I write this. Finally, after fighting hard for years, this entity is succumbing to bankcruptcy as we speak. I went there today for what was probably the last time to check out the “Going Out of Business” sale. The sale apparently had just started because the store was still in reasonably good shape – the bargain vultures had not torn up the displays yet. So we sadly browsed and watched the line of people at the check out grow and grow. I took my last look around at all the painted posters of CDs and their artists; I walked by the Listening Stations one last time; took a deep whiff of the smell of Tower Records (this I cannot describe, as I don’t really know what the smell was, probably some kind of construction material).
I remember as a teenager haunting Tower Records several times a week. I became friendly with an employee there who sold me stuff at the employee discount (this was back in the days when I still bought vinyl records – I’m not sure CDs had been invented yet). Tower was an old friend back then because it was open till midnight, and when I couldn’t sleep I would hang out there till closing. They had a “head shop” that carried bongs, rolling papers, little metal and glass figurines, jewelry, incense, unusual clothing, and was run by suspicious looking but good-hearted characters in tie-dyed T-shirts and hair down to here. I bought a few T-shirts there (the most memorable was of Albert Einstein sticking out his tongue which I still own to this day). Head shops were outlawed back in the nineties, which was fine with me, I was never into the drug scene; the head shop in Tower Records was turned into a Tower Video which rented beta and VHS movies. It was a good place to run into high school acquaintances back then.
About 10 years ago, the Tower Records in my area moved into a large warehouse type building which it shared with The Good Guys, a home electronics store, which ironically went out of business last year. So now the whole building will be vacant.
I also remember the famous Tower Records on Sunset Blvd in Los Angeles. This was a place where the bands and artists sometimes hung out.
Alas – soon to be no more. Another example of “All Things Must Pass”…