Monday, February 2, 2009

Eulogy for The Record Bar

The Record Bar has perished from the earth.

When I was in freshman health in high school, they split us up between boys and girls to talk about sex. The boys were lectured by our basketball coach, who somehow started talking about drugs and, in particular, how you could purchase what he referred to as "wacky weed" in the back room of a store next to another place called "the record bar" downtown.

We asked what the record bar was (and not, surprisingly enough, about how much the wacky weed cost) and at that moment were given entree into a secret and spectacular world, one that changed my life and the lives of a few of my friends.

The Record Bar was a literal hole-in-the-wall, a cave filled with thousands of tapes and records and some cds. The guy, Scotty, who worked there was a total chain-smoker, lighting the end of his next cigarette with the dying embers of the one he just finished smoking. He also had awesome taste in music and turned me onto more 70's soul than anyone before or since.

In the 15 or so years since that accidental mention of the store in health class, The Record Bar has seen its ups and downs, mostly downs. I remember coming home for the summer from college one year and stopping by the original location and finding it abandoned. I soon found out it had moved to a strip mall across town, where it shared space with a budget mattress store. This did not strike me as the most auspicious of business plans, yet the little record store that mostly could kept on keeping on. At least until the recession hit and everything everywhere took a hit. Unfortunately, there are no federal bailouts for used record stores, no matter how important they were to the cultural education of a generation worth of young men.

Rest in Peace, Record Bar. It bums me out that you are no more. Thanks for being around when you were.

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