Let music take you to the record store
Paul Shirley could get almost all the music he'd like on the Web, but he'd much rather go somewhere like Amoeba Music in Hollywood for the ambiance, discovery and most of all the shared experience.
While I was in Los Angeles helping my brother abandon me to a lonely existence in Kansas City, I visited my favorite music store in the world, Amoeba Music in Hollywood. I didn't have as much time as I would have liked, meaning anything less than three hours. But as is always the case, I found something surprising, even when I thought there was no way I would.
|THE PORTABLE PAUL SHIRLEY|
Paul's basketball adventures are now in paperback.
It doesn't matter that the album will probably be awful -- as I read about it on Wikipedia, I noticed that Maida let his wife do a substantial amount of work on the album. Wives are never good for eccentric Canadian musicians. But that's not the point. The point is that a trek around Amoeba Music led me to something unexpected. That unexpected thing might lead to something great or to something terrible, or it might lead nowhere. (Musically, that is, I don't expect Raine to help me find the fountain of youth.)Maida's album might be terrible. But I'll always remember where I got it. Subconsciously, listening to it (or throwing it in the trash) will take me back to a rainy Friday evening in Los Angeles, just like listening to a particular Oasis album takes me back to a snowy Sunday afternoon in Ames, because that's when I bought "Be Here Now." Music takes us places, not only because of the sounds we hear but because of the circumstances surrounding our experience with them. We might remember the store, the girl standing next to us when we unwrapped the CD or the sex we had when we listened to it for the first time. Or, more likely with the music in my collection, the sex we didn't have when we listened to it for the first time. A download, legal or il-, doesn't have the same potential for sensory overload. There is no shared experience. And, as I'm learning all too well -- in this house of mine that is now completely free of other Shirleys -- life is about nothing if not shared experiences. So next time you're in Los Angeles, check out Amoeba Music. You might not find the perfect album, you might not have a "High Fidelity" moment and you might not have sex with a nerdy girl who likes PJ Harvey, but I promise you'll be glad you went. Paul Shirley has played for 13 pro basketball teams, including three NBA teams -- the Chicago Bulls, Atlanta Hawks and Phoenix Suns. He can be found at myspace.com/paulshirley and at firstname.lastname@example.org. His book, now in paperback, "Can I Keep My Jersey?" can be found here. With his brother, he also co-hosts an online radio show, "Off Topic with Matt and Paul Shirley."
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