Friday, December 29, 2006

Most Overrated Loss of 2006: Tower Records; Most Underrated Loss of 2006: Demotion of Pluto

Tower Records went out of business this year. Actually, I'm not really all that sad about it. If anything, I'm asking, "What the hell took so long?" Tower was always overpriced. Why would you pay $18.00 for a CD at Tower, when Amazon has it for $9.99? Other people would go further and ask, "When was the last time you bought a CD anyway?"

I will say though I was a little sad about what the loss of Tower represented for my neighborhood. I've written about this before. Tower Records is one of the few corporate merchants that feels like a local community shop. Cool people and insiders went to Tower. I rented my movies there because it was much cooler to say you went to Tower vs. Blockbuster for your movies. (Actually Blockbuster in my neighborhood left too, but I could care less about them.) Tower developed a sense of loyalty for a lot of folks, and people would even just hang out there for the whole evening. But really, Tower wasn't *that* cool. And the people who worked there, famous for their supposed knowledge of obscure music, didn't really know anything, at least the people at the Lincoln Center branch. Tower was supposed to be the champion of independent music, but every billboard in their window every time I walked by was for Beyonce, The Goo Goo Dolls and other established artists.

On the other hand, not many people, not even NASA, seemed to care that this was the year that Pluto was expelled from the ranks of planet. Pluto has always been the left-out "last child" and unglamorous of planets. It's small, far away, and has no real outstanding feature like rings or a funny name like "Uranus." Do these folks not realize that I memorized a rhyme in grade school for the nine planets, and now it's not gonna work?!? Poor thing. Pluto never knew it had it coming.

Later on, astronomers gave Pluto a reprieve and classified it as a "dwarf planet." Um, if I were Pluto, I don't think being called a "dwarf planet" would make me feel part of the family again. That's like expelling mayo from your diet, but then relenting to eat non-fat mayo. Let's join these guys and save Pluto.


Tom said...

Totally concur about Tower. Can't remember the last time I shopped there.

Pluto though, well, it was great that the controversy brought astronomy back into the public arena. I'm glad that logic prevailed and not mushy sentimentalism. It's not like they made it not exist anymore. It's still there, but now students need not memorize it anymore.

kevin said...

Wishing you a very happy and successful 2007.

I look forward to reading your blog through 2007.

Kev in NZ

Anonymous said...

From Jayne: Happy New Year, TCho! And let's hope Pluto is restored to its proper planetary status this year!!

teahouse said...

Tower was good because it was universally acknowledged that the Tower near Lincoln Center possessed one of the finest classical music collections in the world. Barnes & Noble didn't even come close. I will miss Tower.