Consider these two places: the VFW Hall and the itunes store. One is creaky, brownandyellow, smells like freedom's sweat. The other is virtual. But if it were a real place the itunes store would be spaceage designed. Whitelit.
Maybe some of those veterans from the VFW grew up crewcutted and wanting to be astronauts. Wanting to be spaceage people.
I went to a record show at the VFW. A record show is clutter, collector's clutter in crates and boxes, sheathed, marked, priced. Eyes and hands run over the goods, years of fingerprints get in the grooves, help make the sound you hear on needle contact. To shop for records you have to flip through fast with your index finger. Among the special pressings and the dollar bins, I got some good things but it was taxing. All those old vinylphiles, the vanguards of taste. Looking at what you're looking at.
Last night late I went to the itunes store. It was open and nobody was looking. I could dragnclick research, dragnclick download. I made myself a mix called "Dolor Bin." Garage pop punk soul. Some of my finest work. And gotten with pajamas and beer.
I have one foot in the dollar bin and one foot in the digital ether. I'm a convert to the brave new i-world. All my songs on a pod (how spaceage sounding is that ... a pod?) indexed and organized. Virtually spread out and mobile. When I used to make mix tapes, I'd write the songs on paper and then arrange them. When I do that now on itunes, the work is 90% done already. And you can SHUFFLE. Which is reinvigorating to your catalog ... that song from the back of your head. You didn't know that's what you wanted to hear.
But I won't be hocking the record collection for a googlephone anytime soon. I still want to live in a world made of things. The record is what holds the soul, lest we download those too. I'm like Derek Zoolander in that way (and a few other ways) ... I'm not sure how my songs are "IN" the computer and I might tear it apart looking for them one day.