A friend was over at my house a couple of weeks ago and, while we were watching a movie, asked if I have a record player. I merely leaned forward a bit and pointed over him across the room, where my turntable sat beneath a box of Kleenex and my sophomore yearbook.
“Does it work?” he asked.
“Duh, of course,” I responded, because I’m an asshole.
I then proceeded to kneel beside the device, shuffling through all of my records and playing him snippets of songs from several of them. He got tastes of some of the best Led Zeppelin, ELO, Cars, Bee Gees and “Dueling Banjos” that I own. I couldn’t contain my excitement at the opportunity to show off all my favorite music to ears that had apparently NEVER HEARD AN ALBUM PLAYED ON A RECORD PLAYER BEFORE. Really, it was the only way to keep myself from dwelling on how obviously ancient I am.
As he looked through a stack of records, he pulled out one and exclaimed seemingly eagerly, “The The?!”
I responded in kind, thinking he must know who they are and be very thrilled that I have their 1983 album, Soul Mining, on vinyl. My excitement was brief, as he quickly admitted to not knowing of them. So I, of course, told him he’s probably heard them before because one of their songs (from the album he was holding, in fact!) had been featured at the end of “Empire Records,” only one of the greatest movies ever made of all time.
My heart sunk when he said he’d never seen the movie before either, to which I responded by reaching over to the shelf beside the record player and grabbing a videocassette of “Empire Records” to hand to him. I told him about how I made a list of goals on my 17th birthday of things I wanted to do by the time I was 18, and one of them was to watch “Empire Records” 50 times.
“That’s a lot of times,” he said.
It was, indeed.