Something from that town full of rubber plans

Since I realized it, my visits to the record stores have been increasingly frustrating. The Music One branch at the Alabang Town Center, for one, just lost another row of shelves, after losing a chunk of its space to a steakhouse and Gift Gate. Along with it went the CDs - what was once an overwhelming representation of everything pop culture, and everything in its fringes, is now just a store with posters on the wall.

I can only feel frustrated for everybody. I mean, if people are dead serious about stopping me from downloading The Last Shadow Puppets, they should start selling them in ways that is convenient to me. Well, they aren't.

I'm sort of proud of the fact that I "bought" In Rainbows for nothing, thanks to Radiohead's pay-what-you-choose policy, which somehow backfired, because people still downloaded it through peer-to-peer systems. That got them some money, and a lot of publicity, but in the end, they released the somewhat clubby album on CD. And, as usual, that isn't on our record stores.

Instead, what we got is a best-of compilation. It's two CDs worth of the band's singles, from their Britpop past that's represented to most Filipinos, perhaps, by Parokya ni Edgar's Trip (Siopao na Special), to the song that the British called as an important element of music therapy, to the song that apparently almost made it to the soundtrack to Titanic - jokingly, of course. Now, that's something that I'd probably pick up, thanks to my long-overdue and slow-boiling fascination for Radiohead, but things are different.

The customer is always right, they say. This statement is very ubiquitous - you'll find many versions of it if you look properly, like "the customer is king" at the gas station near the airport or Mr. Krab's "the money is always right" adage on the Krusty Krabs training video. With this, apparently, you can demand anything within reason, and perhaps I can ask the Music One management to carry In Rainbows, or Those the Brokes, or Beyond the Neighbourhood, or On A Clear Night, because I'm perhaps not the only one who's a fan of such groups, and all are even getting radio airplay. But, especially in the case of my Radiohead slant, all I'll get are old, expensive copies of Kid A and OK Computer, which I've already - yes, you've guessed it - downloaded.

I did take a listen to the best-of CD today, and I did have some fun nourishing my Radiohead thirst, steering myself across No Surprises and Fake Plastic Trees, only to realize that I can play both songs on my iPod. I plugged in my earphones and started playing Street Spirit (Fade Out), thinking that with a little more time, I'll get there without having to buy the compilation CD. Besides, they only get ripped as MP3s, and nothing else.

I stepped out of Music One slightly frustrated at why our ears are slowly being rendered as narrow. No wonder the rest of us fell in love with whatever's being downloaded, relying on recommendations. No wonder I suggested She and Him and Somebody Still Loves You, Boris Yeltsin to Edsel, slightly indulging in the feeling that only advanced radio production class gave me, while making me look like a slightly annoying wannabe indie kid. But if they say we can do anything - again, within reason - that we think would help everybody, or at least a chunk of that everybody, why can't we? Why won't they?

And your responses...

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