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Record store appearance in Columbus

Remember record stores? You younger fans may not have ever seen one, much less been in one. Some were in the mall, owned by large corporations, and stocked with all the latest pop music, t-shirts, stickers, and other non-music-related items. The more interesting ones were locally owned, often by aging hippies or classical-music experts, and were stand-alone, usually with wobbly floors, and had rows of old plywood bins full of large dusty cardboard sleeves displaying elaborate artwork and containing strange-looking Frisbee-like disks, only they were flat, black, and had grooves in them, which magically made music when you put them on a thing called a “turntable”, or “record player” as your grandparents may have called it. Most every college town had at least one. Interesting music, something you’d probably never heard, selected by the clerk behind the counter, was playing loudly over an old pair of Dynaco speakers up on the shelf. In the days before Teh Internets, music fans would congregate there at all hours, browsing the bins and exchanging new-artist discoveries with each other. Some shops would even have one of those turntable thingies hooked up to a pair of headphones, and if you could get the clerk’s attention, he’d put one of those records on so you could sample it before you made the decision to buy. (cf: “World War Noises in Four” by Monty Python.) Well, at the risk of turning this item into a Wikipedia article, I’ll move along and announce that here’s your chance to visit an actual record store and meet Ben at the same time. Ben, who remembers record stores well, even though he’s not that old, will be at Columbus’s Magnolia Thunderpussy Records on Saturday, April 17, for an event called Record Store Day, an annual effort by independent music retailers to survive and stay relevant in an age of instant music downloads. Ben tweeted that he’ll be working the counter, taking out the trash, alphabetizing those strange plastic discs, and just hanging out with fans, so come on down and give a shout. Other artists, such as Alice in Chains, are appearing at indie shops elsewhere. (By the way, it was in fact a record store that launched Ben’s career in Japan. Its owner had heard Ben Folds Five while visiting the States, and decided to import his records and feature them in his stores, the kids started listening, and the rest is history.)

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