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Dullblog readers will likely enjoy All Things Must Pass, a recent documentary on the rise and demise of Tower Records. Directed by Colin Hanks, All Things Must Pass probes all the nooks and crannies of the legendary record store chain, which via the magic of contemporary American capitalism, only exists in Japan anymore. Turns out that the biggest threat to our way of life isn’t “handtruck fuel” (store slang for cocaine), but bankers.
The doc is a fascinating glimpse into Sixties, and particularly Seventies, rock culture, which generated oodles of cash and spawned a million mini-ecologies, from the underground press to the various liberation movements to, yes, hip record stores. And every subculture was social, even the brute commerce of hawking vinyl. All Things Must Pass demonstrates again and again how rock occupied a imaginative centrality utterly alien to how we live today. Actually, I take that back: tech is as central today as rock was then. But imagine if society’s heroes were oversexed, chemically altered musicians, instead of hyperrich, white, male control freaks whose animating principle seems to be making the rest of us as isolated and alienated as they feel.
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Meanwhile, here’s John Lennon’s 1974 ad for Tower Records. (Man, that guy hated jazz.)