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IT’S LIKE THAT: Eulogy For the Virgin Megastore

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Losing a record store is a difficult thing to go through, even ones founded by an eccentric billionaire. Yes, the Virgin Megastore lacked the ma-and-pa charm of an independent record store (if you couldn’t tell from the latter part of its name)–the ones operated by college drop-outs, who know everything about anything and diligently hand-print band names on every CD placard in the shop. But, the Virgin Megastore never pretended to be a consumer electronics and appliance retailer masquerading as a place to get new music. Correct me if I’m wrong, but the Virgin Megastore never wrote up the price of washers and dryers so they could sell CD’s at a cheaper price. (I’m sure they wrote up other things, but at least they didn’t sell washers and dryers.)

(above: Today we remember the Virgin Megastore.)

Working in New York City, the Virgin Megastore was the ideal place for killing time. If I ever arrived early for a meeting, I could duck into the Times Square or Union Square outlet and quickly kill an hour (or two, or three). I can’t tell you how many New York City tours I’ve given to friends and family over the years, and trust me, the Virgin Megastore is a refuge amidst the Foot Locker, Toys ‘R Us, Swatch, Planet Hollywood, Bubba Gump Shrimp Company, and people asking you if you like stand up comedy lining the crowded streets of Times Square.

In 2000, the Virgin Megastore was the last place I purchased a cassette tape–the Deftones’ White Pony album. Because the Megastore was opened late, I could always get my favorite new releases the midnight before they came out. Sometimes I would even bring a boom box, buy an album at Virgin, and listen to it on the steps of Union Square as skateboarders did kick flips and ollies over me.

We live in a new era though. The most popular form of listening to music doesn’t come from circular pieces of plastic or vinyl anymore, but from digital files containing countless amounts of 1’s and 0’s. If the Megastore–which outlasted Tower Records in New York City–can go under, anyone can. Years ago, if this happened to Virgin, I might’ve pumped my fist in the air and said, “Yeah, stick it to the man,” but as more and more record shops closed their doors for good, I was rooting for Virgin to stay alive. Alas, it didn’t. The Times Square location died on April 1, and the Union Square outlet is currently on life support and will have its plug pulled on April 30.

We say goodbye to an era:

Goodbye to autograph signings. Goodbye to in-store concert appearances (say what you will about the corporate backing of the Virgin Megastore, but even an I’m-better-than-you indie kid has to agree that they had some kick-butt performances, especially in the Union Square location). Goodbye to an entire room dedicated to dance/electronic music. Goodbye to myriad listening stations where you could preview a CD long before you could do it on your home computer. Goodbye to the $10 sale (a great chance to stock up on CDs from the past). Goodbye to vinyl, import, indie, and international sections. Goodbye to the easiest record store to commute to in the city. Goodbye to the way we used to do things.

Union Square won’t be the same without a music store, and I’m too afraid to think of what Disney-like attraction will take the place of the Times Square Virgin Megastore.

If one day, Virgin Megastore, we meet again in the afterlife–I’m gonna be honest here–I probably won’t even walk inside your doors, cause c’mon, there’ll be too many other awesome record stores to choose from (the ones that, maybe, you help put out of business). But, hey, at least you got this eulogy out me. Peace out and thanks for the memories.

(Pause for a moment of silence.)

Alright everyone, the wake’s at my house. We’re gonna eat a cold-cut platter and two-day old lasagna while we listen to my White Pony cassette tape–

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

It’s the final countdown to Christmas and thanks to IFC’s movie marathon all Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, you can revel in classic ’80s films AND find inspiration for your last-minute gifts. Here are our recommendations, if you need a head start:

Musical Instrument

Great analog entertainment substitute when you refuse to give your kid the Nintendo Switch they’ve been drooling over.

Breakfast In Bed

Any significant other or child would appreciate these Uncle Buck-approved flapjacks. Just make sure you’re not stuck on clean up duty.

Cocktail Supplies

You’ll need them to get through the holidays.

Dance Lessons

So you can learn to shake-shake-shake (unless you know ghosts willing to lend a hand).

Comfy Clothes

With all the holiday meals, there may be some…embigenning.

Get even more great inspiration all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC, and remember…

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Celebrating Portlandia One Sketch at a Time

The final season of Portlandia approaches.

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GIFs via Giphy

Most people measure time in minutes, hours, days, years…At IFC, we measure it in sketches. And nothing takes us way (waaaaaay) back like Portlandia sketches. Yes, there’s a Portlandia milepost from every season that changed the way we think, behave, and pickle things. In honor of Portlandia’s 8th and final season, Subaru presents a few of our favorites.


Put A Bird On It

Portlandia enters the pop-culture lexicon and inspires us to put birds on literally everything.

Colin the Chicken

Who’s your chicken, really? Behold the emerging locavore trend captured perfectly to the nth degree.

Dream Of The ’90s

This treatise on Portland made it clear that “the dream” was alive and well.

No You Go

We Americans spend most of our lives in cars. Fortunately, there’s a Portlandia sketch for every automotive situation.

A-O River!

We learned all our outdoor survival skills from Kath and Dave.

One More Episode

The true birth of binge watching, pre-Netflix. And what you’ll do once Season 8 premieres.

Catch up on Portlandia’s best moments before the 8th season premieres January 18th on IFC.

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