Kofi's hat

Kofi's hat

MP3s, music news and reviews, and a sprinkling of pop culture. Named by Aqualung's Matt Hales, after his son.

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Location: Los Angeles, California, United States

Ink in my blood, a song in my heart. Metaphor is my middle name.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Virgin Megastore Opening/Virgin Recommends 17 CD

I popped down to the grand opening of the Virgin Megastore Hollywood & Highland yesterday. The grand opening party was not all that Richard Branson hoped it would be, or that was advertised, as the rains forced the cancellation of concerts by the reformed INXS, Dredg, and Gang of Four. I arrived a bit after Branson's bizarre-sounding performance as Axl Rose, and found a rather disorganized scene. No one seemed to know what was going on... I looked at a book; J.D. Fortune looked at a book a few feet away. He declared, "I'm taking this book. I take what I want now, eh?" and walked off (he's Canadian, you know). That didn't actually happen, but it would have made this a better story.

The scene was fairly confused... I went to go gawk at the "meet and greets", but it was just a line, which wasn't very interesting (no offense to anyone in line). Both the INXS and Dredg fans did seem charming, from my limited interactions with them (especially the Dredg fans). Then again, the fans I chatted with opted not to stay. The ones who did might be jerks; I just can't say one way or the other.

I watched Richard Branson tape one interview after another, sitting on weird clear orange plastic chairs. In between interviews, onlookers pressed various demands at him... someone handed him a script and told him it was written with him in mind. "Please read it," he said. Branson looked distinctly uncomfortable, and nodded. He handed it to an assistant. A fawning woman asked to speak to him "after," and he agreed to that. It seemed neverending. Branson was polite, but how could it not get to him, so many strangers wanting a piece of him? One of the interviewers had an almost joker-like grin, and displayed an impressive level of phoniness. It may be an entertainment interview, but it's still an interview, and she was still ostensibly a journalist. She bothered me.

During one interview, Branson noted that due to the number of people downloading music now, "unless the music store reinvents itself, it's gonna die." He said he thinks Virgin can still be around in 50 years. Another interviewer asked about reality shows, which I thought was an odd question, due to the resounding failure of his own program (though it really wasn't so bad at all; I rather liked it). By the time of his press conference with Gang of Four a short time later, Branson looked tired. He still was giving thumbs' up and grinning widely for the photographers egging him on, but he looked just about wiped out.

As for the music store reinventing itself, this Virgin Megastore is selling far more than music. The music isn't an afterthought... yet... but they're getting there. There are a lot of books (topics including music, humour, sex, astrology, L.A., and assorted weirdness), t-shirts, incense, novelty items (Napoleon Dynamite stuff, that kind of thing), DVDs (including "adult" ones), and lots more. Their magazine selection, it must be said, sucks. Are there that many people clamoring for British Maxim? Not only that, but they have chosen to intersperse the few magazines seemingly randomly throughout the store, a bizarre decision. Maybe they are working on this; the store has only been open 5 days (Yes, the grand opening was held 5 days after the store opened, weird, I know).

One weird moment when I was accosted by a psychic... "LADY!" "Yes?" "Freepsychicreading!!" I don't know whether this was supposed to be part of the "party" or whether she was a random psychic. I declined her shouted offer.

Saturday, Oct. 22, from noon to 2 PM at the Virgin Megastore at Hollywood & Highland, Ashlee Simpson will sign I Am Me. And she sure is!

This promo CD was supposed to be free with purchase but they just gave me one for being fetching/existing. Possibly they gave everyone for free; it probably would look good for all the TV cameras to have everyone walking around looking like they bought something.

It was free, and it's a promo CD, so I uploaded most of it...

Virgin Recommends 17 CD Track Listing:

1. MP3:The Dead 60s - Riot Radio
2. British Sea Power - Please Stand Up
3. MP3:Dredg - Bug Eyes
4. MP3:Lizz Wright - Hit the Ground
5. MP3:Leela James - My Joy
6. MP3:Embrace - Ashes
7. MP3:Athlete - Half Light
8. Raheem Devaughn - Believe
9. MP3:M.I.A. - Galang
10. MP3:Esthero - Wikkid Little Grrrls
11. MP3:Amadou & Mariam - Senegal Fast Food
12. MP3:Nickel Creek - When in Rome
13. 22-20s - Devil in Me
14. MP3:The Warlocks - It's Just Like Surgery
15. MP3:Feist - Mushabloom
16. MP3:Nouvelle Vague - Just Can't Get Enough

(yes, there are really 16 tracks even though it says Virgin 17. There's a car advert if you play it in the computer; maybe that counts as the 17th track).


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