Last week when I was in Chicago, I knew that at some point in the overscheduled time we were there, I’d have to make my way to my favorite record store in the world, Borderline Music. It’s nestled deep in the heart of the Lakeview District, aka Boystown, aka Gay Chicago. The first time I went there, in 2006, I couldn’t believe that a record store made just for me existed, let alone so close to where I live – if you can define a 5+ hour drive as “close.” It’s filled to the gills with CDs, vinyl, DVDs and other memorabilia of all the female artists that form the core of my musical tastes. I boarded the Red train from downtown to Belmont and from there, it was just a few short blocks away.
In a world where music stores are becoming more and more scarce, it’s nice to be able to go and look through CDs and vinyl and hold things in your hand. I’m not one that is really bemoaning the loss of the physical when it comes to music. As I’ve said before, it allows me to be a music hoarder without the obvious signs of a hoard. Still, it’s fun to walk into a place like Borderline Music and see the music as well as hear it. And when the music is stuff that doesn’t usually make the shelves of the local Target, it’s even better.
This place is, hands down, the best place to find Madonna stuff. In addition to all the official releases, there are many CDs containing live performances, remix albums, B-sides and other rarities. It also has a superb collection of Madonna vinyl which I have always looked at but have never actually purchased in the past. Before I bought Jeff’s stereo a year ago, $40 seemed like a lot to spend on something that would be a wall decoration. Now that I have a turntable and can actually listen to the vinyl I acquire, it’s become a completely different story.
But it’s not just Madonna. Borderline Music is probably the only place where the divas coexist side by side in peace, each with their own share of self space. As I brace myself for another round of stan-wars on the internet since Madonna has mashed up “Born This Way” with “Express Yourself” and “She’s Not Me” for the MDNA tour, I liked being able to go into Borderline and flip through albums from both Lady Gaga and Madonna. Posters of both divas adorn the walls. Well, I’ll let you see for yourself.
What’s even more fun is that the owner of the store is a die hard Madonna fan as well. It was pretty fun to shop there while having an in depth discussion of Madonna’s latest career moves and sharing our opinions on other divas as well. I got the scoop on how a rumored meet-and-greet with Olivia Newton-John will NOT be happening as her people wanted any personal appearances to be in a book store since she’s hawking her cookbook now – apparently they don’t want the focus to be on the music right now, which to me is ridiculous.
I ended up walking out of the store with three things – the Erotica vinyl which I’ve wanted forever, a mug with the Celebration artwork on it and, since he took 25% off the price, the “Girl Gone Wild” picture disc.
Apparently, Borderline Music has an Amazon store now which is a very time consuming effort but totally worth it financially. Some stuff that had been sitting unsold on the shelves of Borderline for years, when advertised in the Amazon store, sold quickly and for much more than it was selling for in the physical store. Personally, I have no problem with this, because if this practice helps keep Borderline’s doors open, nobody’s losing. Borderline Music is a gem of a store and I hope it’s around for a very very long time to come. It’s a place where pop music is not just appreciated but celebrated, and finding those places off the internet is rare indeed.
There was one thing that I managed to resist on my trip although it would thrill me beyond words to own it. Even with my birthday coming up, I highly doubt anyone has a spare $650 laying around, especially when we’re all saving for the tour!
Thank you, Borderline Music, for helping this straight, married guy keep his big gay iPod full of music. Every time I come to Chicago, I’ll make sure to stop and buy something.