Much like the way Empire Records made me want to work in a record store, High Fidelity made me proud of the imperfect beauty that came along with the profession. When it came out in 2000, I had scored my coveted record store job and while my store, with its corporate backing, wasn’t as quirky and cool as Championship Vinyl, my co-workers were a collection of characters that seemed to have been handpicked by fate.
Like Rob and Dick and Barry, we all knew way too much about music and pop culture and we all had our own niches of knowledge. One guy possessed an odd expertise on manufactured pop stars, boy bands and their ilk in particular. Another could write dissertations on 90s alternative rock. Another had a somewhat healthy knowledge of jazz. I was the “knew a little bit about everything” person and dance music nerd.
Promotional CDs of Limp Bizkit and Coldplay that we were supposed to play to convince our customers to purchase would gather dust underneath the counter while we blasted our own carefully crafted mixes. One was to display our snobby pedigrees, another was for sleepy mornings. We had power ballad mixes and death metal mixes, Rap Songs Most Likely to Scare White People mixes, and there were days when we would listen to nothing but Radiohead.
Since we were all in our early 20s, we were all dealing with relationship woes of one sort or another. My co-worker Tim and I particularly related to the perpetually lovesick Rob, played by John Cusack in what was the absolute perfect role for him. Seriously, he should have gotten an Oscar. He WAS Rob Gordon. We both longed for some certain kind of love and spent hours working out the perfect soundtrack for it. Like Rob, it would take a lot of heartache and disappointment before we learned that imperfect love is deserving of a soundtrack, too. Rob and Laura reunite, cautious but committed, and I decided to give my heart slowly and carefully to my boyfriend, who is now my husband.
Aside from how wonderfully sad High Fidelity is, it also possesses some of the funniest moments in any movie ever and quite possibly the only time that Jack Black was bearable.
IT’S A COSBY SWEATAH!
Harassing people for their unforgivable gaps in their record collections was and is a common theme.
Belle and Sebastian tapes would earn you a kick a in the crotch. No question.
And the autobiographical record reorganization? That’s currently underway in my house. It’s some Herculean shit.