Remembering Charlie’s Music City on Granville Street

The days of when one could post just about any video on YouTube are long gone. Nowadays, even an inclusion of certain pictures in a video can get one a copyright claim on YouTube. And YouTube itself has pretty much turned into American television, with the mind-numbing shows and propaganda that one can expect from American television. YouTube is now a website where the only people that can get any serious exposure are people that work for Western media companies, influencers, and propagandists. Naturally, these are also the people that can earn plenty of money on YouTube because of advertising. The people that aren’t influencers or propagandists, such as myself, don’t get to have exposure on YouTube nowadays and they don’t get to earn money because of advertising. Anyway, it seems that I’m already going off topic. Why am I mentioning this? Well, firstly, I’m mentioning this because I’m old enough to remember when things were different on YouTube, though they didn’t stay different for long. Secondly, I’m mentioning this because, recently, the Bubblegum Crisis soundtracks that I uploaded in 2014 got copyright claimed and taken down on YouTube by Universal Music Japan. Years ago, it was possible to upload anime films and series on YouTube without any problems. But now even obscure anime soundtracks and music get copyright claims. Although the eight Bubblegum Crisis soundtracks that I uploaded aren’t widely available, they’re still some of the best anime soundtracks out there. At least my channel didn’t get terminated because of these copyright claims. It seems that the soundtracks got taken down because UMJ recently made them available for purchase online. They’re even available as vinyl records on a website like Amazon now. So, it seems that UMJ has wasted no time in eliminating any of the Bubblegum Crisis music that’s available for free online. Good for UMJ. It’s actually not a bad thing that these good anime soundtracks are now available for purchase. But this doesn’t mean that I have to like that my videos got taken down. Before they got taken down, these videos accumulated many thousands of views and had comments from people that speak English and Japanese. Therefore, I’m not going to buy anything from UMJ anymore. I certainly don’t have to buy the Bubblegum Crisis soundtracks, which have cool covers, because I already have them. Fortunately, the Bubblegum Crash soundtracks and the AD Police Files soundtracks that I uploaded are still available on my channel. The other good anime soundtracks that I have in my collection are Ah! My Goddess, Cowboy Bebop, Aura Battler Dunbine, Castle In The Sky, Digimon: The Movie, Dirty Pair: Project Eden, Ghost In The Shell, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, Grave Of The Fireflies, Gunnm, Howl’s Moving Castle, Akira, Innocence, Saber Marionette J, Neon Genesis Evangelion, Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade, Key The Metal Idol, Macross Plus, Mobile Suit Gundam: Char’s Counterattack, Mobile Suit Gundam 0083: Stardust Memory, Nausicaa Of The Valley Of The Wind, Paprika, Pokemon: The First Movie, Princess Mononoke, Rurouni Kenshin, Sailor Moon, Mobile Suit Gundam Wing, Spirited Away, Venus Wars, The Vision Of Escaflowne, When Marnie Was There, Kiki’s Delivery Service, and Whisper Of The Heart. These are all of the anime soundtracks that I’ve collected over the years so far. But, of course, it hasn’t been that long since I got into buying anime soundtracks. I began to buy and obtain anime films and series only after I graduated from high school. Before that, I gave almost no thought to having an anime collection, and I still don’t have a big anime collection because I buy only the best anime. I am from a poor family, after all. Sure, I’ve been working, and also volunteering, since I was in the 10th grade, but, for some reason, the idea of buying anime, or simply buying discs and other media, didn’t enter my mind before I graduated. I think that one of the reasons for this is because I grew up in a Russian family. In this family, there was always the possibility that almost anything that I bought would be taken away by my parents if they didn’t like it or if they thought that it’s interfering with my schoolwork. I think that the only things that were safe from their outrage were books, and not even all books. My parents are typical Russian barbarians, and, after having to deal with them and with other Russians, I don’t want to to deal with Russians ever again. I later realized that this sadism, this disrespect for individual rights, for private property, and for individual comforts is actually a part of Russian culture. This is also one of the reasons why some Russians don’t like Russian culture and don’t like their country. Well, I suppose that there’s a reason why some Russians call their country a nation of idiots. I’d say that it’s not only a nation of idiots. It’s also a nation of traitors and of irresponsible people. I speak from experience and from years of observation when I say this. The only thing that Russians can do well is screw up. By the way, in this nation of idiots, the rich are notorious for showing off their wealth and their status to those that are less fortunate than them. This was the case before the October Revolution of 1917 and this is the case now. Russian oligarchs, the people that are hated by many people in Russia, are notorious for showing off the stuff, such as their big yachts, that they purchased abroad. In the West, rich people usually hide their wealth and they don’t flaunt it. In Russia, it’s the opposite. The rich in Russia love flaunting their wealth and they despise poor people. Well, what else can you expect in a banana republic such as Russia? By the way, I’m surprised that a McDonald’s restaurant hasn’t yet opened in Saint Basil’s Cathedral. I mean, a foreign burger joint has opened in just about every other historical Russian or Soviet building in Moscow since 1991. And huge advertisements for women’s underwear featuring semi-naked young women hang on the sides of historical 19th century buildings in Moscow. So, why hasn’t a burger joint opened yet in Saint Basil’s Cathedral or in the Kremlin? Am I supposed to believe that even the idiotic Russians have a limit to where one can place advertisements and “business” signs? Maybe the idea hasn’t yet entered their minds. I mean, Russians are known for not only being idiotic but also for being dumb. Recent research shows that Russians may be as intelligent as some of the big apes. Russians are certainly not as intelligent as homo sapiens. I can only imagine how difficult it must have been for Bill Clinton to dictate commands to the ape named Boris Yeltsin. In a normal country, someone like Yeltsin is usually kept in a zoo or in the wild. But, in Russia, Yeltsin was the head of the government. Research about the miserable intelligence of Russians goes all the way back to the 19th century, when the British scholar and explorer Sir Aston Martin Bentley the 11th traveled to Russia and then wrote a book, ‘Russians in their Natural Environment’, after observing them. And don’t even get me started on the fiction that the Russians defeated Nazi Germany. It is technically impossible for a nation of idiots and traitors such as Russia to defeat Nazi Germany. Why is this fiction still in the history books? It is a fact that Russians would sell out their country for a banana. Am I supposed to believe that the Germans couldn’t afford bananas? Didn’t the Germans build rockets? Surely they could have acquired some bananas in order to give to the Russians during Operation Barbarossa. Did they forget? It seems that I’m going off topic again. Let’s get back to my anime collection. When I was in my mid-teens and late-teens, I began to go to some of the stores in the center of the city that sold DVDs, CDs, and VHS tapes. These trips to the center of the city were rare for me back then, but they were quite enjoyable and memorable because stores that sold DVDs, CDs and video games still existed back then in decent numbers. Although I didn’t buy anything, or couldn’t buy anything, I still walked around and looked at the things that were available for sale. The DVD covers and the VHS covers usually had large pictures or stills on the back, and I enjoyed looking at them and also reading whatever was written on them. They weren’t like the bland and small Blu-ray covers or video game covers that are available now. One used DVD and CD store that I liked in particular was called Charlie’s Music City. The owner was probably an Iranian man in his late-fifties or early-sixties, but I don’t know anything about him because I never spoke to him. He had several people, usually young women, working for him at the store. The store was located near the intersection of Granville Street and Robson Street. Granville Street is also the street where my favorite movie theatre, Empire Granville 7 Cinemas, was located. The reason why I liked Charlie’s Music City is because it was a big store. Some people claim that it was the biggest used DVD and CD store in Canada. It wasn’t huge, but there was still a lot to see there. There were rows and rows of shelves stacked with used DVDs, CDs, and VHS tapes. Video games were sold there too, but they were located at the counters, in glass cases. In addition to the video games, video game consoles were sold there. There were various consoles for sale, and the ones that were most visible were consoles like the GameCube, the PlayStation 2, the Xbox, the Nintendo 64, and the Dreamcast. They were placed on the shelves behind the counters or they hung in transparent plastic bags on the wall there. DVD players, VHS players, and various electronic equipment and parts were also sold there. When I went to this store, I usually spent most of the time looking at DVDs and VHS tapes. The counters of the store were well lit, but some of the DVDs were on the shelves in the dimly lit corners of the store. I could walk around for as long as an hour or more and look at what was available because there was so much to see. Notably, I looked at the anime, straight-to-video films, foreign films, and old films that caught my eye. My favorites were the VHS covers for Key The Metal Idol, Lupin III’s Greatest Capers, Neon Genesis Evangelion, Gasaraki, and RahXephon. For example, the VHS covers that were made by A.D. Vision for Neon Genesis Evangelion can be viewed here: http://svenge.evamonkey.com/evasite/usvhs/usvhs.htm. I also liked to look at the DVD covers for 1980s and 1990s popular and obscure action films, horror films, and science-fiction films. So, not long after I graduated from high school, I finally decided to buy my first DVDs. Unfortunately, soon after I bought my first DVDs, Charlie’s Music City, like many other DVD and CD stores, closed for good, at the very beginning of 2011. The closure of this store and the closure of Empire Granville 7 Cinemas in 2012 was like the end of an era for me. I still feel a little sad when I think about how fast these places closed down. Of course, DVDs weren’t the only things that I bought at Charlie’s Music City. I bought some CDs because there were many CDs for sale there too. However, I sold or gave away my small collection of CDs not long after that because I decided to keep all of my music in MP3 format. But, last year, I began buying CDs again in order to have all of the albums from Time magazine’s All-Time 100 Albums list in CD format. Time magazine’s list is my favorite music list. I’ve been buying about one CD per month so far, and I’ve acquired 19 albums from the list of the 100 albums already. Used CDs aren’t expensive now. They can usually be bought for about ten dollars or less. Another place that I kind of liked on Granville Street was a small pizza restaurant, though I liked it not because it was a restaurant but because it had an arcade cabinet in the back on which one could play Soul Edge. When I first came to this pizza joint, a young man was already playing Soul Edge. He was so impressed by the music of this fighting game and by the game itself that he couldn’t contain his excitement. He noticed that I was standing not far from him and that I was looking at him play. Therefore, after he finished playing and after he uttered a few more praises, he walked away in order to let me play it. And, if I remember correctly, playing this game was free of charge. Anyway, the first DVDs that I bought were for Neon Genesis Evangelion, The Guyver: Bio-Booster Armor, Macross Plus, and RahXephon. Before that, when I was a teenager, I either checked out films at my local library or I rented them at DVD rental stores. Some of the anime was distributed by Manga Entertainment at that time. My DVDs featured not only special features but also trailers. I not only enjoyed looking at the covers but also watching the trailers for Perfect Blue, Ghost In The Shell, Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust, Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie, Ninja Scroll, Blood: The Last Vampire, Patlabor: The Movie, Patlabor 2: The Movie, and other releases. These old trailers from the early-2000s and the mid-2000s are still etched in my mind and I still enjoy watching them. Nowadays, they can be found on YouTube. Things sure were different when I bought my first DVDs. I still associate that time with the institute that I attended after graduating, with the Vancouver rain that poured in the autumn and the winter of that year, and with Granville Street because I went there the most after graduating from high school. Back then, the anime industry hadn’t yet turned into the industry that makes bland, unoriginal, cute, and poorly animated shows and films that it is today. It was already in the process of turning into this institutionalized and artistically bankrupt industry, kind of like Hollywood, but it wasn’t quite there yet. Good and edgy films and shows were still being made, though they were already rare. Nothing like Neon Genesis Evangelion, Cowboy Bebop, or even Fruits Basket can be made today. Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is one of my favorite anime shows, but it was made before the 2010s, the story is taken from a manga, and its animation is nothing to speak of. Now that I think about, the anime that I bought or watched right after graduating from high school brought me almost as much gladness and excitement as Pokemon did in my childhood. I’ve never been obsessed with anime, not even in my teens and early-twenties. Well, I did have something of an obsession with Neon Genesis Evangelion when I found out about it in the 9th grade. Perhaps this is the reason why this show is the first one that I bought on DVD, and I had never seen it before I bought it. So, I had to wait for years before I even got to see Neon Genesis Evangelion. I can’t, for example, relate to the otaku in Japan at all. Some of these people have stacks of anime, manga, comics, video games, and action figures in their homes. But I sure do like to watch anime from time to time, though the anime that I watch is the original and quality anime that was made before the 2000s. Heck, even OVAs like Angel Cop or New Cutie Honey now seem great if they’re compared to what gets made now. Anyway, I was actually planning to make a post about the soundtracks of the horror films, neo-noir films, and teen films that I enjoy watching and that I recommend. I’ve already made several videos listing these films, though I haven’t posted all of them on my blog yet. What I wanted to point out is that it’s not only these films from the 1970s to the 1990s that are worth watching. Their soundtracks are worth getting as well. I also wanted to list my favorite anime because this is what a few followers wanted me to do. But, somehow, I got carried away and made a post about something else. Next time then.

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