I just saw something that shocked me. It shouldn't have, but it did.

For reasons that will have to remain Top Secret for now, I was just walking near SF's Union Square and I thought I would duck into Virgin records for a minutes. But...


Yes, always the last to know, I suppose, but, well, now I do know and I'm bummed. Next to Tower, Virgin is the record store with the most memories for me. I've ben to the one in New York, in Paris, in other cities, and Virgin was always my musical McDonald's, a place where I would feel right at home no matter how far away from ome I actually was.

The SF store was jammed. Of course it was. Everything was marked down. Bins full of CDs and DVDs beckoned, aisles of cut-outs and top sellers screamed silently, "DEALS!," and deal seekers bowed.

I picked up a few CDs, one by Steve Earle, a few others, but then I put them back. I'll order them from Amazon someday.

And I admit it, that knife in Virgin's back? My hand was on it.

So, what is next? iTunes? Perhaps. Lala, more likely. Or something new altogether. More important, though, where will music lovers gather in the future, besides concerts?

No idea.