from Robert Rizzo
The historic Buscemi in Corso Magenta has announced its definitive closure at the beginning of 2023. The signs that wrote an era, today mostly forgotten
Now that Buscemi has announced its closure after fifty years of honorable activity in which he has sold records, and what records (including CDs), to thousands of enthusiasts, what remains in Milan for those few who are still looking for physical support to listen to music? Little, very little. The Stoic Psycho, specialized in every nuance of alternative rock, which resists in the fortress of via Zamenhof, after having long since abandoned the grandeur of the previous headquarters in via De Amicis; the oblique (there is everything, but also nothing to tell the truth) Massive of via Fara built on the ashes of Fridge; the historic second-hand emporiums such as the Discomaniac (Navigli) and metropolis (in via Esterle crossroads of via Padova); Discriminators (Navigli again), shop with jeweler’s prices, and electronic music by Serendeepity in corso di Porta Ticinese.
«Those who still buy physical music are a niche of enthusiasts. For the rest, it’s a finished market.”, explained Mario Buscemi himself who from his shop in Corso Magenta has satiated the hunger for music of more than a generation. Undeniable: streaming is a great invention, with about ten euros a month, but also free in exchange for advertising, the platforms bring any discography to our phones, PCs, car stereos. Everywhere.
Before streaming there was a time, at least a couple of decades, the 80s and 90s that correspond to the domestic hi-fi boom, the true driving force behind the diffusion of vinyl, cassettes and then CDsduring which the record stores were the landmarks of a different city topography. Signs forgotten today but which have been the destination of collectors and enthusiasts, as well as for those looking for the Sanremo compilation or the record that won the Festivalbar. What a time those times when, on Saturday afternoon, right from Buscemi, it was hard to get inside. Requesting or purchasing a 33 or a 45 rpm made all the difference: Mario Buscemi, and his staff, approved the sophistication of the disc, or disapproved it, with a simple glance. Record stores, as well told in “High Fidelity”, the novel-manifesto by Nick Hornby (year 1995)were not only places to buy, but also and above all meeting points, where bands were formed, friendships were born between enthusiasts and maybe even love stories.
It seems strange, today that Buscemi is closing, but just a few meters from its old windows, the ones that overlooked Bar Magenta, there was the competitor Bigi. A narrow and long room, less equipped than its rival, but which had its own function: what was not found at Buscemi was at Bigi and vice versa. Record stores were so popular that in 1997 Antonio Albanese shot a scene from the film «A man of fresh water» inside Rasputin, a sign in viale Montenero. The craziest shop in Milan was New Zabriskie Point in via Santa Maria della Valle, behind via Torino. Stocked with punk and hardcore material it was managed by a mythical figure of Milanese punk, Stiv Valli. The problem was Valli’s strange conception of opening hours. A Russian roulette. The most frequent scene was the dozens of people patiently waiting in front of the lowered shutters for the owner’s arrival. New Zabriskie inherited the legacy of New Kary, which having its headquarters in Piazza San Giorgio, one of the very first punk hangouts at the end of the 70s, inevitably found itself satisfying a clientele asking for Sex Pistols and Ramones even though the manager was very pushing the first album of a new band, U2.
In via Dogana there was Transex, specialized in metal. Metalheads who also found all their favorite bands in Mariposa which for years had two locations: in the mezzanine of the Duomo metro and first in Corso di Porta Romana, then in Corso Lodi. Mariposa was curiously full of two polar opposite genres, metal and danceto the point of having a listening space reserved for DJs. But if an unfortunate person came in asking for “Renato Zero’s latest album”, for example, he was immediately put to the stake with ignominy. Not even those of shone with sympathy Phonographic media in corso di Porta Ticinese, from 1984 to 2005 highly specialized first in new wave and post punk, then in electronics, provided it was independent music. Today at the same address is the aforementioned Serendipity. The little sympathy of the managers has remained the same since the days of Supports.
In the eighties via Marghera was already a street of restaurants and pizzerias. Between a spaghetti with clams and a margherita there was the tiny Bonapart Discs. Today, there is a piadineria in its place. The stroll in the center had les as fixed stops Music Messaging (Corso Vittorio Emanuele) e Memories (in Gallery). Two megastores before megastores. Glossy shops frequented mostly by occasional buyers, those who bought a record a year, usually Vasco Rossi or Michael Jackson, to give away at Christmas. The hyper-publicised then had a short life Virgin (Duomo) and French Fnac (via Torino), opened when the world of musical supports was already changing. It was the late nineties and music would never be the same.
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04 December 2022 ( edit 04 December 2022 | 17:54)
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