READ: High Fidelity Turns 20, and the Chicago It Imagined Is Gone; A writer reflects on the vanished city the movie immortalized in Chicago Magazine


“It would be an exaggeration to say watching High Fidelity persuaded me to move to Chicago nearly two decades ago, but it didn’t hurt. Stephen Frears’s film adaptation of Nick Hornby’s 1995 novel showed me a world I fervently wanted to live in, a place of funky shops, laid-back concert venues, and a culture scene inextricably tied to alt weeklies. It’s not that I wanted to be Rob Gordon, John Cusack’s lovable-loser antihero, but I longed to enter his orbit. Championship Vinyl, his fictional workplace, was my dream version of a record store: deeply stocked, disorganized, and staffed by clerks who, if they decided they liked you, would point you in the direction of the best music you’d never heard. This was not the Chicago of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off or The Fugitive, two movies that had shaped my early imaginings of the place. This was something better.

“By the start of the 2000s, I’d made enough visits to the city to know that, no, you couldn’t buy LPs at the corner of Milwaukee and Honore, which is where Championship Vinyl was ostensibly located, but you could, as Rob points out, see a movie where John Dillinger was shot and then cross the street to catch a band at the Lounge Ax, where Rob befriends the alluring singer-songwriter Marie De Salle, played by Lisa Bonet. You could also see live music at the Double Door, where Jack Black’s character sings “Let’s Get It On” in the movie’s climactic scene. And to judge by my friends who already lived in the city, you could definitely rent the sort of impractically designed, meaningfully cluttered apartment that Rob inhabited. That turn-of-the-millennium Chicago — with its Beta Band soundtrack, Pavement posters, and smoky clubs — was there for me if I wanted it. After High Fidelity came out, I wanted it bad.” (Phipps, Chicago Mag, 3/16/20)

Read the full story at Chicago Magazine

High Fidelity Turns 20, and the Chicago It Imagined Is Gone; A writer reflects on the vanished city the movie immortalized, Keith Phipps, Chicago Magazine, 3/16/20


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