Call it Black Saturday. Armed with the Christmas cash found under the tree, many millions of Canadians will lose their minds on Boxing Day in a shopping frenzy as they rush out to purchase all the stuff they really wanted for the holidays. Sure, we could save this money —hey, the RRSP deadline is a little more than two months away — but what’s the fun in that? Here are some suggestions:
A Good CD Box Set: Virtually any song ever recorded is just a mouse click away, but you can’t download the kind of goodness that you get in a carefully-compiled box set. If your budget affords it, it’s almost always better to go with the deluxe edition. Recommendations: AC/DC’s Backtracks (Standard: $40, deluxe: $200); the recent Beatles re-releases (Go with the In Mono set over the stereo collection for the packaging alone. It’s worth the $350 or so); and the Pixies’ Minotaur, which, at two feet tall, is one of the most ambitious — and expensive — rock boxes ever produced ($500 and up. Way up).
A New Deluxe Edition Re-release of an Old Album: If box set is on the dear side, why not opt for an expanded and enhanced version of an older record? Recommendations: The Legacy edition of Pearl Jam’s Ten (same remix/remaster but without all the extra pieces in the other versions: about $20), U2’s Limited Edition Box Set of The Unforgettable Fire (a decent value at about $50).
A Turntable: This is what I’m shopping for today. I need a replacement for my venerable Akai belt-drive, which has served me well since the ’70s. Turntables were an endangered species for a while, but with vinyl making such a comeback, they’ve risen from the dead. Recommendations: A USB turntable like the ION Profile that can help you turn those old records into MP3s ($90 and up); a Technics SL-1200 series machine, the DJ’s favourite and rumoured to be going out of production in 2010. ($700 and up. Make sure you shop around).
Rock Band/Guitar Hero/Band Hero: Competition between games and platforms means that being a virtual rock star remains very affordable. Recommendations: The Beatles edition of Rock Band brought this kind of entertainment to a whole new level. (Prices vary, but I’ve seen the Rock Band Special Value edition —which includes the Beatles game — selling for about $100).