As many of you know I started in music working in my then local record shop, Discovery Records back in 1979 as a Saturday employee whilst attending college. It soon became my full-time job and the rest is history so to speak. Today you’ll be lucky to see a decent record emporium in your town which is a very sad thought when you actually think about it.
With the advent of the digital downloads and online shopping the records shops have been hit very badly. Coupled with the big chains like Woolworth’s and Our Price (even they’ve both hit the dust) back in the early 90’s strangling the market the small independent shops have been declining ever since. Now even the last high street chain HMV are on the brink too! So what hope then for the local store?
Strangely enough there are quite a few left in the country, all seem to be surviving possibly on their mail order and online services. I like to think they’re there because the people who own and run them are doing it not for the money but the pleasure you get from discovering music and sharing it with others. I have to admit I do miss the feel factor of recommending a record to someone who then comes back the following weekend and thanks you for pointing it out to them. You can’t beat that customer relationships which sadly when buying from your supermarket the staff can’t enlighten on their customers.
By coincidence I bought a book this week by Graham Jones entitled ‘Last Shop Standing‘, who was the manager of a band whom I liked alot called The Cherry Boys back in the 80’s. It’s basically the author going around the UK checking out the surviving independent record shops. Then to my surprise two people inform me that it’s now been transferred onto film which is in need of funding to complete – Last Shop Standing website.
Then late last night a good friend of mine gave me a link to some more footage about a Teesside record shop called Sound It Out (see below), a film by Jeanie Finlay. Somehow it’s good to know there are still some places out there where you can go browse the records, hear the sounds and meet people who have the same love affair for the music. As previously said the Last Shop Standing needs funding so watch the video below. Have a think about it. I did.
Below you can view an interview about the Sound It Out film: