Record Shops – Last Shop Standing

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:

Name check: Many thanks Dave Weight and Andy McCluskey for pointing these out to me.

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About Stevo Music Man

Music fan (Worked in music 79-92, gigs, collector, Indie DJ) Football (LCFC Season ticket), Travel, Read, Swim, Cycle & Internet.
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4 Responses to Record Shops – Last Shop Standing

  1. Paul Bennett says:

    It’s not a buying or selling thing that has been lost with the demise of the indipenent shop, its a community. Try chatting to someone about a piece of music as you make a purchase from a website, or even a chain store. Going back to your days at Discovery, the amount of time I used to spend in there just chatting and listening to music without actually buying anything, if you did that in hmv you would get arrested for loitering, if you loitered on a website, it probably wouldn’t be a music site. I have never had anything suggested to me on site or in one of these souless superstores, and as for Our price, the last straw was ” it’s by Jean Michel Jarre ” the reply ” what was the name of the band again ”
    I wish those days would come back.

  2. Mitch says:

    Alas in Merseyside there is only Probe, The Music Box and Skeleton left. What wonderful places record shops were. The joy of rooting through the racks and the excitement of unearthing some new treasure. I actually discovered Bringing Home the Ashes this way in 1989. Somehow I had missed the reformation of The Wild Swans MkII. My heart skipped a beat!
    I never liked HMV even in the early 80’s. The staff hadn’t a clue about music and that was indeed the charm and delight of the independent. All the staff were music enthusiasts even if they were’nt into the same stuff as you.

  3. Simon Tainton says:

    Steve, do you have any photos of Discovery shop you could send me? 🙂

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