Monday, 3 September 2012

Watch: Last Shop Standing

I can only apologise for slacking off so much in the past few months. Blame it on this and this.

I'm breaking the silence to share news about a new documentary DVD that looks pretty great. As anyone who might have followed this blog a bit over the past year of so might have picked up on, record shops hold a very dear place in my heart. They were almost solely responsible for my musical education as a teenager - Stand Out Records (RIP) in Salisbury, my taste is all down to you and your wonderful and precise recommendations that you'd kindly put aside under the counter for me to collect after school. They were a place to bump into friends, to make new friends, have employed me throughout the post-Uni years and have reaffirmed my belief that the independent music sector is still as passionate and hardworking as ever before, especially given the current climate of music purchasing, constantly caught under an intimidating shadow that threatens the worth of music as a physical object; an object that deserves parting with cash for, rather than just clicking and taking for free.

I still find it strange to think that people now expect to be given the gift of music for free, to download and listen to badly compressed, filtered down sounds through crappy speakers and to honestly believe that they are owed it and deserve it without even considering that maybe, just maybe they should donate a bit of money to the creators that have given them such joy. I know there are legal downloading sites that many frequent, but personally, nothing beats a bit of human interaction, flicking through the racks so enthusiastically that your fingers start to catch and bleed, finding that forgotten record or pouring over the liner notes. John Waters says that if you go to prospective lover's and they don't have any books in the house, you shouldn't sleep with them. Without sounding too much like High Fidelity's protagonist, I say if you go to someone's house and there are no signs of records on their shelves, you should maybe just stick to being friends.

'Last Shop Standing' looks like a much-needed nostalgia fest-cum-kick up the arse. The trailer depicts many generations of music fans looking backwards, looking at the present and assessing the future of the beloved record shop, along with some 'Spot The Shop' shots of the UK's leading (and far too few) record stores. It's also a reminder that the diminishing numbers are getting even smaller, as the footage from Rounder Records in Brighton now carries a weight of sadness, given that the shop was forced to close its doors a few months ago, after 46 years of service to the community. Johnny Marr describes them as 'a library for the ears and the mind'; a statement that really does sum up what makes the lowly record shop such a special experience. Long may they continue to educate.

'Last Shop Standing' is out 10th September. And you don't need me to tell you where to pick up a copy from...

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