HMV has been in my life since I was about fifteen years old, which is why I was so pleased to hear that it has been saved from administration, again.
As a teenager the store would pull me in, it was dimly lit, almost daring me to go inside with edgy music playing. Music I’d never heard before and definitely not The Osmonds.
I always shopped in packs with friends and we would glance at each other, shall we go in? Is there anything that we would want or could afford. It’s a bit scary because there are bigger boys in there, with jeans, long hair and t-shirts emblazoned with their current favourite bands; bands we’d never heard of. These boys aren’t the sort we were at school with, they were alternative; they were boys we wouldn’t take home because Mum and Dad wouldn’t approve.
The feeling was that we thought we were being looked at.
“Stick together, don’t leave my side”
There were racks and racks of vinyl albums, this was a time before CD’s, sterile CD’s and cassettes, albums seemed a little bit grubby even though you weren’t allowed to touch them.
I didn’t know where all the singles were kept. Perhaps they don’t have them here, maybe they only sold albums.
We would have been approached by one of those aloof, skinny guys. He asked us what we were looking for, I wasn’t sure that I wanted to tell him that I’m looking for the single that is Number One; it might not be cool. But my friend Mary said:
“Are there singles here?”
Then he said: “Why do you want to waste your money on singles? It’s much better to buy the album”
He looked like the kind of guy who could afford albums, but we’d saved up and the only way of getting something to Number One was buying the single!
I know I’m buying my music on Amazon these days, but I wish I didn’t have to. The experience of shopping in a record store, not being certain about what you might like to buy, and browsing for new music is one of the experiences never to be missed.
Eight years ago, Hailsham lost its independent record store. Tony, the proprietor, knew everything there was to know about music: classical; vintage; jazz and rock, he was your guy. He introduced me to Jack Johnson and Della to K.T Tunstall. If I went into his store with a lyric phrase, he knew where it came from. We independently tried to save his store to no avail! Hailsham is poorer for the loss.
For all Tony was good, unfortunately accessing some of the rarer music catalogues was difficult for him and that’s where Amazon excels. Because of the Marketplace Sellers there is a requirement for music that cannot be easily sourced.
Even so I am grateful to Sunrise Records for saving something so precious and familiar.