Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Last Shop Standing - Whatever Happened to Record Shops? - Graham Jones

This is a very interesting and worthwhile read for anyone with a passing interest in the current state of the music business, in particular record shops, or lack of them. When I first started buying records in the early 1980's, my trips to Spin It in Willesden were the highlights of the month. Nowadays I am still unable to walk past a record shop without having to enter. Of course, I use the term "record shop" loosely in today's terms, as you would be hard pushed to find any vinyl lurking alongside the CDs, DVDs, video games and books on any high street store you might enter. However if you look hard enough, scattered across the county there are record and CD shops who are struggling to survive and are now thinking of inventive and varied ways of surviving in these days of file sharing, downloading, both legally and illegally, as well as the simple fact that the majority of the public, especially youngsters have little or no interest in owning music, and not certainly not in a physical form.

Graham Jones tackles the subject with obvious enthusiasm, which is unsurprising as his "day job" is visiting record shops and selling stock to them. In this book "Last Shop Standing - Whatever Happened to Record Shops?", Jones encounters some of the store owners and staff he has met up and down the country over the years and has many an anecdote to tell. He discovers how these shops are continuing to trade, as well sharing his story of how he got started in the music business in the first place.

Jones is no writer, and that is obvious, with quite a few grammatical errors (like this blog!) and sometimes schoolboy essay-style writing (like this blog!) but in this case, it is not that important because the tales he tells are compelling, funny and moving.

Last week I witnessed Graham doing a reading from the book in Broadway Books, Broadway Market, Hackney and thoroughly enjoyed the evening.

Buy the book here.

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