As yet another established independent record shop closed its doors for the last time in Brighton this week, this seemed like an opportune time to promote the pleasure and enrichment the record shop has brought to our lives – particularly mine – over the years. Borderline traded in Brighton from 1987, but sadly it’s one amongst many which are no more.
One of my earliest music memories is the basement of the Virgin Records shop in Queens Road Brighton. Trading here from the early 1970s through to 1977 when it had to close because the whole block was demolished to make way for a new Boots superstore, I vividly remember many a happy Saturday morning lounging on beanbags on the wooden floor and soaking up a variety of sounds.
And, closer to home for me now, Shoreham’s Atomic Sounds, forced under in 2009 by the superstore giants like Tesco and Sainsbury. Atomic was the epitome of the independent – loads of obscure stuff, the ability to get virtually anything you wanted within a matter of days, and brown paper wrapped mystery bundles of CD singles for 50p a pop. I picked up some real gems there.
Record shops are, I hope, here to stay – but we need to protect that by using them. There’s a place for on-line buying and downloads; but nothing can replace the joy of browsing though real, tangible CDs and vinyl in the search for that bargain, or rarity or just something that looks or sounds good. Excellent opportunity coming up to promulgate that – the 2014 Record Store Day on 19th April.