Every time a record shop closes its doors for the final time, internet forums are alive with people moaning about how mp3 downloads and internet shopping are killing music. These gripes are normally interspersed with tales of great shopping trips to the now ex-record shop, reminiscing of the time “that Captain Sensible dub was in the bargain bin for 50p” and the like. It’s a mixture of outrage, disappointment but there is also an acceptance of the inevitability of these closures - the shops concerned didn’t move with the times, they didn’t have online shopping, and of course, the kids can’t play a dusty Canadian import 12 on their mobile phone at the back of a bus.
Many of these moaners can also be regularly found on the same forums talking about Badelli play lists, the latest batch of Black Cock re-re-presses, or the same 5 new disco edits/house records everyone else likes this week, before with a click of mouse, they are off to Juno, Discogs or eBay to try to buy records the being discussed.
Well the news just in is it isn’t technology or a disinterested youth that are killing specialist record shops - it’s dicks like these.
There are more than enough vinyl and CD buyers and collectors out there to sustain real life record shops, it’s just many of them are too bloody lazy to go out on a rainy a Saturday and spend the afternoon sifting through piles of dusty old discs in search of a bargain or something original. They’d rather drop 50 sheets online on a tune someone else has popularised and made a safe bet.
If the internet was around at the time, do you think Ron Hardy and Larry Levan would be on it all the time checking what other people play, making a list and buying those records off Discogs? Do you think that is what Harvey and the Idjuts do that now? Would Alfredo have been poring over internet forums checking out what some bar DJ from Slough had bought from Phonica that week? And do you think Mark Seven paid a £150 for a his copy of Javaroo after hearing it on someone else’s internet mix?
Of course they didn’t and of course they don’t. These people put in the leg work required to own an original record collection. They made their own signature tunes. They took risks. And they forged their own path rather than following the well trodden track.
The internet is a wonderful tool, if used wisely, but it can also make people lazy and lead to homogenous record collections. Great record collections aren’t necessarily expensive record collections, they’re original and interesting record collections. And you’re only going to have original and interesting records than to get down to some record shops, dig through some crates, and listen to some music you’ve never heard before.
Okay, maybe your local shop doesn’t stock what you normally listen too, so get out of your comfort zone and listen to the stuff they sell. In my local shop I’ve seen the Idjuts buying world music, Rahaan’s been in buying UK pop 12s and Ashley Beedle buys reggae there. Maybe not that surprising but a lot more interesting than the latest edit everyone else has.
Maybe your local shop doesn’t have a listening post? Well buy a portable record player. In short, just get out there. The excitement of finding a pristine copy a tune you’ve been after for years at the back of a rack is a thousand times better than it turning up on a eBay search. Equally, picking up something fresh straight off the import van before any of your mates is a right buzz too. As is actually meeting and chatting to real life like minded souls, in real life situations.
And that stuff ain’t ever going to happen on the internet, so turn your laptop off and go and do something less boring instead..