“The bartender’s smile widened. His ugliness was the stuff of legend. In an age of affordable beauty, there was something heraldic about his lack of it.” – William Gibson, Neuromancer.
And so it goes.
What reason does the humble record shop now stand when people can find a wider selection of music online, when laudable recommendations come in the form of toplists by musical heroes, and you never have to face the disdain of a thirty-something tattooed celibate?
The answer must be; mystery, majesty, and municipality.
The joy of discovery is a bit sweeter when there is a tactile complement to its game. Flicking through vinyl, looking at xeroxed cassette covers, the sensual accompaniment to music consumption is a pleasure in itself.
Downloads make music so much easier to consume and facilitate the creation of our own sweetly alienating soundtracks, allowing us to bypass the reality of our commute, work, and relationships, allowing Sophia Coppolla-esque elevations of our suburban hell to something French sounding. But it is the physicality of the lone musical experience that savoured is a fecund wonder all its own. A pregnant discovery of all sorts of personal fistulas and conduits leading to fantasy.
The grungy majesty of the indie record store. The poorly drawn flyers and pamphlets tacked to every surface. A testament to music as the playground of the ugly, unloved, passionate social reprobate. A place so grossly infected it defies homogeneity.
…and finally, the record store is a social hub. Before the sheeple started to drown their sorrows in the vacuous effluvia of televisual sound, pitch battles used to fought over why Soundgarden’s tunings were shit, and whether the ‘Berlin’ series of albums signalled the beginning of music and the true end of noise. Stupid stupid discussions that rarely devolved into accusations of national socialism or the sexual merits of one’s mother.
The indie store was an in-elegant weapon of a barely civilized age… and we need it’s ugliness now more than ever.
Last Shop Standing, inspired by the book of the same name by Graham Jones, takes you behind the counter to discover why nearly 2000 record shops have already disappeared across the UK. The film charts the rapid rise of record shops in the 60,70 and 80’s, the influence of the chart, the underhand deals, the demise of vinyl and rise of the CD as well as new technologies.
Where did it all go wrong? Why were 3 shops a week closing? Will we be left with no record shops with the continuing rise of downloading? Hear from over 20 record shop owners and music industry leaders as well as musicians including Paul Weller, Johnny Marr, Norman Cook, Billy Bragg, Nerina Pallot, Richard Hawley and Clint Boon as they all tell us how the shops became and still are a part of their own musical education, a place to discover and cherish new bands, new music and why they might just have a brighter future.
Graham Jones has worked in music retail for over 30 years and his claim to fame is he has probably visited more record shops in the UK than any other person alive!
The film was shot between December 2011 and June 2012 and visited 28 independent record shops the length and breadth of the UK. The film features the record shop owners and their shops as well as many musicians and music industry legends capturing the stories and insights into the history and journey of so many of these culturally hallowed music spaces.
Last Shop Standing – Contributing Shops
The Diskery, Birmingham, Bridport Music, Bridport ,
Borderline Records, Brighton, Resident, Brighton,
Rounder Records, Brighton, Rise, Bristol,
Spillers Records, Cardiff , C E Hudson, Chesterfield
Monorail, Glasgow Jumbo Records, Leeds,
The Musical Box, Liverpool, Soul Brother Records, London
Honest Jon’s , London, Intoxica, London,
Record Collector, London, Sister Ray, London,
Rough Trade East, London, Kingbee Records, Manchester,
Beatin’ Rhythm, Manchester, Truck Store, Oxford,
Apollo Records, Paisley, Record Collector, Sheffield, Derricks Music, Swansea, Kanes, Stroud Dales Music, Tenby, Square Records, Wimborne,
Acorn Music, Yeovil,
Tony Wadsworth: Chairman of BPI
Paul Quirk: Chairman ERA
Jason Draper: Reviews Editor Record Collector Magazine
DVD Release: September 10th 2012
In Cinemas and Arts venues throughout the UK September –December 2012
Check website for up to date details
The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance. – Aristotle