If you’re anything like me, the above photo will trigger a wistful inflexion (and no, by that I don’t mean look – women – wow – I’m slightly beyond all that now). From a series of images featured on curio blog Voices of East Anglia – the self-proclaimed “World’s Largest Record Store”, in all its magnificent, early ’60’s wonderment. Of lost times, and reams of reams of recordings available exclusively on vinyl. This is a set of photographs that suggest a thought – that of being made not for these times, but for the time just before, even if HMV Oxford Street didn’t stock too many fey shoegaze guitar records back in 1961.
A few years ago I wrote a long and rambling piece for an American website I occasionally contribute to, a eulogy for lost record stores and all they represent (I won’t repost it here; I’ll just point you in the direction of the appropriate link as if by subtle gesture). If I remember correctly, the scope for this lament was the provincial independent record store, the type that now only exist in major cities (and even then they’re very much changed); therefore I throw around a few dismissive sentences towards the ubiquitous, big-company music barns of which HMV is a name synonymous. These images don’t make me feel guilty for such sentiment – overwhelming commercialism is always vomit-inducing, even if the companies behind said music barns are currently having a very tough time of it indeed – but I’d be inhuman if I didn’t issue a little sigh at the visuals. Such pretty banks of records…
Below the words; something laid-back yet intricate, and Belgian yet available on circles of 33rpm at the stage and screen counter of every decent imaginary record store.
Zita Swoon / Selfish Girl