Watching the blacksmiths of our age die out
There was a time when you could go into a record shop and listen to the music in case you wanted to buy it. You listened in booths. It was very hip in the late 60s and early 70s to go and hear the latest Beatles, Stones, whatever. I used to hang out in a shop called Hammant’s, which also sold refrigerators, washing machines and the like. Today it is a hardware chain store. But the upstairs, where the booths were, it still has the original oak flooring.
Later, when I moved to America for a few years, I would go to Penguin Feathers, a wonderful record shop in northern Virginia. Booths were gone by them, but there were bins and bins of great sounds.
All gone. Most of this kind of place was swept away by the mega-store — Virgin Records, Tower Records and the like. Now these places are dying, drowned by the onslaught of downloading and order-by-internet. Not that I mind particularly . These are the blacksmiths of our day, unable to adapt to a new world. We have moved on. Vinyl is still around. So are CDs.But you don’t have to buy your music that way and you get them from somewhere else if you still want to.
The latest “casualty” is HMV. It became a mess of a place in recent years — not sure if it was selling music, film. electronics or what. It will probably survive in some form, But we should — while looking firmly forward — tip the hat to the past. Here are a couple of photos of its main shop in the 195os and 1960s. I found them on the very internet that killed it off.