A few days ago I was in Cambridge and found myself with a little bit of time to kill. I wandered a while and discovered what must be one of the few remaining HMV shops. It’s been a long time since I’d been inside an HMV, I think the last was probably during that period when the stores weren’t just big – they were mega!
Bracing myself to encounter racks of games or some apologetically promoted Run of the Mill CDs I was surprised to find, in prominent position at the entrance, a display of 80s ‘classics’; many of them being promoted in the ‘classic’ vinyl format. It was like stepping back in time, the main notable difference being the stickers attached to the covers stating ‘free MP3 download with this purchase’.
Further inside the shop, more vinyl of old and new material but all freshly produced. Racked up alongside Years & Years recent release were brand new pressings of The Queen is Dead (which I originally bought on vinyl) and Definitely Maybe (which I didn’t). I was transported to the thrill and excitement of visiting my local record shop, flicking through the racks and pouring over the cover art, the credits, the track listing… and the surge of desire to buy some albums right away. I know the old gits like me are always saying this but you just don’t get that same feeling searching through the Spotify latest releases online.
Noel Gallagher said this week that if there comes a time when all music is rented it would be a sad day and as I flicked my way through the albums in the retro grey plastic boxes on the HMV shelves I knew he was right. I’ve never been a fan of Led Zeppelin but as I beheld the beautifully shrink wrapped newly released vinyl versions of their back catalogue I wanted to own every single one of them.