Wednesday, June 28, 2006

The Day The Music died….Again.

Yesterday I paid a final visit to Disc N’ Tape, yet another independent that is about to close. It was never quite in the league of some of shops like Revolver and Imperial but something else made yesterdays visit rather poignant for me.

Back in the late 1970’s my record buying kicked in with avengence, fortunately this coincided with me starting work and having some money to spend. Every Saturday morning, I would venture into central Bristol to make the rounds of the record shops.

Revolver Records up at the top of Park Street would be my first port of call, small chaotic and cramped it was the first place where I heard dub reggae blasting out alongside the quirkiest indie gems of the day, leaving there I would wander back down the hill pausing in a couple more record shops and Forever People (for fanzines and badges) on Park Street, before doing the rounds of the bigger chain stores in Broadmead. HMV was in odd little unit across the road from The Odeon and then it would be onto Virgin Records.

Now in those days, Virgin somehow managed to have the feel of bigger version of an indie store unlike the shop that it has become today. One of the main reasons for this was the guy who became known to me as “Chris from Virgin”. Chris was obviously a true music enthusiast; keen to pass on his knowledge to all and sundry despite often looked harassed to the point of distraction.

Of course around that time I started going to gigs inevitably Chris would be there, often playing some tunes between the bands. Virgin eventually became a hellish place to visit as all the new punks decided that they wanted to hang about outside the store on a Saturday, leading to lots of unpleasant behaviour. Chris just soldiered on, in the same way. Briefly I recall him being a DJ in the early days of GWR (I think), bringing a rare slice of eclectic music to the local airwaves.

Years later I would see him shops as became a rep for the Virgin record label, still the same smile on his face as he passed the news of new releases on to the expectant shop staff. Then he seemed to disappear for a few years, before turning up in Disc N’ Tape (you can imagine kids these days asking what Tape is!). The shop is having a closing down sale and I know from my time at Imperial how hard that can be, so I rather shamefully picked up a few things at rock bottom prices and took them up to Chris at the counter. I asked him what his plans he had once the shop closes, sadly he told me that after spending his whole working life in music, he had finally had to give up on it and get an ordinary office job.

I know that directly or indirectly he has been involved in selling music to me for the best part of 30 years. Never again will we see that lovely grin as he pops a CD into a bag and says “great album that one, have you heard…….?”

2 Comments:

Anonymous apricot said...

I’m back to online, again. I know what “tape” is! This entry reminds me of Nick Hornby’s “31 Songs”, which is all about his love of music. Such indie shops really know what music fans want so that I always loved those, most of which had gone in Tokyo, unfortunately.

8:42 pm  
Blogger Tom said...

So sad to hear that the same thing is taking place in Tokyo. We were amazed when we went to the record shops there, wonderful places.

Glad to hear that you are back online and that you know about tapes.

Thanks for the comparison with Nick Hornby, we saw him in Bristol a few weeks ago, what a fine chap he is.

9:51 pm  

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