Watching High Fidelity the other night and I realised that my home town no longer has a music shop. Sure there’s still W.H.Smith and Woolies but no actual shop. Some thing that Henry Rollins has said a time or two on his radio show is that it’s good to talk to the people who run music shops, they generally know what they’re talking about, they can recommend music. If you like this band you should check out that band and this other band. Just people who are enthusiastic about music and who aren’t there because McDonalds wasn’t hiring that day.
When I started buying music Macclesfield had quite a few places to go. Terry Blood’s in the precinct, A&A Records in the marketplace and BJ Records on Park Green. Then Disco One opened on Mill Street. I would go to all of them, and bought records from all of them. It was always a case of trying to memorise who had what vinyl and at what price. This was back in the days when pocket money was the only means I had of feeding my addiction. I don’t think that I’ve ever bought more that three vinyl albums at one time. It was always a bit of a task trying to get the 12 inch bags, and it’s contents, past my mother. “You’ve not bought another one have you?”, as if having more than one record was a crime. With the advent of the CD that was no longer a problem.
Back when I used to commute to Manchester, to attend the Polytechnic as it was then, HMV, Virgin, Piccadilly Records and a store that was in a cellar called Yanks (I think) was where my money went. Wednesday was the day to check the stores, usually armed with a list of potential purchases courtesy of Kerrang! magazine.
After I’d bought my first CD player I’d been working for over a year so the majority of my shiny discs were bought locally. Except for the occasional day off/Saturday when I’d make a special trip into Manchester. It isn’t the same though is it? Not the same cover art. Not the same tactile quality that you get when you slide the vinyl out of the inner cover.
I think that only A&A Records had survived. I’m sure they had two stores at one point, both the precinct and in the marketplace. Then Margin Music started selling CD’s and vinyl as well as instruments. They expanded and A&A Records closed down. Music Zone opened and Margin Music closed the CD side of the business.
The last time I made a music purchase was at Margin Music. I hadn’t been in for well over a year. At one time I was quite a frequent visitor. It had changed a lot. A good three quarters of the store was taken over with DVD’s, and not good DVD’s at that. Mostly films that are classed as a now famous actors first tentative efforts. The covers have this stars name in lettering that is usually bigger than the title of the film. Not a good sign. They were playing the new Wildhearts CD but I bought the first Velvet Underground CD and Green Mind by Dinosaur Jr. When I was paying for the discs the chap behind the counter asked if I owned anything else by The Velvet Underground. I didn’t. He said that that album was one of his favourites and that I should checkout White Light White Heat, which I also saw in the rack. He said that Lou Reed was going to perform at Manchester Apollo and that he’d be playing the Berlin album in it’s entirety. Would you believe it? Some one in a record store who is passionate about music. Margin Music is now gone.