Here is broadcaster and music journalist Jon Savage talking to The Guardian about record shops on the eve of Record Store Day in April 2010:
I have several favourite record shops: Piccadilly in Manchester, Cob in Bangor, and the cluster around Portobello Road, west London – Rough Trade, Intoxica, and the soon-to-disappear Minus Zero/Stand Out. Whether selling new or secondhand records, all are mandatory visits, with large selections and knowledgeable staff.
But for Record Store Day I’d like to celebrate Kingbee Records in Chorlton, Manchester. Presided over by the long-suffering yet perennially enthusiastic Les Hart, the Kingbee offers a veritable treasure trove of CDs and vinyl, racked thematically but with enough overspill that there’s always the chance of a major discovery. The prices are reasonable – £1 or £2 for mainstream 60s hit singles – and the stock changes constantly. I’ve discovered long-sought gems there such as Chris Clark’s Love Gone Bad and the Tornados’ Do You Come Here Often? I’d been hunting the latter for 20 years.
Once you enter Kingbee, you won’t want to leave. The ideal record shop should be a world unto itself. It should also contain CDs, records and magazines that you can’t find in the mainstream, that you wouldn’t necessarily have thought about before you went in. It should offer – that misused but still important word – an alternative.
There had been a vital secondhand sector in the 70s, but independent shops as we now know them received a massive boost from the banning of the Sex Pistols’ God Save The Queen in June 1977: they were the only places where you could buy it. Many started labels, and a whole generation was schooled in the idea that there was another way of doing things.
It just depends on what you want from music. The best record shops – like all those mentioned above – offer an education and an arena. They bring people together rather than leave them atomised on the computer: you can meet like-minded souls, start a conversation, hear something that you’ve never heard before. They are the lifeblood of popular culture.