Here is the First in our occasional series of Record shop related writings, very kindly provided by a very busy man indeed: Goldblade frontman, author, journalist, DJ and occasional star of TV’s Richard & Judy, its the man who puts all pot-bellied meat-eating rock stars to shame, the unspeakably healthy looking Mr John Robb!
“In the punk era the record shops were the conduits of pop culture, they were the places where you would hang out, hear new stuff, meet like minded people, chat to the owners and learn about new stuff, you would fill them with flyers and posters, leave fanzines in them or put in your first single on sale or return…quite simply in the punk era without record shops there would be no scenes in the small towns.
I grew up in Blackpool and the key shop for us was Action Records which started in Blackpool and moved to its current location in Preston- it’s still a great shop- one of the few underground independent shops left in the UK- the place smells of vinyl and a love of music and has been key in the north west music scene for years. There were another couple of shops in Blackpool where we would be hanging out like Sinfonia- these were places where on a Saturday afternoon we would plug back into our culture and look at the records that we could only hear on John Peel- the records would come to life in our hands like missives from an outside world, we would marvel at the artwork on the sleeves and thrill at the the vinyl.
When I moved to Manchester, Piccadilly Records was the key shop and it’s still, like Action, a reminder of those classic independent shops that meant so much in the old days- the chain with no name of underground music shops that attempted to pull off the unlikely coup against the mainstream media that happened in the post punk era. The multinationals may have thought that they won the war but with Tower gone and the others struggling you sometimes wonder if these small shops that took the trouble to get to know their customers and share in their thrill of music may be the eventual winners. After forty years I still get the buzz of entering a great record shop stuffed full of killer tunes with some cool dudes behind the counter to talk music with- for me that’s the ultimate shopping experience.. We are sharing our culture and that’s the key! “
John Robb. 27/8/2009
Read more about John at The official Gold Blade website
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