Sunday, October 10, 2010
Five Hundred And Counting
So, this is a bit of a landmark. Five hundred posts . . .I don't know what to say other than the philosophy of this blog is, and has always been, to spread the word through new music while still looking back and acknowledging the past, but I'm not peddling nostalgia here. However, I really believe with that the dance music explosion that happened in the UK at the end of the nineteen eighties we've already witnessed the last really uniquely great, soundtracked youth movement. There will be plenty more but we're still dealing with the fallout of what started around twenty five years ago and it's going to keep on mutating and cross-pollinating forever. House, techno and all of its offshoots have got a lot of mileage in them yet. I'm as enthusiastic as ever about music and certainly don't feel that everything was better "back in the day." I'm not a vinyl nostalgist, although most of my living room is a repository for the black wax I've just started using Traktor Scratch (piece of cake), and went over to cds five or so years ago. If there's one genre that lends itself better than any other to the digital realm it's electronic music, (a big genre, I know), and now we are fully engaged digital nodes it's onwards and upwards. I have no idea how large vinyl sales are these days, but the idea that a label is only a label if it has a vinyl foundation to fall back upon holds no water anymore.
I popped down to London yesterday to see a man about a dog. I had a depressing walk around Soho, whose rents seem to have risen so high that half of Berwick Street appears derelict, the spectre of creeping gentrification casting its shadow. Only three independent record shops remain from when I lived there at the beginning of the century (apart from the record and tape exchanges): Phonica, Black Market and Sounds Of The Universe. They are all, still, vital ports of call for whoever needs their fix and will hopefully still be there for some time to come. There's nothing where I live in Suffolk, and the last of the Cambridge record shops shut around five years ago. Still, you'd expect them to survive for longer in London, but how much longer can they continue for? Like all the pubs dying slow, Shakespearean deaths in the UK because they haven't been quick to diversify since the smoking ban, how can the last few vinyl emporiums keep financially afloat? Phonica was the only one of the three I had time to go into. I squeezed in past some indolent customers monger out on the swivel chairs in the window and checked out the product. Nothing there I hadn't heard or seen myself ages ago. Of course this is all the Internet's fault but it's only going to get worse from here on in.
Bargain Box Records, Rox Records, Phoenix Records in The Shopping Hall, the upstairs of John Menzies and Strothers/Rumbelows . . . the psychogeography of a long ago Liscard. These were the ports of call of my youth. Completely spoilt for choice . . . and then there was (and still is albeit heavily watered down), Probe.