• Text size      
  • Send this article to a friend
  • Print this article

The plight of HMV will not dismay real music lovers

In the same way that I expect to get over the death of Michael Winner, I cannot join the chorus lamenting the possible demise of HMV, a "national treasure".

It isn't, and never was – and I am a connoisseur of record shops.

Let's restrict ourselves to Glasgow, this columnar space being the size it is. My father defied me to go into the original Virgin store on Argyle Street, presumably on the responsible parental grounds that it was staffed by dodgy hippies who also sold king-size cigarette papers.

I did go, of course, but I spent a great deal more money in branches of Listen, particularly those on Renfield Street and, later, Byres Road. I was rarely seen without a Listen plastic bag, in fact, although it didn't always contain a record.

Bruce's on Union Street became an important destination in the late 1970s for reggae and disco 12-inch platters in particular, and then Gordon Montgomery's original Fopp stall in DeCourcy's Arcade off Byres Road began to expand into national consciousness. There was Bloggs, and Missing, and Gloria's. 23rd Precinct in Bath Street was a long-surviving institution that took over the DJ market, of course, and is now a classy booze shop.

My jazz collection was hugely expanded by purchases at Fopp, but other specialist tastes had to be fed elsewhere. When my flatmate and I began holding parties on Frank Sinatra's birthday (evening dress, cocktails and pizza), the best place to plug the (few) gaps in our crooner's collection was Casa Cassettes on Sauchiehall Street. Iona Records, down at the foot of Stockwell Street, was the place to go for traditional music. The market now catered for by Mono in King's Court was nurtured by the record shop in the Byres Road branch of John Smiths.

Nowadays I'd walk past HMV to get to LoveMusic on Dundas Street, like any right-thinking person. Even in its heyday HMV was rarely as interestingly stocked as the Virgin Megastore or Tower Records. Just a smidgen above Our Price, really, which was nowhere, man.

Contextual targeting label: 
Arts and Entertainment

Commenting & Moderation

We moderate all comments on HeraldScotland on either a pre-moderated or post-moderated basis.
If you're a relatively new user then your comments will be reviewed before publication and if we know you well and trust you then your comments will be subject to moderation only if other users or the moderators believe you've broken the rules

Moderation is undertaken full-time 9am-6pm on weekdays, and on a part-time basis outwith those hours. Please be patient if your posts are not approved instantly.

137236