I LOVE record shops.
I have done since I was a teenager meeting mates in Bruce's Record Shop in Dundee's Reform Street on a Saturday afternoon, when not playing football.
Browsing the racks, looking for bargains, listening to what the sales staff are playing, trying to remember if I've actually got Neil Young live at Massey Hall in my collection or is it the Filmore East live show with Crazy Horse that's missing – that's the fun for a record store enthusiast.
But, in a sign of the times, now it's becoming harder to do so. This week, I went into Glasgow city centre to try to buy two new CD releases by Eels and Richard Thompson. Fopp/HMV stores didn't order them in, I was told, for obvious reasons. Mono didn't have them in stock, either. And last week, when in the mighty fine Love Music, the Eels' latest was not in sight.
Online purchasing has, it would appear, clobbered the High Street market and shrunk the number of record shops open to visit and more's the pity. The inestimable Salvation Sounds in Shawlands closed some years back and it is still badly missed today. Its owner smartly mixed new stuff with niche imports and a wide range of musical genres and yet it didn't survive, sadly.
Those Glasgow independents still in existence are good but I think they're missing a trick if they aren't ordering new releases, if that is, indeed, the case. After all, I accept it's possible I was unlucky on the days I went in. Supermarket selections, before anyone asks, tend to leave me cold with a bland selection.
Buying online – as I did at the end of the day for the releases I wanted – or downloading music has its attractions but it's a soul-less transaction, unlike the good feeling of buying direct in a record shop after a wander around to see what you fancy.
I suppose bookshop lovers may be feeling the same.
21 Fotheringay Road, Glasgow.