life | Personal Musings

The end of an era

As I opened up the local paper last night I was greeted with some sad news . Our local iconic record shop was closing down. Once a thriving, pumping business, the digital age of downloading music has taken it’s toll.

Although this may not seem a big deal to city folk, where shops come and go, but here in the ‘sticks’ it’s a big deal. The current owner and manager has been doing so for over 30 years. He’s as iconic as the store itself. The staff who worked there weren’t just casuals, they were there for the long haul; stints of 17 years and 12 years. But now they are closing their doors not only on the store, but a chapter of their lives. As we are.

I have fond memories our store  ‘Disclocation’. I remember the excitement of my first purchase. I was about eight and Mum took me up to buy my first two cassettes.  From the moment I walked in to the store I was captivated by the vibe and electricity; I was hooked and my love of music was born. Growing up in a small town my childhood was I guess kind of sheltered, but wandering around in the music store was like travelling around the world. Artists of every kind, every genre. Unique, wild, beautiful, even a little  scary (KISS to an 8 year old was kinda scary). My purchases that day? Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’ and Madonna’s self titled debut album. And I swear I still know every word of every song on those albums.

I would spend a lot of my tweens and teenage years saving my pocket money and expanding my music collection. I remember spending what seemed like hours wandering around the record store flipping through the different genres, gazing at the cover art, admiring the posters on the walls, exposing myself to music not heard on the radio such as punk and soul. With no brothers and sisters myself, Disclocation was like my big brother introducing me to classics such as Fleetwood Mac, Led Zepplin and the Rolling Stones.

In 1990 I saved up and purchased my first Compact Disc from the store. “Nothing compares to… the Hits of 1990”. A compilation album with songs such as Paula Abdul ‘Opposites Attract’, Faith No More ‘Epic’, Roxette ‘It must’ve been love’ and of course Sinead O’Connor ‘Nothing compares 2 U’. Oh those were the days! I was in love with this new technology of the CD, and ran home to load it in to my chunky PYE CD player amazed at how you could skip through to the next track. And of course no chewed tapes, now only scratches.

In the early 1990’s my parents owned a gift store literally 20 meters around the corner from our record store. I spent more time there than I did at our shop and certainly more money. A few years ago the store relocated to smaller premises, the writing was on the wall. Gone were the days of saving up your pocket money and heading down to buy a record, or in my day, a cassette or a CD. Now with the slide of your finger you can purchase a song for $1.69, and be listening to it in seconds.

Now, I love my iPod just as much as the next person, and I too am guilty of moving with the times and downloading a single song at a time, but I still hold some sentimental values. When I do splash out and buy and album I do just that; buy something I can physically hold in my hand. So I head to the record store.  I’ve bought four albums this year P!ink ‘The truth about love’, Matchbox Twenty ‘North’, Fleetwood Mac ‘Greatest Hits’ and Bon Jovi ‘What about now’.

But unfortunately I’m the minority. Sentimental values are less regarded these days. As the Bob Dylan classic goes the times they are a changin’ the world is a different place now. We want our music fast and compressed. We don’t care about cover art, learning about the artist and lyrics from the inside booklet, and today’s generation haven’t experienced the feeling of something in their hands. The smell of the vinyl, the feel of winding the cassette, or taking care to caress the CD into the player without scratching it. Those days are gone.

It’s the end of an era, now only memories remain.


Do you have fond memories of your first purchase from the record store?