The Rise, Fall and Rebirth of The Independent Record Shop
This well-meaning but ultimately go-nowhere documentary takes its title and cue from the fatuous, flabby and poorly written book of the same name. Less a waste of time (given this is only 50 minutes) the DVD struggles to really say, do or show anything. And yet we have interviews with Billy Bragg, Richard Hawley, Johnny Marr, Nerina Pallot, Paul Weller and Norman Cook.
The argument seems to be that there were record stores once – and because of that there should always be record stores. It’s flimsy. And is only an attempt to justify the musty old stores that no one visits beyond a certain type (I know, we smell our own).
Some slight context is offered by looking at the way the chart numbers were rigged by reps, but hinting that the big labels wanted to remove the vinyl fetishism so as to sell in bigger numbers to broader subcultures.
Buying music is a privilege – an extravagance, a luxury. Music fans and collectors will tell you that they need to do it, that it’s their life, their passion, they are lost without it. But it comes down to the value you place on it – if you want to pay for music and the experience of listening to music brings with it a commitment to, and interest in, browsing, banter and other community-hub aspects then you will do it. You will make that choice. And you will live that life.
Having a documentary plead with you – when, if you’re watching it you’re already likely to be invested in the record store culture in some way – seems redundant, cloying and blinkered.