Every true music obsessive knows well the joys of the indie music store - flicking through endless vinyl and CDs; being dragged gleefully off course by some obscure gem you had no idea existed but just have to hear; working out exactly how much money you can spend without completely bankrupting yourself (or is that just me?).
The archetypal record store may be a sadly rarer sight these days, and certainly doesn't provide the lifeline for music fans it once did, but these havens are still important. Crucially, in the era of downloading and file-sharing, they offer, along with gig going, the tangible experience of being part of some sort of community, a subset of people who will gladly stand for hours rummaging through plastic disks. We still need them, and they need us.
A new film takes a look at the role of the indie record in 21st century Britain. Last Shop Standing: The Rise, Fall and Rebirth of the Independent Record Shop, as the title suggests, acknowledges how much the number of record stores has decreased since their heyday in the 70s and 80s, but takes a more optimistic view than some of those that have come before it.
The film, inspired by the book of the same name by Graham Jones, features talking-head contribution from a host of notable musicians including Johnny Marr, Paul Weller, Billy Bragg and Richard Hawley. Directed by Pip Piper, tries to answer the alarming question of why, on average, three record stores are closing per week in the UK. It looks back at the history of the record store, the highs and the lows, and celebrates it continuing relevance to music fans across the UK.
Last Shop Standing was shot between December 2011 and June 2012, visiting 28 independent record shops the length and breadth of the UK, speaking to their owners, capturing the stories of these culturally hallowed music spaces. It's sad to think of the last indie record store standing along. As Johnny Marr says: "The independent record shops are true gems of our culture. Who would want them thrown away?"