Saturday, 19 September 2009

can buy me love


I bought a Beatles album this week. It took me ages to find a shop that sold CDs. Borders on Charing Cross Road, a bookshop with music too, had run out of all copies.
HMV on Oxford Street was the first place I found where the remastered Beatles were on sale - which felt like going to Selfridges for a pint of milk.

Buying things from real places can be very thrilling, and I think the most exciting purchases of my life were certain records of my youth. The Small Faces' Ogden Nutgone Flake purchased in Golders Green in its cover of linked circles, designed like a tobacco tin; Uncle Meat by Frank Zappa, Tubular Bells and, before that, the Monkees, all bought from a shop on the Finchley Road whose name escapes me... each purchase promising hours of listening and all kinds of new style tips. A Beatles record was the ultimate, a opening a whole new chapter in youth culture, the baroque psychedelia of Sergeant Pepper bleached out by the cool spaciousness of the White Album.

Buying online has its pleasures too, but there are profound changes hitting our highstreets and I'm worried that too many interesting shops are closing.
We neeed public places to go to for cultural products, and we need the thrill of purchasing stuff that really matters to us. I'm quite impressed by the remastered album, but being able to re-live the immensity of owning it is the best bit.

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