The steady decline of the record shop has been felt by music lovers everywhere and it’s a tough story to listen to, but Last Shop Standing tells the story well.
Graham Jones, the author of the book by the same name, introduces you to the faces behind the counters as well as the musicians who made these shops their homes, including Peter Weller, Richard Hawley, Clint Boon and Billy Bragg.
The history of the record industry is played out on screen – from its boom in the 60s through the chart-hyping in the 80s to the decline we’ve all watched with sad hearts. But this documentary is more than a journey down memory lane, back to the ‘good ol’ days of the record shops’. It leaves you with a sense of hope as the record shops adapt to the changing industry and the younger generation discover a new found love of the physical joy that are records.
There is a real sense of community and a drive to keep that community alive, which makes this documentary so moving. One audience member stood up during the Q&A session after the screening to declare that as an independent record shop owner struggling with the decision to close down and admit defeat, he could now “never in a million years” consider shutting up shop after watching the film. I, myself, have decided that the turntable I’ve always wanted but never bought is a definite must-have and already started my treasure hunt through London’s hidden shops.
The documentary is released today on DVD and will be touring the UK’s record shops and art centres throughout the month.
The article originally appeared in Musika.