Stuck in vinyl

Life I was trapped in HMV Liverpool today, which is an over dramatic description of what happened but please, as ever, let me explain. The need for an access from Church Street through to the new Liverpool One shopping area has led to the closure of the age old HMV store so that it can be gutted, scooped out and an atrium access put in its place. It was truly a shame to see this cathedral of a shop close - it was the place I bought my first record when I discovered music.*

Even though a disappointing three weeks of employment there in the mid to late nineties meant that I didn't go in right through the millennium, recently its been invaluable, particularly because of its mammoth music back catalogue collection with its capacity to surprise - every now and then I'd find out that a favourite singer from my youth still had a career. Plus the classical music section with its air conditioning and a little light music was a place of tranquility in this crazy world.

Anyway, its new temporary store opened at the bottom of Bold Street in what's still called the old gas show room, even though they moved out years and years ago and a succession of temporary discount stores have been in its place since. One Christmas there was even a book shop there that charged by the pound. It's a tiny space and I wanted to know if it was still browsable or if I'd be spending the next two years until their next shop opens in Liverpool One drifting through the Virgin Megastore instead.

Opening day then and as I entered someone thrust a bunch of flyers in my hand telling me as much. A band you might be big in the future had been hired for the opening but I thought they would have done their work by four in the afternoon. Apparently not - a queue of apparent fans twisted down the hill outside nearly straying into the road of Ranleigh Street at the bottom. Perhaps I'd be in and out by …

Dvds on the ground floor, cds in the basement which is becoming the norm in most 'record' shops what with the former massively outselling the latter. I shuffled about nearly bumping into the display stands. The shop is small and conspicuously so, although they've crammed the stock to the rafters and still left enough room for a giant plasma screen hooked up to a Playstation 3 show the trailer for Casino Royale on a loop. I considered buying a copy of The Hustler but then didn't. Someone was walking around with the official chain mascot -- the one that appears on the posters. Poor mutt looks tired.

City FM (local radio) were in attendance and a DJ was shouting excitedly into a microphone and it becomes apparent that the band are about to arrive. I decide to pop downstairs to glance at the cds then hop out quickly. At the stairwell I'm face with two men who are three times my size in both directions who look like they hand handle themselves. One of them tells me it's closed.
"But", I say, "I want to look at cds."
"Fifteen minutes."
I step away and after hanging about for a moment for the exit. Yet another human monolith is blocking the way.
"You have to wait inside - they're cutting the tape."
I look across and a piece of tape is indeed strewn across the entrance. I am, in point of fact, trapped in HMV.

Eventually the band arrive. We can hear, through the front window, the crowd cheer. By now the DJ is outside and ready to talk to the band, whose name still escapes me.
"Are you happy to be here?"
"Yeah. Hay!"
"So you're going to be playing inside."
"First time we've heard about it, but it's better than simply sitting there. We are musicians after all."
Charismatic and sarcastic (?). They'll go far. The fans cheer twice. Once for the cameras (there were cameras!?!), the tape's cut and the crowd flood out of captivity. Outside, the queue is fighting over a box full of goody bags until its on the floor and being trampled on. Perhaps I'll go back soon and buy that dvd after all.

* Notice the way I tried to sound like Nick Hornby here. It sounds less impressive if I tell you that actually it was Five Star's Silk and Steel and a Star Trek sound effects album. I'm not embarrassed. Really.

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