there's a big empty shop in Clayton Square

57. Beryl Sebastian

Liverpool Life Since VHS is dead, I recently had another clear out to make some space. I was in Zavvi at Liverpool One early this morning looking for dvd replacements and as I bought Elizabeth and Sunshine, I asked the sales clerk if she knew if the chain was safe, she told me that they'd not heard anything since Christmas Eve.

I thought about her when I arrived home and heard that Zavvi had just announced they were closing a number of its stores and attempting to find a buyer for the others. I guessed since the Liverpool One store was new and under favourable rent conditions that it would the Clayton Square shop for the chop and as the Liverpool Echo's reporting that is the case with a loss of twenty-eight jobs. So her job is safe for now.

The Zavvi in Clayton Square and the Virgin Megastore before it have been in place since the mid-nineties, though my memory is faulty so it might be even earlier than that. I'm less sentimental about this closure than the Odeon on London Road. I have stories; when I was unemployed in '97 standing or sitting at the video screens, headphones on, watching whole new episodes of Star Trek because I couldn't afford the videos. Buying Eva Katler's EP. Wondering when the strawberry milkshake stain would be cleaned from the light inside the lift.

It's the loss of the chain we should really be worried about. With Woolworths gone too, and WH Smith cutting back, it leaves just HMV as the major music and dvd retailer in the high street, which puts the supermarkets in an even greater position to dictate the kind of music going on general release, in other words the kind of thing which can be sold to as wide a market as possible, particularly if its sung by Katie Melua or Coldplay.

Now I know it's partly my fault. As well as actually liking Dido, I now buy most of anything online; it's cheaper, sometimes it'll turn up before the release date, the entire back catalogue is potentially available not what's in store or could be ordered and it's simply more convenient. Yet, there should still be a place for a physical retailer on the high street that isn't Tesco with its limited selection. Sometimes its good to walk into a shop and not know what you want and having the tangible object in your hand.

Neither of the films I bought today were replacements in the end. They were impulse buys which are probably the best kind. I watched Sunshine as soon as I got home which is obviously something I couldn't do if I'd ordered it from Amazon. It'll be that delay which means that in the end HMV at least should survive and when the economy picks up another music retailer might move in to fill the gap.

But for now, there's a big empty shop in Clayton Square for the first time in years. I can't imagine what'll move in, though I suspect it'll be another coffee shop. Liverpool certainly hasn't got enough of those...

1 comment:

  1. A side issue, but the Virgin Megastore opened in late '94. I went off to university in the September and it wasn't there; came back for Christmas and it was. And now it's not again. :(