DVD Review: Last Shop Standing
Don't just stand there, go out to your local!
Last Shop Standing
(Dir Graham Jones)
Based on the book by Popular Records' Graham Jones, Last Shop Standing is an ode to the independent record shop. As it follows Jones around the country to some of the UKs most loved high street institutions it tells the story of the rise, the fall and the (slight) rebirth of the independent record shop.
Before you go 'oh it's a load of people complaining that times have changed', it's not. It's a documentary about the importance that these shops have for music (new and old) and the resonance it has with people. People who remember the first time they picked up an album with their pocket money from their local – you're not particularly going to remember that moment when you downloaded that MP3 off your dad's credit card with much fondness, are you?
Compared to the book, it's much more linear in the sense it sticks to talking 'industry' a lot, the anecdotes are largely lost as is Jones' humour, but as a brief introduction to what is largely the bonkers world of music it's a key watch for even the slightest of indie geek.
For those of you who are sick of being told that it's YOUR fault no one buys music anymore (because of piracy etc), this briefly explains the - in all honesty - shit tactics used by the majors throughout pop music history, and even now, along with dodgy tax avoidance from online retailers which have been the real reasons for the demise of shops such as these. Heartwarmingly though, the rise in huge artists such as Adele coming from labels such as XL shows some promise. These acts not only bankroll those labels to put out niche product, but also raises over the counter purchases for these shops to stock them.
One heart breaking moment occurs when Keith Hudson closes the doors of the 100 year old C E Hudson's shop in Chesterfield for the last time - while the highstreet is dominated by Debenhams and Tesco's. If there's one thing we should take from this film, it's not just about the sadness of the last record shop standing, it's about the last independent shop, full stop, standing. Lest we want the high street to look and be as monotamous as say, the charts currently sound (though it is arugably already this), we should probably start being a bit more proactive in supporting the people who can deliver us something exciting and fresh, before we have to just accept what we're given by people who probably don't care.