Counter Culture : Part 4

Hi everybody and welcome to a frosty 2013. How long has this winter being going on for? Since September I'd say. It needs to get it's hat and coat and make like a melted snowman! And it's not just the weather that's a tad on the gloomy side. Sadly there's been another death on the high street and it's looking pretty terminal for poor old HMV, the last major record shop chain in the country.

I can't say it comes as much of a surprise. HMV have been losing their mojo for the last ten years or so.

Since the music product became secondry to dvds and games you could see the writing on the wall!

Maybe Richard Branson could come to the rescue in his white hat and save a few flagship stores. The bearded one loves being a public hero and apparently he's got a few bob as well!

I found this rare clip of a very young Richard in a youth centre giving a girl advice about abortions.

I wonder if that's where he got the idea for the name of his company.Just a thought! There's also some interesting footage of his early mail order business in full swing and his views on cut price records.

It looks like record shops in general are going to be a more niche affair in the future. This wouldn't be a complete disaster as long as every town has somewhere for the more enlightened members of society to go to buy their music without having to go online. I strongly believe in the high street alternative as a place to go and touch and feel, (don't titter) and chat about music to like minded individuals.

I saw a great cult British film from 1969 at the NFT called 'I Start Counting'. It stars a teenage Jenny Agutter living in a typical english new town, stevenage probably it usually is. There's a scene halfway through the film that shows Jenny's character searching for her friend in the local record shop. About 9.30 minutes to be exact.This illustrates that even the most mundane of outposts in the united kingdom had groovy looking hang-outs where all the cool people could be found on a saturday morning.

If most record shop owners look to achieve this then there's good reason to be optimistic.

About the same time this film was being made Britain found her self in the middle of an ecconomic downturn, not helped by the Americans declining to lend any assistance in retaliation for Harold wilsons' government refusing to send British troops to Vietnam.(still, forgive and forget agh).

The early 70's was for many a period of austerity, hard times and general doom and gloom, (bit like now then?). The difference being back then we had glam rock and the mighty Slade in particular to cheer us all up. BBC4 recently screened a Slade night special with all manner of titbits from the black country boys. Looking over the classic footage it only went to reaffirm in my eyes what a great pop band they were and how much we could do with noddy and the lads giving us the old pursed lips and thumbs up from our t.v sets.

'Slade in flame', we know had some great tunes but there's much more to appreciate in there, not least dare I say it, their sartorial choices. Noddy's grandad tank top with scarf,(recently acquired by yours truly) Dave Hills' burgandy cord trousers with bomber jacket? Nice!

BBC4 is the best channel on tv. Fact! This week sees a new series based around the era of the classic album, and yes you guessed that's the 70's. I'm looking forward to Danny Bakers introduction which sets the scene. Having recently read Dannys' autobiography there's no one more qualified to wax lyrical on all things that glitter,the legions of grey coated Pink Floyd fans that waited in line for the first copies of Dark Side of the Moon to be sold and the joys of that icon of the age, the gatefold sleeve.

We are ladies and gentlemen in safe hands. Groove on!