10 Questions For… Graham Jones


Graham Jones, author of Last Shop Standing

Your book Last Shop Standing was published in 2009 (followed by the movie in 2012) and ends with the promising chapter “The Rebirth Of Record Stores”. How have things changed since then?

When I wrote LSS an independent record shop was closing every 2 days in the UK. Since then things have stabilised and we have more record shops than we had back in 2009 which is amazing.

Do you credit the vinyl revival as one of the main factors in the “rebirth“ of independent record stores?

Yes. It is the independent record shop that we go to buy vinyl. You are never going to see supermarkets rack vinyl next to the baked beans the way they have been able to with CDs.

How important is the Record Store Day? Do you think it creates new and repeat customers for record stores?

Record Store Day was the catalyst for the revival of the record shop. Last year there were over 400 exclusive releases and that has got people going back into record shops.

The CD becomes increasingly obsolete as there are almost no advantages when compared to a MP3 download. Do you think we will eventually be left with a two format market where only vinyl and downloads are available?

I think that is a long way down the line. CD sales will continue their steady decline whilst downloading and vinyl sales will continue to improve.

How important is it to actually own a record contrary to downloading individual tracks in regards to music perception?

It is like comparing instant coffee and fresh coffee, I like them both but if given the choice I prefer fresh coffee. Johnny Marr makes a couple of great points when we interviewd him. He said “vinyl looks better, it feels better, it is something to own and you treasure it”. He pointed out that when he listened to a record it was an experience similar to watching a film. When he went to bed that evening he would be able to remember putting the record on, the order the tracks were played in, getting up to turn the record over then listening to the other side. When he downloaded tracks he would be able to remember that he downloaded, but it would often just be a mish mash of memories and would not be able to recall the experience and the tracks he listened to.
For me I listen to CDs in the car, when finished I will toss it in the glove compartment or on the seat often not bothering to put it back in its case. I would never dream of throwing my vinyl across the floor when finished with it.

Which format is your favourite? (CD, download, LP, 7“single)

LP as I can immerse myself better in the listening experience

How often do you visit record stores aside from the times you go there “job-wise”?

I visit record shops every week through work and for pleasure. Every time I travel abroad I have to visit the record shops of that area.

Which is your favorite record store of all time and why?

I admire all people who run record shops; I do have a soft spot for Acorn Records in Yeovil as they have an 85 year old assistant called Mavis Slater who has had an amazing life in music retail. Her son was in Stackridge who were the band that opened the very first Glastonbury Festival.

Last Shop Standing will be the official film of the Record Store Day 2013 with a new edition of the film available in record stores only on the 20th of April. Can you give us any hints as to what the extra footage you have included will be?

It contains 75 minutes of extras including:
– an update since the film was made
– a visit to what we think is the most unusual record shop in the world.
– some comedy moments from record shops and anecdotes from the shops themselves
– full interviews with Paul Weller, Richard Hawley, Billy Bragg, Johnny Marr, Jo Good, Sid Griffin of the Long Ryders fame

Was it difficult to get people like Johnny Marr, Paul Weller or Richard Hawley to join the project?

No, surprisingly easy. They all came via the shops themselves. Johnny Marr was a customer of Kingbee and the owner Les put us in touch. Paul Weller shopped at Honest Jon’s and Alan the manager put us in touch. Richard Hawley was a regular in Record Collector in Sheffield and Barry the owner approached him for us. They all wanted to help as they appreciated that record shops had helped them early in their career and wanted to give something back.

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