This week’s news of HMV calling in the administrators saddened me, and brought memories flooding back of purchases from years gone by.
So, this week, I present a list of the greatest things I ever bought in HMV*
• Steps – 5,6,7,8: Whenever anyone claims the first record they ever bought was something even vaguely credible, I instantly assume they are lying.
Nobody’s first record was Boys and Girls by Blur. Nobody toddled to the shop with their pocket money to buy Blondie’s Heart of Glass.
Even in the ’60s, when it must have been fairly hard to buy anything that wouldn’t at least gain a kitsch charm over the next half-century, I don’t believe your first record considerations branched beyond the Sound of Music soundtrack or Surfin’ Bird by The Trash men. So it is with no shame and a proud heart that I tell you the first record I ever bought was 5,6,7,8 by Steps. It was on cassette (99p in the first week of release, as all children of the ’90s are wont to wail during quieter moments in the pub), and we performed a dance to it in year-five assembly.
• The Tamperer – If You Buy This Record (Your Life Will Be Better): The genius of this CD – for I had progressed to CDs by then, was that, once you had bought it, you would have no idea whether or not it had worked, for you didn’t know what your life would have been like had you not. It was the Schrödinger’s Cat of millennial Europop. I performed a dance to this one in the church hall.
• The Strokes – Is This It: And it WAS it, at the time and for quite a while afterwards. It remained it, until every skinny-jeaned, big-haired indie ensemble had melted into one and we all ran out of energy to work out which was the real deal and went back to listening to songs from adverts and cab drivers’ radios instead. Even now, the opening chords of that album still make me feel adolescent. I performed dances to it, but only in grimy basement bars in my head.
• The Chronicles of Narnia DVD boxset: Not the whizzy, CGI faun-fests of recent years, mind, but the proper stuff. The good stuff. The 1988 version where Aslan is a dusty puppet with big glass eyes, and Lucy has buck teeth and the Turkish Delight was almost certainly from Safeway. It was bought while I was at uni, in it a fit of nostalgia for old times. Times when everything was... Well, not necessarily nicer, but different. Which I suppose is how we’ll feel about HMV now, too.
* For the purpose of this article we will pretend they were all in HMV, when the real mourning should also be distributed between Woolworths, Our Price and, in moments of supreme extravagance, the upstairs bit of WH Smith.