Review: ‘Last Shop Standing: The Rise, Fall And Rebirth Of The Independent Record Shop’
Artists from Paul Weller to De La Soul and Dr. Dre have trawled through vinyl racks at record shops, searching for those obscure records to use as samples on their tracks. But as I saw in the documentary Last Shop Standing, this is starting to become impossible for anyone wishing to find non-mainstream music on vinyl – whether it be to sample, use in their DJ sets or simply to listen to at home. The independent record shop is dying out, or so we are told…
‘Last Shop Standing’ is split into three sections; the first showing the humble beginnings of independent record shops around the UK. From selling the first Elvis Presley track on 45rpm vinyl, through to the boom of 70’s punk and 80’s hip-hop, where kids would spend all day listening to new music personally recommended by the staff. We get to hear some of the fun stories from the shops managers about these booming times.
It then deals with the demise of record shops around the country; some of the stories that are told in the documentary are truly shocking. There were tales of record labels allowing supermarkets to undercut record shops to the underhanded deals of early chart reporting.
One poignant scene shows a 100 year old record shop closing its doors for the last time by the owner, who would have been retired many years ago but stayed for his love of the job.
The final part of the documentary focuses on the rebirth of the independent record shop, showing more people re-visiting them to find those elusive vinyl only singles and albums. The popularity has also risen thanks to B-boy and hip-hop communities who are digging deeper into the vinyl crates to find those rare breaks and beats.
‘Last Shop Standing’ should be an essential watch for anyone who grew up going to record shops or for those who want to explore the music world further deeper than what is online. These shops are a massive part of British music culture and this documentary further enhances the need for them to survive.
Words: Mark Searby (@Mark_Searby)