The very last record shop in Teeside… another fragile part of our retail ecosystem captured in this clever documentary. I confess it has passed me by but then I don’t read any of the publications which have given it (universally good) coverage. So it was brilliant to stumble across it when it was shown in Sheffield last weekend at a pop-up screen (an abandoned Argos store amusingly enough) as part of the Tramlines music festival. I was busy sweating in the heat trying to finish off our own pop-up window display just three doors down (see below), otherwise I’d probably not have realised it was on.
The film documents the day to day life of Sound It Out Records in Teeside (owner Tom above having a crafty ciggie), part fly on the wall, part interview. Director Jeanie Finlay was brought up just a few miles away so none of this ‘Southerners looking at life’ type of stuff here. We get to hear the staff who run it and some of the oddball characters who frequent the place, for whom the shop has become a last refuge – somewhere to go, browse, indulge their hobby, chat or just hang out.
We started off laughing at some of the characters but the film sucked us in and cleverly turned this round, so before long we too were wondering what would happen to some of them if the shop ever were to close. One guy even discusses how he’s planned to have his vinyl melted down into a coffin when he dies, rather than have it sent to the charity stores. And we’re told there is a firm who does offer this very service.
It is mandatory viewing for anyone who still collects records, and who has spent much of their spare time in shops like this. So far screenings have been limited but you can buy it on DVD direct from the makers, rent it for screenings, and watch previews on their site.
Oh and a great soundtrack too!
The photo above shows Russell & The Wolves filmed doing a live in-store. Basically a Cramps tribute band in all but name (sorry guys – but I saw them live enough times to know!).
We must of course provide a link to Sound It Out as well, and add it to our list next time we’re heading up that way.
The screening was organised by Sheffield’s Magic Lantern Club who set up pop-up cinema events all over the city. You can check what they’re up to at their site. A great venture.