Record store daydream
Our pick of the fictional stores in which we’d love to while away our browsing hours
We’ve picked out seven fictional record shops (and one that used to exist) from books and movies whose doors we wish we were able to saunter through. Championship Vinyl – High Fidelity Where else to begin if not Championship Vinyl? Its owner and employees, based in London in Nick Hornby’s novel and Chicago in the John Cusack film, come across as being your archetypal music snobs, the kind who’d sneer when you pick up the latest Arcade Fire record – but we suppose that means they’d at least stock a healthy array of vinyl. Empire Records – Empire Records Empire Records is a genuinely bad film, so it stands to reason it’s become a cult classic since its release – fans even celebrate Rex Manning Day in honour of the fictional ’80s pop icon who plays an in-store at Empire, on 8 April each year. The plot of the film is decent if all-too-familiar: the indie fighting for its life in the wake of a megastore opening up nearby. And the soundtrack, featuring artists as diverse as Edwyn Collins and GWAR, suggests some eclectic stock control. Chelsea Drugstore – A Clockwork Orange The Chelsea Drugstore on London’s Kings Road did actually exist - this particular scene from Stanley Kubrick’s screen adaptation of Anthony Burgess’s dystopian novel was filmed there. But we want to visit it as it was imagined by Kubrick: a neon-lit vinyl mecca, where one might pick up some lovely, lovely Ludwig van and a pair of devotchkas with whom to listen. Seymour’s garage sale – Ghost World Ghost World
was based on a graphic novel of the same name, but director Terry Zwigoff created aging alt-cool protagonist Seymour as a way of getting the music he wanted into the film: “The first sign of trouble started when the studios would say, ‘Oh, so what’s this film about, teenage girls? Oh that’s good, we can do a great pop
“A neon-lit mecca, where one might pick out some lovely, lovely Ludwig van”
soundtrack.’ So I put in [Seymour], who collects old music, and that was an excuse to use that music.” Essentially, what better way to buy 1920s jazz records than from Steve Buscemi in a garage? Koop’s record store – Human Traffic “I got the Tarzan and Jane of jungle just swung in on the vine this morning, mate. I’m telling ya, this could turn Hare Krishna into a badboy.” Were there a What Hi-fi? Award for most entertaining fictional record store owner, Koop would win hands down. The sad part: overcharging £20 for a 12-inch is no longer a joke. TRAX – Pretty In Pink
For those of a certain vintage, chatting up Molly Ringwald at a new-wave record store would be the epitome of the perfect Saturday afternoon. If we were to visit now, we would hope those choice ’80s outfits had become mandatory uniform. The ‘Delfonics’ store – Jackie Brown The scene is only seconds long, there’s no vinyl to be seen and as far as we can tell the store stocks only The Delfonics… but a store stocking the works of a band so pivotal to a Tarantino classic must be worth a visit. There is vinyl spattered around the rest of the film so, you know, any excuse to rewatch Jackie Brown. Tower Records – Hannah and Her Sisters Yes, we’re aware Tower Records existed before this particular flick, but never have its wares been so appealing as when Woody Allen is thumbing through them. We’d want it to be the New York branch, and in this particular scene.
Whether it’s in London or the Chicago of the film Championship Vinyl is, for us, the place to be