HMV is back and the beautiful feel of vinyl is in my hands again
The reopening of the store on Grafton Street yesterday brought back sweet memories for 'Sunday Independent' photographer Tony Gavin
I REMEMBER it like it was yesterday – the jaunt into town on the 51 bus from Clondalkin on Saturday mornings in summer to check out the latest releases – on vinyl, of course.
With money in my pocket from a part-time job as a teenage lounge boy, I made a beeline to Pat Egan's Sound Cellar on Nassau Street to check out the new albums – and check out the girls who liked to hang around the record shops.
Pat himself was usually behind the counter.
If he knew you, he would let you have the latest Rory Gallagher album a few days in advance of the official release date
I carried it around under my arm – a badge of honour. I still remember too, the first album I ever bought – Let It Be by The Beatles.
It came as a boxed set with a glossy booklet full of photographs for (punts) £2.10.
At the time I was earning about £10 per week bringing drinks to tables, picking up the empties and cleaning the ashtrays in the Central Bar.
Nowadays, a vinyl record could cost you between €20 to €35, so I suppose in real terms music has got cheaper.
Forgive the nostalgia kick and the hankering for the full rich sound that you can only get on vinyl, but I'm not alone.
Yesterday, more than 100 punters queued outside the HMV store in Grafton Street for its grand re-opening after a year-long hiatus.
They were looking for the bargain LPs, DVDs and PlayStations on offer to the early arrivers.
Jemma McCabe from Drimnagh was presented with a free PlayStation 4 by store manager Se Kelly for being first in line after queueing since 11am on Good Friday.
Callum Sally from Lucan and Leah Arkins from Castleknock were hoping to get a PlayStation 4 for €300, saving themselves €100.
Inside the store, business was brisk. In the choice vinyl section, the price of albums had been reduced by 40 per cent for the day. There were middle-aged collectors like myself and a heartening smattering of younger music fans who have discovered that what you hear on a download is not the same as what you hear on a vinyl LP.
HMV CEO Larry Howard said it was good to be back in Grafton Street and even in the era of the download generation, physical sales of CDs, DVDs and games still account for 70 per cent of all sales.
Recently, Tower Records moved its flagship store to a new larger premises in Dawson Street, which includes a large vinyl section upstairs.
Meanwhile, Record Store Day was in full swing in the independent record shops dotted around the city, with special vinyl releases and bargains in Spin Dizzy in the Georges Street Arcade, Freebird Records in Wicklow Street and The Rage in Fade Street.
And guess what? the Sound Cellar in Nassau Street is still going strong. Happy Days.