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This city owes so much to its battling record shops

FOR the past decade the doom-mongers have been predicting the death of the music industry and, by extension, the record shop, but, while things certainly haven't been easy for music retailers, plenty are still fighting the good fight.

Today marks another International Record Store Day, originally conceived as a 'two fingers' to the aforesaid Cassandras but which has grown in popularity as people gradually realised that paying a piddling amount for music on iTunes (whose payment rates to artists are worse than any record company shenanigans in the past, according to a veteran musician of my acquaintance) or simply stealing music on the internet, doesn't quite have the same feel as physically going into a shop and browsing away.

In fact, Garry O'Neill whose book Where Were You? charted Dublin youth culture down the decades, is working on another project which looks at the city's record shops down the decades.

The thing about these stores is that they were more than just places to buy records. I received a good chunk of my musical education hanging around Golden Discs in Liffey Street and recall manager Gerry Kenny banishing a group of us one evening in 1977 as we were clogging up the shop waiting for Television's Marquee Moon album to arrive.

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Punks used to pose and try to look menacing outside Advance Records on South King Street, metallers congregated in the Sound Cellar, dance-heads favoured Abbey Discs, you'd get any number of psychobillies and Goths lurking around Base X and Comet while everyone made their way to the various locations of Freebird at some point.

Friendships and bands were formed out of these Saturday afternoon promenades around the city centre music outlets – the Radiators From Space were hatched in the aforementioned Golden Discs in Liffey Street. So, do yourself a favour today and go for a stroll through the town's record shops. They're a part of our city's musical landscape.

> George Byrne


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