The Old Lady and the Record Shop

Record shops are never busy; they are the domain of that rare oxymoronic creature, the cool-nerd. Each time the door opens in a record shop, it is an event; music escapes out into the world, a person gets sucked inside.

On the road that leads from the Old Town to the rundown housing estates is Euphoria, a specialist dance vinyl retailer situated amongst the kebab shops, massage parlours and auto-repair shops. The door swings open and an old lady enters, determinedly dragging a tartan shopper behind her. She has odd earrings; it is not clear if this is through choice or senility. Her lips are painted carefully in a colour a little too close to purple. There are two other people in the shop; a man sat on a bar stool behind the counter, staring with twitching eyes at a computer screen, and a hooded figure that despite the baggy folds of fabric gives the impression of being bony, angular. He is flicking rapidly through the vinyl in the Psy-trance section and wearing headphones that emit a high-pitched chirrup; another layer of snares to the jump-up jungle that shakes from the shop’s speakers.

The old lady pushes past the hooded figure assertively, but with a smile glued to her face. She knows that ‘Excuse me’ would stand no chance. After passing several metal racks of records that seem to loom over her, she reaches the counter. She feels like she has just climbed through the asshole of the future; it was most unpleasant.

The hooded figure turns off his iPod but leaves his headphones in. The old lady is about to speak to the owner – this has got to be worth a listen, he thinks, lifting out a record to examine the label more closely. The owner, leaning nonchalantly on the counter, straightens himself only slightly. From then on in, the angular figure only catches odd phrases:

“Woolies – shut down. HMV – too confusing. Asda – too bloody big. […] Song off that advert. Red car … hills. […] Sounds like a black fella. Lovely deep voice… Treacle…. Lovely…. Just lovely. Do you have it?”

The owner hesitates before shaking his head. He somehow knew how sad it would be to watch this old lady so purposeful and confident, deflate so suddenly. Then something happens. Almost as an afterthought, the owner says something to her whilst tapping at the keyboard. He then slowly turns the screen round towards her. It is the YouTube home page. The angular figure presses play on his iPod as the owner begins to explain how the website works. The old woman then proceeds to shake her head over and over. After ten minutes, her face suddenly stretches taught in a huge beaming grin and she raises a finger defiantly. The owner writes something down on a piece of paper and hands it to her, smiling as if he was being photographed handing over a prize cheque. She takes it, puts it in her purse with a pat, then scurries out, forgetting her tartan shopper.

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Tom Spooner

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