WHEN I first heard the bleak news that HMV was headed towards administration, flashbacks of bored Saturday afternoons and playing hide and seek behind the XXL Nirvana T-shirts flooded back to me.
Having always been a bit of a die-hard music fan, I spent a large proportion of my teenage youth there with friends trawling through CD’s and blasting out The Smiths via super-sized headphones until I became five years closer to developing tinnitus.
So I was immensely saddened to hear about HMV’s irrevocable decline, one which has made me question whether or not our need to have everything right here, right now, in the moment, could be a factor in the death of so many of our traditional retailers.
Although this weekend HMV suitor Hilco locked in talks with landlords in the hope of saving up to 140 of the 220 music shops, I feel like HMV can no longer stand a chance in the midst of our generally impatient society.
In today’s fast-paced lifestyle, where the mere thought of waiting in a queue to buy an album seems preposterous when we can download it in seconds with the click of a button, it’s no wonder that HMV has almost been given the death sentence.
Unlike the 90s, when tablets, Blackberry’s and internet shopping were virtually unheard of, HMV wasn’t just a shop, but also a hangout spot for like minded youngsters who would bond over Bob Marley posters and obsessions with Take That.
HMV was killed by YouTube, Spotify and that oh, so glorious Amazon.co.uk. It was killed by Tubidy mobile and Sunday afternoon CD and DVD trolley dashes around the supermarket. It was also — dare I say — killed by illegal downloading, despite today’s excessively threatening piracy laws.
We no longer need shops like these to interact with other humans or to discover our inner dub-step fan. We just don’t have the time to arduously paw through discs for that Spice Girls album that we’d end up so desperately trying to hide from our collections.
Today it would make more sense just to secretly buy it off the internet, whilst amusing ourselves with other important pastimes, like spying on Facebook—or snickering at Carol Vorderman’s latest fashion faux pas on the Mail Online whilst simultaneously discovering how many Percy Pigs we can scoff without developing type 2 Diabetes.
The sad matter is, we are no longer patient. Patience has been destroyed. In this day and age, patience is waiting the entire two minutes for our instant cook porridge to heat up. Patience is haranguing the bar tender to have our wine ready when we slide into our booths. We can no longer afford to be patient when it comes to technology.
All those CD and DVD collections which we once prided on and smugly brought our friends round to glimpse at the age of fifteen no longer has the cool factor like it used to. After all, why would it be when we’ve all got iPods the size of our thumb to store entire albums on?
In some ways it is baffling to think how HMV has managed to survive so long up until now in the first place. It is worrying to see some of our most loved and well known stores succumb to the retail wasteland.
However perhaps if the prices were a bit more reasonable, and the internet hadn’t become so convenient, then perhaps HMV wouldn’t be in this situation. For my teenage self I hope it can survive. I guess we’ll just have to use our last remnants of patience to wait and find out.