As part of his preparation for this year’s GCSE English Language exams, Orson wrote about an issue close to his heart. If you don’t already care about record shops, well, that’s all about to change…

Record Shops Forever

A dark, unlit world. We all wake up to go to work and go home. Everything is grey. A world devoid of individuality. A bottomless pit.

The colossal, callous companies have crept into our fun, fabulous, light-filled world and they intend to rip it apart, tear it to shreds, for the crinkle of cold, hard cash.

But we will not allow it. Why? Because it would be a world without… record shops. The happy place of people with strange tattoos and funky beards everywhere. It may seem like a strange thing to glamourise – cramped corridors, with music your phone could find in an instant, but it is much more than this, I assure you. It is the building site of dreams – pure effervescent nostalgia. Walking into this hidden den of culture for the first time, your reality rocked by the chromatic kaleidoscope? And not to mention the smell – the strange familiarity everyone knows but can’t describe. This is why we must protect our record shops.

Did you know that 540 record shops have shut down in the UK in the past five years? That means thousands of enthusiastic employees were left out on the frontlines to fend for themselves. In the same year, Amazon’s music sales soared enormously – these thoughtless thieves are stealing our memories, the fun, the joy the record shops effortlessly instil into us.

Do you remember your first trip to the record shop? I do. Squeezing through the narrow corridors. Flicking clumsily through the myriad of musical mysteries I’d never heard of, and never did again. The inexplicably dim lights and their warm, comforting safe glow. The immense mortification of knocking over my first record (I still am) and the hurried amble for the door, making sure to look cool, calm and collected. You can never know why you would want to keep going back until you experience it for yourself.

Imagine a world with no one trying to slow you down. This, over everything, is the ultimate goal for many. But, actually, it’s quite hard to imagine. We’ve been conditioned all our lives to follow one path, one route to success – the ‘only’ route. This is very much the same in the record industry. Easiness or happiness? Money or jo? These are the dilemmas faced by the owners as the internet assimiliates their livelihoods.

But maybe it’s your mum’s birthday tomorrow and you can’t drive the long, perilous route into town for that CD, and the effervescent glisten of same day delivery is calling your name – that’s okay. But I ask you for one thing.

To consider the future. We don’t want one option, this ‘platform’ more akin to a prison. We don’t want a wasteland, grey as far as the eye can see.

But we won’t. Why? Because the community – our community – is stronger than anything some ‘omnipotent’ company has to clumsily throw at us. The record shops. Not just mine or yours, but all – are forever.

Nothing is going to silence the shops. The music speaks louder than any of us.


Orson used the GLASTONBURY structure explained right here.