Wednesday, September 22, 2010
His Master's Voice (HMV) is a Real Record Store
HMV is the last of the mega-record stores. Gone from London are Tower Records, Virgin Records and Borders Books & Music. HMV is willing to stick it out with two locations on Oxford Street and a much smaller location near Piccadilly Circus.
The feeling of browsing the aisles, flipping through CDs and admiring unusual covers is now a rare experience. With the advent of the internet and the heavily discounted merchandise online, it was inevitable that at least one of these chains would fall. Before the internet it was a treat to visit such records stores as these in London and find those ultra-rare British or European releases.
However times have changed. Even I have to admit I checked out prices of UK releases online before I left home to be sure I'm not overpaying at retail. This is something I suggest to avoid the impulse shopping that can get expensive at London prices. If you have a smart phone with international data roaming, you can do the same whilst shopping.
Today I visited the larger of the two locations on Oxford Street. Most of the CDs are located on the ground and lower levels. DVD and other media occupy the upper levels and other portions of the store. Since mainstream music can be found at home, I stuck to an adult contemporary repertoire and managed to find the latest UK-only releases by London stage actress Kerry Ellis, John Barrowman and Westlife on sale. Considering a single CD in London can cost as much at £16 (US$25), HMV had many titles priced between £2 to £10 including the ones I purchased on this day.
This Oxford Street location is opened Mon-Sat 9am-8:30pm (closes Thu 9pm); Sun 11:30am-6pm. More info at hmv.com.
By the way I couldn't help myself and visited the Oxford Circus location during the past weekend (pictured below). This second location also on Oxford Street is open during the same hours.