Sister Ray – Soon To Be Gone?

Sister Ray - End of an Indpendent Era?

Sister Ray - End of an Indpendent Era?

Another of London’s rare independent record shops is feeling the one-two punch of illegal downloads and the credit crunch…  Sister Ray this week announced that it was heading into administration. Since the news washed in a few days ago I’ve been trying to pin down why exactly it saddens me to such an extent. I mean, there’s bigger indie shops in London (Rough Trade East), HMV and subsidiary Fopp have reduced their vinyl prices to more or less compete, and a fuller range is stocked by online funboys Norman and Boomkat

I guess it’s the ever diminishing experience of being surrounded by good music, and people who love good music. Not that I ever spoke to many people in there, I once recommended a chap TV On The Radio’s Desperate Youth And Bloodthirsty Babes as he had a crisis of confidence at the counter but that’s about it. I have, however, got some of my most treasured records from there. It always annoys and astonishes my girlfriend how I will take a good look in the windows of Sister Ray before heading into it’s dark and familiar interior, only to reap more frustration in the haphazard way I’d take to browsing their racks.

Of course the store is not yet bound for closure, the owner is hopeful that the store’s reputation will find it speedy investment. Nor is it perfect, their second hand selection is limited and often over-priced. The offers are never that extensive or special. The pricing is average. But, and it is a big but, they were independent. Run by folks who value selection and variation over profit lines and charts. They’ll be a big miss for me, the particular location having stared at me since 1995 and the cover of Oasis’ (What’s The Story) Morning Glory, the shop hosted my first London record shopping visits when I moved there in late-2001. Hopefully they’ll manage to pull it out of the fire – it’s a long way over to Rough Trade!

Velvet Underground – Sister Ray
Joy Division – Sister Ray (Live)

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