Now that’s NOT what I call music (Vol 1) ...

Paul McCabe
Paul McCabe

Ever asked a question in a shop that’s been met with a look of stony derision?

I stumbled across an article the other the day from a website called ‘I Hate Working In Retail’.

The writer had worked in a record shop (remember those?) and he and his colleagues had kept a book where they would log all the stupidest questions they were asked by customers.

Some of the lengthy list included Do you have the Beatles Salt and Pepper Hearts Club? Do you have CDs for turntables? I’m looking for a Country singer. The last name is ‘Redding’. I think the first name is ‘Otis’”

And then there was the man who returned to the store 10 minutes after purchasing an Elvis DVD complaining that it wouldn’t play in his car’s CD player.

Keeping a book of such questions may seen like a cruel thing to do; the act of a sneery, judgemental record shop assistant who looks down on customers with an inferior musical knowledge to theirs and, as they will ALWAYS think, a poorer taste in music.

The reason I enjoyed the article so much is that for eight years I was Mr Sneery, judgemental record shop assistant, scowling in the face of people who think Otis Redding is a country singer. Literally.

Have you seen High Fidelity? Jack Black’s insufferably pompous record shop character had nothing on me. Ask for a Take That album you’d get a sigh and a look of pity, Simply Red got a snort of derision, whilst an innocent request for Texas, whose gazillion-selling ‘White on Blonde’ album I particularly detested and was subjected to more times than I care to remember, could result in all out laughter.

Speaking of films, some of you of a certain age may have seen a film called Empire Records set in another record shop where Liv Tyler and her impossibly good looking buddies set up for the day by high-fivin’ and dancing their way around the shop to a tune of someone’s choosing.

That would never happen, trust me. In reality we’d trudge in, grunt at each other, complain about something then moan that the CD that someone else had put on was “crap”. No all-for-one camaraderie going on there.

On the occasions that they let me out of the stockroom and loose on the customers I too had my fair share of entirely innocent, yet infuriating to a music snob, questions: Do you have that song by that guy? “When’s Gary Brownlow’s solo album come out?” and “Is this the CD by her from ‘Soldier, Soldier?” asked a female holding a CD with ‘Denise Welch from ‘Soldier, Soldier’ in large letters on the cover. Snigger.

I left in 2002 which, coincidentally, was just before the whole Pop Idol/X Factor explosion which was probably for the best. Westlife had seriously tested my patience. Gareth Gates and Will Young I fear may have tipped me over the edge.

I remain an appalling music snob (or the way I look at it, a brilliant one) but someone’s got to do it, don’t they?

Giving looks of stony derision on behalf of people who (correctly) hate George Michael, Noel Gallagher and Coldplay everywhere ...