We popped over to Belgium to check out classical music's newest concert hall.
We continue to scour the country for the best independent record shops, and enjoy a fiery encounter with Matthew Harvey from The Collector's Room in Salisbury.
Name: Matthew Harvey
Your shop: The Collector's Room
How long have you been open? 40+ years
What's the best recording in your shop at the moment?
Vaughan Williams / Bax / Holland / Harvey - Viola Works (on Dutton, CDLX7295)
What was the most memorable day of trading in your shop?
The day the alarm wouldn’t quit until I disconnected it. I don’t know about a 'day' but over a month or so I sold some 20 odd copies of Duncan Chisolm's CDs after having had one bought in for a customer (I’d never heard of him). Every time we played his stuff in the shop it seemed we could sell it.
Do you get angry if a customer files a Strauss record in the wrong place?
Not just Strauss… The worst is when I find a new CD dumped in the second hand department not knowing how long it may have been there, while I may have re-ordered a new copy. Like we can afford to do that.
Have you ever had to wrestle a shoplifter to the floor?
Not yet. There have only ever been two or three that needed throwing out the window but I just grit my teeth instead. On being told by a drunk that "it's cheaper on Amazon" I resisted the temptation to tell them just what to go and do, while ruminating on the fact that no one ever tells me when I am cheaper than Amazon as, surprisingly, can sometimes be the case.
Are there any records in your shop that you just can't get rid of?
What is the function of a good record shop nowadays?
To survive? To get the CD the customer wants no matter how difficult and sometimes you feel like you sweated blood to find something that may net you the princely sum of £3…
How is the future looking for your business, given the current climate?
Bleak. Having to pay £147.17 a year for a PPL license being the ultimate in immoral and unreasonable nails to put in our coffin. This license is in order that we can demonstrate and promote the product we are trying to sell. The sales of which presumably create a revenue for the people responsible for creating said product? Despite contacting my MP and the ministry for screwing easy targets or whatever their name is, no one has given me a rational and/or moral argument as to why this might be considered a 'fair' tax on a record shop.
So that, along with Amazon being able to sell certain items at less than I can buy from my supplier, does not bode well for the future.