Losing our record shops – what next?

Aberdeen is set to lose it’s last remaining independent record shop One Up on the 31st January, with HMV’s fate to be sealed in the coming weeks and months. The music-buying public in Aberdeen and the surrounding area will be without any proper record shop leaving only the supermarkets who only sell chart CD’s. Aberdeen won’t be the only city in this position, so what is the serious music buyer, who likes a tangible product, to do next?

The fate of One Up has forced me to think hard about how I’m to continue to get my music fix.

I don’t like Amazon – they don’t pay full UK tax and are at the root of the problems faced by existing records shops

I like a tangible CD or vinyl, I like to be able to read the album covers and a CD lasts as long as I look after it!

I will never go fully digital

So what can I do? I will have to save up my music browsing for cities that still have record shops and I will be looking into ordering online via independent record shops. Options are limited now and I have to admit it scares me and fills me with dread. Some of my most interesting purchases have been made while browsing or getting recommendations at the One Up counter.

I hope someone entrepreneurial may take a risk and open a record shop in Aberdeen in the future, but I fear I may be over optimistic.

This is a bleak time to be a music fan!


Five Reasons to Support Your Local Record Shop

Local independent record shops are so much more than just a place to buy music – here’s why you should support your nearest:

1. Supporting the Local Music Scene

New bands can take a chance, upload their music to a variety of websites: MySpace, Soundcloud, Spotify, Facebook etc, etc.. but nothing beats a nice “local music” rack, their tracks being played in-store and ticket sales for gigs around town.

2. Recommendations

Amazon may offer a list of recommendations, but they can never provide you with an interesting chat at the counter, background information on the artist and the passion of someone who has listened to it. They might even play it in the shop for you.

One Up, Aberdeen

3. Second-hand Music

You are far more likely to find a gem or two by riffling through the second-hand racks at your local independent record shop than browsing through eBay. Beats auto-generated recommendations any day!

4. They directly contribute to the local and UK economy

The closure of Brighton’s Rounder Records brings into focus the VAT avoidance of the likes of Amazon who do not pay tax in the UK because their European arm is based in Luxembourg, thereby avoiding UK tax. Rounder Records blamed their closure as a result of Amazon’s business practice.

5. Use It or Lose It!

In seven years the number of independent record stores in the UK has fallen from 900 to around 300, at this rate there will be none left!

Please shamelessly plug your local independent record shop in the comments!

Can I ask you a question?

People of Aberdeen, how many times have you been asked this when wandering through Union Square?  On one occasion, I was there for 30 mins and was asked this no less than 6 times by stall employees!

The stalls in question, please excuse the pun, are next to impossible to avoid, yet those that work on them continue to harass visitors to the centre.

Union Square, Aberdeen

During my short visit today, I was first shouted at by a man at one of the stalls, “Excuse me miss, excuse me miss”, my back was turned to him but he continued anyway!

Next up at the neighbouring stall, “Miss, let me show you something for your hair” and she was really shouting it and walking towards me.

I am tempted to complain to Union Square in an attempt to curtail this, as I see no other stalls in the centre resorting to such tactics. “Can I ask you a question?” is an ineffective sales tactic in any case, rule number one in sales technique is “never ask closed questions”! The fact that this has been going on for months leads me to believe that Union Square Management either haven’t been informed or have turned a blind eye.

Is is just me who is getting increasingly hacked off with this every time they go to Union Square to shop? Frankly, it feels like harassment.

Please feel free to add your comments as I would be interested to hear other opinions.

Is Sainsbury’s taking over Aberdeen?

A few months ago a shiny new Sainsbury’s Local opened near my flat on Rosemount.  It made a nice change to the tired old Co-Op across the road that never seemed to stock any milk because their fridge was always broken.

Since my Sainsbury’s Local opened I’ve noticed a rather aggressive campaign by the store to cover every corner of central Aberdeen.

Driving across George Street at the weekend I spotted a new one at the corner of Maberly Street.  One of my favourite Chinese restaurants the Royal China on Holburn Street has closed as Sainsbury’s are putting a store in there.  Today I read that Beluga at Holburn Junction is to be turned into a Sainsbury’s Local too.  Holburn Junction to the proposed Holburn Street store is a mere 0.3 miles or a 3 min walk, so this all seems a little crazy!

The city centre already has two stores, one in the St Nicholas Centre and the other just along from the Music Hall.  What is surprising is that Tesco, known for it’s quick expansion, is not keeping pace.

I’ve probably missed a few in areas of town I don’t often visit, but I do wonder when it will stop and if Aberdeen will be painted a lighter shade of orange?

Yorokobi by CJ, Japanese and Korean Restaurant in Aberdeen

I’ve been to Yorokobi once before for a quiet meal and I’ve also popped in for a bento box take out – so what’s it like on a busy Saturday night?

Yorokobi by CJ has an extensive menu featuring both Japanese and Korean cuisine.  There are plenty of options and it’s possible to eat in whichever style you fancy.  You could go for a traditional starter, main and dessert or you could order a variety of dishes to share amongst your table.

I was there with a group of friends, and we decided to order a variety of starters to share and then move on to our own individual main course.

So, it was Japanese for starters – Agedashi Tofu, Vegetable Gyoza for me and my meat-eating friends opted for some Chicken Teriyaki skewers and we all shared some Vegetable Tempura.

I decided to go Korean for my main, with a traditional Vegetable Bibimbab topped with obligatory fried egg!  I ate quite a lot of Korean food when I was in Sydney, and this matched up to the quality I got over there.

Sorbets and ice cream was the perfect way to finish the meal off, refreshing and light!

The food was fantastic, but the service could do with a little work.  When I ordered our wine, the waitress told me it was by the glass only, despite the menu stating that I could order a bottle.  They weren’t too fast at clearing our table fully between courses, and we sometimes had to prompt them.  I think we had a new waitress, but I think the poor lass could have done with some extra support from her colleagues.

It’s a great restaurant though, and I’d definitely recommend it and I’ll be going back.

Have you been and what did you think?  Leave your comments here!


Gurkha Kitchen, Aberdeen

Had a fabulous takeaway from the Gurkha Kitchen in Aberdeen tonight.  It was recommended to me by a friend and it sounded so good I decided to order in for dinner.

The Gurkha Kitchen is the only Nepalese takeaway in Aberdeen, and I can’t think of any restaurants either.  Nepalese food has some similarities to Indian cuisine, but generally the flavours are more subtle.

The food was fresh, tasty and full of beautiful flavours.  The mint dip that comes with the pakoras was lightly flavoured with herbs and set them off perfectly.

My main was Daal Bhat Takari which is a medium vegetable curry with paneer cheese – rice and daal is also included in the price.

It’s the first time I’ve ordered from the Gurkha Kitchen and it’s likely to become a firm favourite. They even deliver too!

Fancy trying it?  Here’s the details:

Gurkha Kitchen, 409 George Street, Aberdeen AB25 1ER, tel: 01224 622112, website www.gurkhakitchen.com

Memorial Service for North Sea Helicopter Victims

Watching the tragic events of two weeks ago unfold from afar has been very sad to watch.

My thoughts have been with everyone in Aberdeen and with everyone affected, either directly or indirectly by the Super Puma crash.

I’m proud that everyone in the city has pulled together to support the families and friends of the victims.  Our city unfortunately knows all too well the dangers of the North Sea, but often it’s dangers can be forgotten.

Almost everyone in Aberdeen knows someone who works on the rigs or the support vessels, so very often we just take it for granted that a friend or family member is “going offshore”, and we don’t often consider the risks they are taking by doing so. 

I’m sure that all the oil companies and oil service companies will be reassessing offshore safety in the hope of preventing such a tragedy from happening again.

Aberdeen – you are in my thoughts!