A Piece Of Childhood Lost

We all have memories of music as a youth. In some cases these are still the most vivid memories that still exist. Sadly it seems that those dreams are well and truly gone..

I've been a fan of music blogger Bob Lefsetz for some time now. A recent tweet was a simple link to 40 images of closed record shops . At first it was a case of 'sad, but that's life' and then I saw picture 33, Sam The Record Man in Toronto, Canada, my local childhood record store and my heart sank.

I had a paper round as a youth, The Toronto Sun, every Sunday and I made over a hundred bucks a month and I was 9, maybe 10 years old. I shared my dads love of music and at least one Saturday afternoon a month we'd share thumbing through records at either local chain Zounds or further into town, Sam's the independent.

Sam's was loud, if you wanted to shop there you had to endure ZZ Top, Supertramp or Rush. I remember being drawn to the huge YES posters hanging up, only $5 each. The albums were $7 or $8 and singles $2 or $3. There was very little to be discounted from memory, there was always a buyer for their stock.

Nick Hornby's book High Fidelity perfectly captured record shops in the UK. Oddly enough that also crossed over to Sam's in Toronto. Guys with no fashion sense other than a fully open lumberjack shirt, the most recent Rush tour t-shirt (black), jeans and Doc Martin Boots opened up to show allegiance to Judd Nelson's character John Bender in the iconic Breakfast Club movie. I didn't know that at the time, I was too young to see the film. But cool they were. I wanted to be that cool (sadly I've never succeeded).

My parents told me in 1985 that we were moving to England, I burst into tears, I didn't want to leave Toronto, my home. Dad did his best to console me and took me on a trip to Sam's. "I'll buy you an album" he said, as we got in the car. An hour later we were on our way home and in my bag was the just released 'Afterburner' by ZZ Top. $8 and I was happy again, accepting that I was travelling halfway across the world to be reunited with my english family. 25 years later and we still joke about the fact he'd have gone to two albums if he'd had to!

The place was great. It was an education in music. For a 10 year old it was possibly the coolest place on earth. Well apart from the comic book shop next door. Seems that's gone too.