Search

Editor’s comment: What can we learn from Alan?

PUBLISHED: 08:00 18 October 2018

Alan Dobrin at his shop Alan's Records, East Finchley, which is still going strong after 24 years. Picture: POLLY HANCOCK

Alan Dobrin at his shop Alan's Records, East Finchley, which is still going strong after 24 years. Picture: POLLY HANCOCK

Archant

I’m delighted to see Alan’s Records (our Business of the Week) going strong after 24 years.

I spent a lot of time in East Finchley over the summer but always seemed to be on the way to or from somewhere else when I passed the shop on the bus. This weekend, I’ll be sure to pop in.

My childhood was spent in record shops. I can’t have been older than Alan’s eight-year-old customer when I started digging through dusty crates for the music that would go on to soundtrack my teenage years – the Pet Shop Boys, Erasure, Pink Floyd – and soon enough I was planning entire day trips around shops I’d found in the Yellow Pages, in towns that were just about accessible by train with the assistance (or resignation) of a long-suffering parent.

It seemed like a whole world had opened up to me but in truth those years – late ’90s, early 2000s – were vinyl’s nadir. Sales, despite my pocket money, were unsustainably low; shops were closing or downscaling to focus on easier, more reliable sources of income; industrial investment was minimal or non-existent, with manufacturers left to salvage parts for ailing record presses from decommissioned Eastern European plants.

Yet fast-forward 15 years and the picture is completely different. After a decade of growth, 2017 saw more (new) records sold in the UK than in any year since 1991.

I wonder what lessons, if any, the news business – another once mighty media industry that has been brought to its knees in the digital age – can learn from the resurgence in records’ popularity.

If anything, it might be that we’re wrong to assume people invariably value convenience and immediacy over quality, or that the market’s shift in that direction is entropic. It’s no secret newspapers don’t have the resources they once did – my job is to decide how best to deploy them so what we still do produce is high quality, and offers something you can’t get elsewhere.

No, records and news aren’t the same. But I feel sure that if our industry survives, it won’t be through a race to the bottom.

Latest Hampstead & Highgate News Stories

I live in the north west of London in the United Kingdom. Like the rest of the country, I have been looking on in bewilderment at the Brexit deal while politicians on both sides of the house vie for political supremacy. Divisions in government make for good news headlines but do nothing for the public’s confidence in its institutions.

Fri, 16:24

Normally we celebrate one business of the week – but today we’ve got three!

Fri, 15:17

A Routemaster bus will take 72 passengers on a journey through Greek Cypriot history, via Camden and Holloway, on Sunday.

Fri, 12:12

The latest twist in the saga of a Hampstead landlord who refuses to pay a controversial levy saw him bring a top barrister to his court hearing.

Fri, 09:48

Opponents of the 100 Avenue Road development suffered a major blow last night as Camden voted through a controversial plan that will funnel seven lorries a day through residential streets in Swiss Cottage.

Thu, 17:35

The families left homeless by the fire that destroyed the upper floors of Willow House in East Finchley last week said Barnet Council treated them “like ants to be squashed” in the immediate aftermath of the fire.

Thu, 12:44

The Temple Fortune community was celebrating on Tuesday after Barnet’s Finchley and Golders Green planning committee unanimously rejected plans to build housing on the old Templars Tennis Club.

Thu, 12:10

Tens of thousands of pounds, weapons and drugs were seized after searching a garage in the Peckwater Estate on Tuesday morning.

PROMOTED CONTENT

Looking to get your child interested in a sport? Allianz Park, home to rugby union team Saracens, welcomes people of all ages to join their family of supporters and discover how their core values Honesty, Discipline, Humility and Work Rate underpin everything they do off and on the pitch.

As part of a major refurb, the London Marriott Hotel Maida Vale has renamed its three new-look function rooms to reflect the geography and rich history of the area. The largest, perfect for weddings and large meetings, is named after a Hampstead subterranean river, The Westbourne.

Londoners seeking high quality houses for sale within easy commuting distance of the capital are being advised to look north to St Albans’ prestigious Gabriel Square development.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read Hampstead & Highgate news

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now