Let’s do a thought experiment. Imagine that, somehow or other, you’ve ended up in Kettering at the death of capitalism (capitalism having unexpectedly discovered that most of the money doesn’t exist – this is a thought experiment, so bear with the incredible details). You’ve been driving up and down the country for the last fortnight and you’ve listened the Pitchfork 100 Best Tracks of 2008 CDs to death. The CDs you got for Christmas are sealed in the boot under a thick layer of dirty clothes and new toys. You’re driven to an unfamiliar expediency: you must go to a shop and buy a CD.
Trotting up and down Kettering high street a few times, you fail to find any record shops. The only plausible outlet is a ransacked branch of Woolworths. The shelves are thinly stocked and in some places stripped away, punters bundling around in an agitated fug of nostalgia and excitement as they try to score one final magnificent bargain. You feel obscurely sorry for the CDs you aren’t going to buy – someone obviously overestimated Kettering’s appettite for Mark Ronson and Timberlake’s Justified. But eventually you settle on two albums you think will keep the car entertained for the remaining three hour journey and take your place in the queue behind an enormous middle-aged punk holding a litre of pick-n-mix before him like the Olympic torch.
£5.27, including the half-price bag of Fox’s Glacier Mints. 80s high-gloss synth excess and fierce left-wing punk.¹ That’s the exact sound of the high street dying.
¹ Turns out the piss-weak sounds of Jan Hammer were not much fun at all; luckily The Clash is really, really amazing.