Tuesday, December 12, 2006

"A lifeline"

It's not often the Manics say anything worth listening to these days, but their statement about Spillers Records is serious and heartfelt.

A couple of months ago Spillers was named among the twenty best independent record stores in an article by the Guardian's Laura Barton. Today a whole page of the main section was allocated to the story that the oldest record shop in the world is under threat from closure. Not exactly news to anyone in Cardiff who's been following recent developments in the local press, but worth reading all the same, and interesting to see the likes of the Manics and Columbia Records lending their support to the campaign to keep Spillers alive.

Spillers' legendary status is not in doubt; what is in doubt, however, is whether the store can cope with the massive hike in rent anticipated as a result of the city centre redevelopments going on around its premises in the Hayes. Developer Helical Bar claims "it is keen for Spillers to survive and would offer it an alternative site - but it insists that it is not the sort of shop which would fit in with the multi-million development springing up around it". In other words, they don't give a toss about Spillers' merits and heritage and just want milk as much money as they can out of the site.

Spillers is an excellent shop, but Welsh Assembly Member Owen John Thomas has suggested that local support for its survival is at least as much out a concern to guard against homogeneity on the high street: "As well as love of this shop, I think there is a general feeling that if you get rid of the individual stores like this one and replace them with chains you produce a clone city. I'm not against the redevelopment but there must be room for the old shops like Spillers too".

Click here to add your name to the petition Thomas has set up.


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