Last Shop Standing author Graham Jones shares some lessons from his life.
“I had left school and found myself drifting from one dead end job to another. My Eureka moment came to me when I was working in a factory making the flavour for cheese and onion crisps. Not only was it boring and monotonous, I would finish my shift covered from head to toe in a fine cheese and onion dust. Worst of all, no matter how much I showered or scrubbed or how much deodorant I used, I could never rid myself of the smell. Surely there must be more to life than smelling of cheese and onion.
“It suddenly came to me that I had my whole working life ahead of me and I needed to do a job I enjoy. Music has always been a passion so that day I went home from work with a plan, I was going to work in the music industry. A week later I had made in-roads into the industry: I had bought a batch of 1,000 7″ singles from a man after seeing an advert in the local free paper who promised the Beatles, Rolling Stones and The Doors. I snapped them up for £190 but only when I got them home did I realise Con (the well named man) who had sold them to me and brought them over in two giant tea chests had used those top artists to cover up all the crap below, including 37 copies of The Rubettes’ Jukebox Jive. I took the records down to my local market and started my first business ‘BARGAIN RECORDS’. It took 30 seconds to think that name up!
Lesson 1 – Always examine anything before you buy, especially off men called Con.
“A few days later I landed a job managing a Liverpool band called The Cherry Boys after replying to an advert in the Liverpool Echo. I had impressed them by telling them all about my exciting business ‘BARGAIN RECORDS’. I had also spent the previous day learning all the words to their debut single and taking in all the information on the sleeve so I could talk with great confidence about their record. This really impressed the band.
Lesson 2 – Always do your research.
“These early ventures in music then helped me land a job at HMV which in turn led to me landing my dream job becoming a sales rep for a record company. 25 years on I reckon I have visited more record shops than anybody on planet earth.
In 2008 I wrote about my experiences in my book Last Shop Standing which in 2012 has been turned into a film.
Lesson 3 – Whatever you want to do in life go for it.
“You spend a lot of life working so aim to do something you love. Don’t be scared to push yourself. If somebody had told me 25 years ago that I would be doing my dream job, had written a book and made a film I would have thought they were mental.
“Funny how life turns out.”
The film of Graham’s book, Last Shop Standing: The Rise, Fall And Rebirth Of The Independent Record Shop, is out on Proper Films next Monday.
For details of film screenings, see the Last Shop Standing website.