I am thrilled to see that Rough Trade are opening a new "superstore" on Brick Lane.
They are not only going to sell CDs buy Vinyl. The shop needs to be large so that it can operate as a venue as well.
Can you think of anything that goes more against "received wisdom" or that runs more completely against the experience of large music retailers such as HMV?
I have shopped at Rough Trade for years now. They have served me brilliantly from indy shoegazer through Grunge (I met Lou Barlow from Dinosaur Jr in Rough Trade after he played a gig with Sebadoh in the shop. There was sweat dripping from the ceiling and people hanging from the rafters. He signed my wallet in biro!) to Techno/Rave/Drum and Bass and out the other side to more folky things - now as pure inspiration. OK, my music taste is far more classical these days but I still go to Rough Trade from time to time and their ethos is just great. The whole shop makes it clear that these are people that live and breathe music.
I think they are showing the way for independent bookshops. We need to learn from their success and build places that are meccas for people who share a passion for books, who want to see writers read from and discuss their work, a place where they will find treasure that might remain lost and hidden on the vast shelves of the megashops or too far down the lists of bestsellers etc on the net. What is more Rough Trade have a record label. Booksellers were often involved in publishing in the past. We dream of the day when the sign above our door reads Crockatt & Powell, Booksellers and Publishers.
It may come sooner than you think...
In the meantime Rough Trade - it's the future.