It’s been a shitty few days.
Things haven’t been great for me recently. I WAS back at work, but I’m back on the sick again, because of my feet. Hopefully, it’s just for the week. and I’ll be back on Wednesday, but more on that later, possibly in a separate post. I’m still trying to get over the shock of the impending doom of “That’s Entertainment”
Well, it all started earlier in the week. As I mentioned, my feet are falling to bits again, so all plans I had for the weekend had gone out of the window. I planned on sitting in, not speaking to a single human being until I went back to work, and just generally feeling sorry for myself. Accomplice came to the rescue, however, and said “I’m driving to Middlesbrough to get my hair cut on Saturday, tag along and you can raid That’s Entertainment, I’ll be parking near it”, which loosely translates to “Get yourself out of the house, even if it’s for an hour, you miserable bastard”.
I agreed that a rummage through the 49p boxes at the afore-mentioned record store would possibly bring a small glint of happiness to an otherwise depressing week, so he drove round, I hobbled to his car, and off we popped to Middlesbrough.
We arrived at the store. Accomplice disappeared up the road to get (what’s left of) his hair trimmed, and I entered the store. My eyes lit up! The 49p CDs were now 10p each! I hadn’t been this excited since the Washington Branch closed last year Now, for the ininitiated, these 10p discs are CDs that have lost their cases, and are provided in just a plastic wallet. Some may have the odd scratch, and some may only be single discs from a multi-disc compilation. I don’t care about the cases, I don’t care about scratches. I don’t even care if I know what’s on the CD. 90% of the fun is getting it home, adding it to the database, and finding I’ve found something I’ve been after for years.
Now, these are right next to the counter. I think they’re intended for customers to just have a quick rummage through while waiting for their turn at the till, and not like I do – inspect every single box, picking out many discs at a time. I usually get quite a few at 49p, but then they’re 10p I do, quite literally, fill my boots.
However, seeing these CDs at 10p is usually a double-edged sword. It usually means the store is closing. As these were right next to the counter, it took seconds for me to realise something was indeed up. the staff were talking about dismantling shelves and moving stuff into a van. This very much sounded like the store was closing. I asked the guy behind the counter if this was the case. He confirmed this was the case, and as the conversation spread between the staff, I found that the entire chain are going “online only”.
Time stopped. Voices around me stopped making sense. This was possibly the most devastating news that a music hoarder could ever hear, especially with That’s Entertainment’s USP of selling cheap sleeveless CDs. I reached for my phone. I just had to tell someone. A text to Accomplice was in order.
I texted him, because I knew it’d make his day. Over the years, since my first discovery of the (now closed) store in the Metro Centre, I’ve dragged him round many other locations, as near as Stockton, and as far afield as Manchester. I’ve planned days out around going to these stores. In total, I’ve visited 17 different branches, each of them with their own unique charm, and, of course, row upon row of cheap CDs.
So, for one final time, the PA system played “Ring The Bells” by James. I plonk my (109) CDs on the counter for one last time, a lump in my throat, but with a slight wry smile on my face, as the guy behind the counter has to scan his “Sleeveless CDs” barcode 109 times, and altering the price to 10p for every single one. I pay my money and step away from the counter, just as The line “I don’t feel like God is watching over me” plays.
The song draws to a cold ending, with a chorus of “Ooohs” and “Aaahs”, as I walk out of the shop for one last time. knowing that the likelihood of me ever gracing these steps again would be very small indeed.
On the plus side, I have all of these to add to the catalogue, and also a nice “That’s Entertainment” retail box to keep them all in, and all of this only came to a tenner.