I’m staying with friends in London not too far away from Nick Hornby’s house. Hornby is one of my very favorite writers, thanks to the first two books of his I read. “Fever Pitch” is the best book I have read about the psychology of sports fandom, and made me a fan of the English football club Arsenal. His “High Fidelity” is a novel about pop culture obsession and much more, and is one of my all-time favorites. (The movie’s pretty great too.)
Writing about Neil Young and vinyl records reminded me of a piece Hornby wrote for Billboard and The Hollywood Reporter in which he imagines what life would be like now for Rob, “High Fidelity’s” protagonist, who ran a record store called Championship Vinyl:
So maybe we need those record-store guys; maybe the reason so many of them are still around is that, without them, the whole system grinds to a halt. If you own all the music ever recorded in the entire history of the world, then who are you? Those people queuing outside their local independent on Record Store Day want to be known.
It’s true, there’s been a resurgence of interest in vinyl. I’d like to think that Rob would still have a vinyl collection but, in the spirit of his journey of personal growth, he would have moved on from his record store to some other career.
And seriously, go read “High Fidelity.”