Pootling, and the Strange World of Music Shops
So I checked in on my University of the East students, who are recording their songs, and then hopped on the DLR to Denmark Street in the West End to see what I could see.
I had called yesterday and discovered I could get an SM58 for £79.00 (a lot of money, yes, but actually very reasonable for such a robust and useful microphone), and I went into the shop I thought I'd phoned.
After much umming and ahing, dramatic peering at the computer screen (which may or may not have been on) and tapping away at a calculator with a clickety clackety flourish, the guy informed me in a sorrowful tone that the cost was £89.00, and that I would find this to be true wherever I went, because that's how much they cost these days. I explained about my phone call and he said, 'Well, perhaps you mean the shop downstairs, but we are part of the same company and I know they won't sell you one any cheaper'.
Worth a try anyway, I thought, and lo and behold, downstairs the microphone cost £79.00.
Do you think they added a tenner for every flight of stairs you ascended? Just imagine how much it would cost by the time you'd got to the tenth floor!
Music shops have always had their own logic, which often involves their salesmen being contemptuous of their customers, particularly the female ones. I mentioned this in my book. But it works the other way, too; the guy in Sound Control in Oxford Street (sadly no longer in existence) was so easy to talk to and so accepting of the fact that I am a guitarist who knows about guitars, that I bought my lovely green Gretsch from him without a murmur, on interest-free credit sure enough, but I expect that he probably did a lot of business with girl guitarists by being the way he was.
It was such a relief not to have to climb the mountain of someone else's prejudices before being able to get on with what I wanted to do!
Denmark Street is fun, though, even with the comedy shop assistants, and the journey lifted my spirits so much that I didn't even mind getting on the wrong branch of the DLR to get back, and the train breaking down for ten minutes. I watched a man in an orange fluorescent jacket looking down a huge hole while I was waitng for the train to start working again. I wonder what he was looking for?