The Blog

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Leila Monks Headshot

RIP HMV: Is the Digital Age the Death of Personal Legacy?

Posted: Updated:

Stretching onto my tip toes I could just about reach the battered and worn box stored on a shelf in the garage of my family home. Growing up this box would provide me with hours of enjoyment - leafing through its dusty contents I was transported back to a world of parties, drama and romance - with my parents as my guide.

This was where my mum stored all of the love letters she and my dad exchanged during their courtship. Along with old records, photographs, books and even the torn up bit of Marlboro cigarette packet that she had drunkenly (I could tell this by her hand-writing) scrawled her number on in black biro the first night she'd met my father. He'd kept it.

It's with this box in mind that I feel a deep sadness at the recent demise of HMV. When I imagine my own kids one day going through my "box" of memories I realise that there is no box. Even my inbox they won't have access to.

Emails have replaced letters, pictures on facebook have replaced photographs, iTunes downloads have replaced CDs which in turn have replaced tapes and records - and then there's the Kindle. When I go, my accounts with all of these digital providers go with me. No box, no legacy.

The one thing I will be able to pass down to my children (who are not born yet I hasten to add) is my CD collection. This goes from 1991 (Annie Lennox - Diva) to 2008 (Empire of the Sun - Walking on a Dream) with a whole host of years and artists in between.

Once my imaginary children have converted my CDs into digital format (providing CD drives are not extinct by then) they'll be able to stick on Nirvana "Nevermind" and picture me dancing around my halls of residence bedroom tossing my long hair from side to side in a "rocker" style dance move. Perhaps they'll then switch over to some reggae and Damian Marley's "Welcome to Jamrock" laughing at the thought of mum smoking reefers with her Camden contingent whilst she scoured the papers for her first job in media. And hopefully they'll end the nostalgia session by listening to Kings of Leon "Only by the Night" - the soundtrack to when a very glamorous mum and auntie went to Berlin for the weekend to celebrate mum's 30th - what was that line mum used? Oh yes "Lots of sights - not many of which were in the guide book!"

Of course this is all hypothetical - but you get what I mean.

From 2008 however my music legacy died as it was then that I started buying everything on iTunes.

So it's really thanks to HMV that I at least have something to pass down to my future generations. Something of me, that will take them back to my times, my history. I wish now I had stuck to buying CDs for all of the reasons above. And if other people really thought this through then perhaps they would agree with me and HMV would still be around today.

But as the old adage goes you don't know what you've got until it's gone.

Right - I'm off to pen a letter!

Huff Post Home