Radio 6 had a really interesting programme on last weekend marking 40 years of Virgin Records. I have to admit that, even though I worked in Virgin Megastore on Princes Street for four or five years, I didn’t actually know that much about the history before listening to the programme.
I can’t really picture the Richard Branson of today smoking pot and sitting on a beanbag listening to music, but that’s how it all started – a small record shop in London to a major record label. I love a bit of pop culture trivia and Richard Branson had some great stories – the shyness of Mike Oldfield, the linguistics of the word ‘bollocks’ (also means ‘priests’ apparently) and the sexual antics of Keith Richards!
Although at times the job was a bit shit, on the whole I loved working at Virgin. For me it was a perfect ‘just finished uni job’ – venturing out into the real world for the first time but not doing it in a scary, serious kind of way. I earned enough money to live on, got discounted CDs and DVDs (still VHS when I first started), maintained the social life of a student and worked with a bunch of really cool (often eccentric) people who were just as passionate about music and films as I am.
I look back on my time working there with a great deal of fondness, and I still have a lot of friends (and also a husband!) from the Virgin Megastore days.
When I wrote Trackman, it seemed an obvious choice to have Davie work in Virgin Megastore on Princes Street. I could write about what I knew and, at the same time, pay tribute to a special time in my life.
Hanging out with Mark Owen.