Tag: Jeanie Finlay

Sound it Out is a funny and moving portrayal of men and their records

There is no major plotline in Jeanie Finlay’s new film, Sound it Out. The documentary, which opened at Nottingham’s Broadway Cinema on Thursday night, profiles the lives of staff and customers at a well-loved independent record shop called Sound it Out Records in the north-east town of Stockton-on-Tees.

The fact that there is no neat storyline in this film is one of its strong points. Hollywood and ‘reality’ TV would have us believe that people and places can fit easily into stereotypes but this is a portrait of real people with all their complexities; it is at times laugh-out-loud funny and at other times heart-achingly sad. There is no dramatic ending – as Jeanie tells the audience at the end of the film, the shop did not close and everything carries on as before.

In the film, we meet music fanatic Tom, who owns Sound it Out Records and at times says he feels more like a social worker. Regular customers give us an intensely personal insight into their own record collections and their lives. They are all incredibly open and frank about what their collections mean to them. For many of them, music is utter escapism from a humdrum life in a town where there are very few job opportunities. In some cases, music has proved life saving – one of the young men said that it stopped him taking his own life while for another, it has kept him out of trouble.

These lives are set against the backdrop of a former industrial town, where Jeanie herself grew up. The high street – which is incidentally the widest in England – is populated by empty shops, bargain basement stores and run-down charity shops. Sound it Out Records is a refuge for many people; the town may feel like a cultural desert and the recession might have further damaged the already fragile economy but the shop is hugely important to the area. It’s a place where you can pay for your records on tab, watch an artist perform live or just pop in for a coffee and a chat – and it’s something you just don’t get with iTunes.

Sound it Out is currently on a UK tour. If you want another screening at Broadway, email the team there.
For further details visit  the Sound it Out website or follow on Twitter @sounditoutdoc or visit Facebook.

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Calling all vinyl junkies: Sound it Out opens at Nottingham’s Broadway Cinema

When I first moved to Nottingham almost a decade ago, there were a respectable number of independent record shops. Like independent book shops, they are not just places where you buy a physical product: they are a place to meet like-minded people, find out what is going on in the city or stumble upon something you have never heard before.

But over those 10 years something changed. Pete Townsend this week blamed Apple and the rise of digital downloads; or you could point the finger at supermarkets where causal music fans can now pick up the latest releases. Or if you are a real musical connoisseur, you could say that online record shops offer much more choice than a shop ever could. Whatever the cause, record shops, like independent book shops, are now as rare as hen’s teeth. It’s easy to get nostalgic about something that has become the victim of market forces (think Woolworth’s) – but for many people, going to record shops and discovering music is something bound wit their youth and who they now are.

This idea is the subject of a new documentary portrait by independent Nottingham film maker Jeanie Finlay called Sound it Out, which will premiere at Nottingham’s Broadway cinema tomorrow. It is a film about Teesside’s last surviving vinyl record shop, Sound it Out Records and the huge role music plays in the lives of everyone connected to it.

Jeanie grew up three miles away from Sound It Out Records and it helped to shape her love of music as well as a life-long minor obsession with vinyl. Now she recognises that Sound it Out Records is an endangered species; over the past five years, more than 500 independent record shops have closed down so Jeanie and her filmmaking team wanted to capture what makes the shop so important to its loyal customers.

She says: “Sound it Out is an intimate film about a small shop on a small street in a small town where I grew up. Sound It Out Records helped to shape my love of music and when I decided to sell my record collection to help fund my wedding, Tom who owns the shop was horrified. I decided at that point there was a real story to tell about Tom’s shop and it’s a story that’s about so much more than vinyl.”

Sound it Out opens tomorrow (Thursday) at Nottingham’s Broadway before going on a national cinema tour. The event includes a Q&A with Jeanie Finlay along with performances from bands that feature in the film, guest DJs and other events. For details visit the Sound it Out website, follow on Facebook at www.facebook.com/sounditoutdoc or Twitter @sounditoutdoc.

Photo by Jeanie Finlay

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