Are shop closures just a natural and painful part of economic evolution?
Ihad an epiphany on Saturday night. And no, that's not the name of the special at my local curry house that leaves you gasping for air and suddenly understanding the connection between vindaloo, acid indigestion and your own fragile mortality.
It actually came after returning home from the cinema, more of which you can read about below.
But within ten minutes of getting in the door and checking the babysitter hadn't drunk all the gin, again, the wife had gone online, downloaded the full Les Mis movie soundtrack and we were happily singing along.
I make for a pretty awesome Jean Valjean.
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Now consider a similar story from 27 years ago.
The year is 1986 and I've just been to see Little Shop Of Horrors down at my local fleapit; multiplexes hadn't been invented yet.
I enjoyed the toe-tapping, soul- tinged antics of Seymour and his man-eating plant Audrey and so, grasping my hard-earned pocket money in my sweaty palm, I ran home and ... did nothing.
About a week later I travelled into town with my grandma, went into Our Price and bought the soundtrack on cassette.
I've still got it somewhere. It's probably in the same box in the attic as my Def Leppard Let's Get Rocked 12in eyeball picture disk and my spare Dirt Burner BMX mag wheel.
I rocked in the 1980s.
The same thing happened relatively recently, in 2000, when I nipped out to HMV to buy the Gladiator soundtrack on CD after being the only person to turn up to the press preview screening in Leeds.
I rocked in the 1990s, too.
In both cases, the process of actually going out to buy the product involved some personal effort on my part and a whole chain of employed people – from bus drivers to shop assistants – to make my purchase happen.
Today? All we do is click a button and we are instantly gratified, paying a computer with electronic credit to make something that has no real physical presence instantly appear wirelessly on a screen.
We're through the looking glass here, people.
It's effortless, convenient and utterly seductive.
The moral of this story is this: We don't need shops any more.
Or at least I can foresee a point in the near future when we won't, which I find terrifying.
With the demise of Jessops and HMV going into administration, with its 4,000 employees facing uncertain days ahead, it makes me wonder what the future holds for our high streets.
With Jessops sadly going to the same great bargain bucket in the sky as Woolworths, Comet, TJ Hughes, Virgin Megastores and Past Times, it does make you wonder what businesses will be left to fill the yawning square footage of shop space when the recovery finally comes – as surely it must. Fingers crossed.
As the relentless onwards march towards Amazon and Ebay continues apace, I'm starting to think we're going to have to radically rethink what our city centres are for – or risk them becoming ghost towns where nothing thrives but charity outlets and pound shops.
With the extinction of certain stores that have been left floundering in the wake of the web, I wonder if the survival of our town centres lays in the hands of small, independent shopkeepers; people who offer bespoke, unique products that you don't know you want until you see it in the flesh.
There's been the inevitable gnashing of teeth about the closure of HMV this week – I too have been bemoaning the loss of another part of our traditional High Street.
But I know I'm a hypocrite. I haven't bought a CD or DVD in HMV for years.
I did buy one yesterday though, from the internet.
So what's the solution? Is there even one? Or is what we're witnessing just a natural and painful part of economic evolution?
Should we even try living in the past and hanging on to names and a way of life purely out of nostalgia?
I suspect the decision will be made for us – and we are all too lazy to make it any different.