It looks as though Nipper the dog is taking his last walk in the nation's high streets and being put to sleep. His Master's Voice could be silenced on the wind-up gramophone.
The demise of HMV has hit the country much as news of the collapse of Woolworths in 2008 caused people who were already inured to one economic shock after another to pause and think: "Hey, what the hell ...?"
We're surrounded by the internet, social networking websites and all the rest of the IT paraphernalia, but when it comes down to it there's probably still a little nostalgia flickering in most of us.
Shops of my childhood ... from the musty smell, tempered with a hint of methylated spirits, of the old hardware shops where you could buy everything householdy short of a tractor, to the Boots library.
The cycle repair shop covered in layers of dust where you had to step over the little forest of wireless "accumulators" full of acid being recharged, and the grocer who perched his fag on a shelf while he sliced some bacon for you, by hand, of course.
But what we're now in danger of losing is the little oasis of tranquillity that many of us treasure on a day off - just browsing in a shop looking for, well, nothing in particular. We'll know it when we see it.
Few antique shops welcome browsers. Bookshops still do but you often get your ears bent by moans and groans from owners who've never learned how to buy and sell.
But 92-year-old HMV and its Fopp stores, were - still is for the moment - something else.
For generations a trip to a record shop to flick through the racks was a ritual. There have been CDs and DVDs recently, of course, but vinyl is making a comeback.
Q magazine editor Andrew Harrison put his finger on the issue within hours of HMV going into administration this week.
A world of musical discovery is on the brink of being lost.
Harrison said: "It's a bad thing for the music business because HMV was more or less the gateway drug to the idea of going into a record shop as a regular thing.
"It's on the high street, it's convenient, it's next to the other places that you're going to and it showed people the value of random browsing where you can just walk along the racks and look and think and just be inspired by something, discover a record you wouldn't have found another way.
"I loved going to HMV on Mondays when the singles came out and often the first time I discovered something was when it was racked out, and you would see a special offer and you would give something a try. You discovered new music like that.
"With digital music, you don't browse in the same way. You go in with a name in your head and you search by text only. It's very hard to make those serendipitous discoveries that can sometimes lead to a lifelong love affair with a particular artist.
"Someone once described iTunes as like listening to a spreadsheet, and it kind of is, because you are driven by statistics and names, not exciting things like a beautiful album cover or a stunning logo or some unusual packaging."
He added: "I think a lot of people have been thinking back on particular special records they bought or discovered at HMV, and also asking themselves when they last went there and spent any money, so there is a slight element of guilt - did we actually fail to support this thing?"
Harrison does believe there may be a future for larger stores to survive as an "event shopping destination."
He added: "If I was putting money on it I would imagine the big stores - the Oxford Streets, and the big cities which have the depth and breadth of stock - are more likely to survive, but the ones that are doomed really are the smaller ones in shopping centres that have given up their faith in music.
"They're headphone shops, music ephemera shops or DVD shops and more than that they just feel like they are on a permanent sale. It's hard for a business to justify a profitable margin on a DVD or a record when everyone knows that for six months out of the year it's going to be £4.99.
"The real sad thing is that people are going to grow up without a visit to the record shop being part of their Saturday.
"One of the most amazing things I ever saw was when Pink Floyd released a live album with an LED on the spine which blinked," he recalls.
"I went into HMV the morning it came out and they had racked hundreds of copies of Pulse with the spine sticking out at the front of the shop and they were all blinking arrhythmically. It was like an astonishing piece of artwork.
"People were standing around staring at the flashing, strobing little red light. You don't get that with iTunes, you don't get that with Amazon.
"We've moved into a slightly less romantic, less surprising world with HMV going into administration."
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