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The Glory Days of Record Retailing

HMV UK filed for bankruptcy this week, the last great record chain to throw in the towel. I spent ten years helping them expand worldwide during the 90’s, fueled by the growth of CDs. The news of HMV’s closing was like hearing about a death in the family.

I joined HMV’s UK headquarters in 1989. Within a few years, HMV exploded into France, Canada, US, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and Ireland, with ambition for much more.  There were three international companies rolling out superstores at that time: HMV, Virgin and Tower. I was part of a team that raced around the world establishing HMV’s flagship locations.

The growth reached such a frenzy that at one point I recall just after the Berlin wall had fallen, a rumor that Branson had done a deal in Moscow, despite no means of repatriating profit. Word was, he would trade cash for gasoline to run his airline.

I jetted around the globe from Sydney to Paris helping establish a foothold for the company. At the pinnacle of HMV’s growth, it was holding secret negotiations with Tower. That deal, for almost $700 million, fell apart at the last second. Tower filed for bankruptcy just six … Read the rest

Sample the first forty pages of My Year as a Clown here!

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Goodreads Giveaway

For those of you who are Goodread members, I’m running a contest for the special, limited edition, ‘only available at events’ physical copy of My Year as a Clown. See below to enter:


Goodreads Book Giveaway

My Year as a Clown by Robert Steven Williams

My Year as a Clown

by Robert Steven Williams

Giveaway ends February 01, 2013.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

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In Remembrance: Dad




Twelve years ago today, my father passed away.  It’s hard to believe this much time as gone by. It seems like just yesterday that I had driven him up to Westchester County to do a shoot with A&E. He was playing Alfred to Adam West’s Batman and Frank Gorsham’s Riddler. It was his first speaking part, after years of doing ‘extras’ work. When he did the gig, he knew he had lung cancer, but he hadn’t started his treatments. Five months later he died. But he at least got that moment in the sun, a speaking part — he even got driven home that night in a limo.… Read the rest