The World Health Organisation has admitted that there is little that can be done to prevent a pandemic as the spread of the HMV (Hoary Music Vendors) virus escalates out of control.
The problem began several years ago as older buyers of recorded music were among the first to be infected. ‘They started drifting in looking for bargains all the time,’ said a store manager from behind a protective smug mask. ‘We found we had to mark CDs down to a tenner to shift them at all, then it soon became two for a tenner and it hasn’t stopped there. We thought we had restricted the contagion to the jazz, blues and easy listening sections but there was worse to come.’
The manager described how the infection spread ‘like text speak’ through the under-25s. ‘At first we thought they were immune, but then they fell in their droves. The virus manifested itself in a different way with them, giving them an insatiable thirst for downloading tracks over the internet and an irrational fear of paying for anything. Unfortunately their constant networking accelerated the spread of the HMV virus exponentially and now only a few strange souls are seen in the shops.’
The coup de grace came when the virus fulfilled everyone’s worst fears and crossed the species barrier to investors. ‘Suddenly any infected investors started selling HMV shares, causing them to lose value faster than an X-Factor winner’s memoirs,’ said an analyst. ‘In some particularly severe cases people were selling huge quantities of shares they didn’t even own.’
But a glimmer of hope remains. A board member said today: ‘We're pinning our hopes on the Waterstone's brand to tide us over until the spread of the virus dies down. You can’t beat the good old paperback.’