Fiction isn't exclusively utopian, of course - few would opt to live out the literary inventions of Kafka or Huxley (even if some of us believe we already are) - but the unshackling of writers' and directors' imaginations can lead to some gems of creativity.
Many of the gems that appeal directly to our tastes take on the form of record stores - maybe because of the absurd decor, the characters behind the counter or simply because there's a chance you'll bump into Woody Allen.
So here we've picked out seven fictional record shops (and one that actually used to exist) from books and movies whose doors we wish we were able to saunter through this Record Store Day.
Championship Vinyl from High Fidelity
Where else to begin if not Championship Vinyl? Its owner and employees, based in London in Nick Hornby's novel and Chicago in the John Cusack film, come across as being your archetypal music snobs, the kind who'd sneer when you pick up the latest Arcade Fire record - but we suppose that means they'd at least stock a healthy array of vinyl.
Empire Records from Empire Records
Empire Records is a genuinely bad film, so it stands to reason it's become a cult classic over the decades since its release - fans even celebrate Rex Manning Day in honour of the fictional 80s pop icon who plays an in-store at Empire, on 8 April each year. The plot of the film, however, is a decent if an all-too-familiar one: the indie fighting for its life in the wake of a megastore opening up nearby. And the film's soundtrack, featuring artists as diverse as Edwyn Collins and GWAR, suggests some eclectic stock control.
Chelsea Drugstore from A Clockwork Orange
The Chelsea Drugstore on London's Kings Road did actually exist - this particular scene from Stanley Kubrick's screen adaptation of Anthony Burgess's dystopian novel was filmed there. But we want to visit it as it was imagined by Kubrick: a neon-lit vinyl mecca, where one might pick up some lovely, lovely Ludwig van and a pair of devotchkas with whom to listen.
More after the break
Seymour's garage sale from Ghost World
Ghost World was based on a comic book of the same name, but director Terry Zwigoff actually created aging alt-cool protagonist Seymour as a way of getting the music he wanted into the film: "the first sign of trouble started when the [Hollywood] studios would say, 'Oh, so what's this film about, teenage girls? Oh that's good, we can do a great pop soundtrack. So I put in [Seymour], who collects old music, and that was an excuse to use that music." Essentially, what better way to buy 1920s jazz records than from Steve Buscemi in a garage?
Koop's record store from Human Traffic
"I got the Tarzan and Jane of jungle just swung in on the vine this morning, mate. I'm telling ya, this could turn Hare Krishna into a badboy." Were there a What Hi-Fi? Award for most entertaining fictional record store owner, Koop would win hands down. The sad part: overcharging £20 for a 12-inch is no longer a joke.
TRAX from Pretty In Pink
For those of a certain vintage, chatting up Molly Ringwald at a new-wave record store would be the epitome of the perfect Saturday afternoon. If we were to visit now, we would hope those choice 80s outfits had become mandatory uniform.
The 'Delfonics' store from Jackie Brown
So the scene is only seconds long, there's no vinyl to be seen and as far as we can tell the store only stocks The Delfonics... but a store stocking the works of a band so pivotal to a Quentin Tarantino classic must be worth popping your head round the door of. There is vinyl spattered around the rest of the film so, you know, any excuse to rewatch Jackie Brown.
Tower Records from Hannah and Her Sisters
Yes, we're aware Tower Records existed before this particular flick - our digital editor was once employed by the Birmingham branch, in fact - but never have its wares been so appealing as when Woody Allen is thumbing through in Hannah and Her Sisters. Were the shop to return, we'd want it to be the New York branch, and in this particular scene of the aforementioned classic.