Sunday, December 07, 2008

Those Lazy Hazy Crazy Days Of Vinyl

Murph mentioning independent record shops in his Woolies post reminded me of our local ones when I was a teenager.

My favourite was Cloud 9, run by a quietly greying middle aged man who would um and ah when you asked him for that special record. He could always order it as he usually didn't have it in stock. But his ordering system was second to none and you'd always end up with the record which you would carry home in your Cloud 9 bag, flapping against the side of your bicycle frame as you cycled down the long hill to home at 30 m.p.h.

My second favourite was OK Records, run by a young man with dark, straight, longish hair and large bottle-bottom specs. I remember getting a few second hand prog albums from there and the pride of my collection, Talking Heads' 77. "OK Records" was not really the most inspiring name the shop could have had. An OK record to my mind would be an album by, say, Catatonia. They're OK, not bad I suppose. But nothing to write home about.

Lastly there was TW Records, presumably originally owned by a Trevor Watkins or a Tony Wilkinson. I was put off TW Records because it was the only record shop which had an advert on at our local cinema. The advert was from the early 70s and was five years out of date then, let alone in the mid 80s when it was still running. TW Records might have been groovy in the late 60s but was the most depressing shop to walk into. In its last few years the stock was just there for show and its back room was where all the action went on for spotty teenage boys playing video games. That's what I assumed they were going round the back for, anyway.

So I had Cloud 9, named after the Temptations' song, OK Records, named after Bad Company and TW Records, named after Terry Waits. What about you? The best name wins a £1.99 Amazon voucher.


  1. Funny you should post on this topic as I’ve just been reading a review about a book called Old Rare New: The Independent Record Shop.

  2. Anyone with a knowledge of the commercial life of Loughborough could win this award. I would not rest easily winning the prize, so I will let someone else provide the name of the establishment in question.
    And it was not there when I were a lad anyroad. I had to buy the latest Glen Miller record from a different emporium.

  3. I think our best head shop/vinyl emporium was called Opus 69?

    By law it smelled of patchouli, and all the burnouts who hung out there knew eveything about every record ever made and while you stood in front of them getting a contact high they would explain the history of sound and every Saturday I'd leave with 4 new records.
    That was awesome!

  4. My boss is called Tony Wilkinson. I'll have to ask him if he ever ran a record shop.

  5. "Discland" in Gravesend was the Mecca for Shadows EP's and secondhand vinyl, and you could even buy vinyl covered Dansettes there. It even had those booths which always seemed to be occupied by Connie Francis lookalikes smiling and twirling their finger to a poptastic waxing.

    If only the miserable old sod who owned it had registered his shop name he could have retired on his Terry Pratchet commission cheques years ago.

  6. I'm upset now because I'll spend all day trying to remember the name of the tacky shop on the wrong side of Sheffield where we spent hours rather that do anything useful.
    I know I bought an early Who single there for the B side.
    I was so cool then - I only bought B sides.

  7. There wasn't a record shop in my town, you had to go into Dugdales and put in an order for your Osmonds singles. They tried having a record department in the Co op for a few years but it never really caught on.

    The best independent record shop (although obviously not the best name) is Action Records in Preston. Their 'system' is unfathomable, the floor behind the counter is littered with boxes, it looks like chaos - but if you ask if they've got something in they never* have to check it on the computer.

    (*well, hardly ever)

  8. MJ - There were and still are independent shops for serious music fans. My local record shops had some of those but a lot of casual record buyers too. We didn't have a chain store in the 70s.

    Vicus - New World Records? I love those old Glen Miller 78s. As thick as toast and as heavy as a kitten.

    Donn - So you did all your Chopin there?

    Rol - No, that Tony Wilkinson OD'd on a kaleidoscope in 1969.

    Murph - I've seen the pictures on the telly! Could you get a frothy coffee next door?

    Kaz - The Platters That Matter? Was the Who song a Motown cover?

    Beth - There was a local Bang & Olufson shop (I think) which sold (not many) records, too.

  9. I used to buy my vinyl from F L Moore records in Dunstable. There was a nice girl who worked in there. I always wanted to impress her with my musical taste, but I was probably too much of a Thin Kid. She was all hair.

    In Nottingham there was Selectadisc, which also had branches in London somewhere. Selectadisc was like the Underground Railroad for kids from Nottingham who wanted to move to that London. You'd see people working in the London branch who'd previously been in Nottingham. Selectadisc had three shop units one one street: one for singles, one for albums, and one for second hand.

    None of the girls was as nice as the girl in F L Moore.

  10. We went through a period of going to Selectadisc in London a few years ago. They used to have a token woman serving.

  11. I bought my first record from Marriots in Buckinghaam. They were actually a bike shop but hats off to them, they saw an opportunity and took it. They had a 'stand' with albums on and some grotty shelves behind the counter where you could buy singles. I bought a Kinks album for 12/6d. It was on the Marble Arch label, I think.

  12. Where I grew up in t'North of Engerland, the local and only record shop was called Gaye Days.
    In those far off innocent days of youth, it never really occured to me that there was anything slightly unusual about the name.

  13. I can't remember the name of the vinyl shop next to Tooting Broadway tube station (Goodness Records?) but my mate bought the "Land of Make Believe" single from there.
    Took it home and it was badly warped. A few more exchanges of the like-for-like product and we discovered that the shop had taken delivery of a dodgy batch of Bucks Fizz singles.
    Anyway, I bought my first Slayer album from them.
    On cassette.

  14. Tom - Did Marriots sell LP carriers to affix to bikes? That would have been ideal for me.

    Canute - Welcome. Gaye Days sounds olde worlde. Did they sell a lot of Jethro Tull?

    Istvanski - So that's how they topped the charts!