About The Record Store
Born and dragged up proper in south London where from the age of 3 -5 I would be woken by my older brothers returning from a night in the pub, they would come home with friends, get me out of bed, sit me on the floor in front of the record player and spread the singles on the floor.
They would ask guest to name a single from the floor, they’d tell me the name and I’d get the record with 100 % accuracy much to their amazement as all of this was before I could read.
So that’s when my love of music started and it continued as I grew up, luckily through what was the richest period of music ever. I was surrounded by great music, when it was new.
Sadly, it took until I became seriously ill to realise, I needed to do something different with my life. I had a large LP collection and as I began to recover in a new town where I didn’t know anyone, my wife said you need get rid of some of these records and an idea was born.
I lived in a place where no shop existed and I had lots of doubles, even triples, in my collection and thought I wonder if other people here want records too. So, I opened The Record Store!
I wake up each day, go to work and put on a record. I’m involved with the music scene in area, I talk music all day, and although it hasn’t made me as well off as my previous jobs, it makes me a lot happier!
Here I am, a collector of LPs and all things music and guess what, people bring me records and memorabilia etc every week - I couldn’t have wished for more!
I hate to say this, but the shop is such a cool place. Everyone who comes here seems to love the way we greet them, new or old faces, they chat, relax and ask for things they want or request advice about which LP is best from this act or that singer. A local DJ, Steve Monk describes it as a music emporium full of all things musical!
Our clientele is mostly over 35 male and know their music but lately, I am pleased to say there is a growing younger element now who are buying records as well, which opens your eyes to newer acts and strangely they think the place is cool too!
As for the team, we have changed some faces over the years since our opening. My daughter and I started it, she helped me while I was still weak and recovering from the illness, and near-death I went through.
We had a Saturday lad called Elliot who left after a year or so to be replaced by Mazie our own little Stevie Nicks (who she idolises and wrote a very good piece on in the press) has just moved on to Universal but continues to run our socials and keep in touch.
Elliott recently returned and is now pretty much full time - he is an artist and freestyler and will open our show coming up soon, his first big opportunity to show what he can do.
One of our customers Steve decided to assist during lockdown and volunteered his time, now he is now our other full-time staff member and we recently recruited Ana who is multilingual and will help in our new shop opening in Canterbury soon.
We have so many fave customers, Ashford is not a huge town but its growing!
David and Mandy who are regulars spend a good amount on new releases and Beatles related stuff, Jim who also helps out when he has time with admin stuff and loves his records.
So many of our customers are in every week browsing and buying. Being a smaller town, the repeat business is essential, and I guess we have it as they keep coming back!
I would, like to say that the first thing we sold was really cool, but I think it was an ABBA LP - most memorable was a rare psyche single that went for a decent amount online.
But really for me, the happiness and togetherness records bring to people is a lasting memory, music should unify people.
I can’t remember the name (though in this day and age I could google it) but the record shop in Deptford High St is where I bought my first record with my pocket money from my paper round and it was T. Rex – Ride A White Swan, I still have it.
From that I got into Tyrannosaurus Rex, Bolan opened my eyes to Tolkien and when T. Rex went glam that led me to Bowie, to Lou Reed and Velvet Underground whilst the likes of Zeppelin and Floyd were producing amazing albums, the Beatles were ending and John Lennon wrote Imagine, wow!
I just loved trawling through the racks looking at the records with mates. If there was a store wherever I’d find myself, you could bet I would be in there.
As I said earlier, I feel lucky to have been around during such an amazing time for music I seemed unaware of it then but certainly, I look back now and am amazed at how much great music was produced at that time by such huge artists - legends as we see them now.
I think my favourite shop would have to be Championship Vinyl, if only record shops could be like that. In truth, the hardest thing about running record shops is you don’t get time to visit other record shops much. I thought Beanos in Croydon was one of the best I’ve visited, which is sadly no more.
I think finding a rare Tyrannosaurus Rex single in Beanos was one of my best experiences. My worst was leaving behind a very rare LP in a shop because I got recalled to my office for some crisis and when I returned it was gone, I paid a lot of money for it later, never leave a record behind I say!
U2 Joshua tree both times original and anniversary
Lord of The Rings
John Lennon – Working Class Hero
David Bowie - The Bewlay Brothers
Led Zeppelin - Kashmir
Pink Floyd - Comfortably Numb
Lives - Sick
White Stripes – Seven Nation Army
Tyrannosaurus Rex - Lofty Skies
U2 - Running to Stand Still
The The - Uncertain Smile
I hate this, too many to reduce to 1!