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Record Shops

PostPosted: Wed Jun 17, 2015 5:06 pm
by Garth Cartwright
I've started work on a book about British record shops for a tiny Greenwich publisher. Very early days - I interviewed Geoff Travis (Rough Trade) last week and will intv Roger & Ted of Rock On (and thus Ace) tomorrow - hopefully building up enough material to provide an overview of when the British record shop was a salon (of sorts), an energy centre and font of knowledge for music fans. Leon has built a remarkable amount of info' on his website so I will be regularly relying on his knowledge for this. But you guys might also be able to help.

For starters: as between us we read a lot of books on music and musicians I was wondering if anyone has come across references to specific record shops whilst reading biographies and such? Or have you had a record shop encounter with an artist who later went on to make music of note?

Leon has found out that Dusty Springfield worked as a teenager in Squire of Ealing - that's cool! And Adam has posted about being served by Shane McGowan at Rock On. Excellent!

As everyone used to have to go to record shops to buy the music they wanted to listen to - and as record shops were places where you could learn about music from knowledgable staff or other patrons - pretty much every musician made use of them. Do many get mentioned in autobiographies/biographies/musical histories? Any such quotes/references appreciated. Also: you are welcome to share your own specific memories. I can't guarantee I'll use them but they all will be appreciated.

I want the book to reflect how passionate we once were about record shops, what they meant to us and why. Your contributions welcome!

Re: Record Shops

PostPosted: Wed Jun 17, 2015 6:51 pm
by john poole
NEMS in Liverpool is the first that comes to mind, very important in the Beatles Story.
https://st33.wordpress.com/record-shops ... liverpool/
(there's more about Northern record shops on this site)

In the 70s Julian Cope and other Liverpool characters of the period worked at Probe Records.

I remember encountering Shane MacGowan working in the Rocks Off shop (possibly it was still called Vinyl Solution at the time) in Hanway Street, which must have been after he was employed at Rock On.

Re: Record Shops

PostPosted: Wed Jun 17, 2015 8:28 pm
by Hugh Weldon
John

In the 70s Julian Cope and other Liverpool characters of the period worked at Probe Records.


Never saw Cope in Probe, John, but Pete Burns and occasionally Pete Wylie often put in a stint behind the counter. Burns was notoriously rude if asked for a record he disapproved of.

Sounds like an interesting project, Garth, good luck!

Re: Record Shops

PostPosted: Thu Jun 18, 2015 9:04 am
by will vine
Danny Baker probably your best source of stories on this topic I'd guess Garth. And Leon of course.

Re: Record Shops

PostPosted: Thu Jun 18, 2015 9:26 am
by Garth Cartwright
Ta for contributions - yes Probe famously had several future pop stars behind the counter. Holly Johnson too, I believe. That surely is the most ever in one UK shop? Elton John put in hours at Music Land in Soho both before and after finding fame. And Danny Baker also in Soho - I read the first volume of his autobiography and he recalls that time.

I'm interested in anything else you have come across in your reading or conversations - BB King loved to shop in Dobells. Surely other musicians were regulars at certain shops? Rough Trade's Geoff Travis told me he knew Strummer and Jones and McLaren as customers while Steve Jones would come in trying to sell stolen LPs! I'm interested in any references you come across.

Also: record shops in films. This is my list

1. Good Vibrations
2. A Clockwork Orange
3. Human Traffic
4. Confessions of a Pop Star
5. Madness movie (in Rock On!)
6. Rock You Sinners (1957 - I've not seen this one).

Any others to add?

Re: Record Shops

PostPosted: Thu Jun 18, 2015 10:58 am
by john poole
In the booklet with Ace's Rock On CD Ted Carroll remembers "Joe Strummer's weekly Friday morning visit to enquire politely whether I'd managed to locate a recording of 'Junco Partner' yet". The booklet also has a photo of Joe with two members of the Pop Group at the Soho Market stall in 1979.
http://acerecords.co.uk/rock-on

If you wish to cheat, as I did, there's a list of 25 record stores in films here, mainly from films I haven't seen, or scenes I had forgotten.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/cult ... me=3263369

The photo of Anna Karina in 'Vivre Sa Vie' is from a cafe (the wrong scene), the record store appears after 9:45 in the film
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pGo_mjx8n5I

The LP signing scene from 'This is Spinal Tap' is an outtake - not in the original film

Re: Record Shops

PostPosted: Thu Jun 18, 2015 11:30 am
by Adam Blake
Garth Cartwright wrote:Also: record shops in films.



I suppose "High Fidelity" is the obvious contender. I resisted seeing the film for many years because they had American-ised something which was so wonderfully English in Nick Hornby's book. When I finally did see it, I thoroughly enjoyed it.

This is a deleted scene I expect many of us can relate to!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z5ziBCarxEk

Re: Record Shops

PostPosted: Thu Jun 18, 2015 11:53 am
by Jude
Well there were so many record shops in and around the Wood Green/Muswell Hill area in the 60's all with listening booths where, if you were really clever you could squish 4 people in at a time to hear the latest singles from Bobby Vee and the Crickets or the Everly Brothers or Frank Ifield or indeed Charlie Drake. Most shops are gone now and some shops selling other things (furniture shops etc) had a record section at the back..

Les Aldrich in Fortis Green Road in Muswell Hill is still going
http://lesaldrichmusic.co.uk/

I think there was another music shop opposite as well at one time, you should talk to Simon Nicol about the area as he grew up just around the corner and possibly has a better memory than me

Re: Record Shops

PostPosted: Thu Jun 18, 2015 3:09 pm
by Hugh Weldon
Robert de Niro buying Kristofferson's 'Silver Tongued Devil And I' in Taxi Driver.

Rip Torn in a scene in 'The Man Who Fell To Earth' in a record shop which has 'Young Americans'.

There is a scene in 'Billy Liar' in a record shop where the director John Schlesinger appears in an uncredited cameo role.

Re: Record Shops

PostPosted: Fri Jun 19, 2015 7:55 am
by AndyM
Adam Blake wrote:
Garth Cartwright wrote:Also: record shops in films.



I suppose "High Fidelity" is the obvious contender. I resisted seeing the film for many years because they had American-ised something which was so wonderfully English in Nick Hornby's book. When I finally did see it, I thoroughly enjoyed it.


See my not bad actually review in Sight & Sound:

http://old.bfi.org.uk/sightandsound/review/385

Re: Record Shops

PostPosted: Fri Jun 19, 2015 8:31 am
by Adam Blake
Nice one, Andy.

I thought you were a bit mean to Bruce Springsteen - his appearance in the movie is genuinely funny, after all - but I suppose being mean about "The Boss" is something I cannot claim innocence of myself. His little moment is so perfect, and he was a good sport to agree to do it, I almost felt like giving him another chance. Almost.

(I used to think that women shouldn't be allowed to read "High Fidelity" as it was too truthful about men (alright, straight men). Now I am inclined to think they ought to read it on their fifteenth birthdays, or perhaps twelfth. But I wonder how true it still is...)

Maybe this is a good place to make a confession. I spent so much of my youth (and all my money) in second hand record shops, they meant so much to me, were such a safe haven from the dangers and expectations of rapidly approaching adulthood, that their gradual evaporation over the last twenty five years or so has been too painful for me to really deal with. I pretend they never existed, it's easier that way. When I do buy second hand records (rarely these days), I tend to do it on the internet. It's not the same, it's not as much fun, but when they turn up the moment of joy is intense, if fleeting. But it doesn't compare with the feeling of rushing home with something you've been looking for for ages in a bag that proclaims your coolness to the world, getting in, closing the door, getting it on the turntable, turning up the volume. Oh... That was sweet, sweet indeed. Nothing else mattered.

So I'd like to publicly apologise to Leon for not being more of a help in his wonderful work in documenting these disappeared shops. Doing a gig for him last year was the least I could do, but it's all too painful, too close to the bone. It reminds me how long ago it all was and how truly old I am.

Re: Record Shops

PostPosted: Fri Jun 19, 2015 9:09 am
by AndyM
Adam Blake wrote:Nice one, Andy.

I thought you were a bit mean to Bruce Springsteen.


Oh believe me, I held back !

Re: Record Shops

PostPosted: Fri Jun 19, 2015 9:16 am
by will vine
Great review Andy. Now I'm going to have to watch the damn thing again. Don't remember getting that much out of it at the time.

Spent way too much time in record shops (see also public houses) and wallowed in the bitter sweetness of discovering new and old things there. I mourned their loss but I'm pretty much over it now. As you say Adam I pretend they never existed (proper pubs as well for that matter).

Re: Record Shops

PostPosted: Fri Jun 19, 2015 6:15 pm
by Garth Cartwright
Great review, Andy. though you liked the film more than me - I watched it again the other night on TV and while it works on some levels I found it a bit too slick (and the girlfriends all far too beautiful for the main character - but i guess it is male fantasy writ large). I know the album you bought - Inflammable Material. You were waiting on the new Green Day and the film pointed you in the direction of Belfast punk!

I interviewed Ted, Roger and Viki of Rock On (now all at Ace) yesterday. They had great stories. How amazing it must have been to shop at those Rock On stalls in the 70s and 80s.

I'm now in Newcastle seeing old friends and doing a bit of northern research - there are a bunch of shops here and I've picked up a few things. York and Sheffield to follow before I return to London to go to a gig full of High Fidelity blokes: Radio Birdman.

Re: Record Shops

PostPosted: Fri Jun 19, 2015 6:19 pm
by Garth Cartwright
PS Thanks for all the comments - I'll keep the film scenes list British but very interesting to note all the others. And Jude, thanks for the tip on Les Aldrich Music - I never knew it existed so must visit!