Time For Vinyl


Record player | Crossley


Buying a record player for your little music lover this Festives? Here’s where to find the records…

Charity shops are your best friends. Almost all charity shops sell vinyl records (singles and albums). Yes, you do have to thumb through a mountain of Val Doonican, but there’s gold in thar hills. For every hundred Harry Seecombes, there might be a Supremes Greatest Hits or a Mary Poppins soundtrack, both firm favourites when the twins were tiny and firm favourites still, and both £ 1.50 in a charity shop.

My own record obsession began when my sister and I clubbed together our pocket money to buy a basic record player and a random selection of 45rpm singles at a school jumble sale. The 45s were a motley crew of failed pop and show tunes,  but we sang along with every word of every B-side, because they were ours. The record player was a bit like this one (link to record player). Sarah used to play her cherished Tufty the Squirrel LP on something similar.

Also worth looking at classical albums (there’s a sackful of them in every charity shop). I’m not much of a classical afficionado, but if I stick on some Beethoven for Tabitha and call it ‘ballet music’, she laps it up.

Car boot sales are also great, if chilly this time of year. I rarely leave a car boot without a couple of twelve inch disco classics under my arm.

There are still ‘proper’ record shops, which are much friendlier than they used to be (in my youth, just to enter the hallowed Red Records in Brixton was courting immediate disapproval), but expensive. In the London area my personal favourites are Sounds of the Universe in Soho, Peckings in Shepherds Bush and Banquet in Kingston, but the country’s best shops are probably in the North and Midlands. Nottingham deserves a special mention. My absolute favourites are in the States. If you happen to be anywhere near Rochester NY, visit Record Archive. Likewise for Jerry’s in Pittsburg. I’ve also found gems in Rio, Calcutta and Paris, but hopefully you won’t get so hooked that you’re record shopping on holiday…

If dancing unimpressively round the living room with your child(ren) to your favourite sounds of your own youth, with musical statues thrown in, is your cup of tea (it’s my favourite form of Saturday morning exercise), then you might need to resort to the internet to find the vinyl: the discogs.com website is the most reliable. You can listen to some of our living room tunes (which I made into mix tapes for when we’re on holiday) here.

And, by special request and the popular demand, a Little Spree Spotify playlist is in the pipeline.

Let’s Stay Together,

Tom