"Once upon a time before CDs were dreamed of, a young lad attended a Sixth Form College in a small welsh market town. The land was just over the river from the fabled land of the Beatles and the Stones (Wrexham - Ed!)
In an age where 45 was the new 78 and albums had been condensed to one slab of vinyl, attending lessons was an option rather than crate digging. The young academic was in the early stages of an affliction which would develop throughout his life. He visited a small wonderland “Rabbit Records”, it was situated in the clouds at the other side of the town. The King of this vinyl emporium was also a Lecturer at the same College as the young hero.
After a gruelling mornings studying the young pretender could be heard asking the lecturer, King Alan, if he was about to depart to his kingdom for his lunch break? King Alan said he was about to saddle his steed and drive over to his kingdom to partake in his luncheon.
Young Dave and his friend, Kelvin would set out on their quest. Striding out and traversing the shoddy streets, avoiding the snarling monsters of WH Smith and Woolworths with their racks of MfP and Pickwick records and tapes. Boots and its’ interactive TV screen advertising the latest Boney M single! Dodging past Martins’ with its’ first floor cafe and music department heading up Town Hill to the land of Rabbit Records. King Alan has opened it’s gates and is sitting on his throne behind the small counter, finishing his repast. Hello boys, he would greet us with. We nodded respectfully before proceeding on our quest aware that we only had a few precious minutes to search the racks before we must return to our castle before the wicked Head Teacher sealed the castle doors and woe is any student who is not ensconced within its’ walls!
On particular December morning, many of my colleagues and I were subdued and very upset! The transistor radios had woken us up that particular morning with extremely sad tidings. The genius, John (Winston) Ono Lennon, had shuffled off his mortal coil in a land far far away. It was a day that would remain in my memory for ever and probably longer. I had grabbed my Beatles and Lennon vinyl and taken it to College. The record player in the Common Room was exclusively playing Lennon tracks. Lecturers and students refrained from attending lessons and just huddled around the deck reminiscing. That lunch time, the quest had purpose! Students filled Rabbit Records and filled in gaps in their collection, my purchase was “Mind Games”.
I am now a member of VA (Vinylholics Anonymous) which is a self-help group which meets whenever possible in VOD Music, the smallest record shop in the UK. Kelvin is a continuing vinylholic in denial! Alan continues to own a Record Shop in a sleepy border town but has retired as a lecturer.
Whenever I play this copy of Mind Games, I still remember that fateful day and all the like minded people I shared it with."
My favourite records shop?
There can only be one candidate for this! Yes you guessed it!
Possibly the World’s Smallest Record Shop, definitely the UK’s Smallest! It is the colour of a can of Guinness and only slightly bigger than one. Their staff are all very knowledgeable with a leaning towards Progressive and Psychedelic music. The proprietor is solely responsible for exposing me to the fishy topic of Fruits De Mer Records. About 7 years ago, I wandered in, chatted to Colin and revealed my tastes in music. Colin sold me a record by a welsh band on a small label. It intrigued me, listening to a Velvet Underground cover. Before I knew it, Colin was selling me his “last” copies by Vibravoid and Hausfrauen Experiment. I was hooked and a friendship began. Since these early beginnings I have become a fully paid up member of FdM and attended the odd happening.
VOD Music in Mold, North Wales is a great little shop. But do not mention Peter Hammil! Colin is a big Van Der Graf Generator fan and will always try to steer the conversation towards this topic. Of course Keith has aided and abetted Colin with his issues! Another of Colin’s vices is his ability to always sell the “LAST” copy to me.
For a small shop, it expands regularly by organising Record Fairs and Vinyl Nights. Colin’s son, Tom is the Electronic Music expert and he provides the DJ equipment for the events along with his team of Halcyon DJs.
Colin also organises themed package holidays – providing it is HRH Prog festivals and you don’t mind sharing his caravan! No wonder VOD Music is my favourite shop!