Without this sounding like a dull diary type blog, it’s been one of those days. The weather of planet Hoth grinds the country to near standby, I perched at the window contemplating taking my milk-float out for as long as I could bear. I got quarter of the run done, albeit very late.
Oh the look on people’s faces, who wouldn’t normally witness such a spectacle as an eighties milk-float daring to venture where most cars were stuck. Still, that’s the beauty of Devizes, content in a time of yore.
Rather than brave my car to town later, with more snowfall forecast, I took the opportunity when passing the corner of St Johns and Long Street to drop in and see Pete and Jacki Bennett who were busy preparing Vinyl Realm for tomorrow’s launch; their brand new record shop. Yeah, the one we mentioned here a week ago (see article.)
So here it is, a sneak preview of this soon-to-be marvellous musical haven, for just like the vintage milk-float parked randomly outside, upon sauntering into Vinyl Realm you feel transported back to a time of yore, when people gathered in record shops to browse, share gossip and sometimes even buy an album. Surely it’s another diamond for the traditional ethos of Devizes.
I’ll confirm now, before you see it for yourself, it’s everything you think it should be, the décor stripped back to beams and bricks adorn pop memorabilia from a Buddy Holly picture disc and a Two-Tone tour poster. The centre of the shop embraces an island of classic vinyl albums, divided A-Z and into genres, just how you remember them being prior to shopping on a dull website named after a rainforest.
You can’t flick through those artistic cardboard covers like you used to on a website, or dare I say it, skin up on an MP3. Here then is Vinyl Realm’s niche, through assortments of incense, CD’s, high quality cables at decent prices, pop memorabilia and more, lies old vinyl albums in abundance. Under the island there’s bargain bins, there’s stacks of 7” singles, rave 12”’s, there’s prize shelves alluring you in with the a heave of excitement, “Hey wow, Madness Absolutely; my first ever album.”
“What about cassette tapes?” I rapped, thinking I’d got the better of them, but no, they’ll be stocked too, just hadn’t been bought up the shop yet. The best thing was, Pete and Jacki were pleased to see me, discussing their plans with enthusiasm. It’s clear they’re passionate about this project, after years of producing an online vinyl service. Pete tells me how he wants it to be a hub, somewhere to hang out, discuss and debate music, and they’ll also be selling gig tickets.
Will they have a deck for customers to try before they buy? I had to ask, recalling days of queuing with prospective purchase in hand, waiting for the would-be DJ to filter his stack, muttering, “shit, this record will be out of the charts by the time this Joey has finished on there!” Oh yes, of course, they replied. I’m damned if this isn’t like stepping back to the good old days of record shops, the fair prices, I do not lie, even match.
You could be looking at paying £15-18 for a brand new album, but the second-hand racks are priced akin to 1990; at £3-£10. So cool; I predict this to be awesome for our little town, as far as shopping goes, and making good use of such a lovely corner store too.
But it doesn’t end there, Pete, who has experience with the local music scene is keen, not so much to bring in big names to meet and greet, but to support our burgeoning music scene.
For example, you’ll catch Mike Barham at tomorrow’s grand opening; snowdrifts only peeking over the soul of his shoe. Local musicians, you know who you are, approach the place and enquire if they’ll flog your CD; they promise not to bite.
So, here at snowy Devizine Towers, I’m so pleased to see something like this happening in Devizes, fair-play to Jacki and Pete and I wish them all the best for their grand opening tomorrow (Saturday 3rd March) Get down there and check it out!
All photos have been used with kind permission of Nick Padmore Photography, copyright Nick Padmore; please ask before use, thank you!