Record shops, vinyl and John Peel

Two years ago I wrote a blog about John Peel, so let’s not rewrite it again, but you can read it if you missed it then. Radio in the past couple of weeks has continued to re-enforce what a great good he was for independent sounds. The opening of a new vinyl record shop in Tunbridge Wells Vinyl Revolution this weekend has just got me thinking about what record shops meant back in the 1980s – one thing was finding some songs you had heard on the John Peel show:


Working backwards, there was the courage needed to buy the first album that wasn’t ‘child friendly’ I spent quite a while deciding I really did need to buy this:


Finding out, pre internet, just what that song was that the Black Sheep DJ-man played as the last song at each college disco:


There was buying lots of singles, even though you had the album, so you could hear the B sides. That one has definitely now ended?


There was also the sleeve art work. There was also many different shops. In Canterbury, there was Our Price in The Longmarket, where the punks hung about on the benches outside, as well as record sections in Woolies, WH Smiths and Boots… and several small independent shops. In these many hours could be spent looking through random 50p singles, and buying something you hadn’t heard, just in case it was interesting:


Finally, a mix of those, finding a single I’d heard on John Peel, after spending hours in the second hand shop, and then having the courage to buy it, as it was rather loud and angry:




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