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Record Store Day

Saturday 18 April 2015
Notorious Aardvark Record Shop, Doncaster

In a time when there's a special celebration day for just about everything - from Mother's Day, Father's Day, Granny's Day, World Turtle Day and International Talk Like a Pirate Day - then in my world, the big event of the year has got to be Record Store Day, where independent record shops up and down the country fling open their doors, crack open the champagne (or put the kettle on!) and make their vinyl-strewn den open to everyone in order to celebrate what browsing through records is all about.

Record Store Day began eight years ago in the States, with record shops over here in the UK soon following suit. Celebrating music is at the core of the event, but there's also the intention to create a sense of community, where record lovers from all over can come together in the hope of finding that elusive gem that they've been searching for over the last couple of decades or so. Today I visited my own local independent vinyl cave, the newly opened Notorious Aardvark Record Shop in the Waterdale shopping precinct, in Doncaster's town centre to offer my support for both Record Store Day and the shop itself. 

In the absence of a decent independent record shop in the town, Simon Saynor opened the Notorious Aardvark Record Shop in November and has subsequently built up a respectable customer base over the last six months, offering not only a place to browse through vinyl LPs and Singles, but also to provide a comfortable and intimate space for performers to play their live music. Today, as part of the celebrations one or two guests were invited along to play, Nottingham's Brad Dear for instance, along with percussionist Chris Reed, who performed before an audience of record buyers, each of whom shoved their LPs under their arms between songs, in order to show their appreciation.

Simon says he's been passionate about music since he first heard his Mum’s crackly Glen Miller albums and has since that time been heavily involved in music. With little other prospects, Simon took the bold step to do something about his own 'career' as well as to rectify Doncaster's problem of not having a decent independent record shop, apart from the huge retail outlet in the nearby Frenchgate Centre, which does stock new LPs once you've found your way through the mountain of computer games, mugs, magnets, 'I Love Tits' badges and One Direction calendars. 

Partly named after a former partner's nickname 'Aardvark', Simon added the word Notorious to avoid confusion with the recording studio of the same name. Today the shop saw a long list of special Record Store Day releases on offer, which were being snapped up by some of the visitors to the shop, including Frank Zappa's 200 Motels purple vinyl 7", the From Genesis To Revelation Box Set, Ian Dury and The Blockheads' New Boots and Panties alternative double LP in orange and green vinyl and the Yardbirds' Roger the Engineer picture disc. I came away with Al Stewart's Past, Present and Future LP, complete with gatefold sleeve in tip top condition and The Lovin' Spoonful's Daydream 7" from 1965, that's around the time I first started buying records. 

It's nice to see independent record shops surviving once again, drawing in customers who share a passion not only for music but for the artifact, something an MP3 can never replace. Support your local record shop.

Allan Wilkinson
Northern Sky

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