You can’t celebrate Liverpool’s Bold Street enough, in my opinion. I know I made a fuss of it at the Bold Street Festival last autumn, but really it’s a festival down here every day.
Though Sains***y and T***o have opened outposts here in the last couple of years most of the street remains cheerfully chain free and I can quite happily say I’ve ‘Been to town’ when in fact I’ve only been to Bold Street and a couple of the streets just off it.
So, before getting to the main business of the day, let’s celebrate it.
As well as Hairy Records, Bold Street has been home to many a vinyl haven over the years. One of the first ever Virgin Records shops was here in the 70s. All beanbags, headphones and listening to Mike Oldfield. Then we’ve had Penny Lane Records, No Quarter and even a branch of Comet that used to sell LPs. Then for many years, Probe Records, now down in School Lane, were just yards off Bold Street, in Slater Street. But since my return to vinyl last summer – apart from a very few second hand records in News from Nowhere and Oxfam, Bold Street has been a vinyl desert. Until today. But we’ll get to that.
And look, we’ve got a new bakery.
Only open a week so just finding its feet. Popular today though, and when I visited with a friend on Wednesday. So maybe most people don’t think the food’s a little on the pricey side yet. It’s difficult getting a new venture right and what would I know? I wish them only well.
We’ll be back out for more of a look around. But right now we’ve reached the day’s main destination.
Yes, I must admit I’ve never been in here before. And even today I’m unlikely to emerge with any ‘Rockabilly Clothing’ much though some might suit me, for all I know? But that’s only because I know I’ll only have eyes for what’s opened this very morning in the basement here.
You can read lots more about the thinking behind it here. But all I’m interested in right now is, what have they got?
And I immediately grab that copy of Lou Reed’s ‘Berlin.’
Plus there’ll always be this turntable in the corner for customers to check out possible purchases.
And the stock? Well it’s a small place and there’s a Beatles selection, seemingly obligatory for Liverpool record shops. But other than that the stock seems a hand picked mix of classic and prog rock, eighties and indie, soul, funk, disco and jazz, with a healthy strain of weird.
Me and someone who turns out to be a postman (‘Best job in the world!’) flicking through the records next to me, simultaneously find Ivor Cutler albums, and are immediately lost in Scotch Sitting Room reminiscences. ‘This was a treat.’
I notice this on my first scoot around. But by the time I’m close to approaching the till much of it’s gone. ‘Yes!’ I’m delightedly told. ‘Our first day and one bloke bought half the reggae stock.’ Don’t worry, they can see what’s selling and there will be more.
And look at this!
This was in a field just outside Wigan. Three days of mostly rain. But we were 18, we didn’t care and the music was mostly fantastic. Still, I don’t buy it, so if you want the boxed set chances are Dig Vinyl have still got it.
So my stash at the till? Funk, prog and classic rock and said Lou Reed. It felt lovely and friendly (and by no means all record shops do feel like that) – like a party on their first day, as I said. And obviously I’ll be back.
After all that searching, though, I’m hungry. Time to find somewhere for lunch.
Back up the stairs. And out onto Bold Street.
Well it is Saturday lunch-time after all. Finally I find a seat and some peace.
LPs pored over, food and tea devoured.
Walking down Bold Street in recent months, passing here has become a regular delight as the woman with the microphone in the shop does virtuoso Scouse accent demonstrations whilst encouraging ‘all youse girls’ to snap up their bargains. Not this week. Either she’s broken the mic, had a personality change or is on a well earned holiday. Whichever, I’m looking forward to her return.
But the main delight of the day is the return of vinyl into Bold Street.
All is well.