The re-entry of vinyl into Bold Street

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.

Bold Street, the independent heart of Liverpool.

Bold Street, the independent heart of Liverpool.

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.

A previous Vinyl Emporium.

A previous Vinyl Emporium.

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.

Meantime?

Suol Café. Reliable suppliers of fine food and tunes.

Soul Café. Reliable suppliers of fine food and tunes, on the Independent Liverpool Card too.

And look, we’ve got a new bakery.

The East Avenue Bakehouse.

The East Avenue Bakehouse and Social Eatery.

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.

News from Nowhere. Our independent bookshop, the cultural heart of Bold Street.

News from Nowhere. Our independent bookshop, the cultural heart of Bold Street.

And opposite, Rennie's Arts and Crafts. Legendary.

And opposite, Rennie’s Arts and Crafts. Legendary.

We’ll be back out for more of a look around. But right now we’ve reached the day’s main destination.

Soho's Alternative and Rockabilly Clothing?

Soho’s Alternative and Rockabilly Clothing?

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.

Bold Street's brand new record shop, Dig Vinyl.

Bold Street’s brand new record shop, Dig Vinyl.

You can read lots more about the thinking behind it here. But all I’m interested in right now is, what have they got?

Dig Vinyl, down in the basement of Soho's clothes shop.

Dig Vinyl, down in the basement of Soho’s clothes shop.

It's small, crowded and it feels like a party.

It’s small, crowded and it feels like a party.

And I immediately grab that copy of Lou Reed’s ‘Berlin.’

There's reggae playing, joyously. And a pleased proprietor talking music like it's his lifeblood.

There’s reggae playing, joyously. And pleased proprietor Anthony Nyland, talking music like it’s his lifeblood.

I knew you'd want to get a closer look at the turntable.

I knew you’d want to get a closer look at the turntable.

Plus there’ll always be this turntable in the corner for customers to check out possible purchases.

'The Listening Post' - a good idea.

‘The Listening Post’ – a good idea.

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.’

Rare stuff and vintage record boxes too.

Rare stuff and vintage record boxes too.

And, at first, a good reggae selection.

And, at first, a good reggae selection.

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!

A snip at £85. In 1972 I was there.

A snip at £85. In 1972 I was there.

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.

Leaf? Even upstairs is ram-jam.

Leaf? Even upstairs is ram-jam.

Well it is Saturday lunch-time after all. Finally I find a seat and some peace.

In 'Garden by Leaf' inside FACT. Highly recommended.

In ‘The Garden by Leaf’ inside FACT. Highly recommended.

LPs pored over, food and tea devoured.

It's back out on Bold Street again.

It’s back out on Bold Street again.

Past Matta's, enduringly magnificent.

Past Matta’s, enduringly magnificent.

And here, strangely peaceful today.

And here, strangely peaceful today.

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.

At the end of the street. Very high quality blues busking. The name on his guitar is 'Parker'

At the end of the street. Very high quality blues busking. The name on his guitar is ‘Parker’

And now I turn left into Hanover Street.

And now I turn left into Hanover Street.

To go and meet Sarah.

To go and meet Sarah.

Later, on Church Street, we're delighted to witness the return of Breakdancing.

Later, on Church Street, we’re delighted to witness the return of Breakdancing.

But the main delight of the day is the return of vinyl into Bold Street.

So we return home and put some new funk on the turntable.

So we return home and put some new funk on the turntable.

All is well.

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