Selectadisk, a tribute to an institution

Independent retailer offering music on CD, vinyl, DVD and books online. Music news and store locations in London only

Every city deserves a great record shop and focal point for the local scene.

Since 1966, Nottingham's music lovers have congregated in Selectadisc widely regarded as one of the country's best. Few imagined that good old "Sleccy", of all places, would go under. Then again, how many of us were still buying vinyl!

Selectadisc began life as a simple market stall, before moving to a corner the market in Northern Soul rarities. Opening a "soul cellar" below the main shop, the owners traded in US imports and UK repressings, offering unmatchable bargains to Midlands soul fans - including a young Pete Waterman, who travelled up frequently from Coventry. A Penny Auction mail-order business followed, along with a record label (Black Magic), which licensed reissues of Northern Soul floor-fillers. Its biggest release, Papa Oom Mow Mow by the Sharonettes, briefly grazed the top 30 in 1975.

By the early 80s, Selectadisc had moved to the city centre. In late 1983, the owners bought a dilapidated reggae club in the old Lace Market, relaunching it as the Garage: a hip alternative to the chrome-plated, smart-dress-enforced pick-up joints of the day. Needing someone to play records in the upstairs bar on opening night, ownerspress-ganged a young Selectadisc sales assistant called Graeme Park, at under a day's notice. Park's 25-year reputation as an international house DJ was founded at the Garage. Two years ahead of the 1988 "Summer of Love", he spearheaded the introduction of Chicago house into the UK, before graduating to the Hacienda in Manchester. "If it wasn't for Selectadisc, I would never have become a DJ", he says today.

"I've always stuck with vinyl," says the current store manager, "During the 1990s, I remember going down and talking to people at Warner Brothers when I was trying to get a load of John Coltrane and Charlie Mingus reissued. They just thought: you're a fucking idiot from the sticks. And I proved them wrong. I've talked to EMI, and got Morrissey and Blur albums repressed. I also did a lot of work with Gordon Montgomery, who owned Fopp. The two of us used to work together in getting things reissued."

Ironically, the Nottingham opening of Fopp in 2001 marked the beginning of the end for Selectadisc. Hoovering up the "50-quid bloke" market, Fopp effectively beat Selectadisc at its oldest game: sourcing and discounting overstocks, deletions and cheap imports. When Fopp went into administration in 2007, Selectadisc's profits briefly bounced back up, only to slump again when the Nottingham Fopp was one of six stores in the chain reopened by HMV.

For 18 months, he soldiered on, "more as a social service than as a normally functioning business", as current owner Phil Barton admits. But squeezed between the defecting 50-quidsters, the convenience of online retailers, and the general decline of recorded music sales, it was living on borrowed time. Now that time has been called, the punters have come flooding back - but you'll still struggle to find anyone in there under the age of 30.

"I had two kids, two weeks ago, come into me", says Cooke. "They were doing a business studies course at the local university. One of them said, 'Why is your shop geared to classic rock like Led Zeppelin and Jethro Tull?' I said, 'When did you last buy a CD?' And he said, 'Six years ago.' So I said, 'Well, there's your fucking answer, mate.'"

Selectadisc was at the vanguard of the independent music scene since 1966. From rock to blues and folk, to techno and hip-hop, reggae and far beyond. We endeavour to cover all aspects of music on CD, Vinyl, DVD and Books.Our broad stock base covers new items, old items, overstocks and deletions. New stock is arriving every day of the week from both large and small sources, all over the world. As such, it is always worth dropping in to trawl the racks even if there is nothing in particular you are looking for. All of our stock is very competitively priced so you may leave the shop with more than you expected, having spent less.

If you are looking for something special, then the shop is staffed by enthusiasts from practically every music field. Just ask one of our staff and they will be more than happy to share their wealth of knowledge. The company has always strived to bring fresh and innovative talent to a larger audience before it is widely noticed. Through strong associations with local bands, promoters and artists. ppc management

 

Selectadisc is set for a come back with the advent of two new entrepreneurs see "You have to believe in something, somewhere down the line," said Dave Bulmer, who will own the business with John Cooper. more

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