Hull in East Yorkshire was exactly the kind of city I needed to study: pubs aplenty, a low cost of living and some parts looked like Albania circa 1974. It was never renowned for its musical talent although Mick Ronson came from there and the Housemartins/ Beautiful South were formed there.
It was a city with a lot of record stores, perfect for a student with a dusty record player and a stereo containing a cassette deck. Other than Virgin and HMV the centre had Sydney Scarborough’s under the Town Hall and, like Andy’s Records, sold more interesting stuff, with Sydney’s selling a fair bit of vinyl.
Along Princes Avenue, there were a clutch of shabby specialist stores, including two selling vinyl. One, Norman’s Records was the daddy of music outlets in the city, with its extensive collection, but Golden Oldies two doors down was basically for older collectors, as my mate Neil recalls:
“The shop was very scruffy, with the records mostly in disarray, therefore it wasn’t one of the easiest places to find what you were looking for. It wasn’t particularly cheap either and I’m scratching my head to recall anything I bought there except Scott 3, a cassette reissue, which I promptly dropped on the way back home and broke the case.”
Princes Ave also had a branch of Oxfam where I bought a copy of Wire’s Pink Flag which was hard to get at the time, although this copy didn’t have an inside sleeve.
Going north into the university area was Pools Corner which sold lawnmower parts downstairs and masses of vinyl at generally cheap prices upstairs.
Here’s Neil again:
“I recall the dealer being an Orange Juice fan and had seen them live on a number of occasions. I found this out simply because of my desire to get hold of any OJ record which might come his way. That place was excellent for New Wave and Mod Revival singles, I always recall seeing a copy there of The Cigarettes ‘They’re Back Again, Here They Come’ for a few quid, which is now selling on eBay for over a hundred pounds! Just goes to show what 20 years can make in the value of old Mod vinyl.
“I also recall going in there once and they were playing the latest Cyndy Lauper Greatest Hits CD which was out at the time, only for some old bloke to regale us with his own fantasies of Miss Lauper and how much he would like to shag her. This led to some blokish banter in the shop upon the nature of his Miss Lauper: ‘I bet she’s a right goer’ etc and also the embarrassment of some of the more sensitive customers. It’s strange how these things sift into your memory and stay there like glue, but every time I now hear Girls Just Want To Have Fun etc I always think of that old bloke in that shop and the object of his mucky desires.”
Equally stacked with old vinyl was Disc Discovery, which I was pleased to find on my return to the city last year is still going, under the same house on Springbank Ave. It was raining that day, and every trip there seemed to be on a day when it was pissing down.
There were others of course, and in a town full of students and people with low incomes a lot of charity shops. In the three years I was there I expanded my collection considerably with cassettes, seven and 12 inches, CDs and memorabilia. It was also a great city for gigs, with a string of good, and less than good, venues, but that is for another day.
My next stop was Sheffield for eight months and, strangely, I didn’t find the music scene there as good as that in the eastern half of the county, despite being far bigger.
But you couldn’t say that about London with it’s various corners of delight .. Camden Town, Berwick St, and Croydon in the south. Next time …..
* With immeasureable thanks to Neil Peacock