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Record Shopping in Northern Scotland (and beyond)

Record Shopping in Northern Scotland (and beyond)

Multi-instrumentalist Patrick Doyle, aka Boys Forever has delivered one of the years most instantly addictive records; bitter sweet, melancholic, ludicrously catchy and full of acid-tongued pop bangers. It's written and performed in its entirety by Doyle and winning plaudits from behind all the shop counters we know. So what shop counters does he know? We asked him about his record shop CV.

The first record shop I ever went to was Sound and Vision in Elgin, a small city in Morayshire, forty-five minutes from where I grew up in Keith. I would work for weeks at my Saturday job as a taxi controller in order get the bus there and bulk-buy CDs by bands like Nirvana and The Smiths. Sound and Vision didn’t stock much vinyl, mostly Red Hot Chili Pepper t-shirts and Pearl Jam guitar tab books, but I was already hooked on buying music, getting what I could, when I could. I was all set for buying records and CDs online, but it wasn’t as exciting. I was too impatient to wait for things to arrive in the post and discovering something online wasn’t half as exciting as stumbling across something in a shop, being able to examine the condition and swiftly memorize the sleeve notes.

A little further in the opposite direction was Aberdeen where I discovered One Up and Cavern Records. When we were 16, a friend dropped out of High School early and moved there for university. At the time I would talk about music a lot with my science teacher, who turned me on to loads of great bands. Physics classes meant not only getting to grips with the Van der Graaf Generator, but also being introduced to the sounds of Teenage Fanclub, Velvet Crush, Yo La Tengo, The Chills and so many other bands that shaped my teenage years. After several weekend trips to Aberdeen, I found copies of these records that would become my own. Beautiful, musty, finger-marked and scratched-up copies, carried home on the bus with the amount of care you’d expect when handling a precious family heirloom. Each one, my own personal heirloom. I bought most of the Felt albums at Cavern on my second visit (leaving afore mentioned friend waiting outside while I combed the racks for a little too long), the rest I picked out from a box tucked away under the bookcase of an Oxfam near Central Station a couple of years later for £1.99 each.

"It’s the first place I go on arrival in Glasgow and still gives me the same feeling it did when I would go there as a teenager"

Having worked the Summer at a biscuit factory after high school, I eventually moved to Glasgow and lived in the Govanhill area on the south side. There was a brilliant Oxfam second hand record shop around the corner from my flat, where my record collection began to grow quickly. I bought records there like You Can’t Hide Your Love Forever, Rattlesnakes, 16 Lovers Lane and the first Violent Femmes LP. I knew a couple of people who worked there from going to indie nights at the Woodside Social Club in the West End, where I would eventually move and spend the rest of my time in Glasgow. I’d shop at places like Mixed Up on Otago Lane, which is brilliant if you enjoy second hand record shopping. It’s the first place I go on arrival in Glasgow and still gives me the same feeling it did when I would go there as a teenager. Excited to see which newly sold in records had made it into their rotating window display.

But it wasn't just the local record stores that caught my attention, and while living in Glasgow I'd make the pilgrimage with my then boyfriend to Europa Music in Stirling. We'd spend an entire day trawling through their backhouse, boxes of records piled from floor to ceiling, which might well have been holding the building together. I haven’t been to Europa in a really long time; I hope it’s still there.

Since leaving Glasgow in 2008, I’ve been lucky enough to visit record shops all over the world but unfortunately they've been getting fewer and fewer. I was particularly saddened to hear about the recent closure of Other Music in New York where I lived briefly after leaving Glasgow. The closure of these shops around the world, brings to light the communities they hold and makes me think me of my teenage self; hiding away in record shops during family holidays or attending college interviews purely so I could check out the city’s local record shops. Places like Monorail in Glasgow are so incredibly important and it’s so easy to take them for granted. Visiting Monorail as a teenager made me realise that making music was not only something I could be doing but something I should be doing, as well as supplying me with the support and inspiration I needed to do so. Some people go to the pub when they’re feeling lonely, but you’ll never feel lonely when you live in a city with a good record shop around the corner.

The self titled Boys Forever LP is out now and is our August 2016 Record of the Month.