Counter Culture : 1

Welcome brothers and sisters to the fist installment of 'counter culture' a monthly delve into the world of record retailing with yours truly, generalissimo GD the busy bee.

It's about four years since we came in from the cold into our cosy boutique and whilst it hasn't been all beer and skittles along the way I'm full of uncharaceristically British optimism.

Vinyl sales are booming and there is some great new music about for those willing to seek it out.

I think from the first time I made the trip up to the west-end and entered Harlequin records I wanted to have my own shop. I was in awe of the hipness of it all. I'd never seen a copy of John and yoko's Two virgins album or some of the imports that were in the racks. Everyone who worked there was supercool and I wanted in!

It was a similar story at virgin records when they were a small shop on new oxford street before mega stores and mega bucks took over and the soul went out of it. Here you could recline on scatter cushions whilst checking out the latest prog rock magnum opus with the scent of jos sticks wafting around the nostrils. One can only scratch the gulliver and wonder where it all went wrong!

Check out this clip from clockwork orange to see the heyday of the record boutique.

a clockwork orange - the old in-out - MyVideo

'Which fuzzy warbles have you been listening to recently'

Well here at casbah mansions the girls reign supreme.

The Dum Dum Girls on Sub Pop Records just keep getting better with each new release, Likewise The Black Belles on Jack Whites Third Man Label made a stunning debut with their goth/garage album; 'The Black Belles'.

We're also into the acoustic psychedelic folk of the smoke faries, new Liverpool lasses Stealing Sheep and the very wonderfully talented The Trembling Bells. The 'bells' as we like to call them are on their fifth album already and are quickly emerging as prolific songwriters of outstanding ability.

On the vintage front we've noticed a huge surge of interest in vinyl. Everyone wants classic rock most notibly, Zepellin, Floyd, The Beatles, Who, Black Sabbath, AC/DC and punk icons like The Clash and The Pistols. We're selling these bands so quickly it's getting hard to meet the demand!

Bowie and Deep Purple albums that used to fetch £10-£15 a few years ago are now going for two to three times the amount as long as they're mint and have got all the inserts and posters etc.

That's probably the appeal of vinyl. How can you be satisfied with a CD or a download of Alice Coopers' 'Schools out' when you can track down the original open school desk vinyl version with wrap around paper panties! No contest! That's a good enough link to our last clip of prime time Alice performing on German t.v in the seventies with a track from the classic 'Killer' album whch is being reissued on vinyl this month.

That bothers and sisters is about it. Keep an eye on the shop floor in the coming months. We're planning some changes. As I mentioned Harlequin and The Chelsea Drugstore Boutiques are our fantasy record shops.

We aim to live the dream!