One of the best things about growing up as a teenager in Bangor, County Down, Northern Ireland was going around the many record shops on a Saturday afternoon in search of vinyl with mates (Justin Egli, Conor Smyth, Paul Mulholland and Colin Montgomery). A few of us would joke around with one another when flicking through the various vinyl sections pretending we had just found ‘Love Buzz‘ by Nirvana which we considered the holy grail of vinyl because of its limited edition tag.
There use to be a handful of record stores in Bangor. Big town names like ‘Underground Music, Plastic Passion, Kosmos Records, Harrison Musique, Golden discs, MTM and Sho’nuff’. These shops gave music lovers and teenagers the chance to spend countless hours on a Saturday afternoon hanging out and sharing an interest by flicking through the many different vinyl, CD and tape sections together. I think Sho’nuff was the last independent record store in Bangor before the Internet, big brand stores and recession came in and killed off all the small independent record stores.
In those days (late 1990s) we would all get a train up to Belfast to visit a record fair in Maysfield Leisure Centre (See old flyer below) or explore Belfast record stores like ‘Hector’s House, Caroline Music, Good Vibrations or Virgin Megastore’ to see what they had to offer – Hector’s House being the most reliable for rare bootlegs and vinyl. Occasionally taking day-trips to Dublin to see what they had to offer.
Work experience in a record shop...
I even did a small stint of work experience in one of these record shops. For my 5th year one week work experience during Secondary School I choose to work in ‘Underground Music’. Underground Music was owned by Paul Murray. Paul was mostly into Electronic, Dance and Techno Music while Steve who worked there also was into Alternative, Rock and Punk rock Music.
For most of the week Paul, Steve and I drank lots of tea while standing about listening to a wide variation of music, mostly punk and metal music thanks to Steve. Steve glowingly introduced me to a new album everyday which included the following classics as they stand-out in my memory: ‘The Shape of Punk to Come‘ by Refused, Antichrist Superstar by Marilyn Manson and ‘Hitler bad, Vandals Good‘ by ‘The Vandals‘. It’s nice to cast one mind’s back to that particular week which cemented a good friendship with the shop for many years to come before it sadly had to close its doors.
'A nod to the Underground'
‘Underground Music’ had an influence on many folk and friends growing up in the sea-side town including one of my best mates Justin Egli otherwise known as ‘Jar’ who is the creator of Award winning blog ‘Ikimasho‘ which focuses on ‘Randomness from Tokyo and beyond’. His unique creative outlet has featured on many varied websites and magazines including the BBC, Wanderlust Magazine, Dazed, Bizarre and Toyko weekender. Be sure to check out his blog and click here to read his own personal tribute to ‘Underground Music’ titled ‘A nod to the Underground’.
What vinyl do you have stashed away in your wardrobe?
Whether you are born in the 1960s or 1980s Collecting Vinyl has always proven to be a fun hobby for music lovers all over the world. It’s the indivdual vinyl picks that count because many of these records tell a past story or can possibly rekindle an old memory. You may have even sold or swapped vinyl with friends. Have a look below at some of the vinyl I collected during my teenage years sniffling through the various record sections with mates in shops in Bangor, Belfast and beyond.
Feel free to leave any comments regarding collecting vinyl or record shop experiences,