I was working in Our Price Aldershot. I had worked for Our Price Records for a year or so by now and was confident in my role. Sales assistants would get moved to a different shop every few months. The area manager would visit the shop and after a chat with the store manager, would call you in the processing area of the shop. (This is where the stock all came in. The vinyl, cds and cassettes would be put into master bags before the sleeves, and cases were distributed out front. ) Woking had been my first shop, Aldershot my second.
I started to stock specific records for the shop. I made an ‘indie’ section and ordered in records by The June Brides, Hurrah!, The Loft, The Television Personalities, The Room, Benny Profane, 10, 000 Maniacs, old New Order albums, Postcard and Creation 7″s. Bands like The Smiths, R.E.M., Lloyd Cole were stocked by head office as they were big sellers. I listened to Bluenote albums. Discovered John Coltrane, Miles Davis and Dexter Gordon.
We started to get regular customers, indie kids I guess you’d call them, coming in to check out what we had in stock. Dressed in slightly too large suits from charity shops and Dr Martin shoes, quiffs and Argyle socks. I actually don’t remember there being any girls buying indie records in the shops I worked in! I was wearing baggy Levi 501s bought second hand from Camden Market, with turn ups and stripy tee shirts, I also had Dr Martin shoes and Argyle socks.
Sometimes customers would ask for records we didn’t have in stock yet or weren’t out yet. I’d order it in for them. ‘Have you got the new Mighty Mighty 12″?” was one customer’s weekly question. The release had got delayed but he came in each week to ask for it, just in case this was the day we would have it. So, I decided to ask them to play The Buzz Club. It helped that The Buzz Club was also in Aldershot. We started to build a local indie scene.
I had one record by Mighty Mighty and the C-86 tape also had a track by them on it.
The gig got reviewed by Record Mirror.
Support came from local bands The Bridge and The Jeremiahs, who were managed by Tim Paton who took looks of fantastic photos for us over the years.
We used to borrow an old tv and stand it on a chair on the little stage in the bar area of the West End Centre. Mark Nelms, a Buzz Club regular, helped us compile videos to play. I got in touch with various labels who would post physical vhs tapes to me with videos by their bands. Mark would then do a tape to tape for me and so we worked on the compilation tape for the bar. We put stuff like clips from cartoons and live footage of bands we liked on there too. High tech stuff! We put bands on that stage sometimes too. People would come and just hang out in the bar, even if they didn’t want to buy a ticket to see what was going on in the hall. It was a great vibe.