The traffic was crawling along Gillygate in York the other day as I was heading to the station to meet a couple of friends.
In all fairness there are worse streets to be stuck in a jam. Gillygate is one of York’s best streets for independent stores so I found myself looking at all the different shops and cafés when my eye fell upon one in particular (I know what you are going to say. My eyes should have been on the cars in front, the traffic lights ahead and not on the bijou little shops to my left).
I had clocked a rather lovely retro-styled green record player and felt a pang of nostalgia and an urge to hear the scratch of vinyl once again.
There’s something about putting an LP on the player, lifting the arm, placing the needle on the record, that moment of silence then a crackle before the music begins to play. Does it bring back memories for you too?
I get the feeling I am not the only 40-something to be feeling this way. One of the friends I was meeting that day happened to ask where she might find a record player for her husband. Yes! I knew exactly where she could get one thanks to my moment of distraction in the car. A shop on Gillygate, they were £90 and a stylish looking little thing too.
A few days later another friend’s son told me that his dad had got a thing for his birthday that you put a CD on and lift a lever onto it and it plays music. Yep, you’ve got it! And so did I. It was that record player again….
Anyway, after this burst of nostalgia I decided to go along for a proper browse of The Inkwell on Gillygate to see what else they sold. The moment you walk through the door you realise there’s more to this quirky shop than the crates of vinyl records artfully stacked up in the window.
Paul who owns the shop is passionate about what he sells – and this is what the shop is about, things he loves. The slightly battered old-fashioned maps pinned to the walls are wonderful. In fact the entire styling of the place has been carefully put together that you keep spotting things of interest.
So alongside the new release and reissued vinyl you’ll find new and second-hand books, all laid out on vintage school desks. You could easily be back in the classroom.
There are some super-cool books here – the type that would appeal to a lot of boys and teenagers including my own.
There’s a good selection of 1950s and 1960s pulp fiction, old film magazines and children’s retro annuals. The Inkwell also stocks Marvel superhero poster books and old Dandy comics which I certainly know my boys would love to get their hands on.
The name The Inkwell comes from the lyrics of a Bob Dylan song, Subterranean Homesick Blues, best known for its video of Dylan dropping placards with the song lyrics as he sings the song. Remember the one?
And as for that record player I had my eye on well it’s a Steepletone and if you buy one you’ll get a pile of cheap records thrown in to put you on while you scour the attic for your original collection.
By the way, the first record I bought was UB40’s Red Red Wine – what was yours?