If you live in the UK and collect second hand vinyl, then you’ve more than likely heard of Birmingham’s oldest record shop – The Diskery.
The first time I visited this safe haven for vinyl lovers was the week following the festive season, and the ghost of Christmas past was still fresh in the air.
Now, it was my first time in a record shop and I didn’t really know what to expect, other than a place that sold vinyl. I think I may have under-estimated the realities of the situation by a long-shot, and what ensued I can safely say has been a recurring theme each-and-every time I’ve visited. Upon entering the shop, I was welcomed with a warm greeting from one of The Diskery’s long-time employees, Liam. Black Sabbath’s 1970 album Paranoid was spinning behind the counter, and what better way to begin my adventure into the world of vinyl. The shop itself was buzzing, and it was clear that there were a lot of people who received money for Christmas and knew exactly how to spend it.
The records were organised neatly into specific categories; Cheapo Rock took my fancy from the outset, but my interest grew as I worked my way around the shop, across to disco, then to soundtracks, The Beatles, Rock n Pop, Prog Rock, £1 Jazz… I mean, if you can think of a category of music, The Diskery seemed to have it.
Whilst flicking from ELO to Elton John, a voice from behind the counter asked if I wanted a hot drink.
Coffee. Black. Please (momma didn’t raise no impolite fool).
I had gone to the shop with a very definitive list of vinyl’s I wanted, some of which I found myself (Topgun soundtrack – jackpot), others Liam helped me find, and then “the others” that I later learned had never actually been released on vinyl (boy did I feel stupid!). But what was overwhelmingly clear on my initial visit, was how welcoming Liam and the others in The Diskery made me and every other fresh faced vinyl noob feel.
After what seemed like 10 minutes, was in fact 3 hours and two cups of coffee later; I was finally ready to leave with a stack of second hand records.
Over the following months I visited The Diskery, that warm welcome was consistent, with their collection continuing grow larger; and recently, they added a listening booth for visitors to sit down and relax to their favourite vinyl, along with a hot cup of tea.
The guys at the store are also great for recommendations. I never really listened to much Jazz prior to visiting the shop, but after Liam dropped the needle on Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue album, I had to take the album home; and have since re-programmed my car DAB to include Jazz FM (which 20-year-old me would have been baffled, but probably not surprised by). Vin, another great lad who works at The Diskery, has introduced me to some early Inkspots albums.
Price-wise, I couldn’t fault it. I’ve been to record shops and vinyl fairs around the country, and the chaps at The Diskery have always been on the kind side of competitive pricing (even with the odd new album that comes through the door).
So, if you’re looking for newly shrink wrapped records stacked from floor to ceiling, and a cold experience, then this probably isn’t the place for you. There’s a reason The Diskery has been around for over half a century, and that’s because of the people who work there. They love their job, they’re enthused by music, they relish meeting new people, but most importantly they care.