The folks at Pie and Vinyl have got more sides to their business than the vinyl selection they stock – the sleevenotes alone would run to novella length – but the two main tracks, music shop and café, are so well mixed that you’d have to consider this release a double A-side.
The continued appeal of vinyl records lies in the care and attention needed to keep them in good nick, and the nostalgia they invoke among both those old enough to remember buying them when there were no alternatives, and the retro-hungry yoof for whom the modern reality lacks soul. CDs can be used as frisbees and still work, MP3s can be plucked from the air on a whim and swapped between friends’ smartphones in the blink of an eye. Where’s the sense of wonder gone? Where are the endless hours spent idly rattling through the racks of great music, truly at your fingertips? Where’s the cover artwork, with the size and impact of an oil painting? The merchandise may focus on contemporary releases, but the Southsea business recognises the lost quality of bygone days in its interior, which goes beyond retro and into vintage, with its wonderfully hideous wallpaper, anachronistic objet d’arts, and old travelling trunks robustly protecting the slices of wax.
Then there’s the café, serving up slices of a different kind – pie, made with every meat imaginable and served with mash and all manner of other modern side dishes. Hearty food that is again something of a two-fingered salute to haute cuisine; comfort food for those who have had their fill of processed progress. Just make sure you’ve washed your hands properly before you go rifling through the records.
That’s not the end of the story, however, and some notable album tracks on this release include partnerships and promotions with music events in the local area, in-stores from the likes of Willy Mason, Stornoway and Band of Skulls, and their own record label due to hit its first groove at the end of the month. This commitment to local and wider-reaching businesses and community is something Pie and Vinyl feel strongly about – just one of the reasons The Guardian think it one of the top ten music shops in the country. More power to their gramophone-cranking elbow for it…