When we first considered opening a Gentlemen’s emporium, long before we had any real plans as to how we should go about making our ideas reality, we knew we wanted there to be three elements that made our place different; sounds, style and spirit. These three elements were so important to us that a lot further down the line we embedded them in our logo, a decision that has caused much debate amongst those that stop to read the sign.
“What does that mean?”
“What sort of a business are you?”
“Your logo says literally nothing about what you do!”
The last one is my favourite, but that one has already been covered in a previous post.
We thought we should take time to break down the whys of our three elements over the next few posts and perhaps expand them into separate blog sections as time goes on, but then again, seeing as these posts are few and far between, we may get distracted and try a different approach. Whatever the future holds, today we thought we should start with “Sounds”.
We love music. Those who have been in the shop will know we delight in playing little known mid-century gems alongside bona fide classics from a variety of genres. Our heart is in rock and roll, jazz and blues alongside ska, soul and reggae, but to be honest no genre will go un-listened. Whilst we are not in love with all genres, we truly believe that there is something good to be found in every type of music if you listen hard enough, but who really listens these days?
When we told people our idea to play this varied selection of music in the shop and allow those in the chair to choose the music we played, we were told it was ridiculous. One person even went so far as to suggest that we would drive people from the shop because no one likes the music we listen to.
When we went further and told them that we were only going to play vinyl, they thought we were mad. Even our friends and supplier of our sounds “Vinyl Matters” thought the idea was a bit of a stretch for most people. We dug our heels in though. Vinyl is to our ears the best way to appreciate music and has the added pleasure of being ever so slightly theatrical. The dilemma of choosing the album, the delicate removal of the disc from its sleeve and the gentle placing of it on the platter; the slow, weighted drop of the needle, the first crackle of the precious disc and finally, after a slightly too long pause, the blast of the music.
What we have discovered is that everyone shares the love of this. Young or old there is either a sense of wonder at how sound can come from a big, black disc, or a nostalgic memory of a time before streaming, when you had to make an effort to hear music.
We are not vinyl purists with an amp and player that cost more than your car, we have a very modest set up, but we do love the way that vinyl makes you listen. The musicians and producers spent months choosing the order in which you should listen to their music, vinyl reminds you of that painstakingly curated journey.
I have lost count of the amount of times I have explained the process of putting on a record to someone under 20, or how many times the vinyl has introduced those in the shop to new music or classic albums. We don’t sell the music, but we do celebrate it.
The vinyl "sounds" were there right at the beginning of the idea for The Dandy Cat, and they continue to bring joy today. You choose the album, we play it. You can even bring in your own record to put on the player, we enjoy it when you do, after all, we want to hear new sounds too.
“Your shop makes me want to dance” was a quote from a recent customer, and very often we do.
The plan is to offer up a few of our favourite records in this blog, so look out for some shonky, half remembered reviews later in the year but until then, just drop in and take a look or a listen to our selection.