Vinylist Alan Harwood interviewed

Reader Alan Harwood was bitten by the collecting bug at an early age – then he became a sales rep for a record company, so he could spend more quality time around vinyl…

The Vinylist: Alan Harwood
What was the first record you bought?
“On a family visit to a seaside town, in a second-hand shop which had some singles outside in a stand, I purchased a fire-damaged copy of Darts’ Come Back My Love. It smelt a bit, but it was in a picture sleeve and played fine. My first album was Stiff Little Fingers’ Inflammable Material. I remember my best schoolmate and I started to number our records with stickers, and this was my number 1. After hearing The Damned’s Top 20 single Love Song on the radio, I was hooked on collecting, and this release came in red vinyl and four different picture sleeves!
“I was off, I had to have everything by them – different pressings, coloured vinyl… Later on, I was lucky enough to get a job as a sales rep for a record company, so I could go to my favourite places – record shops!”
Which artists and genres are you most interested in?
“Besides The Damned, I started to collect other bands, including Placebo, Radiohead, Suede, The Fall, Neil Young, The Beatles and Sonic Youth. I sold a fair bit of my collection in recent years. But I now only collect Sonic Youth and related members. I’m a real completist.”
How many records do you have in all? 
“I’ve got about 400 albums in total, including 12″s and 10″s, and I also have about 550 7″ singles, including some Russian flexi discs, plus too many other formats to mention.”
What’s the most valuable record in your collection? 
“Sonic Youth’s EVOL 2×12″ one-sided acetates, signed by Thurston Moore (see pic).”
What’s the Holy Grail record you’d most like to own? 
“I’m currently looking for Ciccone Youth’s The Whitey Album – the Australian-only version with a red sleeve – and any white labels, test pressings and acetates, etc.”
What’s your listening setup? 
“My setup is as follows: turntable – Rega Planar 3; receiver/amp – Sony STR-DB930; speakers – Pioneer CS-970s (I’ve tried other speakers, but I’ve never found anything that sounds as good as them). I also have a 1966 Wurlitzer 3000 jukebox, full of all sorts of rock, pop, punk and rock ‘n’ roll classics.”
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Read more: The Vinylist: Darren Jones