What was the first record you bought? “Perhaps not the coolest choice, but it was Break My Stride by Matthew Wilder, which was a big hit in 1984 when I was 13. One has to start somewhere, and it wasn’t too long before I graduated to U2, Springsteen… and then 80s hair metal took hold.”
Which artists and genres are you most interested in? “My tastes are varied, from rock to soul, jazz, folk, blues and country. I definitely have a healthy obsession with all things Prince, to the extent I’ve managed to track down many of his Paisley Park and wider associated acts, such as Jill Jones, Sheila E and those early Wendy And Lisa albums on vinyl. I’m also steadily building a collection of classic-period Blue Note jazz, which are things of beauty on vinyl and sound sensational.”
How many records do you have? “I fell into the dreaded trap of selling almost all of my records at a car boot sale during the CD era. I regret it to this day, but have been fortunate enough to replace almost all of them and have now amassed 1,040 vinyl albums. I catalogue them using the Discogs app, which is very intuitive and highly recommended given that it also tracks the estimated value of your collection. I store them A-Z by artist name, but also have 120 albums in my living room, which is the core collection I simply could not live without!”
What’s the most valuable record in your collection? “I’m interested in the music rather than viewing my collection as an investment vehicle. However, it’s nice to know that my Record Store Day copy of Jeff Tweedy’s Warmer and also the much sought after Black Friday release of Pearl Jam’s MTV Unplugged are holding their value at up to £100 each.”
What’s the holy grail record that you’d most like to own? “It’s got to be a Mint or unplayed copy of the Bob Ludwig master of Led Zeppelin II. I love the stories about that pressing being so lively it often made the needle jump out of the record grooves. It’s possibly an urban myth, but I’ll take my chances.”
What’s your listening setup? “I have two systems, both vinyl-based. My main system is a Rega Planar 6 turntable, Audio-Technica VM 750SH cartridge, Rega Brio 2017 amp and Monitor Audio Silver 200 speakers. It’s an incredibly musical system and has me playing record after record. My study room system is a 1995 Rega Planar 2, Ortofon 2M Blue cartridge, Cambridge Audio preamp into Edifier active speakers, which is a very nice small room system. You can get your hands on a superb vinyl setup for not much outlay these days. Great news for music fans!