Don’t Look Back Into The Sun

Occasionally I will receive an email, tweet or Instagram comment asking if I still have my bricks n’ mortar store in Glasgow’s west end. I moved La La Land online in January 2014, after 4 years of running the shop, as my sales online had increased to a point of overtaking my face-to-face sales. I was sad to leave it behind but was looking forward to La La Lands exclusively digital existence.

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What I miss most, is the visual merchandising. I loved making paper pom-poms, shop signs and slogan bunting, often featuring lyrics to my favourite songs (see above), and on quiet days, I was known to completely change the look of the entire store. When a new clothing delivery arrived, I liked nothing more than planning colour schemes for different areas of the shop. The shop was teeny tiny, but I always managed to make it look cute and colourful.

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I also miss talking to the customers. I made so many friends, many of whom I am still in regular contact with; from regular customers, fellow neighbouring shop-owners, to designers whose work I stocked in the shop. The odd celeb dropped in too. Kacey Musgraves (HUGE American country music star) came in, as did the v funny Kevin Bridges, Frankie Boyle and Limmy to name a few. When Game of Thrones was filming the first series, Sophie Turner and Maisie Williams’ vocal coach bought them presents to give to them including badges that said ‘I Live In La La Land’. Now, working in my office/studio is a lonely existence, as I can go a full working day without seeing a single other person!! However, I don’t miss the children. Oh my god THE CHILDREN! I love kids but their cheesy-wotsit-covered-fingers, I could live without. When I saw a small, unruly child come into the shop with a sticky lollipop, I immediately started blasting N.W.A on my stereo. Parents don’t seem to like their children listening to sweary hip hop for some reason and were swiftly escorted from the premises. I know. I’m a terrible person. And I have a child who at one point definitely was entirely covered in wotsit stickiness!

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Whenever I go to another city, I always spend ages googling, and trawling streets away from the chain-store shopping malls, in search for shops like mine. On a recent trip to Manchester, I discovered a fab shop called Thunder Egg. It reminded me a lot of what I was trying to achieve with La La Land. Needless to say, I bought SO. MUCH. STUFF.

I often think about opening a pop-up shop in the run up to Christmas. Maybe I’ll do it one year, but I think I’d be hard pushed to find somewhere suitable to host it. My old store was located down a quaint cobbled lane, nestled among other like-minded indie stores. The perfect spot for a indie retailer. Maybe one day, I’ll have a physical shop again!

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Make a cup of tea. Put a record on.

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Some of my fondest childhood memories are of sitting in my parents’ ‘back room’ listening to their vast collection of vinyl. My favourites included Abba’s Greatest Hits Vol. 2, The Beatles’ Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band and the soundtrack to Jesus Christ Superstar. My friends and I used to make up dance routines to Summer Night City by Abba during sleepovers, and I remember memorising the lyrics to Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds that were printed on the back cover of Sgt Pepper as studiously as if I were cramming for an exam. When I started to receive pocket money, my sister and I would go to the big Asda in Bearsden and buy a single of whatever song we liked that week. £1.99 for a 45 – my first two being Knocking on Heavens Door by Guns n’ Roses and Suicide is Painless by Manic Street Preachers. The latter, I sold at a decent profit 10 years later.

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Feeling nostalgic, I recently bought a beautiful Crosley Cruiser suitcase record player. It’s sky blue and fits perfectly with my living room colour scheme. I have a grand total of 5 albums. All by The Smiths and/or Morrissey. One single by The Smiths, and one LP by The Voice of the Beehive. A limited collection, but one that I plan on adding to. I would have loved to borrow some of my parents records but alas, at the introduction of CDs they offloaded their entire collection to charity. I hope someone out there is cherishing their Beatles records and that they are not too annoyed with the scratch half-way through Gimme Gimme Gimme (A Man After Midnight).

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I am currently looking for a record cabinet of some sort with vinyl storage, and enough space to hold both my record player and my Sonos speaker. I found some cute ones on Urban Outfitters. Which one do you like?

A Day In The Life: Liverpool Trip

When I arrived in Liverpool, I was greeted with a huge surprise. I had been upgraded to the John Lennon Suite at the Hard Day’s Night Hotel – complete with white grand piano! After googling, I found out that the year before both Justin Bieber and Jennifer Hudson had stayed in that very room! At £1200 a night, this room is out of most peoples’ budgets and a popular choice for very special occasions like weddings. The Hard Day’s Night Hotel is the place to stay for fans of The Beatles, and this room is the ultimate in luxury. Decorated completely in white to replicate the famous room in John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’ music video, the living room area of the suite also has huge black & white art prints on the wall featuring John.

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I had quite a lot planned for my 2 day trip. First up, was The Magical Mystery Bus Tour around Beatles-related landmarks. Just check out that bus!

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Landmarks included Strawberry Field, Penny Lane, John Lennon’s childhood home, and much more! There were lots of stops for photo opportunities, and the host of the tour was non other than Holly Johnson’s (of Frankie Goes to Hollywood fame) brother, Jay. He regaled us with lots of stories about The Beatles and the Liverpool music scene.

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The tour ended at the world famous Cavern Club, which handily was situated just around the corner from the hotel.

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The Cavern was very quiet during the day, but thankfully it was jammed to the rafters at night when I returned to watch a Beatles tribute band.

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After a few drinks and an unforgettable night in The Cavern, I returned to my room to tinkle the ivories. Over a decade has passed since I last played the piano, and I was kind of disappointed that I wasn’t nearly as good as I remembered. Must have been the rum!

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Cheers John!

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