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First record I bought was from here. Thin Lizzy single Sarah. The BG bags for 7” singles were very popular at Bradbury Comp for carrying exercise books.

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Carl Doherty
(2020)


Full Interview with Mike Little
Little 38:47 By that time I was - actually before I left school - I was seriously into music. This was the early days of punk, so I think I bought my first record in '77, I think. I was really into music and there was a local independent shop so I really got into all the independent music, got into the punk thing and things like that. So I used to go down there every weekend, hang round there all day Saturday. Knew the staff, knew the music. I used to read both Melody Maker and NME, and basically it ended up that I would be hanging round the shop all day long, and used to know the stuff better than the staff did, so I used to be helping out customers and recommending stuff to them and all the rest of it. And Brian, the guy who ran the shop, said, "Come and work for us please." So I started a Saturday job, I was still working at TVA, started the Saturday job doing that, and then eventually they said, "You really need to come and work for us full-time." And so I abandoned my previous job and went working for the record shop.


Little 48:15 Oh yeah, I loved it, loved it, loved it. And actually, when the record shop shut down. Brian sold it to a local distributor, who were buying up independent record shops as much as they could in the early 80s, and they immediately changed things around and made me go and work at a different record shop. They sent me off to one Prestwich, which was actually really, really crap and not very busy. And they actually closed it down very soon after. I later found out that the person who was in that shop was somebody that they wanted in the warehousing in Central, so they basically bought the shop because they wanted this guy, and they'd known him as distributors - they were a distributor first, and that's why their people knew all the record shops in all the Northwest, and so they'd chosen the ones they wanted to buy, either because it was a brilliant shop or, in this particular case, because they wanted the staff. So they bought the shop so they could get that guy in, but in order to keep the shop running for a while they moved me up to there, and I hated that, I hated having to travel that far every single day, and it was an awful shop. And so, probably within four or five months of being there they shut it down and I was made redundant.#

Interviewer 49:43 So what was the first record shop called that you worked in?
Little 49:45 Ah, so it was BG Records. The original owner was Brian Gilbert. And the weird thing is people at Stockport will remember it for the giant space invaders painted on the windows, which was really weird because what actually happened was that we had a particular promotion on for - do you remember Hot Gossip?

Little 40:02 At the time I was into anything that was punk and eventually went into the new wave and stuff like that. But actually, already at that time I was quite wide taste. I was into the Pistols and the Stranglers, but I was also into all the electronic stuff - early days Human League. And also just some quite odd stuff from the early days as well, things like industrial music - Throbbing Gristle, Cabaret Voltaire and people like that. And then I was into the ska stuff and got into reggae, and just everything really. And once I actually worked at the record shop and I could listen to stuff that I didn't have to buy first, then the sky was the limit. Anything, I would listen to anything, and I still to this day have very, very, very wide tastes in music



Little 41:30 I started to, yeah. The local musicians, it was such a big that the local musicians used to be coming into the shop all the time, and I got to know them, and really got into the local music scene. There was one guy in particular who was trying to organize gigs and did a fantastic job. I remember - okay, these were his figures so maybe he was bigging himself up a bit - but he claimed that Stockport went from one month only being able to see about three live music events in Stockport, and one of them would have been a folk band at one particular pub and the other two would have been jazz trios somewhere, to having a gig every single night somewhere in Stockport the following month. Literally anybody who could pick up an instrument, he would find you a gig somewhere. He was a great salesman and he went around to all these pubs and working men's clubs and stuff and said, "Put a band on and let these kids in and they'll buy your beer," sort of thing. And yeah, we developed a cracking music scene in Stockport and went onto actually starting to work with bands in the studio. There was a recording studio set up in one of the side buildings in Stockport market. And really got into the scene, got to see a lot of bands, got to see a lot of music. We were actually one of the chart return shops. Do you remember the concept of chart return shops? There was actually a documentary on the tele the other day about it. But it used to be that sales were recorded from a selection of all the music shops in the country, and literally you would record your singles sales and your album sales by title, and put them in a locked box on the outside of your shop on a Saturday night, and they would be picked up overnight or Sunday morning, sent down to the collation center in London, and that was where the chart came from. And the idea was that it was secret as to who were the chart return shops, nobody was supposed to know, but of course they all did. We used to get all the promotions because obviously they only want to spend the promotion money in the places where it counted, literally counted. But it meant that we used to, in the record shop, we used to get free records. So they would give us free copies of singles, free albums that they were promoting, and the idea was the owner would discount them or give them away in competitions of whatever. But actually what he used to do was put them on the shelf, share them amongst the staff, sorry, and say - especially when we got a lot of stuff - and just say, "You can either have that or you can swap it for another one. I don't care, as long as I sell something and make the money." So that allowed me to really whack up my record collection and really get into a lot of different stuff. But also we used to get free tickets, and used to get to go along to the gigs and all that kind of stuff as well.#

Full Interview with Mike Little


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16-18 Little Underbank Stockport / Manchester

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