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The story started in 1971, when two college friends, Martin Mills and Nick Austin, began running a mobile discotheque. Initially called Giant Elf, they joined forces with another mobile disco called Beggar’s Banquet and, through a series of mishaps, inherited the name. In 1973, Beggar’s Banquet became their very own record exchange in Earl’s Court, but they continued promoting events on the side, including some adventurous gigs such as Tangerine Dream at the Royal Albert Hall. Without bank loans – not even an overdraft, just a habit of operating within their means and reinvesting profits into small businesses – Mills and Austin opened a total of five more record shops over the subsequent decade, in Fulham, Ealing High Street, Richmond, Putney and Kingston.


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