Wow. Cyclops. Miserable Welsh geezer who always, no matter what time of day, said "Can I help you? We're closing for lunch now"; the phrase accompanied by a sinister look that said 'I think you're going to nick my records'.
Comment: Caesar Rye
In the late 1970's/80's there existed in - the very ornate - Picadilly Arcade in Birmingham a record emporium called "Cyclops Records" where I bought most of what became my favorite records. It was great value (cheap) and they managed to get German Warners pressings - fantastic quality vinyl, especially as the UK pressings of the time were like listening to bacon frying - Joni, Ry, Little Feat, John Hall .... etc Many mis-spent lunchtimes were spent perusing .... the only downside were the middle-aged couple who ran it - who were to the Record Shop fraternity what Basil Fawlty was to Hoteliers - and seemed to revel in chucking out customers after 5 mins if browsing was their only intent .... needless to say I bought enough to remain in the shop Oh - and the returns policy .... forget that ! Anyone remember Cyclops ??
Comment: Julian Crook
Remember it well. Got thrown out for over-long perusing many a time, and he even said he would call his mate the policemen once when I turned up in my school unirom having skyved off double biology last thing on a Thursday. I actually managed to exchange a faulty record (Steely Dan's The Royal Scam). which kept jumping during Haitian Divorce. Of course it didn't jump when he played it in the shop with the arm set at the weight of a small car - "see, no problem, iznit". He eventually relented and exchanged it, but promptly told me never to come back. Happy days.
Comment: Peter Cottom
Ah yes, Cyclops - who could forget ! Occasionally the good value of the merchandise outweighed having to accept the unfriendliness of the place. I recall the ole dear's name was Dolly - who at least didn't threaten to throw you out ! Think I bought Tangerine Dream and Yes albums reasonably priced. If you knew what you wanted, it was a tolerable experience. If you wanted to browse in the hope of finding something decent, you needed to be prepared to be subjected to feeling like a prospective villain. Oh, and you could barely swing a cat in there, though I doubt anyone tried to ! Comment Keith Howell
Let's hear it for Cyclops records that used to sit in the Piccadilly arcade in Birmingham. The best records, at the cheapest prices, but it was run by a welsh bloke who didn't like kids browsing through the records, so he jammed them into the racks so tightly that you couldn't flick through. Then he used to moan about you bending the covers. A typical exchange, repeated on every visit -
welsh bloke - was you looking for something in particular
punter - (only just come in) er no just looking
welsh bloke - well don't go bending the covers then. I'm fed up of kids bending the covers.
And that's how I learned to identify any record produced during the 1960s and 70s from the top half inch of cover. I miss that shop a lot. Comment: henrycow
That bloke was legendary. If you spent more than five minutes in the shop, he'd ask you to leave because he was closing for lunch. Whatever time of day it was. I wonder how he ever managed to sell any records at all? Comment: Popeyepete
Funny how we're all getting nostalgic about a miserable old git like him! I was a schoolboy at the time so didn't have the dosh to for too many records (and Reddington's was a bit cheaper if I remember rightly) and browsing in there - as others have commented - was the most excrutiating experience imaginable. The old sod must have been well connected though as that's where you went to buy concert tickets for all those great gigs at places like Stafford Bingley Hall; I think I may have bought my ticket to see Zeppelin at Knebworth in 1979 at Cyclops. As a spin-off he used to sell fab promotional posters for gigs and records dirt cheap. He must have got them for next to nowt as they only cost about 50p - some of them would be worth a few bob now. Happy days! Comment: Gavin McOwan
It's wonderful to read every ones comments about Cyclops ,I worked there for 12 years part time and had the time of my life . shop policy was if we didn't like you didn't get served .on a saturday we closed for lunch between 9am and 6 pm depending on what mood we where in . i still treasure my time at Cyclops Roy Passed away many years ago , but i still see Dolly every year. got to go now as I'm closing for lunch. Cmment :Roy Smith.
It was one of the cheapest records shops in Brum - beating Virgin Records. The policy on customer service was interesting - like previous comments he didn't like teenage lads. I guess most teenage lads were into rock music. I always remember there was a banner in his window - "SALE - no rock LPs are in the sale"!
I still have some of the records I purchased there! Comment: Simon Richards
(July 8, 2014) Anonymous said: wonder why he was such a miserable sod?
(Jan 6, 2013) Dave P said:Oh the memories,was trying to remember the name of the place when i came accross this site, used to work at Midland Bank International just along New street, fondly remember going in and browsing during lunch break-Tangerine Dream, Soft Machine, etc,
Yes he was a miserable old got but I would love to just be able to visit again and enjoy that little space crowded with albums.
Yes i remember cyclops records like it was yesterday.i used to work at baskerville house in early 70s and it was the closest record shop to work.after watching the old grey whistle test i would go there the following lunch time and bought many of my albums
robin trower-bridge of sighs
to name a couple(many of which i still have).
i had occasion to take a couple back for various faults and not once did i manage to get one exchanged.
regardless of that it was always my first port of call when buying an album during that time.
happy days!!!!! Comment: Tony Locke.
(Jan 17, 2015) Happy days in cyclops records! Some things you never forget, once when I was in cyclops perusing perhaps Trout Mask Replica, this young lad asked the Welsh shopkeeper " do you have Queens greatest hits" to which the reply came........." Sorry son, we don't sell singles" what a one-line reply! I still to this day have my Captain Beefheart " love over gold" poster. Happy days! Comment: Martin Stevens
( March 9, 2015)I must be the only one that actually got on with them!!!! He even came to one of our parties with Dolly in the early/mid 70's. Most of my vinyl collection came from there, and I still have them all today. He was a little short at times thats true, but I used to look forward to my weekly visits to Cyclops and going home with the latest releases.Sorry to hear Roy passed awayI remember him telling me one day that a new record shop had opened in Birmingham, but he didnt think they would do very well. It was Virgin Records. Thats probably when things started going down hill for him :-) Jon Jones.
(April 25, 2015) I remember going in Cyclops to get tickets for The Jam at Bingley Hall, first off me and my mate were looking through some albums and the aforementioned gentleman asked us if we intended purchasing anything otherwise we would have to leave. Upon asking for Jam tickets we were told it had sold out and no more ticket were available. We asked if he knew how to get to Virgin records to which the reply was "Never Heard Of It" We eventually found Virgin where we were served by friendly staff AND got our Jam tickets. Comment: Steve Downing.
( June 8, 2015) What memories! Remember him being miserable. But not to me . It was allegedly the only record shop on the whole world that sold vinyl copies of Enid records. Watching the man precariously on the counter to reach up and get Something Wicked This Way Comes is a treasured memory. Comment: Simon Cotter
Mick Deakin "Excellent comments. I remember being in there looking at Black Sabbath LP's on the NEMS label. Some kid walked in and said, oh you can buy those in Virgin for £2 each. The Welsh guy said 'WHAT'. He frogmarched the kid over to Virgin records to discuss it with them, at the same time telling his wife to only charge me £2 each. Bargain." ( March 30, 2016)
Name Barry C Comment:What lovely memories. Spent many hours there and still have my vinyl collection. i was a regular so I'm smiling at all the previous tales of Roy and Dolly. Remember the one occasion I had pulled out one cover to buy (think it was Griffons Midnight Mushrumps) and moved to the other side of the shop still looking. There were two other lads Roy didn't like the look of just leaving when he raced out after them accusing them of nicking the Griffon album! Happy Days.
Dolly was always much friendlier but Roy was a one off.... And true miserable Welsh git but their record supply was fantastic.(April 1, 2017)
I used Cyclops from the days of being a spotty teenager and it was on my beat when I eventually joined the police (it was a regular tea spot for many officers) so I got to know Roy and Dolly quite well. He could be a miserable bugger but also had a great sense of humour. Dolly was definitely a calming influence on him. He knew he was the cheapest record shop (for new records - Reddingtons Rare Records specialised in pre owned classics and hard to find niche music) in Birmingham and took umbrage at anyone carrying a Virgin bag or if they looked like they were comparing prices and I saw him use the "closing for lunch" line many times. He loved the fact that Virgin used to advertise their prices in the national music press so he could undercut them. God knows where he got his stock from to keep the costs down but I have a Rolling Stones album with German writing all over the cover :) That probably had something to do with the returns policy (which I also experienced even though he knew me well). I have a vague recollection of there being listening booths on the back wall of the shop in the early days, but again he didn't like it if you listened but then didn't buy. I think it was a classic example of a business trying to keep overheads low, profits low but rely on high volume of sales and repeat business. The concert ticket sales was probably the best profit margin he had. I really liked Roy (and Dolly) and saw the best of him, but I was his ideal type of customer - long standing, loyal and regular
I spent a lot of time there, ordered records and even managed to get concert tickets. I accumulated a collection of vinyls over the years, all of which I still have. Managed to get a carrier bag recently - Mr Jones and Dolly came to a party at my wifes house once. Didnt stay long, but just goes to show he DID have a human side.
Remember Roy before he opened cyclops he had a record shop in Digbeth called the record mart I think before you got to the flyover purchased many albums and singles and eps from there in the early seventies Roy used to drive a ford zodiac mk 2 , I’m fairly sure that he also owned some kind of historic organ from the town hall or something along those lines.
Certainly remember feeling intimidated by Roy as a young teenager. I got into the habit of always buying a protective sleeves when purchasing an album.
Most shops sold fairly stiff, very clear covers. Roy sold soft, cloudy covers. I would often ask him, "do you have a stiff, clear cover" and he always replied, " no, don't do them. They always break" 40 years on and my old stiff, clear protectors are still in A1 condiction.
Richard bruton (2023)