I've lived in Clapham, South London since 1968, and sometime in the 1970s a record shop opened on the high street called Moonfleet, run by a soft-spoken guy called Maurice. If I'm remembering it correctly, the first location was on The Pavement, where there's now a fast photo shop. Later on, Maurice moved across the road to a much bigger shop which is now the So.uk bar. For quite a while, his assistant was Pete Flanagan, until Pete moved into his own second hand shop on Clapham Park Road, from which he launched the Zippo label. A silver-haired live wire called Sandy ran her own card and gift shop in the back section of Moonfleet.
I've always considered good record shops to be like academies of learning, with the people behind the counter as my teachers. I shudder to think how many hours Maurice and I spent nattering about music from our respective perspectives. I vividly recall one moment in 1994 when he played a record that unlike anything I'd heard before. It turned out to be an advance copy of Dummy by Portishead, due to be released in a month's time. I didn't have a radio show then, having left Capital four years earlier, but I got that powerful urge to want to share this discovery with listeners. By the time I did get a regular programme on Radio London, everybody knew about Portishead. But I heard it first at Moonfleet. Charlie Gillett SOTW
(Oct 31, 2014) Terry said:Hi,
I remember Moonfleet Records, (Clapham Pavement) well. I worked there for a while, approximately March '78 - May '79. I used to travel over there every day from Notting Hill. Trouble is, being a vinyl junkie, it was like putting an alcoholic in charge of a pub - I'd spend half my wages on records - well at dealer price, it was impossible to resist.
If memory serves, it had been a bit of a C&W/Irish store until Maurice took it over. Our only competition was Woolworths on the High Street and their record counter had shrunk dramatically from a staffed counter to a small self-service rack by the time we'd been operating for a few months. I remember Saturday Night Fever was also a huge seller at the time.
Sometimes I would shut the shop for 20 minutes to jump into the back of a van parked around the corner to listen to and select some new pre-release reggae imports. It was an exciting time for independent record shops, as the rise of the one-stop wholesalers loosened the stranglehold of the major record companies.
As a pro muso for most of my life before and after that period, what I found totally shocking was that if there was an ad on TV on Friday night for Nat King Cole's Greatest Hits, or for that matter, anybody's 20 Golden Greats, you had to be love sure you had box fulls of the stuff by first thing Saturday morning, when alarming numbers of the general public turned up like automatons to buy them, but if the ad campaign ceased, you'd hardly sell another copy!
Maurice was indeed a lovely guy, sad to hear he's gone. I Remember Sandy, she was nice too, also Tiny the shop dog. I've found a pic I took back then. Sadly it doesn’t show the Moonfleet fascia, but it does have Tiny! I'll attempt to upload it.
Now I'm steadily selling all my vinyl collection, a lot of which were bought at Moonfleet, but I've gradually, lovingly transferred it all to uncompressed file formats, some even have the original clicks and pops!
Thanks so much for a fascinating archive.
(Mar 20, 2012) Nicky Barclay said:Maurice later moved to St Annes Court in London's west end where he sold hard to get CDs like you Charlie I spent hours in the shop talking music and other stuff with Maurice he was an absolute gem and became a good mate of mine sadly he passed away due to Cancer a couple of years back after getting married he always talked about Moonfleet and his days in Clapham...he fondly remembered always Nick x
In fact Maurice's first shop was on the north side of Clapham Park Road. It sold a mixture of records, books, posters, prints craft items etc. I began selling some leather belts that I made through him in 1975. Then he moved to a shop on the west side of the High Street that was purely records and later to a larger one on the opposite side of the road.