(June 23, 2013) Ray said:As a long-haired teenager, I used to frequent the first Virgin shop at 130 Notting Hill with my friends (this would have been from 1969). I bought my Amon Duul II and Tangerine Dream LPs here, along with other music not found in the local Smiths. I don't know how Virgin made it so big. A few customers did occasionally part with money, but most of the 'customers' would just spend hours lying on the cushions, listening to the latest imports through headphones - mostly out of it, on whatever drug of choice. I remember the staff enthusiastically telling everyone about their new shop opening in Oxford Street (this was in 1971; they opened their Oxford Street 'Megastore' in 1979) - but, why go all that way up town when you could have a great time right there in Notting Hill!
In 1975 to 1979 I was a regular vistor to Notting Hill shop but I only recall one record I brought. I placed an order for Climax Blues Band 'Live FM' American import, my expectations dashed on many visits in hope. Then one day I went in it was sitting in the racks near the door in the new in section. So much for placing an order but I snapped it up despiute the poor custoer serivce. My only conclusions was the staff to stoned to do the job! The curator (2022)
"When 18 in 1972 I was fined for criminal damage after paint spraying a slogan on a small independent record store in Notting Hill Gate called Virgin Records. The hip place to be but there was something that didn’t convince me; this was a business pastiche of the ethos it claimed, and was selling. In those days the world was divided, quite? Usefully on reflection, between ‘hip and square@ whatever the definitions we knew what they meant. And in between was a pseudo person who looked or thought they were hip but were actually square. I thought Virgin Records was pseudo.
The owner, who had long blonde hair , came to my trail at Marylebone Magistrate Court, curious as to who would want to damage his lovely shop. Richard Branson recognised and stopped me on Ladbroke Grove shortly afterwards and asked me why."
When Words Fail-Ed Villainy