Portland, Ireland, Aberdeen, London, Norway, Italy, Brooklyn, Munich

Today kind of summed up the days I have these days. First customer was a young girl at university in Lancaster but from near Portland, Oregon whose friend had been in the shop last year and insisted she should come up. She bought posters and vinyl and we chatted about Portland’s support for independent shops. “This is just like home” she said. A couple of Irish girls bought a poster  wishing they could fit more in their luggage. I had a chat with a guy from Aberdeen about the sad demise of One Up and he bought Quickbeam and Cancel The Astronauts CDs.

Gideon Conn an artist/musician from Manchester but now living in London popped in with his single and split LP with Donna Maciocia ahead of their gig at the Wee Red Bar on Saturday. I promised to plug the records and gig on twitter. A Norwegian lady asked for recommendations and bought Withered Hand, Star Wheel Press and The Last Battle. She took an Avalanche card so she could order There Will Be Fireworks’ new album when it comes out.

An Italian  guy was in the shop for ages with his friends and in the end stuck for choice chose to keep warm and bought a sheepskin jacket. At the end of the day I had an interesting chat with a guy whose son had just opened a record shop in Bushwick, Brooklyn the neighbourhood next to Williamsburg. His wife spotted a couple of second hand LPs they bought. I found a couple of pieces about the shop opening so I put them on twitter and then messaged him on facebook to wish him good luck with the new shop.

I finished the day with an interview with two girls from near Munich who came in just before 6pm having been told I was the person to speak to about indie folk. I gave them a quick run down on everything from Withered Hand to how Marcus Mumford had actually lived in Edinburgh for a year. There was a regular customer bought Arcade Fire and the Arctic Monkeys and a couple of students bought some posters but you get the general idea. 

The day before I had a good customer from Canberra, Australia in to see me (a writer he travels to Edinburgh University from time to time) at the same time another good customer from Virginia in the US was in. Extremely knowledgeable on Scottish music he bought amongst other things the Gillyflowers CD and went next door to get it signed.

A few days before half my takings had been in two sales with a guy from Denver producing a long list of vinyl his sister-in-law wanted (she had been in the shop last year and knew the sort of things we had) and the last sale of the day being a guy from Berkeley, California in for the new RM Hubbert album and some recommendations. Again his friend had been in last year and kept texting him from California with requests. A lot of these customers bought Avalanche t-shirts and /or bags too.

I’ll regularly recommend Scottish bands to customers half a dozen times a day often more. Not all of course buy. Some go away to listen more. Of course I regularly get groups in visiting wanting a local band’s CD to take home and I can easily deal with 30 folk in a day especially at weekends. Dealing with an average of only 10 people a day which obviously isn’t going to pay the rent it does mean I’ve recommended Scottish bands to over 10,000 people in our three years in the Grassmarket.

I greatly enjoy dealing with customers and helping them find new music and when I can helping to publicise releases and gigs. I’m certainly not complaining but it is not a viable business model and without the back up of regularly selling new releases and back catalogue that sell themselves it is hard to find a way forward. It feels time to try something new. 

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