When Avalanche first moved to Waverley Market it was my intention to spend six months assessing the footfall and what we would need to add to the things Avalanche was well known for already helped out by friends and old staff members. I could never have expected events to overtake us the way they did. 

However we have come out at the other end stronger than ever and amazingly busier than we have ever been. As a shop that never gave up on vinyl its revival has certainly helped but we now have a great selection of t-shirts as well as exclusive prints and cards from artists and photographers mostly based locally but of course we are now known worldwide for working with Butcher Billy who is based in South Brazil.

We haven’t forsaken CDs either both new and used and we will soon be launching Avalanche Vintage bringing back vintage clothing and adding more posters as we expand further back into our shop space.  

I’ve been lucky enough to have had some great staff over the years but even those who have returned to help out admit working at Avalanche is far more complicated than it used to be. I do intend to put a team together now but there will be no simple shop assistant jobs.

I want to expand our online presence but in a selective way rather than the usual method of loading up huge files onto different platforms and updating every day. Certainly experience in online selling will be a help to any applicant as will be illustration and graphic design skills. Having a wide knowledge in music is not necessary but a good memory is essential so that knowledge can be quickly built up.

Avalanche is not a shop that has new favourite bands every week and neither do we claim to LOVE most of the new releases. At the same time it is an absolute pleasure to see youngsters being excited about music whether it is over artists we personally like or not. 

I could not be happier with the way the shop has developed with older folk saying it reminds them of the shops of their youth while younger customers feel they have found a shop that understands them. 

There will be two full time jobs with one focusing on our online sales and the other involving running the shop on a daily basis. Though full time it may be possible to take on somebody who already has their own small business.

The fashion designer Alison Harm of Psychomoda will be looking after our vintage offering and of course she already has a small presence in the shop but there may be opportunities for sales staff interested in that side of things.

Avalanche already has a fantastic backroom staff including a brilliant graphic designer which is the only reason I’ve been able to go so long without putting a sales team in place and covered that area mostly myself. I’m currently looking at more opportunities than I can take so to some extent how we move forward will depend on the people we bring in.

People travel from all over the world to visit Avalanche and it is important that they along with all our customers get the experience they expect.

I’ve never found application forms a particularly good way to get staff and we have drawn many staff before from customers or people we come across working in other shops and clearly have something about them. 

Applicants who feel they have something to offer can pop in the shop to discuss things further or email with details of relevant experience. 

Once I get a feel for the interest we are getting I will update things. I must stress though that none of the positions will be simple shop assistant jobs.

Boys Don’t Cry Butcher Billy Giclée print

Link for print


Saturday is the first of the RSD drops a time for David Bowie and Pink Floyd fans this year joined by Cure fans to worry that they might not be able to buy a release they already own several times already.

Since we reopened customers have been nothing but sensible so I’ve decided to where possible try and have some elements of normality to the day. We have never opened at 8am as that is no time to be selling records and as the mall is still on reduced hours 9am is not possible so we open at 10am.

We have never encouraged queueing but if you must queue before we open the queue will start at the Waverley Bridge entrance and there will be signs with further explanation. Any queue should extend towards the gardens.

Once open we can cater for ten social distancing groups in the shop but no group can be more than two people. There will be a further monitored queue in the mall extending towards Waverley Bridge.

I’ll be disappointed if we run out of the most sought after release which for us is the Biffy Clyro single. We have a lot! Once I’ve seen what stock is left after closing at 5pm I’ll decide what to do with it but won’t be rushing to list at 6pm. I’ll leave that mayhem to others. As always I will list what we have left on Saturday night so folk can come along on Sunday knowing what we still have. I imagine I’ll list online anything remaining on Sunday night.

It hopefully goes without saying that face masks should be worn and if you do feel unwell please be sensible and take the online option.

Exclusive Butcher Billy prints @ Avalanche

Avalanche has never relied too much on Record Store Day financially but this year I’d been very hopeful that with Easter falling the week before the lull we normally get beforehand would be filled by visitors in Edinburgh for the Easter holidays.

This was well timed as while we have been given a great deal by Waverley Mall so we can be there Edinburh Council are not so generous and we had a large rates bill to pay by 5th May.

As things have turned out it hasn’t been a complete disaster with online vinyl sales showing a huge increase but the t-shirts that we do so well with now are not really something we push online. We have for some time now done really well with Butcher Billy t-shirts as well as bags and travel mugs and they have been featured online.

We did bring over some prints from the States but each time we sold them so quickly there was nothing left to list online. Now many of the prints are sold out stateside and in particular the Robert Smith print was sold out before we placed our first order.

The plan had been to enhance what was on offer on Record Store Day with some new BB shirts and maybe some prints. I had got the shock of my life when Billy had walked in the shop earlier in the year after a client had flown him over from Brazil to Scotland to discuss a project. Billy had thought it would be funny to not tell me and just walk in. We had discussed then the possibility of doing prints and cards and he was also keen on canvas especially after seeing the large Gerry Gapinski canvas in the window.

It is therefore with great pleasure I can announce the first twenty Giclee art prints from Butcher Billy each numbered and limited to either 50 or 100. Cure fans will be pleased to see five different prints, with five more to follow, and David Bowie fans will be equally happy with their five prints. There are three Thom Yorke plus Siouxsie, Freddie Mercury, Lou Reed, Johnny Cash and the famous Ian Curtis as Batman.

Grimey’s in Nashville may have Taylor Swift as a benefactor but in entrusting us with his images BB has made a huge difference in getting through the tricky months ahead. It goes without saying that this does only work of course if people buy the prints and soon the cards but we have deliberately priced them to be affordable and if truth be told an investment !

Billy is not the only Avalanche supporter and expect to see more news soon from a range of artists, photographers, illustrators and cartoonists. The first of those projects is already available as a t-shirt from Royston somebody I dealt with a few years ago when we did a very limited “nipper” shirt and did indeed also pop in the shop this year to say hello.

On top of all of this I’ve spent the last few months sourcing a new range of t-shirts with everything from Slint to The Smiths and even a Leonard Cohen “Songs Of Love And Hate” the album Avalanche got its name from via Nick Cave. They will all be available to pre-order at the weekend.

You can find the prints and more from Butcher Billy here

and Royston’s t-shirt here

TV21 album on vinyl


I haven’t completely given up on the TV21 album on vinyl. Originally it was twinned with the Scars album but I’m now seeing if there is any way we can still do this on its own. 

Obviously as soon as I know which should be soon I will let everybody know including the band !

Scars vinyl refunds and the CD box set

I’ve almost finished the refunds for the Scars LP on vinyl. A straightforward refund wasn’t possible because of the time that has passed so each one had to be done manually as a gift. PayPal became funny about so many payments calling it suspicious activity so I’ve had to just do a couple at a time. Having said that refunds should be complete soon. I don’t have any further information about the CD box set Cherry Red  had planned but all the extra tracks were cleared with the band a long time ago.

Each refund comes with this message. 

“Sadly we have had to give up on Cherry Red delivering the Scars album on vinyl so we are issuing refunds. I don’t have any explanation beyond them still not having the required licence from Universal despite talks having been originally successfully instigated by Paul Research. I can only apologise but at the time we had the go ahead to pre-sell from both the band and Cherry Red and expected it to coincide with last year’s Rip It Up exhibition.” 



Big Gold Dreams bonus disc


Just a quick update on that bonus disc for the Big Gold Dreams box set. As you may or may not be aware when these things are done they are normally done so without getting clearance. We made the mistake of asking and even with help from Mike of ScotsPostPunk it was taking forever to get replies. 

Mike has now very kindly agreed to  pull this all together and hopes to have something soon. Thanks for your patience.

TV21 and Scars vinyl update

Just a quick update on the TV21 and Scars vinyl. While the Scars vinyl had already been approved it later became part of a bigger application to include a three CD box set too. Most of that has been approved by the band but any extra bits need approval from Universal who work more slowly on these things and it has taken longer than expected. None of this would be possible without the help of Cherry Red who deal with everything and they will manufacture the vinyl and then pass it on to myself. Having said that I do have contacts with Universal myself so have emailed them asking if matters can be finalised.

As soon as we hear from Universal we can then see how it fits into the Cherry Red scheduling and I can give out a new date. Logistically it made sense to promote the TV21 and Scars albums together and I have offers for worldwide distribution promoting both albums. Hence the TV21 album has been caught up in the delay. Thankfully everybody who has asked is just pleased these albums are coming out on vinyl and not concerned about any delays. Believe it or not there is a third album under discussion that will make a lot of people very happy indeed but nothing can be said as yet. 

Anybody who has placed an order and not asked already should get an email this week with this update.



Avalanche hiatus to hopefully end soon

At the moment I mainly work on the Scot Pop Centre and as Avalanche sell online to bring in what income I can. I’ve used up all my own funds and sold a lot of my own collection to keep things going sure that at the latest something would be settled by now. I was wrong !

The large vinyl collection I was given to sell recently bought me a couple more months but now I need to make that side of things more permanent. Avalanche’s reputation as an indie shop supporting all new music but especially Scottish music goes back decades but these last couple of months selling not just collectable stuff but also good quality regular used vinyl and CDs has been more enjoyable than I expected with only the occasional idiot and we’ve built up quite a following in that area too. 

As I’ve said selling new releases are lost to me now and that is fine so long as I’m not wasting time competing with the direct to fan model. Reaching new people was always the best part and I’m really looking forward to seeing how that works out in partnership with Waterstones on Princes Street. We will initially be supplying them with albums from 20 Scottish artists that we think their customers will appreciate and looking to attract new fans from their large footfall rather than the current trend of mostly targeting an established fan base.  

What I need to do now is find a space in the city centre to base myself. I say space rather than shop because realistically all I need is a secure space that can be accessed by the public. Not I should add one of these places that sells online and says you can visit but it will be a space I can work from and people can visit for whatever reason. It will be laid out like a shop for sure but not with a full on shop ethos.

I’m amazed how often people buy something online and then leave a message saying they used to come in the shop when they were a student but have since moved away. They have such good memories and often recall the bands they discovered at Avalanche or the gigs we recommended they go to.

Sadly those days will never return and I do get asked a lot if it is not possible in these days of “experiential” selling to bring back that vibe but unfortunately everything is stacked against that now. There was a period when we still did what we did but with far less sales as people could just go away and listen for free and buy online. Once the direct to fan sales kicked in for new releases that time was over.

So for now the emphasis will shift back towards selling stuff and working on the ScotPop Centre will be something I do when I can and have the time. Many may not even notice a difference as social media will not be affected too much I suspect.

Certainly if I had just kept on with the shop and worked on the idea of the centre when I could I would never have reached the point I have now. The few people who know how much we have ready to go appreciate the work that has gone on unseen and of course unpaid.

So the first big push will be to find somewhere and I’m hoping people will come forward with ideas for spaces or buildings and preferably people who own or have rights over the space.

Edinburgh Council have failed to come up with anywhere in four years and if you do find something they say they have to offer it to everybody. If I had got a council gallery or museum space then obviously the focus would have been different but for now the plan is to have a physical presence and shift the emphasis back to Avalanche until such time as the centre is up and running but not set any deadlines for that.

As always I can be contacted using

What the ScotPop Music Exhibition Centre will include and funding

When I first spoke to the museum about Rip It Up I was keen to know how they would define Scottish pop music as that would be a definition I would have to live by too. I was relieved to hear that dance and folk would not be covered as that was also my feeling. There would be plenty of artists that would cross into the Scottish pop arena but as a genre both could easily have their own exhibitions. 

As it turned out Rip It Up made a nod to dance with Optimo and the Fini Tribe which looked like the token gesture we had discussed not occurring. A band like the Shamen certainly crossed over and as with the folk artists the museum included if it is in the context of Scottish pop then they do fit the criteria. You can tell what a minefield it is when in the four BBC radio programmes that accompany Rip It Up dance gets a whole show and folk is barely mentioned.

ScotPop MEC will have a lot more input from photographers, journalists and the magazines of the time. Venues, clubs and shops were also so important to the scene in any decade and of course artwork from the record covers to the t-shirts, badges and posters were an integral part of defining a band on top of their music. All of this will be covered extensively and material has already been sourced.

Dave Thomas (DLT) has done many covers for Scottish bands following in the footsteps of David Band and The Cloth who did artwork for Aztec Camera, Altered Images, The Bluebells, Bourgie Bourgie and Friends Again among others

Anybody who follows on social media will already have an idea of what I mean and what has already been sourced. It was great to see the Rezillos costumes they wore on Top of the Pops, some interesting guitars and awards but generally I think we would look to have less of that than the museum. 

I even have access to live recordings that have never been heard and I need to work out how they can be used. The help from all involved from the sixties onwards has been fantastic and I have offers of professional help to both create and promote the exhibition.

Which brings us to funding. One of the regular suggestions just recently has been that I should set up a GoFundMe page. I have in fact done that already some time ago but as I suspected while help in kind has been tremendous the raising of hard cash is another matter entirely and unless I keep banging on about the page it is quickly forgotten.

I have funded all the work so far myself with a little cash help from others and much skilled help from professionals who very kindly work unpaid. Now really is crunch time where what is needed is money and a location as everything else is in place. Whenever you see funds being raised in the arts normally less than 10% actually comes from the general public with most coming from big donors and grants. More on that another time. For now those who wish to support can do so using the link below. Many thanks to those who have done so already and the many others who have helped in other ways.