We’re claiming back music from streaming servers, shuffle buttons and headphones.
So… Phones off. Ears open. It’s time to listen.
What is it?
Think of Glossop Record Club as the musical equivalent of a book group or a film society – coming together once a month to listen to albums on vinyl and in full on a decent sound system, in a relaxed environment as free from distraction as possible.
It’s a place for music fans to share old favourites, discover something new and of course discuss the merits of what’s being played.
The sessions usually revolve around a theme, with one or two featured albums played in full and a selection of other relevant songs aired along the way. There’s also the occasional guest host sharing stories and records that mean something to them.
There’s plenty of time to grab a drink and have a chat throughout the night, but the emphasis is on giving your full, undivided attention to the music and listening without distraction. So that means phones off and no talking while the main albums and tracks are playing.
Since Glossop Record Club began in September 2013, we’ve played full albums by Roxy Music, Stevie Wonder, Rodriguez, The Velvet Underground, The Everley Brothers, David Bowie, The Beatles, Elvis (Presley and Costello), Marvin Gaye, The Kinks, The Cramps, The Fall, The Smiths, Pixies, The Proclaimers, Arcade Fire, Billie Holiday, Johnny Cash, Sly & The Family Stone, Kraftwerk, Nick Cave, Prince, Teenage Fanclub, Broadcast, Joy Division, Neu! and more. We’ve also had Singles Nights, sessions dedicated to Sun Records, Jamaican music, comedy records, 1960s girl groups and punk, screened a documentary and had visits from record label owners, writers and film-makers.
To see a full list of what we’ve done so far, have a look here.
So, if you’ve got a stash of records gathering dust in the loft or garage but nothing to play them on anymore, it’s a good excuse to dig them out and get listening again. Maybe you’re an avid collector with an urge to share your discoveries. Or you could simply be curious as to what all this ‘vinyl’ stuff is about.
Above all, it’s about listening to, appreciating and enjoying music.
Where and when?
Glossop Record Club sessions take place on the 2nd Thursday of every month at Glossop Labour Club on Chapel Street, right in Glossop town centre, from 8pm to 11pm (postcode SK13 8AT). See here for venue and travel info.
Importantly, there’s a bar with real ale, draught lager, Guinness and Fairtrade wine. Moorhouse’s Premier Bitter is always on tap and there’s usually an offering from one of the local breweries too. There are also soft drinks, tea and coffee if you prefer.
Entry is free, but a small donation to the volunteer-run Labour Club is a welcome gesture.
See here for this year’s session dates.
Comments and kind words
Here are a few kind comments people have posted after previous sessions:
“Great evening spent listening to two fantastic albums in all their analogue and vinyl glory. I do mean listening not hearing!”
“Fab choices and good atmosphere”
“Enjoyed Glossop Record Club tonight, great to make time to listen to something you’ve never heard before. Warm welcome from regulars too.”
“I love sitting in a room with a load of strangers listening to vinyl records IN FULL. IN SILENCE. Long live Glossop Record Club.”
“Ska. Rockabilly. Weird flexidiscs. Jesus & Mary Chain. And Frank Sidebottom of course. Just another typically brilliant night @GlossopRecord Club.”
“Wow – The Cramps, Ramones & Johnny Cash all in one night @GlossopRecord. Just needed The Fall too, then head would have exploded with delight.”
“Enjoyed tonight @GlossopRecord club. Kinda strange listening to The Fall in a room full of people! Very enjoyable evening- I will return”
“The Fall… please make it STOP!”
“Great night out at @GlossopRecord : The Smiths on vinyl. This night has opened my eyes – and ears!”
“My 1st record club night and what a night it was – Johny Cash’ Last – special and emotionally moving.”
“Hairs standing up on the back of your neck stuff. The power of music in action.”
Why a record club?
Christmas 2012. I came across this article by John Harris on The Guardian website. It not only prompted me to finally get my turntable repaired after a couple of years of neglect, but also got me thinking about how I was listening to music and how that had changed over the years. And it struck me that I wasn’t making the time to actually stop and properly listen.
Like many, I’m always doing something else. Cooking. Driving. Playing along on guitar. Or sat on the train or in front of a computer with hundreds of songs drifting past my ears on shuffle. As John Harris observes:
“as I distractedly jump from song to song, am I actually listening, or merely hearing? …most of us now listen to music in a state of twitchy impatience.”
The first step to addressing this was to abandon the shuffle button and instead listen to albums in full. But it wasn’t enough. Something was missing. Enter the record player. After I got my turntable back in working order (broken wire in the headshell it turns out) I found that rediscovering the tactile aspects of handling the record, seeing the disc spinning while the music played and looking at the artwork all fed into a more complete and enjoyable experience. I felt enlightened! I wanted more and I wanted to share my revelation!
I recalled a BBC news report I’d seen a while ago about a record club down south that met up to simply listen to records. The closest I found to Glossop was Shipley (West Yorkshire). I spoke to one of the organisers there who very kindly told me more about how they got it going and what they do. But with nothing closer to home there was only one thing for it – start one up myself. And here we are.
If you want some further reading about record clubs and listening groups, here are a few articles and websites I’ve come across that go into more detail about, well, vinyl and listening to music.
Simon Galloway is a Glossop-based radio producer and presenter and music obsessive. His love for David Bowie knows no bounds.