Its a sad fact that Bangor town has had no music retailer since January 2012 when HMV closed its doors in the town. Over the years Bangor has had numerous record shops, from Smyths for Records, Unicorn Records, Harrison/Musique, Kosmos, Underground Music, Plastic Passion, The Record and Tape Centre, Aquarius Music, MTM and Sho’nuff, to name a few of the independents that traded there over the years, but after HMV closed its doors in the town there had been no new music retailing in the town until Bending Sounds started trading in April 2017 .
Brain child of Steven Boyd the shop initially only opened a few days a week, but now trades most days in the week, including Sunday, and it was on a Sunday that I visited the store recently.
When I originally first (1) walked through the door of Bending Sounds, it was like travelling back in time to the days when I first started visiting record shops as a teenager. Standing just inside the door of the shop I was aware of an aroma I had not smelt in numerous years, not forgotten, nor did I think one I would ever smell again, the odor of PVC vinyl record sleeves. Anyone of a certain age, who visited recod shops back in the day – 1970s/1980s – will know that smell, and as I stood there, just inside the door, all sorts of wonderful memories came flooding back of hunting for records in the numerous shops of my recod buying heyday. I recalled the numerous hours I used to spend hunting out all sorts of vinyl treasures, and I felt a mixture of emotions, joy, deep appreciation for my music education from those times, but also a deep sadness at the lost world of that youth and early adulthood, a world that no longer exists.
To stand in a record shop, in 2017 once again was an amazing thing. The descriptor record shop over the years has come to define anywhere selling music and film material, and not what it once mean’t, a shop selling vinyl records. Bending Sounds sells only vinyl records, no CDs, no DVDs only 12, 10 and 7 inch vinyl, both new, back catalogue and second hand.
The shop layout has changed a bit since 2017, with the shop counter having moved from the front of the shop, to the back and now the back right side. Another change and for the better is the record racks that where in the centre of the shop floor, have now been moved thus opening up the shopfloor. The middle of the shop racks, which housed sale records and used records have now been moved into a recently opened up back room, which is a great idea.
What this change in lay out has resulted in, is that anyone in a wheel chair now has full easy access to the main part of the shop, and by the looks of it also the back section as well, though I hesitate to say that definitively as I don’t know the width of a wheel chair, but it looks like it might be ok for chair access (2). So many shops make it very hard for wheel chair users to gain access, so well done Bending Sounds for making their shop wheel chair friendly.
Bending Sounds is a beautiful, well layed out shop, with friendly staff who are helpful and happy to talk music, so getting a music education in here is a possibility, unlike in the major chain stores, where getting to talk to staff about music, was always hard, though the sadly departed Head Records made that more easy than say the likes of HMV.
Bending sounds also sells Rega turntables, so its possible to obtain good playback equipment upon which to enjoy your records (none of the common record destroying Crosleys in sight) and this is something very much worth doing.
On the day I visited, the shop it was very busy -great to see- and I struggled to get some space to take photos, but managed after a little while. I hope these photos serve to illustrate why if you are a music enthusiast you should make a point of visiting Bangor, and Bending Sounds, as I think its well worth the trip.
I enjoyed my time in the shop, and thank you to the staff member who made me feel welcome on the day, and permitted photos to be taken. I left the shop having bought a copy of the recent FishPeople reissue of Lionheart by Kate Bush.
Website – https://en-gb.facebook.com/bendingsound/
Address- 59 High St, Bangor, BT20 5BE, Northern Ireland
© Text Copyright 2019 Adventures in High Fidelity Audio. All photos bar the Bending Sounds logo are my copyright.
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