Let's start from the very beginning. I've been collecting vinyl on and off since I was around 17. I got started on it because it was the cheapest format at the time, each vinyl album costing around £5-£7 compared to CDs which were no cheaper than £12. I stopped buying records for around 8 years, mainly because I moved around so much and lugging vinyl and a turntable from place to place is a pain so I put it all into storage in my parents attic. Having now settled in the South of England, I retrieved my vinyl from the attic, blew off the dust and re-entered a world I had long missed. I was instantly hooked again, scouring eBay for bargains and stopping at every charity shop and second hand record store I could find. I love it! So imagine my trouser wetting excitement when I heard about Pie & Vinyl. A shop that specialises in, well...Pie and Vinyl. It's a unique little shop on the lovely Castle Road in Southsea. It also sells music prints, CDs and hosts music and comedy nights as well as a menu filled with pies. I finally visited the shop last Saturday. It's been open for around 5-6 weeks but haven't had chance to get there but I finally made it and here are my thoughts on the place.
Before I go any further, let me talk a little bit about the atmosphere of Southsea. Like all cities that have creativity bubbling under the surface it can be a little clicky and you often feel left out if you're not one of the cool kids. Entering some places can feel like entering The Slaughtered Lamb and instantly makes you self conscious. I've noticed this of all creatively aware cities and it's something you never notice when you're on the inside. It doesn't make me like the city less and is still one of my favourite cities that I've lived in because of the community atmosphere and the level of creativity but It does make you feel self concious when entering some places in Southsea and I was hoping Pie and Vinyl didn't fall into that trap and thankfully, it hasn't.
It's been open for 5-6 weeks and has built up a nice following and so it should. I entered feeling a little wary because of the reasons mentioned above but was greeted with an extremely friendly hello. Without being too rude to the everyone in there, I ran to the back of the store, mouth foaming and fingers ready for record flicking, where all the vinyl is kept to check out the selection. Holy shit! It's a rare feeling being able to flick through new vinyl! Yes, I said new vinyl. No warped second hand Rod Stewart albums. They stock brand spanking new, unplayed, cellophaned vinyl. The collection was fantastic. So fantastic that I spent £85 in one hit and would of spent more but my girlfriend was pulling me away kicking and screaming. My girlfriend also kept telling me to be quiet as I kept shouting "Fuck! They've got this" whilst throwing another album on the 'I must have these' pile. It's a shop that was a little too small to handle my excitement. Admittedly the cost of the vinyl there is more expensive to what ever second hand record store you're used to but remind yourself of what you're getting. A brand new, unplayed album that you didn't have to order online (yes, you get to listen to it as soon as you get home) and it's industry standard with modern releases now to get a free download of the album with every purchase, so bonus!
I didn't stay to eat the nice looking food but I looked at the menu and it sounded gorgeous. I ate earlier at The Wine Vaults (best ribs in Portsmouth) so I only stayed for a coffee which was good and gave me a chance to soak in the atmosphere of the place. It has striking framed band prints on the wall which are all for sale and are mixed with so much charity shop stuff I'm surprised that any charity shop in a 2 mile radius has any stock left! Non of the charity stuff is for sale because that's what your tea, coffee, pie mash...well everything comes in or on! It's like sitting in your Grans house if she was much, much cooler. All of this gives such a nice cosy atmosphere and I spent the whole time there grinning, clutching my new vinyl tightly to my chest. I left feeling all warm and fuzzy knowing that it hadn't fallen into the clicky Southsea trap.
I now declare Pie and Vinyl my first home. Sorry love but I'm moving into that place. I'm going to eat pie and mash until my ass takes up two chairs and grab as much vinyl from there as my fat little mash covered fingers will let me! I love the place, right from it's amazing collection of vinyl and charity shop tat to it's imaginative and friendly owners. I can't say much about the food because I didn't eat in there but I definitely will in the future.
Everyone should visit this place. Even if you like vinyl or not, the atmosphere alone is enough to draw in crowds. The uniqueness of Pie & Vinyl has made it my new favourite place to be! Much better than Records & Ribs just down the road, they didn't have Vice magazine.
Check out this cool video Wide Aperture Media did about them: Pie & Vinyl on Vimeo