So vinyl is hot right now (probably one thing that it shouldn’t be!). Over the last few years Aylesbury has seen it’s fair share of record and music retailers come and go, indicating the precarious nature of the music business in today’s climate. However, there’s a secret that the town is hiding… The Vicious Squirrel, based at Deco Audio. A few days ago, I took a trip to visit the record store in its new home since relocating from the town centre. Now based on the Gatehouse Industrial Estate (it took some finding as I didn’t know that it was inside Deco Audio!), the store boasts a dedicated warehouse space that houses vinyl from a wealth of genres and decades. There is also a floor of turntables and a repair workshop on site which tells you how serious they are about music – it’s a love affair and they are going to help you make your vinyl collection dream come true!

I was greeted on arrival and taken up the vinyl floor where I was offered a coffee to assist my browsing (if only I’d had more time!) which is great perk that other stores don’t offer. What I loved about this is that it’s record hunting for grown ups; time out from the kids and work to relive your childhood dreams whilst feeding your caffeine habit. The vinyl area is decorated with black walls that double as blackboards for the sales team to add on their favourite albums or record of the week recommendations. There’s even a vicious squirrel who watches over proceedings from his own top shelf… If you’re looking for new albums or old secondhand favourites, this store has got it all. The staff were knowledgeable and offered me advice on the best companies for reissues (and the worst too). I’ve since contacted them via social media and told them of my love of 80s Madonna and they’ve dug out some LPs for me to go and peruse. Attentive, good customer service is rare in this day.

My only bugbear is that their signage isn’t great, so it took a while to find the centre and it only opens three days a week. Give me records all day please! Notably I was the only woman perusing, which having worked in the music industry for decades I’m well used to, but come on ladies, get in on the seen! We know just as much as the boys!

The Vicious Squirrel have to some great events coming up in the near future. One that particularly caught my eye is the record fair from 30 August to 2 September, which quite frankly you all need to go and support! If you haven’t got a record player, why not??? Last night my evening was made perfect by George Benson and Pat Benatar whizzing around the turntable! The team also mentioned that they are keen to forge links with local bands and host album launches and music evenings. Aylesbury needs more opportunities for live music that extend past its established rock scene. They already have connections with Sweet Billy Pilgrim who originate from the town.

So would I go back to The Vicious Squirrel Records again? You betcha! I’m counting down the days! If you want to find out more information, The Vicious Squirrel

Well this year st983844_922301214476654_5567301080221672945_narted off with a bang! My first gig of the year was with Darren Hayman singing the Chants for Socialists at Union Chapel in London. Despite the fact that it was FREEZING, the place was packed and Daylight Music reported their highest audience turn out ever!   The whole event was amazing and the feedback has been wonderful! Definitely one to tick off the bucket list.

As you can see from the photo below, I was the shortest singer by far (and I’m very proud of that) and I think wearing a bright electric blue jumper may have been a mistake… cue the Smurf! Feel free to ridicule me about this, to be fair, my family already has; it was my daughter who noticed my fashion faux pas. It gets worse though, there are lots and lots of press photos of this event, so I will be immortalised forever as the singing Smurf…

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The beginning of February saw us perform the Chants at the William Morris Society in Hammersmith. A much warmer gig this time and smaller too and actually in one of William Morris’ houses which was exciting. There was an intimate audience of about 40 people as opposed to 650 at Union Chapel. There was a Q and A session afterwards which contained some hilarious and some what mysterious questions about the project.

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We were described as Leonard Cohen and the 5 Linda Rondstadts which let’s face it, is much better than being described as a singing Smurf. This photo was taken during our rehearsal hence why we’re all stood in our coats with cups of tea, however I think a mug could become the new performance accessory depending on it’s contents!

I’ve been very excited about the vinyl version of the album (which I sang on); I’m mainly excited about the COLOUR! You can find the album on Darren’s website.

So if I started the year with a bang, how on earth am I going to top it? I’ve know idea, but watch this space… In the words of Saint Yazz “The Only Way Is Up”.