Friday, 4 May 2012


From the excellent Laura Barton in the Guardian
Alan's Records was a small shop with a tatty front that faced the new market building in Wigan. The records were upstairs, above the skate department. To reach it, you had to navigate the sweat and clutter of a dozen teenage boys ogling skateboards and trying on Vans. I was preposterously shy. I would hold my breath and keep my eyes on the floor as I walked through. Nor would I look at my fellow music-buyers, but I did eavesdrop on their conversations: tantalising mentions of Shellac, Hüsker Dü, DJ Shadow, Felt, Orange Juice, Super Furry Animals.

Later, when my boyfriend and his best friend worked there, I remember the feeling of homecoming that would rise in my chest as I climbed those stairs. This was where I bought Pixies records, Bis, Slint, Sonic Youth and Yo la Tengo. I remember resting against the counter listening to Elliott Smith, Tortoise, the For Carnation.

I never went to a youth club. I never hung out with the popular crowd. I was never invited to those raucous parties everyone gossiped about on Mondays at school. But in this small store I found a place to fit in, put down roots and grow.
My story is similar. Alans is where I first learned about Slint, Rachel's, Rodan, Appleseed Cast, Teenbeat Records, and many more. All I would dispute in this article is whether it is Alans or Alan's, and as evidence, I offer this:

Alans has since upscaled to a larger premises across town that focuses almost exclusively on BMX and skate apparatus and apparel. It's a thriving independent business, and I suppose one of the reasons it is thriving is that it chopped off the arms of the business that were potentially dragging it down: namely, records.

TV and its members have varying opinions on the death of the independent record store (and indeed its bigger conglomerate brother) and it is a debate for a whole other type of blog. Nil desperadum though: Alans is back! For about nine days only, but it is back!

On top of that there will be some musical performances. Tonight (4th May) there will be some live hip-hop from Krispy 3. Tomorrow (5th May) will see Dave McMahon blast some noise into the ears of terrified locals. Saturday 12th will see the Gunpowder Plot reformation continue apace. And on the 11th, we will be playing with Buzz Or Howl. All gigs are early evening affairs, 6pm until 8pm.

ALSO: they have records! The agglomerated contents of Static and Alans are together under one roof, so there's everything from Integrity 7"s to Hammond organ wig-outs. Also: old copies of Melody Maker, Sounds, and NME from the classic era.

The store dies on the 13th anew. 53 Mesnes St., Wigan. Say hello.

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