Next Door Records Opens In West London
It’s been a tough year so far, whether it be the queues outside Tesco, the endless quizzes on Zoom, Joe Wicks being your new alarm or the zig-zag runs. One of the biggest victims of this pandemic has been businesses, particularly local ones. They’ve had to trudge on with a series of major setbacks, whether it’s forcing their shops to close for safety precautions, or not being able to attract enough footfall to keep running.
The impact has been so severe that sadly a lot of these local and independent businesses have been forced to close their doors for good, a sight none of us want to see. One of the worst impacted local businesses were records shops, where the magic of going in and having a dig for your favourite record was simply not viable, placing an immense financial strain on shops around the country.
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Yet, there has been a recent glimmer of hope for record shop owners, as the Government continues to ease its lockdown restrictions, more and more of the city is opening up for us all to enjoy once again. Record shops, a beloved part of London’s music community, are included among the sites allowed to welcome customers under these new guidelines. Record shops were allowed to open in the UK from June onwards and the public have got right behind it, there was even an interactive map that showed you what shops were still operating and how you could buy from them.
In conjunction with new guidelines Next Door Records opened their doors for the first-time last week in Shepherds Bush, London, the project has seen the co-owners Louis, Alfie and Thom come together in lockdown to make a positive change, creating an inclusive space for all to enjoy. Situated in Shepherd’s Bush, Next Door will host interactive workshops, exhibitions and events including live music performances.
The shop features a wonderful variety of new and vintage vinyl that spans across a plethora of genres, a collection that leaps from jazz-tinged ballads to summery head-bangers. When talking about the collection co-founder Alfie Aukket explains: “The collection is building daily, the three of us all have slightly different tastes, so we stock records from dance floor music, indie and jazz. We’ve also got a second hand section where you can come and grab a bargain”.
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The shop was launched during lockdown thanks to the good-will of the general public who supported a successful Kickstarter campaign which saw the shop raised £4,231 from their initial target of £3,000.
There is a tangible sense of community with this project, bringing surrounding musicians, artists and businesses all together. The shop takes massive pride in supporting local businesses, their coffee is roasted in West London, they have local art residencies on show and frequently invite nearby DJ’s to do in-store performances. Plenty of preparation has gone into ensuring the shop is adhering to safety regulations, the listening booths are sanitised after every use and the record shelves have plenty of distance between them.
The local area has shown massive support since the opening of the shop. You only have to look at reviews on social media and you will see so many people have commented on the fact that they’re happy there’s a new place they can come and work, read or dig for records in. Garage DJ Bailey Ibbs said recently: “The blend of the record shop, bar and café is perfect. It allows me to dig for records, then have a bite to eat and then get straight back to digging.”
You can visit Next Door Records at 304 Uxbridge Road, London, W12 7LJ.
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Words: Josh Crowe
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