Posted on November 20 2020
Happy Birthday to Nightfly, Happy Birthday to Nightfly.....
We opened Nightfly Records for business 5 years ago this weekend!!
It started after walking down Windsor Street in Uxbridge on our way to the Chinese Buffet where we saw a vacant shop which looked like a perfect location for a record shop. I enquired about the shop the next day waiting for the landlord to say it was way out of reach, he didn’t, in fact the cost seemed reasonable and the charitable trust that owned the shop thought a record shop would be perfect for the street. I had signed up by the end of the week, no business plan and no idea how to run a shop, I hadn’t worked in retail of any kind.
After a couple of months of research and setting up we opened the doors on Saturday November 21st 2015. The fist record we sold was, of course, Pink Floyd ‘Dark Side of the Moon’. The big new release that week was Adele ‘25’, we bought 10 copies which I thought was a crazy risk, they all sold out in the first weekend and we were off and running.
Setting everything up for the first few months was tough but we were spurred on by the reaction we had from the people of Uxbridge. I don’t know what I expected but it was a completely life changing experience, meeting some amazing people and making some wonderful friends along the way. Most of the time it felt more like a social club and drop-in centre than a shop, and that is what made it so special.
The shop in Uxbridge burned brightly but after three and a half years it felt like it was treading water and had run its course, closing the doors on June 1st 2019. New opportunities beckoned and we moved operations up to North Wales to develop the shop online. We have spent 2020 working on the website, our Discogs store and increasing our online presence which we will continue to do moving forward into 2021.
The biggest thing I will take from the shop in Uxbridge is the laughter and stories, so many I could write a book or, as Darren suggested, a sitcom. I have put together a playlist of 25 tracks from the past 5 years of Nightfly Records each carrying special memories and dedications.
1. Donald Fagen – The Nightfly
What else? took us a while to find a name but eventually inspiration struck. I bought the MOFI version and listened to the album for the first time again in the shop with Jack, transcendent.
2. Ariel Pink – Feel Likes Heaven
For ‘our Jack’ who served valiantly at Nightfly for the first two years and amongst various strange genres brought us his exquisite leftfield taste and vaporwave.
3. The Hornets – Mutually Assured Destruction
Saturday boy Bailey’s band sounding like an early Rolling Stones, just needs some Joe Meek production. A superstar in the making, schooled at Nightfly for two years.
4. Kenny Lynch – Half a Days Done and We Haven’t Earned a Penny
Brought to us by Richard and played on many an afternoon when a sole browser was in the shop, for gentle encouragement.
5. Elvis Presley – Suspicious Minds
‘Elvis mental’ that’s all I’m saying.
6. Linda Lewis – Rock A Doodle Doo
For Kevin who came into the shop every single day. He looked for this record for three years and 8 months as it was his ‘favourite’, the ultimate digger, respect, we miss you.
7. Don Rendell – Ruth
From ‘Dusk Fire’ the most valuable record we sold in the shop. Brought to us by Chris Condon amongst the fabulous collection of records he sold to us.
8. Mel Torme – Comin’ Home Baby
For Colin who came in every lunch time to teach me all things ‘Northern’, soul obviously.
9. The Rolling Stones – Come On
We sold the super rare demo of this for £200 and paid some bills.
10. Bibio – Petals
The record I played to demo the amps, love, love , love this album, a favourite over the last 5 years and it didn’t make the top 100 at the end of the year in any magazine, really???
11. Prince Buster – Al Capone
For all the ska and reggae we sold in the shop, who knew Uxbridge was a hotbed for it? I listened to so much I’ve developed a real fondness for the early ska.
12. Technimatic – Music Is Music
For Graham whose enthusiasm and knowledge for all things D’n’B was so infectious I started buying some including this record which became the soundtrack in the shop for the last six months.
13. The Beatles – Please Please Me
We had two copies of the rare gold label mono version of this album come into the shop. After listening to these I had an epiphany and suddenly understood why people desire original mono recordings.
14. The Kinks – You Really Got Me
A little old lady struggled into the shop and up to the counter one sunny Summer afternoon in 2018. Her name was Pearl Duckney and as Pearl Paling (her previous married name) she ran the Princess Ballroom in Halifax during the 60’s but now lived in Harefield. She regaled us with her memories of those days including booking acts such as Herman’s Hermits and the Kinks who played there the night before they went to No.1 with ‘You Really Got Me’. A legendary figure in Halifax, a truly special lady and a magical afternoon.
15. Jocelyn Brown – Somebody Else’s Guy
The afternoon an ex Studio 54 DJ came into the shop and whilst chatting dropped that he was staying with Jocelyn Brown who lived in Uxbridge!! What!!! Really, in Uxbridge???? Would she do a live in-store PA? I asked ‘I don’t think that’s going to happen’ was his reply.
16. Out Cold – All I Want (Ewan Pearson Remix)
For Darren, ‘memories are gone’. A great DJ and music connoisseur, I salute you.
17. BP Fallon & David Holmes – Henry McCullough
For Elton, a fellow rave veteran returned from the club trenches with war stories that would make DJ Harvey’s hair curl. He made Friday afternoon drinking acceptable.
18. The Bonzo Dog Band – The Intro and the Outro
For scouser James who came in nearly every day before the sun went over the yardarm. He brought us this gem from the Bonzo’s which made me laugh and laugh till I cried and still does, ‘Count Basie and his Orchestra on the triangle’.
19. DJ Koze – Pick Up
For the DJ’s, Scott Pierce and Tom Frankel. They played in the shop several times, rocked the parties we had and always made me feel inadequate about my mixing skills. We are not worthy. Also to Justin Robertson who graced our decks on a famous Record Store Day afternoon tempting us with his acid house magic.
20. Luca D’Alberto – Her Dreams
For my Mum who sadly passed away in 2017 and without whom Nightfly Records would not have existed.
21. David Ackles – Down River
Because it made Paula cry in the shop the first time she heard it.
22. Ella and Louis – Isn’t This a Lovely Day
For Stuart (Jazz Man) who brought this beautiful record to my attention, taught me about HMV pressings and re-invigorated my interest in jazz.
23. Moby – Another Perfect Life (Andrew Weatherall Mix)
For Clare & Si who became good friends and were a link to Lord Sabre. Also a tribute to the great man himself, RIP, the greatest DJ, fact.
24. Djrum – Sex
For ‘our’ Georgie, a chip off the old block and a track and album that really turned my head.
25. Sharon Ridley – Changin’
It was the last song Larry Levan played at the Paradise Garage and the last song played on the closing night of the shop in Uxbridge. ‘Now we’ve come to the end of our road, new roads to discover’.
Here’s to the next 5, hope you continue the journey with us.
David – Nightfly Records
Nightfly Records Uxbridge shop 2015-2019