I often wonder if mine is the last generation to grow up listening to vinyl, or at least to be conscious of records. By the time I was in primary school tapes were the most popular way to listen to music (and to record it from the radio - oh the fun I had pausing the recording during the talking in between songs during the Sunday night Top 40) and by the time I had started secondary school I was an avid collector of CDs. However, during my earliest, arguably most formative years my mother and father would play records to fill our home with music.
That would be a lovely little introduction to my love affair with vinyl, except it's not the case. I don't collect records and I don't own any and I wouldn't have a clue what to do with a record player if I was presented with one. However, I feel a certain warmth, fondness and nostalgia towards them. That is why when a vinyl collecting friend of mine was in town I suggested we pop down to Concerto on Utrechtsestraat.
Arguably Amsterdam's largest independent music store and possibly it's most characterful, I've long been looking for an excuse to go there. As it happened coffee could have been excuse enough - and I need a lot of that at the moment! - as they have a little coffee shop occupying one of the four shop fronts the store stretches across. Leaving Baby Bird in the capable arms of the music collector's girlfriend - a vinyl widow, if you will - I spent some time looking around myself, armed with my camera.
I was surprised to see not only a very thorough collection of new releases on vinyl and a large back catalogue in records and CDs for all genres, there was also a DVD section, a small collection of books for sale, some vintage comic books and in the coffee shop area a performance area for artists. Another pleasant surprise was the way the coffee shop was also well catered for children and families. It's funny how I notice these things now!
Concerto, Utrechtsestraat 60, 1017 VP Amsterdam - http://concerto.amsterdam/en
Frances M. Thompson
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