Newport record shop Diverse Music celebrates 25 years in the city
(L-R) Matt Jarrett Paul Hawkins Vaughan Jordan and Mark Southall of Newport's Diverse Music (1142430)
GOLDIE Lookin' Chain, David Tennant and Van Morrison have been among the customers at Diverse Music – and the Newport institution is about to celebrate its 25th birthday.
The music shop, record label and vinyl mail order business has stayed the course in the city centre when many other shops have left or folded.
Co-director Paul Hawkins said: “We have moved three times. First we were in Upper Dock Street, where Yummies Kebab House is now. That was from 1988 to 1991. In 1991 we moved to a shop across the road which was probably three times the size. By 1999 we moved again [to 10 Charles Street] and we have been here since.”
Just four members of staff run the business. Friends as well as colleagues, Mr Hawkins said they sometimes bicker over which songs to put on the speakers: “If I put on the Arctic Monkeys, Matt would turn it off. If Matt tries to put Steely Dan on, Vaughan will take it off. And if anyone puts U2 on, I will take it off.”
Instead, alt country and punk are among their favoured genres.
Vaughan Jordan, who plays with local band The Sick Livers, joked his policy is generally against music that sounds like something Adam Sandler would listen to.
But they added: “We try not to be snobbish about music.”
Mark Southall has worked for Diverse Music since it opened in 1988. He said: “In the first shop, we used to get regular visits from people like Van Morrison.
“The first EP I sold was ‘Spiral Scratch’ by the Buzzcocks. I was a punk – I didn’t wear safety pins or gob on people, but I loved the music.”
The shop has been featured in Doctor Who, for a storyline including a modern shop and the same shop back in time, with David Tennant and Great Gatsby star Carey Mulligan filming there.
Mr Hawkins said: “The filming took over the shop for three days, although the footage of our shop is probably less than five minutes in total.”
Prices in the shop range from below £10 for new releases on CD to £50, for vinyl re-mastered from original analogue recordings. They even have a 24 carat gold CD in stock.
“Some customers are in and out while some will spend up to an hour,” Mr Hawkins added. “People have been known to spend the day here.”
Diverse Music will be taking over Le Pub for its 25th anniversary party, spread over three evenings from September 27 to 29. Goldie Lookin Chain will be DJing on Saturday, while bands including Paper Aeroplanes, Science Bastard and Death Pedals will be playing.
Visit the shop or go to www.diversemusicnewport.co.uk to find out more.
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