Yesterday, I found out that my friend – of about 40 years – John Little had died.
I first met John when I was a teenager, in the mid ’70s. I met him via my older brother Eric, who was a musician.
John knew pretty much every musician in the area because – as well as records- his shop sold guitar strings and the like and he organised trips to gigs for years.
At the time I met him, the shop was still called Kandy Korn – after the Captain Beefheart song. John had bought the shop from an old hippy called Twink and so the shop retained the old name, decor and paraphernalia for a couple of years. He later changed the name to The Other Record Shop.
The shop was an exotic and mysterious place and an oasis for every rock music fan and overly serious teenager in Hartlepool. It was a kind of sanctuary from real life and John was a bit of a Gandalf figure.
I was a regular visitor, especially on Saturdays, where two or three trips to the shop in a matter of hours wasn’t unusual. John was always interested in supporting our enthusiasm for music, even when we didn’t share the same tastes. The Enid were ‘his’ band, for sure.
I think the line between customer and staff blurred a lot in The Other Record Shop.
We always helped out in one way or the other. I worked part-time for John in the early ’80s, though I helped out off and on before and after that. People have often asked if it was like Nick Hornby’s High Fidelity
and it was though I think we had a lot more laughs.
John always supportive and encouraged people to do what they want, take a chance and the like, which is maybe why I moved to London and on to Poland and am continuing my adventures, one way or another.
John’s death is sad and the end of The Other Record shop is sad too. It’s the end of an era, for sure.