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Autobiography of a
I started Rat Records 26 years ago, buying and selling vinyl albums and books on a street market in Oxford. I then graduated to Camden and Greenwich markets at the weekend, with the odd 2nd hand record fair. In 1993 I got the first of a series of 4 Rat Records second hand shops in Greenwich, London. In 1999 Rat Records relocated to our current CD and record shop in Camberwell.
Since 1988 I reckon we've sold just over 650,000 used records, shifted over 200,000 second hand CDs, stuck on 1,200,000 plus price stickers, driven over 300,000 miles, worn out the suspension of over 15 vehicles and discovered the only vinyl acetate of a collaboration between Mick Jagger and John Lennon. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/2672011.stm
I also have 2 more children, a grandchild and a lot less hair than when I started.
Meet the chaps:
Philippe was asked to leave France 20 years ago for liking the Cure a little bit too much. Naturally he ended up as manager of Rat Records.
His eclectic tastes and undiminished passion for new exciting sounds make him the perfect man for the job.
Philippe's indepth musical knowledge veers from ragtime blues all the way to techno via post rock, indie and electronica, reggae and jazz although obviously his real passion is passo doble.
He still occasionally DJs, unearthing the sort of genre defying mashups and pan global oddities that record shop managers have the luck to put their hands onto.
Philippe takes care of the smooth running of the business, buying over the counter and trying to research and price the vast amount of records that Tom is constantly bringing in, and then attempting to flog off, on Saturday morning. He's also known for driving seasoned record dealers to tears.
Meet the chaps:
Pete is the man behind the counter with a smile on his face. Nothing is too much trouble and everything that needs doing, Pete does. He’s mates with every customer, will find/clean/sell/package that record you want and is generally the human WD40 of Rat Records.
Whilst back in 2012 his musical expertise tended to involve music with the kind of bass that makes your trousers flap (jungle, ska, hip hop and techno), Pete constantly accumulates musical knowledge. You might be surprised to hear him chatting about the merits of Sonic Youth or the Slits, or even Gong, who knows... He's also read the entire rough guide to reggae, which neither Philippe nor Tom could finish.
Pete is also the current record holder of the 'How Many Records can you pack in an Estate?' competition with a personal best of 2,700 LPs and 12"s mixed, in a Passat. Tom is second with 2,200 12"s and his own father in an Avensis, although that was from Cornwall to London so should qualify for some kind of additional award.
Meet the Chaps:
I am the Supreme Overlord of Rat Records. Am I a Record Dealer, or a Vinyl Album Collector gone wild? Depends on if the mortgage is due...Basically I handle the buying of the large record collections, be it Rock, Soul, Jazz, Funk, Reggae, Roots, World or Hip Hop - anything as long as it's got a chorus and a drummer.
When not searching attics and garages nationwide to buy vinyl albums from you, I find other ways to relax... So if you come into our secondhand record store you may not see me, but ring our number or drop me an email and I'm the man you will speak to. It's me who will come round to buy your collection with the cash.
Meet the Chaps:
The Inner Sleeve
Dig deeper into the music with the dangerous Rat Records Blog, created for Rat by a maverick, mysterious vinyl vampire: The Inner Sleeve. Like Rat he was bitten by the musical bug before he could walk, and cares passionately about vinyl records and everything groovy. Unlike us he never tires of expressing his controversial opinions with savage wit and flair. We can't control him, but we can placate him. With vinyl.