Over on the border of Whalley Range and Moss Side, for over twenty years sat a tiny little green shed full to the brim with dusty 7, 10, and 12″ records.
A place of myth and legend, by all accounts, the shop was just as mysterious and unconventional as the man who ran it – an Irishman by the name of Mike.
Filled with box after sagging box, all overflowing with dusty vinyl, and with perhaps two square feet of floor space to stand in, the Record Shack was famously filled with thousands of records in no discernable order, mostly collected from charity shops and car boot sales.
At the door would sometimes sit a selection of racks with an A-Z of soul, funk and pop albums, with more shelves bursting with hundreds of 7″ records mostly dedicated to pop from the 80s and 90s.
Elsewhere, Mike’s own personal love of jazz was reflected in the massive collection, which reportedly spanned every genre all the way from the 1930s to 1990s.
His shop was tiny, really tiny, and we’ve heard from quite a few who visited that he wasn’t normally that pleased to see you in there, either.
Rather, many speculated that the store functioned as an outlet for his own record-hoarding tenencies, and that he just happened to be there, as opposed to being on hand to help you actually find anything.
Not one to be held down by such conventional norms as opening and closing times, Mike opened the Record Shack as and when he liked. Sometimes that would be two o’clock in the afternoon, sometimes it might be five or six at night.
Manchester DJ and musician Konny Kon of Children of Zeus told The Manc: “He was always grumpy, he’d just turn up at 2pm if he wanted to.
“Sometimes he’d just open whenever he wanted in the afternoon, and it was like you were doing him a massive disservice by actually being in the shop and buying anything like he would get pissed off, like he didn’t want people to be in there.
“One day I went in there and if you haven’t been in there the back of his shop you just couldn’t reach anything because it was just records, piled on top of records, piled on top of records, like three stacks deep, like you couldn’t get there.
“So one day […] I was interested to find out what was at the back […] so I was like, erm, ‘what’s the records at the back of the shop?’ and he got really annoyed and was like ‘why does everyone always ask that? What’s wrong with the records at the front?’
“And I think that kind of sums up his whole shop.”
This disregard for opening times meant that even some of the city’s most avid crate diggers never actually got a chance to step inside.
Andy Newens, a vinyl enthusiast and long-time Manchester DJ, told The Manc: “I went many times but never saw it open.
“I often wondered what was in there and always just ended up going to Chicken Run instead.”
Those who managed to get inside would find piles on piles on piles of records, with seemingly no system of management to them whatsoever. Still, it appears that Mike did know where things were – to the surprise of one visitor.
Whalley Range resident James Greenwood, a label owner and part of the Manchester DJ collective Supernature Disco, told The Manc: “I last visited the Record Shack just after the first easing of Covid restrictions when the pandemic had first hit.
“He’d set up a few records outside so I bought a couple of disco cheapies. Then I didn’t see it open again. I’d often see him walking that way but never to the Shack.
“I first moved to Whalley Range eight years ago and went in to see what sort of stuff he sold. The shop was total chaos and seemed to have zero order to it.
“I was looking for some KISS stuff at the time and asked if he had any in. He pointed at a stack in the far corner of the shop and said to me “just behind there on the bottom shelf should be some KISS albums” and sure enough there were.
“I was pretty stunned that he knew where to find stuff amongst all those stacks and shelves. Like I say, it seemed to have no order whatsoever.”
Now closed after some twenty-odd years, the RecordfShack still lives on in the memories of many of the city’s vinyl enthusiasts.
One avid vinyl blogger wrote of a visit: “A few times I’ve tried to befriend the owner in the vain hope that once in his inner circle he would lead me quietly to the hidden stash of rare records but by this visit I had accepted that this probably doesn’t exist and the shop is not so much a shop as a glorified storage unit for a pretty chronic hoarder.
“Maybe the holy grail does exist in the melee but I was happy to pick up “Dirty Cash” and a Candi Staton version of “Suspicious Minds” for £1 and move on.”
Another enthusiast who had visited the shop wrote online: “It sells records and it really is a shack! This is a place of myth and legend and to even offer opening times would be ridiculous.
“I love this place for its chaos, confusion, dust, dirt, randomness and just pure vinyl mania. Having chatted to the owner he has always had the vinyl bug and can’t stop collecting bag after bag of stuff with perhaps little saleable value but what the hell.
“I guess the scary truth is that when I’m his age perhaps my house will resemble this shop. I understand him …now is that a good or bad thing? We both also love Jazz…enough said!”
Do you have a memory of the Record Shack? If so, we’d love to hear it. Send your stories to us on Twitter @TheMancUk.
This Manchester club has been shortlisted as one of the best in the UK
In a coup for the city’s clubbing scene, a huge venue in Manchester has been shortlisted as one of the best of its kind in the UK by this year’s DJ Mag awards.
Depot Mayfield, the home of Manchester’s infamous party series The Warehouse Project, is the only club in the north of England to make the shortlist – sitting alongside London venues Fabric, KOKO and Printworks, and Glasgow nightclub SWG3.
First opened in 2019, the 10,000 capacity venue has been home to some huge events – including MIF and Skepta’s mind-blowing futurist rave DYSTOPIA987 and Manchester Pride’s inaugural music event Pride Live, as well as innumerable shows for WHP over the past few years.
With three separate stages – Depot, Concourse and Archive – it has been home to an eclectic run of Warehouse Project shows, attracting ravers and gig-goers of all musical persuasions.
Now it has been recognised as one of the best large venues in the UK as part of the annual DJ Mag awards, widely considered to be one of (if not the) biggest authorities on the UK dance music scene.
The award ceremony takes place this December 15 in London’s The Steel Yard, in what is the first IRL award show since the Covid-19 pandemic lockdowns of 2020 and 2021.
This year marks the 16th edition of the awards, an annual celebration of UK talent. Positioned as a counter-balance to the global Top 100 DJs poll, DJ Mag’s Best Of British awards are a chance to shine a spotlight on the homegrown talent that continues to place the UK scene at the forefront of electronic music.
The 2022 nominations are split across 22 categories, and the awards show in December will also see the return of three editorial choice categories, Outstanding Contribution, Innovation & Excellence and Game Changer.
Also shortlisted in this year’s awards is Manchester’s ‘Baddest of them all’ producer and DJ Interplanetary Criminal, whose BOTA remix with Eliza Rose went viral this year and hit number one in the UK singles charts this September.
Congo Natty Dance System Interplanetary Criminal Loraine James M1onthebeat
Breaka CeeBeaats Meg Ward Nia Archives Soul Mass Transit System
Bandokay MC Chickaboo Ivorian Doll Knucks Novelist
Bemz Chinx (OS) Iceboy Violet Jim Legxacy ShaSimone
AD 93 ec2a Phantasy Sound Trick XL Recordings
All Centre Over/Shadow Pretty Weird Sondela Recordings Time Is Now [Shall Not Fade]
DJ Q ‘Est. 2003’ [Local Action] Hagan ‘Textures’ [Python Syndicate] Hudson Mohawke ‘Cry Sugar’ [Warp] Kelly Lee Owens ‘LP.8’ [Smalltown Supersound] TSHA ‘Capricorn Sun’ [Ninja Tune]
PinkPantheress ‘to hell with it (Remixes)’ [Parlophone] V/A ”Club Entry’ Vol. 1′ [Borne Fruits] V/A ‘Hospital Mixtape: Lens’ [Hospital Records] V/A ‘Luke Una Presents É Soul Cultura’ [Mr Bongo] V/A ‘Touching Bass presents: Soon Come’ [Touching Bass]
Eliza Rose & Interplanetary Criminal ‘B.O.T.A. (Baddest Of Them All)’ [Warner Records x One House] Hamdi ‘Skanka’ [DUPLOC] Joy O ‘pinky ring’ [XL Recordings] LF System ‘Afraid To Feel’ [Warner Music] Nia Archives ‘Baianá’ [HIJINXX / Island]
KH ‘Looking At Your Pager’ [Ministry of Sound/Three Six Zero] Michael Bibi ‘La Murga (Michael’s Midnight Mix)’ Nick León ‘Xtasis feat. DJ Babatr (Pearson Sound Remix)’ [TraTraTrax] Tessela ‘Hackney Parrot (Bailey’s Techno Tool)’ Tirzah ‘Tectonic (FAUZIA Remix)’ [Domino]
Best Rap Album/Mixtape
CB ‘A Drillers Perspective 2’ [mayowahd] FLOHIO ‘Out Of Heart’ [AWAL] Horrid1 x Sav’O ‘Violent Siblings’ [CGM Records] Jeshi ‘Universal Credit’ [Because Music] Loyle Carner ‘hugo’ [EMI]
Best Rap Track
Darkoo ‘Always feat. Black Sherif’ (Prod. by Albert kweku Koranteng) [Atlantic Records UK] Giggs x Tiny Boost ‘The Family’ (Prod. by RichMadeRecords) [Self-released] Kojey Radical feat. Lex Amor ‘War Outside’ (Prod. by Swindle & Kztheproducer) [Asylum Records UK] LD x C1 ‘Hillside Demons’ (Prod. by JS OTP & Hilzz) [24 Hour Ent] Nemzzz ‘2MS’ (Prod. by Wydsonni) [Motown Records UK / EMI]
Best Radio Show
Emma Jean Thackray, Worldwide FM Ellie Prohan, KISS FM Felix Joy Breakfast Show, SWU Pure Spice with DJ Manara, BBC Asian Network Soup To Nuts, NTS
Best Large Club
Depot Mayfield, Manchester fabric, London KOKO, London Printworks, London SWG3, Glasgow
Best Small Club
Colour Factory, London Night Tales, London Strange Brew, Bristol Sub Club, Glasgow Ulster Sports Club, Belfast
Best Club Event
Club Blanco Distant Planet PXSSY PALACE Teletech Small Talk
Houghton Festival Naked City Festival Otherlands Music & Arts Festival Outlook Festival UK Queen’s Yard Summer Party
Best Boutique Festival
Field Maneuvers Freerotation KALLIDA Festival No Bounds Festival Watching Trees Festival
Underground Hero Recognising the champions of grassroots music communities
Double O & Mantra Jeremy Sylvester Lo Shea Man Power Sarah McBriar
Feature image – WHP MCR
Art & Culture
Giant glowing slinky and fire sculptures to light up Salford in winter Lightwaves Festival
The details of the huge outdoor light show in Greater Manchester have been revealed as Lightwaves Festival prepares for its ninth year.
Installations this winter will include a huge, glowing slinky tumbling off the landmarks in Salford Quays, as well as fire sculptures, a giant heart-shaped glitterball, and a kaleidoscope of butterflies.
Lightwaves will take place across MediaCity and Salford Quays, transforming the waterways and spaces with dramatic light artworks.
The completely free event will take place this week and showcase both local and national artists.
The headline installation is audio-visual Navvies by Matthew Rosier, presented on the actual water and accompanied by an orchestral composition.
Visitors will also be able to ‘walk’ through the waters of a digital river that will flow over the bridge, created by Manchester studio idontloveyouanymore, with the virtual water reacting to the movement of people.
The giant neon slinky (called End Over End) comes from Studio Vertigo, who will also create Our Beating Heart, a heart-shaped mirror ball made with more than 11,000 tiles that will slowly rotate.
Garden of the Deep, by Diane Watson, will turn single-use plastic bottles into 1000 flowers, made with the help of local schools and community groups.
Local legends Walk the Plank will be back again with Roost, creating nature-based fire sculptures in the MediaCity garden.
Lightstream by Flora Litchfield is going to use sound and colour to draw focus to water’s energy, and MicroCosmic by Paul Miller (a collaboration with the University of Salford) is an installation of video, sound and projection-mapped sculpture.
Anne Bennett’s Butter Cluster will create a flock (or technically, a kaleidoscope) of butterflies in the night sky above your heads.
There’ll be retro-futuristic design with Normal, an ‘interactive light and sound installation with attitude’ by Monomatic.