We popped over to Belgium to check out classical music's newest concert hall.
Another interview with one of the UK's finest record shops! We chat to owner of Prelude Records, Andrew Cane, about his favourite Strauss recording and making a Canadian customer's day in our latest 'For The Record'.
Name: Andrew Cane
Your shop: Prelude Records, Norwich
How long have you been open?
28 years. I started the shop from scratch in 1985, shortly after leaving university. It was just at the start of the CD boom, so it happened to be a great time for a new shop like ours. After a couple of years we outgrew our tiny shoebox-like premises. Four years after that we moved again into our current spacious shop. We have been so long at this site that people tell us we are part of the establishment (which I hope is a compliment).
What's the best recording in your shop at the moment?
Jessye Norman’s recording of The Four Last Songs by Richard Strauss. This is a great favourite of mine and although I have heard it many hundreds of times, it never fails to offer something new.
What was the most memorable day of trading in your shop?
Apart from the very first day we opened, our most memorable day was when Renaissance man Jordi Savall came and performed in the shop, a few years ago. He not only played his viola da gamba, but he spoke eloquently about his vision of music as a means of bringing the world closer together. In the evening he performed as part of the Norfolk & Norwich Festival, and our CD stall was overwhelmed with enthusiastic music-lovers.
Do you get angry if a customer files a Strauss record in the wrong place?
We are famed for our patience. How could anyone get angry over something that trivial?
Have you ever had to wrestle a shoplifter to the floor?
No, but I have had to frogmarch a couple of people out of the shop. Generally our customers are the nicest people you could meet. There is always a bit of shoplifting in any retail business, but we don’t generally suffer, apart from around Christmas time.
Are there any records in your shop that you just can't get rid of?
Everything will sell eventually; you just need the right person to come through the door. Because we are a specialist, people are very excited if they find something which has been on the shelf for years, and they have been searching for it on the internet in vain. Last week a customer from Canada snapped up a CD which had been long deleted, and it obviously made his day.
What is the function of a good record shop nowadays?
I think that helping the customer to find what they need is the key. We don’t believe in forcing music on our customers, but by using years of experience we aim to guide them to the right choice. I enjoy seeing people discover new music over a period of time, especially if they have taken a chance on a recommendation we have made.
How is the future looking for your business, given the current climate?
We are still fighting fit and thanks to our brilliant loyal customers, we intend to be around for a long time to come. No-one can really predict the future and for years we have been told that the recording industry, yet our figures are up on last year, so there’s always hope.
You can visit the Prelude Records website here.