The first in our occasional series where we go out to the shops and tell you what we find...
We're always delighted when something new and fabulous comes to Bearwood. But when the audiophiles in the OUTSIDELEFT office heard that a Vintage HiFi store was to open, they found it hard to contain their excitement. Then they found that it was being run by Richard March of Pop Will Eat Itself/Bentley Rhythm Ace fame...
RPM Analogue Audio Limited has now arrived at 180 Sandon Road (corner of Bearwood Road). The original idea for RPM (yes, that's Richard’s initials), came to him and his partner Deborah during the summer. When one of his friends was trying to sell a turntable they got offered a 'derisory' price for a Hi-Fi store ('which shall remain nameless' says Richard). Afterwards, he was appalled to find that the store in question was selling the same turntable on their website for about five times the price that was offered. Someone somewhere is clearly taking the piss.
Deborah Mole - Hitting the High Tech Groove....
Richard also thought that it was important to reintroduce the personal experience into shopping when it came to something as crucial as audio equipment. He says: 'I was looking at buying some speakers and I didn't just want to just get them on eBay. It’s an important purchase, I wanted to listen to them first! I could only see one shop selling similar speakers... and that was in London'. So, the idea of creating something local became clear.
At RPM keen audio connoisseurs can now visit the shop any Thursday - Saturday or book an appointment. 'If you want to come along after work at, for instance, 7 o'clock on a Tuesday you can make a booking, bring some of your favourite albums, sit in a comfortable chair and experience your music in a way that suits you.
As well as launching his new business, Richard is a busy man! Not only does he teach Music Production at Kidderminster College, but he is also now back to touring with his bands. He admits that lockdown has been hard for the musicians, but that after a few recent shows, it’s great to be back. There are more gigs on the horizon - 'Bentley Rhythm Ace are playing the Shiiine On Weekender in Margate in November and Pop Will Eat Itself have sold-out dates in Birmingham and Brighton in December' He's also been working with local heroes Swamp Meat Family Band (who had the honour of playing at the launch of Third Man Records shop in London), last month. When I mention that I’d not heard of Swamp Meat Family Band, he insists that I check them out (I have since and they’re fantastic).
Whether playing live, teaching, or showing customers how a specific piece of audio equipment will change their listening experiences forever, Richard has a real enthusiasm that is so endearing to music fans. You really should pay RPM a visit.
At the RPM launch - Jackie March, Frances McGeeney, and Richard March, it's a family affair!
RPM is on Facebook