Honest Jon’s has been running as record shop since 1974. In 1994 it’s previous owner handed over the shop to Alan Scholefield, and his co worker Mike Ainey. In 2002 in collaboration with Damon Albarn, Alan and Mike set up Honest Jon’s Records.
I spoke to Alan about his experiences running a record shop.
"It’s got busier again, it got very very quiet in the record business around the turn of the century. When a lot technologies are coming and fashions are changing, in terms of how people buy music now, online and mp3’s, that sort of stuff. There was a significant move away from buying things physically, and getting things downloaded. At the same time the chains were cutting each others throats, so Amazon was coming in and murdering a lot of the small independents on price and service. So tons of record shops as you know closed.
We weathered the storm, a lot of people did different things. Some people started doing live music, like Rough Trade. Some people sold coffee, some people provided a place to download, all sorts of things were tried. One of things we did was start a record label, which on the back of many years of knowing about music and helping other labels come into existence. We started one called Honest Jon’s. We put a lot of energy into that, and that was one of things that started to revive our fortunes.
The thing with vinyl at Honest Jon’s is we never had a dip, we never went away. We don’t experience any resurgence, because that was never a part of our business that suffered. There are lot of people out there who stopped selling vinyl and started selling it again.
We’ve always like the format for various reasons and stuck with it. We always knew the interest with the shop was to do with records rather than cd’s, the handy portable thing that is increasingly fading away. It is a format that is dying. Here we are being stubborn and not stopped selling vinyl, and suddenly we realized that people were buying a bit more. It’s a niche thing, what you have to realize it’s completely a niche. The resurgence is based on small numbers, with rather intense interest. It is great for us, a website which was the enemy at one point is now the thing that is helping us, because we can sell to small number of people all over the world, but adds up to a decent customer base.”
If you’re ever in Portobello go check out the shop, it’s an awesome place with amazing music.
Test Shot of Olivia Bohac
This is a test shot of Olivia Bohac who assisted on my first shoot for my most recent project on vinyl record culture.
Film commissioned by The Charter School
Did some portraits of my friend Genie for her acting portfolio, it was great to get out shooting. We went for a little wonder in Brockwell park, and I think the results have come out really well. We said we should definitely do it again.
I’ve recently launched my website!!!! Please check it out and let me know what you think.
Finally got around to having a little play with the Mamiya 7 II. Awesome camera definitely want to spend some more time with it.