Thursday, 26 March 2009


Bellaphon record player

The food blogger Bellaphon has a secret life. Despite going to Oxford university he, like Nick Hornby's protagonist in 'Hi Fidelity', has always wanted to be a shopkeeper, specifically of a hi-fi shop. Walrus is round the back of Marble Arch.
Upstairs you see cluttered and dusty 'record players'. (I got told off for calling them that. It's 'turntable' or 'hi-fi' stupid!). One of them looked just like the red leatherette mono record player I got from Woolworths on my 16th birthday. I think it cost about £7, all the money I'd saved up from my National Savings certificates. I was so proud. Drove my mum mad playing the same record over and over again. I'd get in from school, light a joss stick and play 'heroin' by Lou Reed on repeat. I'd close the curtains and feel vaguely dangerous.
Downstairs at Walrus is an adult version of that atmosphere. A sofa at one side, for lounging. Stacks of vinyl. 
Studded around the room, spotlit, monolithic, are 'turntables'. Each one is about 6 inches thick. You can't pick them up. They weigh 40 kilos. Bellaphon put on a classical record. I could have sworn the orchestra was actually in the room with me. Each turntable is driven by a belt, not a motor.
"Why?" I asked.

"So that there is no wobble, no tremor" 
A typical turntable costs £15,000. Yeah, just that bit. Annie Lennox and Jimmy Page are customers. Although musicians are not good customers says Bellaphon, they have strange tastes, funny ears. Best are gay men and Australians. 


  1. Shit, I didn't expect this!

    PS BTW Just to lay the cards out, I don't do discounts!

  2. Wow I must be a musician coz I wouldn't pay 15 grand for a deck... although due to my south London accent I am often mistaken for an Australian.....


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