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.