Demolition Man

November 15, 2018

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We’ve been open over five years now. Not here today, gone tomorrow as suggested in the beginning. Knowing looks from passers-by.

“He won’t last long – vintage guitars ? That’s bollocks that is” or quite often “I had one of them in “64, cost me £ 80. How much ? Bastard.”

Charming. Like it’s my fault they had to flog it to pay the bills. Fuckwits. When the US trade embargo was lifted in the late 1950’s a new Gibson ES335 cost about 330 Guineas in the UK. Look that one up, not like your Euro. I think Ivor Mairants in London were one of the first stockists.

I had no idea what a Guinea was, looked like or why it was used. Twenty One Shillings (I think, even before my time, we were lucky to see a Half-Crown) The majority of you are still no wiser I bet.

Twenty Shillings to the Pound. Crazy system. Call it about £ 350. That was a King’s ransom in 1960. Up North, where we lived, we were the ones that toiled in shit morning till night and longer to keep the Soft South going, wages were about £ 2 a week.

Imagine going home and saying “ Ello Hun I’ve just bought that lovely Cherry ES335 we saw in the shop window last week, great eh ? ”

You’d have been stabbed and divorced in a heartbeat. We were so poor me mam had to knit us a house. She ran out of wool before she could finish the chimney so we were always bloody freezing. Everybody used to knit then, the old codgers crocheted instead.

I could never figure it out. There was a ban on importing US goods, such as electric guitars. Something to do with boosting UK trade and manufacturing after the war. Like we were just falling over 1000’s of quality UK built guitars in the 1950’s. However Hofners were readily available from just over the Channel

HELLO ! Where the fuck do you think they were made ? The founder was Karl Hofner – now there’s a clue. We’d been nailing each other for six years, then they get their own back with the Hofner guitar.

Classic German build quality. There’s still millions of the bloody things kicking about. Indestructible. Every other week some joker rings up – “I’ve got this really old guitar mate, it’s a President so it must be good and it’s vintage, nearly original, no case, you can have it for £ 900” – No! Fuck off. Why would anyone put strings on a caber ?

I get more enquiries offering to sell me stuff than ever people enquire to buy. I’m a bloody shop, don’t you know what that means ? Google it. Don’t try to off-load your junk rare, hard to find, custom built left handed seven string bass on me, at more than you’ve had the bastard thing on Reverb for over a year – Twat.

I’m not some novice starring in the Apprentice. I hate that program. twenty pampered clueless fuckwits, thrown together, couldn’t make a ham sandwich let alone run a business. Good TV – is there such a thing ? Alan Smug Bastard Sugar – why does he do it ?

So we’ve been open five good years, granted nothing like Alan’s illustrious career, but it pays the bills. Time for a re-fit. As you probably know this always involves knocking a few walls about and emptying 100’s of bags of dust and grit everywhere.

Hopefully, Fat Gary permitting – my main man in the world of construction – we will finish up with a bigger demonstration room, an additional workshop for all the messy dusty stuff and an office for the ever growing paper mountain. I think it was in the 1980’s when we were soon to become a paperless society…… Yeah right. The 1980’s, when I bought my first Amstrad and lined Alan’s pocket. He’s a clever bloke but wasting his time with Apprentices.

Opening the shop down a back street was a revelation. An idea from nowhere. In the past I’d have blamed Stella, but those days were already over. Restoring faith in humanity.

On the one hand I have the local addict alcoholic skunk addled wasters cluttering up the pavement and scaring the uninitiated and non-streetwise. I often wonder who these unfortunates used to be ? What’s their story ? How do you differentiate between the helpless lost pilgrim and the out and out nasty bastard ? Special Brew must be the only ale never to have been knowingly drunk in doors.

On the upside there are some truly great folk of all dispositions wandering through the door. Charming, incredulous, complimentary, young, old, talented bastards. All interested in guitars and music.

I guess that’s why it is a kind of open house and gallery. Come and look and play, no need to pay or buy. I like it when the kids wander in, Dad in tow, looking for a cheap copy, astounded they are allowed to play that old Les Paul or Tele’ despite never being able to buy. It doesn’t matter, don’t be precious. Maybe one day they will be back with their name in lights.

So thank you to all my great customers who have supported the business, bought guitars, bought collections, had myriad repairs, drank my coffee and talked bollocks for hours. It beats a lot of jobs.

Check out our Gibsons, we have several ES 335’s including a 1964, some are not listed yet

The workshop covers all types of repair, refinishing & our own custom builds

The new showroom and workshop will be up and running by the end of November, come and have a look, all welcome.

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