This feature is taken from our End of Summer season.

While the rest of the industry worries about MP3s kicking the chair from under the high street chain and streaming services looming over the shoulder of digital downloads, vinyl is enjoying a revival. Why? Your humble independent record shop. The indies only account for around 3% of all record sales in the UK, but are responsible for over 50% of all vinyl sales. That's right, more than half of you prefer to buy your records from a real shop, from a real person who knows what they're talking about.

With this in mind The 405 is talking a walk around some of London's best known independent record shops - and a few hidden gems to boot - to dig in the bins, breathe in the air and see why we all love our independent record shop.

For the penultimate edition of The Record Shops of London, Parri visits the Islington branch of Flashback Records (50 Essex Rd, London N1 8LR):

Flashback Records

Let's set the scene. What's on the turntable right now?

K Frimpong & His Cubano Fiestas

Why did you decide to open a record shop?

The owner of the shop used to work at Reckless Records in Islington 18 years ago which inspired him to do it himself.

When did you open?

18 years ago (1996)

What else happens here other than records?

We buy and sell second hand vinyl, CDs and DVDs as well as interesting memorabilia and accessories. We have regular in-store gigs/performances.

What sorts of people do you get in your shop?

All sorts - literally all walks of life. From people who regularly sell or exchange CDs, DVDs and vinyl (some use us like a library and some use us like a bank!) through to celebrities such as Bobby Gillespie to Paul Whitehouse.

Do you specialise in anything (second hand, new releases, genre etc.)?

We specialize in second hand vinyl, across all genres - from avant-garde, stoner doom through to reggae to jazz etc

Flashback Records

With music buying now dominated by MP3, why do you think that vinyl is still so popular, especially when compared to other dead or dying formats like cassette, MiniDisc or CD?

Vinyl sales have increased every year for the past ten years but it is only the past two years that the mainstream media has cottoned on to this fact. Vinyl is so popular because it is a physical object with several factors making up the complete product. Artwork, liner notes, variations of size/colour of vinyl etc all come together to make one of the most desirable products around. Second hand records also have the added factor of having a lifespan/journey before you purchase them which I feel adds massively to the charm of some records.

Do you remember the first record you sold?

I don't remember the first record I sold exactly but that would have been a UK garage record in shop called Record Basement in Reading back in 1997. As for Flashback, the first record I sold which I wish I owned myself was a Lloyd Miller & Heliocentrics album. It was the first time I've seen a copy of this album and I did not know we had one in the shop, so I reluctantly sold it to the customer.

Do you remember the first record you bought?

First record i bought was possibly Paula Abdul or maybe even The Chicken Song by spitting image - it was 1986...

What's the most prized vinyl in your collection?

It's a toss up between Drum Talk by Mabrak - a rare King Tubby produced Dub album or Tabu by Cyril Diaz & His Orchestra - a lovely afro-cuban calypso record.

Flashback Records
Flashback Records
Flashback Records
Flashback Records
Flashback Records
Flashback Records
Flashback Records
Flashback Records
Flashback Records
Flashback Records
Flashback Records
Flashback Records
Flashback Records
Flashback Records
Flashback Records
Flashback Records
Flashback Records
Flashback Records