Changing the record

 

Words by Emily Payne
Photography by Meg Gisborne

In the first of our series of people embracing the simplicity of life before algorithms; we meet record collector Elizabeth Quigley

 
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What I listen to when I’m feeling...

Nostalgic 
Up All Night by Razorlight – I was obsessed with them as a teenager and went to all their gigs. 

Whimsical 
Stowaways by Shrugboat – I found this randomly in Diabolical Records in Salt Lake City. It’s so dreamy.

Calm 
I love Air, and my go-to album when I want to relax is Moon Safari. Perfect for a lazy Sunday morning.

Joyful 
Alvvays by Alvvays – I’ve seen this amazing Canadian girlband live a handful of times and they’re pure joy.

Hopeful 
Wouldn’t It Be Nice, from Pet Sounds by the Beach Boys – I’m an optimist so this one always spoke to me.



You don’t need an encyclopaedic knowledge of Pink Floyd B-sides to collect vinyl. Twenty-nine year old Elizabeth Quigley is paving the way for a younger crowd, one eschewing music snobbery and buying records for the sheer fun of it. In her flat overlooking Belgrave Crescent, the founder of instagram account @vinylettes, tells us why she’s in love with the snap, crackle and pop. “I always used to admire my parents’ records. As soon as I moved out, I got a record player and started collecting,” she explains.

“I love the artwork and being able to hold something. If there’s an artist I really love, I’d much rather sit down and listen to their album from start to finish the way they intended. You’re completely involved in that one record. The artists will have put a lot of thought into the order that the songs are in. It’s very easy to throw on something on Spotify, it does everything for you. But when you put a record on, it’s active, it’s an event.”

“I think that feeling has been lost since the dawn of MP3s and music streaming, so this new wave of younger record collectors has grown from the backlash against that.” 

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Elizabeth, whose taste ranges from bouncy indie and dream pop to Bruce Springsteen and ABBA (“I really want the Mamma Mia! soundtrack”), has spent around £1,000 on her 200-strong record collection to date. Her Instagram page, Vinylettes, is an ode to vinyl, and aims to encourage women to share their record store finds and loves.

“I launched @vinylettes in April 2017 after noticing a lack of women in stores whenever I went record shopping.
I have a lot of female friends who love music so I couldn’t understand why record collecting seemed to be such a male-dominated interest. I wanted to create a friendly space that unites female record collectors.”

Does she encounter any negative feedback from old school musos? “Yes, there have been comments about the way I stack my records, or my set up or whatever,” she says. “But everyone’s welcome to listen to records whichever way they want. There are no rules. You don’t need the most expensive equipment or an extensive knowledge of music to feel worthy of entering a record shop. And music doesn’t have an expiry date. I’ve had conversations
with people who have said ‘oh you
don’t know about so and so’, but you have all the time in the world to discover new artists.”

“Record collecting today is for anyone that wants it, regardless of age, gender or ethnicity. If you want to dabble – go for it. If you want to invest in Prince’s entire back catalogue – enjoy! Times are changing and it’s really refreshing.” 

 
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