It only seems like yesterday when as a teenager I first set foot in Audio Excellence in Swansea to purchase my first Hi-Fi, and who knows that it would have led to this....
At 16 years of age I had saved all of my part time job money so that I could become the very proud owner of a new Dual Turntable, NAD amplifier and Celestion speakers. That is where (what was to be) my life long love of music and hi-fi began.
I had only bought a few LP's up until that point which I played on the family music centre which was very average at best! I had heard a friends system and I wanted one of my own. A few months later I had my system and had started buying a lot more music to listen to. This then lead to going to see the artists I liked in concert and more visits to Audio Excellence, although these trips were mainly to buy more anti-static record sleeves for my ever growing collection.
A few years later and I found myself being made redundant and making daily visits to the job centres around the area, until one day I saw an advert for an electrical retailer with the hours Tuesday to Saturday. I instantly knew who it was, so I grabbed an application form and headed off to a friends workplace to fill it in as it was on the way to the shop. Once filled in I carried straight on straight to Audio Excellence to hand the application form in and was lucky enough to have a preliminary interview straight away. A few days later and it was off to the Cardiff Head Office for an interview with Tony Revelle. This is one day that I can remember very well indeed as I drove up in my Vauxhall Viva that was not in the best of running order, but not having money to fix it I arrived at Cardiff a little oily due to several maintenance stops. Laying on the floor under the car greasing the ball-joints in your best clothes somewhere near Bridgend was not the best of things to doing but the car got me there. I remember not being able to shake hands with Tony as I had dirty hands, but once we had started talking about the car while I freshened up it put me at great ease and that's where the story began...
25 years later I still have the same feelings about music and hi-fi, to the point that I could write exactly the same things on that application form as I did over 25 years ago; "I love listening to vinyl, I love listening to live music and love getting the best from my hi-fi".
So what has changed in all these years? Well I guess I'd have to say that why we do what we do hasn't changed at all, we still want to make sure that people get the same enjoyment from music as we do. People often ask me if I am still into "the gear" and I have to reply that "it's the music I love", and if you want to enjoy music to its fullest then there is simply no substitute for a well set up hi-fi and helping other people to get the same enjoyment has always given me great pleasure.
Thinking about how the methods of listening of music for so many people has changed over the years it did make laugh to think that as a teenager I was very excited about coming in to listen to my first turntable based system and I am now demonstrating the very same things to teenagers myself! Who would have predicted that one eh?
Also, to think that I have worked at the Annual Sound & Vision - The Bristol Show for over 20 years is amazing. Again, I remember most of these as if they were yesterday although there are some days that are a little fuzzy but nothing to do with too much to drink.... obviously!
We recently celebrated Audio T's 50th Anniversary with a great evening at the shop, and 2017 also sees the 10th Anniversary of Record Store Day which is one day of the year I really look forward to. We hope to do something very special this year to celebrate as we were one of the first shops to team up with our local Record shop and make it a big day for us.
As you can imagine; I have made some wonderful friendships over the years with colleagues and customers alike, which makes me feel very lucky. Here's looking forward to the next part of the story......