Bevans and the Full English


We had two burly men turn up yesterday to paint the window frames so instead of cooking breakfast with them peering through the windows I popped into town for something to eat. It was as I was tucking into my bacon and eggs that it occurred to me that what was once a traditional Sunday morning breakfast had now become an everyday breakfast. Parisian cafés are famous for their coffee and patisserie and the Italian bars for their slices of pizza, this led me to ponder, what if in years to come when foreigners are asked what a traditional English meal is, rather than replying ‘roast beef and Yorkshire pudding’, will they say the ‘all day breakfast’.

I left the café and looked into the window of Bevans, a local independent music shop that has proudly stood its ground for fifty-two years. Originally opened by Mr Ellis Bevan, who traded from a small shop in Uttoxeter road in 1960, before moving to the newly constructed Bennett Precinct in Longton in 1965, it’s a store that hold many memories for Longtonians. The city had several independent music shops and as a teenager I frequented most of them to purchase the latest singles on vinyl.

Oh the days of 45’s seems so long ago now, I remember buying singles and travelling home on a bus with eager anticipation. It’s hard to convey the joy of hearing the crackle as the stylus finds the first groove before the opening bars play. With ‘Disco’ at its heyday, I remember going into Longton as a teenager to buy a 12” extended version of, You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real), by the late and legendary Sylvester (James). I recall bursting through the front door and rushing into the living-room like a dervish, placing the black disc onto the turntable, altering the speed from forty-five rpm to thirty-three and a third and gingerly applying the stylus to the first groove. The crackle came and then the explosive beat filled the room and I was in heaven for nine-minutes and thirty-seven seconds. It’s a song that is still among the most selected on my iPod, on the days I choose not to shuffle, and it still evokes a memory of buying it from Bevans many years later.

In 2012 at the age of eighty-six Ellis Bevan decided it was time to put his feet up and the store was sold to an old customer, Tom Mitchell, who has kept the independent heart of the store alive. In these times of downloads, CD’s and MP3’s Tom has brought back some nostalgia and stocks a large selection of those black vinyl discs of joy that we used to call, records.

With HMV in trouble and a quirky, topical message in his window that reads,  All our records are guaranteed horse meat-free, here’s hoping Bevans remains on the high street for another fifty-one years.

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I then switched on my iPod and selected the aforementioned disco classic and strode away with more heel-toe crossovers than usual.

For more information about the store go to Bevans Website

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