Clocktower Music

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Clocktower Music

When the Covid lockdown began, back in March, it didn't take long for Clocktower Music's owner Roy Gregory to start thinking of ways to bring his business back with a bang once lockdown lifted.

Tucked away in the backstreets of Bridport, a determinedly-quirky little market town on the South Coast, Clocktower had, in the five years since it opened, found its niche not just as a retail outlet, but as a destination – earning itself a Top Three spot in Long Live Vinyl magazine’s Independent Record Shop of the Year competition in 2019.

It had been trading – very successfully – just by phone and with on-site visitors, but lockdown meant its methods had to change. Initially, this only signalled a move to limited online trading, but before long the 'Clocktower Crew' – Roy, his staff and helpers – were instituting a major refit of the shop itself, ready for the physical reopening in July.

As it happens, the 'crew' possess an enormous range of skills between them – there’s the audio engineer-slash-antiques dealer-slash-DIY dynamo, the retired heart surgeon turned electronics whizz, the drummer who moonlights as a printer (or is that the other way round?), the former finance director, plus the designer, editor, artist, signwriter and more... there’s a wealth of creative talent in the mix. Between them they came up with not just a revised and Covid-compliant layout, but seriously juiced-up décor as well.

Outside, in a musical nod to keyworkers, the main notes of Bowie's 'Heroes' are picked out on new signs, while the window sills now boast piano keyboards – all hand painted.

Inside, one-use gloves are provided at the entrance so that stock can be safely browsed, while the rezoned and colour-coded floor comes complete with Pythonesque pointy fingers as a guide around the one-way system. Sadly, the comfy sofas had to go and hot drinks are no longer offered – and neither, devastatingly, are the intimate gigs by up-and-coming artists that were previously a regular in-store feature – but let's hope that's all just temporary.

The sales counters have all been plexi-glassed, of course, and Covid notices are strategically scattered around the store to remind visitors of necessary measures, though hopefully in a not-too straight-laced way... “Think Cow”, for 2m social distancing, is very Dorset.

In addition to its core business of buying and selling pre-owned vinyl, Clocktower Music also offers fresh releases, CDs, tapes and relevant gifts, as well as new and revamped hi-fi equipment, original rock-related artwork and photography, and an exclusive range of locally-created T-shirts… and they’re happy to post orders to anywhere.

To see what's in store in fully-digital safety, you can always catch their YouTube stock videos. But even in these peculiar times, popping in in-person remains the best option, with a Covid-adapted Clocktower still a great place to visit: get there if you can.

Clocktower Music

10a Tower Alley, St Michael's, Bridport, Dorset DT6 3RR
open Weds-Sat 10-5
tel: 01308 458077