The intro of a song is all that’s need­ed for spe­cial mem­o­ries to come flood­ing back. Just a bar or two and you find your­self cat­a­pult­ed back to a par­tic­u­lar moment in time: whether fun­ny or joy­ful, roman­tic or melan­cholic, it’s the music that will take you there.

Many of us pos­sess some of our favourites as part of our vinyl hoard. My own record col­lec­tion – of which I was immense­ly proud – met a sad end at uni­ver­si­ty when some­one made off with most my albums: John May­all, Doo­bie Broth­ers, Cap­tain Beef­heart, Gang of Four, Frank Zap­pa, Joni Mitchell… far too many to men­tion. For­tu­nate­ly a few sur­vived the clutch­es of the mys­tery vinyl thief, and I’ll be tak­ing them with me to one of the Sty­lus Sto­ries evenings which are hap­pen­ing in north London.

Stylus StoriesSty­lus Sto­ries is a night that was put togeth­er by four Hornsey lads, Dave Black, Dave Scott, Steve Wilkins and Tom­my Doyle, oth­er­wise known as The 45ers – Dansette Dave, Vic­tor Vinyl, Sty­lus Steve and Tom­my Turntable. The four were grow­ing tired of run­ning pub quizzes and at the end of 2012 they were cast­ing around for a new for­mu­la. Steve sug­gest­ed they should do a vinyl night – and thus was the begin­ning of Sty­lus Stories.

The suc­cess of that first event took the four by com­plete sur­prise. They expect­ed a crowd of around 30 or 40, if they were lucky. But that night, peo­ple filed into The Great North­ern Rail­way Tav­ern in Hornsey… and they car­ried on fil­ing in, bring­ing in box­es of albums and car­ri­er bags stuffed with sin­gles, mem­o­ra­bil­ia, pic­ture discs. The theme had ignit­ed that sym­bi­ot­ic pas­sion of music and mem­o­ries. The sto­ries unfold­ed, and the vinyl spun.

There have now been around a dozen or so Sty­lus Sto­ries nights, with the event now find­ing a new home at the Earl Haig Hall in Crouch End. Vic­tor Vinyl explains the evenings thus, “you don’t have to con­tribute, but if you do, you can offer a sto­ry that has a per­son­al thread about your life to share with the audi­ence, and fuse it with a tune that is uni­ver­sal to all.. .it’s a meet­ing of indi­vid­u­al­is­tic with the pop­u­lar, the unique with the uni­ver­sal, the unknown sto­ry and the well known music, or some­thing like that. It does­n’t have to be fun­ny or bawdy, it can be sad and lone­ly if you like, and indeed some are. It’s not all about blokes not get­ting shagged at pop fes­ti­vals in 1972.’

Meet­ing a cou­ple of friends for a drink one eve at Earl Haig, the Sty­lus Sto­ries beer mat on our table was the cat­a­lyst for a sto­ry­telling ses­sion between the three of us. One friend told a tale of find­ing her­self unwit­ting­ly roped into help­ing make a well-known music video: ”When I first came to Lon­don I had a job deliv­er­ing and oper­at­ing tech­ni­cal equip­ment for the­atres and film. An ear­ly task was to deliv­er lights and a smoke machine to a small film stu­dio in Wandsworth. When I arrived, they were film­ing some­thing weird with a girl on a wire. I was asked to stay and oper­ate the smoke machine. A few weeks lat­er I saw the video on Top of the Pops, pro­mot­ing the debut sin­gle by The Bug­gles: Video Killed the Radio Star.”

Whether you would like to share your sto­ry (or maybe keep it to your­self and just share in the fun), dust down the vinyl and pop along to the next Sty­lus Sto­ry event. Oh, and if you don’t pos­sess the vinyl of your cho­sen song, just let the 45ers know, and they’ll track it down for you.


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