Passion turns the tables

HAVE you ever stepped into an old attic or garage and found a collection of miscellanea that takes you back through the years?

Exploring The Record Finder on Fremantle’s High Street feels a bit like this, complete with a musty smell and the thrill of discovering long-forgotten goodies.

The store is bursting at the seams with vinyls, cassettes, books and other oddments, and the treasure trove of musical delights creeps onto the footpath from both sides.

It’s a good thing passionate owner Mark Lahogue is around to help navigate, because finding a specific item amid the clutter might otherwise be an exercise in chance.

Lahogue is there to help whether you’re a music aficionado or a newbie venturing into the world of vinyl for the first time.

• Mark Lahogue. Photos by Steve Grant

• Mark Lahogue. Photos by Steve Grant

“I love dealing with people,” he says. “We get customers from all over the world.”

Lahogue describes a mixed clientele, saying records appeal to audiophiles and investors alike, as well as folk who walk in and end up buying an album for its nostalgia value.

He has even had customers visit from overseas with the express purpose of buying a particularly rare item.

Lahogue takes pride in curating his collection of new and second-hand records, buying an estimated 4000 to 5000 LPs in the past few months alone.

“Someone could walk in now with a box of records and I never know what rare records will be in there. I just love it,” he says. Sure enough, a woman with a crate of records came by to have him sift through them as I was leaving. He inspected each item carefully, only stocking the records in top condition. He believes people are willing to pay for quality.

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“People have got to enjoy themselves somehow. I’m finding more people now, families especially, are listening to music and getting back into vinyl…It’s given them another edge to handle all the stress in society today.”

“It doesn’t matter what format you listen to music on,” Lahogue says, explaining he’s not a vinyl purist despite loving the sound quality and the cover art.

“Some people who come in listen to vinyl and won’t touch anything else.”

He thinks that’s great, but he also stocks a wide range of other formats and sells radiograms with inputs for an iPod.

Pressed for his favourite album, he deliberated for a long time, briefly considered something by Frank Sinatra, but eventually settled on ‘Animals’ by Pink Floyd.

Lahogue has run the store for 30 years despite stiff competition that comes and goes. He plans to stick around.

by TRILOKESH CHANMUGAM

The Record Finder
87 High Street
7 days from 9am

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