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All aboard! How the record store boat in Hackney is keeping afloat

PUBLISHED: 12:00 04 June 2016 | UPDATED: 08:59 07 June 2016

Luke runs the country's only floating record store

Luke runs the country's only floating record store

Archant

The man who opened the UK’s first floating record store is celebrating two years of living the dream – and planning to hold live performances on deck.

"Me and my friends used to skip dinner to buy records with our dinner money. We were very malnourished but we had loads of Van Halen!"

Luke Gilford

Luke Gilford used to spend his days as a librarian imagining what it would be like to instead earn a living chatting to fellow crate-diggers on his River Lea houseboat.

After much deliberation, he finally took a punt on his dream business. He quit his job, began collecting records and paid off all his debts. In June 2014, after 18 months of planning, he welcomed aboard The Record Deck’s first customers.

“It’s a funny way of running a shop,” said Luke, 40. “But the internet actually makes it work. ‘I used to daydream about doing it and it’s gone better than I could possibly have imagined.”

Luke says a “thriving” Hackney music scene has helped him make waves across London, but is keen to grow his business.

Record seller Luke Gilford on his boat Record seller Luke Gilford on his boat

“I’m looking to stock more new and contemporary stuff,” he said. “I’d also like to have live performances on the back deck like they do in record stores, acoustic stuff.”

Luke has been an avid record collector since he was 12 and in the midst of a heavy metal obsession.

“Me and my friends used to skip dinner to buy records with our dinner money,” he said. “We were very malnourished but we had loads of Van Halen!”

He can be seen moored all around London throughout the summer months, trading at festivals and events – and has even gone as far as Birmingham to sell records.

“I carry about 10 crates of LPs, with a few 45s and books,” continued Luke.

“I don’t sell at record fairs or online, I like to keep it all for the boat. I’m around every weekend, mostly on the Lea. Depending on the weather, of course.”

Field Day festivalgoers can check out Luke’s records near Victoria Park this weekend. Check The Record Deck UK on Facebook for his exact location.

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