News Stories


Lobster are a six piece band from Birmingham, playing reggae and hip-hop influenced punk music.

Spit Lyric – Vocals & Rhythm Guitar, Doctor Trumpet – Trumpet, Reverend Long – Keys, Big Al – Lead Guitar, General Ginge – Bass, Lord Rimshot – Drums


Gramophone Depot

Our current research takes us back to 1932, where we find The Gramophone Depot, although we do expect to find it floating around much earlier too. As with all Gramophone dealers of the time, you would have expected to find vinyl on sale. What is different about this shop is we note their inclusion to the Birmingham Trades listings as ‘Gramophone Depot (The) (records), 29 City Arcade – suggesting it may have been just records on sale and not the means to play them.

It is then in 1941 that they move location to 59-61 Corporation Street B2 c/o Scotchers Ltd. We understand that to be a record shop within a Gramophone shop under different names. That won’t be the last time we see that happen, but was it the first? Remember WWII is in full swing at this time.

1943 sees yet another change to their listing. ‘Gramophone Depot (The), gramophones, records & radio specialists c/o Scotchers Ltd.

1944 the Gramophone Depot name disappears altogether with Scotchers remaining. So was the record shop dissolved into Scotchers? It does seem highly likely.



The House That Jack Built

Well here is a strange one. We can’t find any evidence of this outside of the album sleeves. Chances are it was a store of sorts that also sold records. Does anyone remember?



Dale Forty

We first discover Dale Forty & Co. Ltd. in 1947, with evidence of three businesses open until 1952 but nothing showing in 1967 (we currently have a gap in our research).

80-84 New Street B2
Pinfold Street B2
Offices & Works 48 Broad Street B1


The Gig Shop

Well this is a bit of a mystery. Smack bang in the city centre on Union Street. Any ideas?



There has been a few record shops over the years on Alum Rock Road. Cowers (1967-1969), J. Hawtin (1967-1974) and Turn-On-Record (1973-1974) were all situated along the same stretch. We are guessing Jacobs was during the 30s.




United Talking Machines

As with many 30s shops, this would have predominantly been Gramophone sales, but they would have stocked records too!


P. J. France

Percival Jason France 1933-1937

Percival Jason France 1933

Jon ‘Webbo’ Webster

Jon “Webbo” Webster has worked for 2 people most of his life – himself and Richard Branson. The former paid better.

Most of his career was spent at Virgin – both Retail where he began as a shop assistant in 1975; and at Virgin Records where he started in 1981 as Sales Manager before progressing through various posts before being appointed Managing Director in 1988. He was a member of the BPI Council from 1985 – 1992.

In 1983 he was instrumental in devising the Now! That’s What I Call Music brand.

Following the EMI purchase of Virgin in 1992 he decided to leave corporate life, set up his own company, and worked with Virgin acts (Genesis, Peter Gabriel, UB40, Mike and the Mechanics) and and Baby Bird, Die Toten Hosen and Erasure.

In 1992 he founded the prestigious Mercury Music Prize. From 1992 – 2002 he wrote the “Webbo” column for Music Week.From 2000 he moved into management with D*Note and Francis Dunnery (former singer with It Bites) setting up the internet sales label Aquarian Nation (

In May 2005, after 13 years working for himself, he was appointed Director, Independent Member Services at the BPI, the UK record industry trade body.

Since 2007 he has been the Chief Executive of the Music Manager’s Forum, steering the membership body through a series of critical changes that are impacting the whole music industry.


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