Eastern Bloc Records
I remember going into Afflecks Palace around 1986 or 87 hunting down some rare Soul & Funk singles on one of my digging days around Manchester when I stumbled across a little stall selling records. What I didn’t know at the time was that in a few years I’d be working for the 2 lads who owned the stall, which they’d called “Eastern Bloc”, established by themselves in 1985.
Before I discovered Eastern Bloc Records the only real quality dance music specialist shop in Manchester was Spin Inn Records originally in a small shop downstairs on Cross Street with Mike, Kenny Grogan and I’d sometimes see Chad Jackson in there too. I spent many many hours there and most of my Saturday jobs money. I loved Spin Inn.
The 2 Bolton lads behind the stall of Eastern Bloc Records were John Berry and Martin Price (808 State) and soon they had out grown the small stall and had moved downstairs to a big shop at the entrance to Afflecks on Oldham Street.
I soon became a regular visitor and customer, becoming good friends with John and Martin to where they eventually offered me a job in 1989. They made a scally from Little Hulton a very happy lad. I was so made up.
As the House and Baggy scenes exploded in Manchester, Eastern Bloc Records was the place to go to buy your vinyl and hang out or simply sit there listening to tunes all day off your nut. Fridays and Saturdays were bonkers with queues out the door and down Oldham Street especially remembering the time when The Mondays and Roses new 12inch or album was released.
I regularly used to laugh my head off coming into work on a Friday or Saturday morning with people still off their nuts, wide eyed, chewing and shuffling around asking us to hurry up and open the shop so we could put some tunes on for them coz they were still buzzing. In fact I can’t talk coz most of the time I was off my head too. Hehe!
It was such a wonderfully amazing period of time that I was lucky enough to be a part of working at Eastern Bloc Records and DJing. Music was my passion and Manchester was a vibrant Mitsubishi or Love Dove of music and fashion, it was all new, fresh, pioneering and naughty. If you stopped and listened you could hear the city breathing and it;s heart beating with excitement. It was alive with music. I just wished I’d realised and grasped the enormous magnitude of what was happening all around me, or even remember it all. Truly unforgettable times.
It was Eastern Bloc (John & Guy) that persuaded me (kicked my bottom) to record 4 tracks that they released 500 copies of called, “Now That’s What I Call A Bootleg”.
Many Manchester DJs have walked through the hallowed doors of Eastern Bloc Records : Jam MCs, Steve Williams, Sasha, Darren & Andy (Spinmasters), Laurent Garnier, Tony Ross, Jon Da Silva, Eric Powell and many of us worked there too : Justin Robertson, John Berry, Moonboots, Elaine, Andy E, Tarquin, Steve (The Accountant), Guy Oldhams, Mark XTC, Mike E Bloc and the late Marcus Intalex (to name but a few).
Now situated at Stevenson Square in the Northern Quarter Eastern Bloc Records is still going thirty two years after that little stall upstairs in Afflecks first made an appearance, I still pop in whenever I’m back in Manchester to say hello to John and obviously buy a few tunes.
It will forever be remember as an integral part of the explosion of House Music in Manchester in the late 1980’s and 1990’s.