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UK’s only floating record shop docks in Hackney for the winter

Sound waves: The Record Deck has spent the winter in Hackney for the last four years. Photograph: Lizzie Deane

Record stores don’t generally struggle to cultivate a hipster image.

By their very nature, as shrines to a bygone era before Drake and downloads ruined everything, they tend to attract those seeking something a little bit different.

But Luke Guilford goes one step edgier, vending his vinyls from a canal boat on riverbanks across southern England.

After a month of repairs, The Record Deck – the UK’s only floating record shop – is back in business and moored on the River Lea in Springfield for the winter season.

Spinning the Deck: store and boat owner Luke Guilford. Photograph: Lizzie Deane

The shop stocks everything from Hank Williams to Chas & Dave’s Christmas Knees Up – Guilford says he likes to “have a little bit of everything” in his 1,000-strong collection.

“You never know who you’ll get coming by,” he says. “A lot of people find out about us on the internet but others just stumble across us walking along the canal.”

Springfield is a favourite spot of Guilford’s as a winter base, returning with his shop for the fourth year.

“There is a good sense of community here. You’re in London but it doesn’t feel like London.”

While such a weather-dependent livelihood can be tough, Guilford finds innovative ways to make it work, including hosting a new Sunday session at the local rowing club and travelling to markets and fetes when he can.

“I live like a king in August anyway!” he jokes.

Regular customer Jeremy Clarke appreciates The Record Deck’s quirks.

“My work involves a lot of sitting working at a computer terminal, so I have a need to get out and get exercise,” he says. “Sometimes I buy something, sometimes I don’t, but either way it’s a pleasure – a nice way to spend an hour or so.”

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