paul field

This article was developed within the program Venture an Idea funded by the USAID.

Owner at Vinyl Store, Balkans Vinyl

COUNTRY: England

Where do you come from, and how did you end up in Belgrade?


I’m originally from Hastings, on the south coast of England. A town famous for the invention of Television and er…..the singer from Keane was born there. How I landed in Belgrade is a question I’m asked every day in the store. Short version, I fell in love with the people and the city during a visit a few years ago. For the long version – drop in store with a coffee and I’ll be happy to explain.


Could you share a bit about yourself and your collection of records?


My career was mainly in sales and marketing in the UK a 30 year stint in various offices around the country. I essentially spent my spare time buying records. Work included travel across the UK, Europe and America. I would plan visiting record shops around these trips. Plotting maps of the stores into my phone, arranging client meetings as early as possible so I could have time to go hunting for records after. Pretty obsessive behaviour looking back. But it did lead me to amassing 10,000 records.

How did you decide to open a shop in Belgrade?


I was selling records as an online side hustle in the UK, but Brexit caused that business to collapse overnight. So thoughts turned to a store. However, the UK is at a saturation point for record stores, so much so that many are now failing. The pandemic hit and working from home galvanised me into making a decision that I would never return to the office. Visiting Belgrade and seeing the lack of record shops… a new idea was formed. 


How are the people reacting?


People have been incredibly positive and enthusiastic, to the point I regularly get thank you messages and even people coming in the store, just to say thank you for opening this shop, we desperately needed it. It’s slightly weird when that happens, but incredibly humbling.


 What kind of music can one find in your shop?


We try to stock a little bit of everything, most genres of dance music and a selection of rock, pop and electronica. My aim was to focus on music you can’t find anywhere else in the city.

What do you like to listen to while in shop?


This week I’ve had the new A Certain Ratio LP on rotation.


How long have you been living in Belgrade, and what has your experience been like so far?


18 months I’ve been here and my experiences have been nothing but positive. People ask if
I miss the UK or am homesick. I rarely think of the UK and I can’t be homesick as this is my home now. The kindness, friendship and support I’ve received here is overwhelming. 


What are your favourite things to do in Belgrade?


I like what we call in English, pottering about. Belgrade is a small city and I’m happy exploring different side streets and stumbling across a new place to eat. I’m like a kid in a sweet shop as I explore Belgrade, staring in wonder at so many new and exciting things. 


Where do you take your friends when they are first time visiting Belgrade?


To my local bar, Kafe Šupa in Zeleni Venac. Often for what we refer to as a Belgrade Breakfast, which is drinking rakija before 9am. 


How can people find your record shop?


In the city, Balkanska 36. Come and say hello, we’re a really friendly shop.


This article was made possible by the support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The contents of this article are the responsibility of Nova Iskra and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.


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