Paul Sinclair – Page 2 – SuperDeluxeEdition (2024)

I’m in Den Bosch –or ‘s-Hertogenbosch to give it its full name – in the Netherlands for Record Planet’s 58th Mega Record & CD Fair –The world’s biggest record fair!

Around 55 miles south of Amsterdam, Den Bosch is an old medieval town, with the city walls and fortifications built in the 16th and 17th centuries. The city is the capital of the Dutch province of North Brabant and two rivers flow through it, the Dommel and Binnendieze.

For the next two days it’s ‘Vinyl Weekend: Vinyl Ville‘ in Den Bosch, as music lovers from around Europe and beyond arrive to see what rarities they can pick up in a space that is equivalent in size to two football pitches. As well as an enormous array of dealers and stalls, there’s a program of DJ sets and live performances, with writer and music consultant Daryl Easlea (he worked on the ABC and Mike Oldfield reissues last year) on site to compere!

Of course, you have to get here first, but living in London makes it very easy for me, what with the Eurostar going straight from St Pancras International to Amsterdam Centraal. Going by train also has the advantage of less stringent baggage restrictions, when compared to flying, which could end up being quite important, depending on how many records I end up buying!

I took the 08.16 direct train yesterday and treated myself to a ‘Standard Premier’ seat, which is like posh second class. You get table service (handy when you are travelling alone with laptops etc.) for drinks and snacks, a bit more space and a light breakfast. It takes four hours to get to Amsterdam Centraal station from London and although I had vague plans to relax, my book laid untouched as I spend nearly all that time working, preparing the groundwork for yesterday’s Luther Vandross launch!

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I arrived in Amsterdam at 13.15 local time. To get to Den Bosch you need to hop on an Intercity service which takes around 50 minutes. However, as a first time visitor to Amsterdam, I wasn’t going to pass up the opportunity to have a look around town for an hour or two, before heading south, so I found the rather ingenious automated left luggage facility (the kind of thing they don’t seem to have in the UK!) dumped my bags and went for a wander.

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The capital was heaving and it was warm, so I was glad I wasn’t lugging my bags around. Since I was only passing through and wasn’t going to have long in Amsterdam, I hadn’t done any planning (naturally). Of course, there was no time to actually do anything significant (like visit one of the museums) so it was just a case of trying to find some interesting streets to walk down.

I was hungry by this point and could not pass up the opportunity of some classic ‘Holland Fries’ with lashings of mayonnaise (€1.40 extra for the sauce!). Later, I found a good Italian style Gelateria; chips and ice-cream, perhaps not the healthiest of lunches, but it kept me going!

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Time waits for no man, so after an hour of walking around, I thought I’d better head back to the station, retrieve my luggage and work out how to get to Den Bosch. I knew from travelling by train on a holiday in Italy in 2022 how good – and easy – European train travel can be, and indeed it was the case here. All the complexities and expense of trying to book an ‘on the day’ ticket in the UK were absent and the machine gave me two simple options: single or day return. €19 later, I had my ticket, validated it on the machine on the platform and took the 15.11 service to Maastricht, (best known for its treaties!). The train was one of those ‘double-decker’ ones you get in Europe, which, pitifully, rather excites your 54-year-old correspondent, so I went up to the top deck (of course).

I arrived in Den Bosch not long after four o’clock and walked 10 minutes to the hotel where I’m staying for this ‘Vinyl Weekend’. First impressions were very positive. The town seems really clean and full of shops, restaurants, cafes, bakeries, with loads of space to walk around.

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There’s actually a good record shop called Doogan Records in the centre of Den Bosch. Of course, I wasn’t going to not go in, despite the excess of vinyl and CDs that await at the record fair. I picked up Dutch 12-inch of Was Not Was’ ‘Spy in the House of Love’ and a handful of CD singles, including some three-inch ones that were popular for a while in the late 1980s (Soul II Soul’s ‘Get A Life’, Neneh Cherry’s ‘Buffalo Stance’ and Chaka Khan’s ‘I’m Every Woman’, were the titles I bought).

It’s good to end day one of this three-day trip talking about some records, because that’s what this weekend is ultimately about. Collecting physical music: my passion, our passion. Holding the music in your hands, to coin a phrase. As I write this, it’s early Saturday morning and soon I’ll be off to the main event, the feature presentation, if you will. Check back here tomorrow for day two of this Den Bosch Diary, but if you can’t wait until then, I’ll be posting updates on SDE twitter during today (as I did yesterday), so if you ‘do’ social media, then make sure you follow SDE on twitter, or ‘X’ or whatever it’s called these days!

Cheers,
Paul

Read the Day Two Den Bosch Diary

Paul Sinclair – Page 2 – SuperDeluxeEdition (6)
Paul Sinclair – Page 2 – SuperDeluxeEdition (2024)

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