Watch: Second-hand record seller Otherside brings musical diversity to the south side

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“My biggest worry before opening was not being able to find enough stock, enough interesting stock, but I’m constantly surprised by what people walk through the door with.”

Blending into the stretch of small and quirky units that run along Pollokshaws Road, the face of Otherside is unassuming to passersby. It has sat there for more than seven years now and even some locals are unaware of its existence, they still occasionally come in and query if it is a recent addition to the area. But take a moment to ponder over the abstract design on the storefront - ‘Records ~ Books ~ Curios’ - offering a hint of the marvel behind the door.

Otherside gives the illusion you’ve taken a step back in time - decorated in bold yellows, browns, oranges and greens with floral prints, bohemian wall fixtures and mismatched shelving. Most items are decades old. The record sleeves, while in exceptional nick, are greying at the edges; book spines are cracked; and the curios are reminiscent of unusual ornaments you may find in a grandparents house, like nothing you’d see in a contemporary home store today.

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Aalya Mann opened the shop as a means to generate income: “I done a lot of different jobs throughout the years, I never found that working for someone else particularly worked for me.

“I like records, I like books and I like vintage items.”

A Pollockshields native, she felt that “interesting wee shops like the west end has had forever” were underrepresented in her side of the city where she chose to locate the business.

“You have to start something to create demand.

“I knew the area well enough to know there would be people who were interested in that kind of thing.

“It was a leap but I was confident there was untapped potential here.”

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On the record side of the business, while inventory isn’t huge, quality is. Ranging from classic rock to dance, pop, folk, experimental, synth, reggae, soul, disco, funk, electro, hardcore, jungle, drum and bass, classic house and techno, the music is diverse and caters to a variety of tastes.

“We try and keep it as varied as possible”, Aalya says.

“With a certain level of quality control which is nothing more than what I think  is acceptable.

“My biggest worry before opening was not being able to find enough stock, enough interesting stock.

“But I’m constantly surprised by what people walk through the door with.”

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Most of Glasgow’s independent record shops have a distinct persona which suits the persona of a specific group and that is how they affirm their survival. They become community hubs and adapt in reflection to their custom.

Otherside is unique in the fact its vision has remained consistent and it can even be argued that custom has adapted to the shop. As Aalya noted, the unit is too small to allow community to truly flourish but people return because the products inspire them.

Record of the Week 

Aalya’s selection for our album of the week is Annihilating Rhythm by Ultra-Sonic.

“A Scottish, happy, hardcore, trancey - at times very cheesy - dance band from the early 90s”, she explains.

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“It gos through many kind of phases and places, but it has some pretty daft, pretty banging tunes.

“Also, the fact it’s on Club Scene Records, this was a label that released music of a similar genre.

“They were based in Bathgate, there were loads of these small labels making this new sound.

“A lot of people will sneer at this and call it naive and ridiculous but that’s what I love about it because it’s people just playing with a new sound.

“It’s really joyful and daft and fun.”

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