Zippo Records Remembered: Julian Cope’s Droolian, MC5 Tees And The Conqueroo Dog

13th Floor Elevators mural inside Zippo Records, Clapham Park, south-west London, mid-80s, courtesy Pete Flanagan

13th Floor Elevators mural inside Zippo Records, Clapham Park, south-west London, mid-80s, courtesy Pete Flanagan

 

Pete Flanagan, owner of the long-gone Zippo Records in Clapham, south London, has sent me this photograph of the shop interior.

 

Front cover, Droolian, Julian Cope, Zippo/Mofoco, 1989

Front cover, Droolian, Julian Cope, Zippo/Mofoco, 1989

 

It sums up everything that was wonderful about this unique space, where Pete established a hub for like-minded souls. With staff including Edwin Pouncey (aka Savage Pencil), Pete also released otherwise hard-to-find records via his own independent imprints. These included Heartland, 5 Hours Back and MoFoCo for Julian Cope’s towering LP Droolian.

 

Droolian’s back cover

Droolian’s back cover

 

Zippo’s distinctive price label (this from The Many Faces Of Gale Garnett, an obscure 1965 release on RCA)

Zippo’s distinctive price label (this from The Many Faces Of Gale Garnett, an obscure 1965 release on RCA)

 

I bought a lot of music and also an example of every one of the short-run t-shirts Zippo sold, including my favourite, this MC5 number (other owners, and there can’t be many because they were printed in very limited numbers, include Bobby Gillespie).

 

MC5 T-shirt

 

As a local I was a Zippo regular with our Battersea hound Tom. Pete christened him “The Conqueroo Dog” after the four-legged friend on the cover of his reissue of the Austin band’s 1968 release From The Vulcan Gas Company.

 

Front cover, From The Vulcan Gas Company, The Conqueroo, 1968/reissued 1987 on 5 Hours Back

Front cover, From The Vulcan Gas Company, The Conqueroo, 1968/reissued 1987 on 5 Hours Back

 

When Zippo closed I bought a whole load of stock and had a few happy years trading in vinyl as a sideline, until my back gave out.

Pete’s still at it, running Soho Music which is now on eBay – see here.

I bumped into Edwin P a couple of years back; he was in the company of another great person who was also a former Zippo staffer. Can’t for the life of me recall his name but hopefully he’ll see this and get in touch.