Howling Sounds – vinyl heaven in Ramsgate

HOWLING SOUNDS 107A High Street Ramsgate, Kent CT11 9RH

The last few decades have been brutal ones for the romantic music collector. In the early 90’s , popularity of the compact disc was making the frayed-edged cardboard LP cover look like the Betamax cassette’s best buddy – prices of the new silvery product rocketing as fast as the typeface credits shrank to eyeball-impairing micro-scale. Anyway – we all agree you cannae beat having a music shop down the road. Ideally all record buying fans would choose to live on the corner of London’s Broadwick Street and Berwick Street but unfortunately this can’t be the case for most of us (actually my ideal, for a spate of time, would have been to live IN the Blue Posts between shopping trips). Here in the 21st century the glory days of Soho’s ever unfolding treasures seem a distant memory; classic LPs from the last 60 years an elitist’s dream & unattainable to most.

So it is with great pride that I draw your attention to a crown jewel nestled in the heart of deep downtown Ramsgate. For the last 20 odd years HOWLING SOUNDS has been serving the needs of the Thanet community with a most wide range of diamonds in the rough. Rock, soul, pop, dance, folk and whatnot (I kid you not) abounds in vinyl, CD and even lil’ ol’ cassettes tapes. Dave Howling ( yes. howling. ) a committed music addict, took over the shop in 1991, having worked in the actual biz side of the industry at weekly newsprint bible Melody Maker for many a year. At that time, the new CD medium had become a household word and people were not sure whether to bother with their ties to vinyl, turntables & lack of shelf space. In a smart move, Dave never made any attempt to rid his shop of the old guard long players, EPs and 7″ singles that still take up most of his Aladdin’s Cave of joy. Through these years he has seen the interest slowly wane & wither but in these last few years start to gain a momentum unlike any time since the arrival of the acursed demonseed CD. One suspects that the current world of music appreciators has now become so accustomed to the download convenience that, when it comes to a truly quality audio treat or present (even to just yourself – or esp just yourself!) a plastic faceless coaster just won’t cut the moutarde. Enter the variable world of 12″ records (singles as well) where you might find yourself with a Funkadelic sleeve – designed to be near impossible to finish reading in a single lifetime, or blessed Beatles ‘White Album’ crammed with posters, portraits, collage, lyrics, etc. Not to forget all them indulgent progressive rock 70s’ album covers. We won’t even touch on how great all the music can be.

Howling Sounds can provide you 6 days a week with a mighty choice of bizarre, jazzy, punk, techno grime (!!), vintage, not-so-vintage and sometimes ultra-collectable vinyl joys and y’all should get your music lovin’ asses through his door and enjoy what is there waiting for you. Be warned: I already bought the Pinky & Perky in Space 7″ so don’t even hope.

P.S. Note, the shop also sells assorted stereo equipment for home & DJ needs. Walls are uniquely decorated with absolutely crazy looking guitars!! Not sure how much longer Dave Howling is going to let his Grand Funk Railroad LP’s graze amidst all those darling Van der Graaf Generator & other prog classics!! Possible legal action will be taken.

Howling Sounds


Christopher Cockerell’s Kitchen

This ambient video was made as part of the promotional video for the band’s upcoming Indiegogo campaign to raise funds for pressing and printing Arcane Empire. Spot this footage in the background of the promo when the campaign is launched in the next few days. Christopher Cockerell was the inventor of the hovercraft, doing his early experimenting in his kitchen, giving the name for the track on Arcane Empire that the band used to make the soundtrack for the film.

Planning the Album at Caboose

The Ramsgate Hovercraft recently paid a visit to one of our favourite café bars, Caboose, in Queen Street, Ramsgate in order to take stock of progress on the album and to plan for its completion. The good news is that we already have more than enough material for a double album, meaning that we will have some flexibility in choosing and arranging what goes on it and additional material maybe for bonus downloads or even to make a start on the next album. We identified a relatively small amount of work needed to finish a few tracks that are not quite complete and expect to have that work done in the next few weeks. That just leaves the practicalities of making a sleeve, getting the discs pressed, spreading the word and so on. We finished up feeling pretty positive about the whole project.

Caboose is a top café bar, being small and friendly with good food and drink. There is often music in the evening, often featuring world-class musicians. Mike, the proprietor, is himself a working musician and is planning to open a recording studio nearby.


The Allen Family at the Belgian Café

IMG_9628I chanced upon local bluegrass band The Allen Family in Ramsgate’s Belgian Café and was immediately captivated. These are first class musicians and I was especially taken with young (15 years) Geary Allen’s banjo work, which is sensitive and technically accomplished. Their music is not strictly confined to bluegrass and they confidently convey the authentic working roots of American country music. Another unexpected great night out in Ramsgate.IMG_2672

Howard Hodgkin at the Updown Gallery

IMG_0561The Updown Gallery in Ramsgate is currently hosting In an Empty Room, an exhibition of prints by Howard Hodgkin. This is a stunning collection with works covering a span of sixty years or so and ranging in size from small to huge. There is also a lot of variety in form and colour but the show maintains a consistent sense of the artist.



IMG_0565The gallery itself, which used to house a local computer business, has been transformed into a terrific space for viewing art and the friendly owners are keen to share their passion for it.




Also on view are pieces from local artists and upcoming exhibitions:

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In an Empty Room is on until 11th May

Ramsgate International Hoverport

On a freezing, grey February morning, the derelict Ramsgate International Hoverport is particularly bleak and atmospheric. A salutary reminder of the hubris of the era of the white heat of technology, this massive concrete construction was thrust into what is now a National Nature Reserve, recognizing its importance for waders, wildfowl and sea shore flora. In the 1970’s mighty SR.N4 hovercraft roared into and out of the port, carrying cars and passengers to and from Calais. The terminal and other buildings have been removed but there seems to be no sign of any attempt to return the site to nature or any kind of remediation, although I understand that during the construction of the Thanet Wind Farm, Vattenfall paid for work to stop tar leeching into the sea from the hoverport.