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The Excitement Is Intense!

August 1, 2018

After our visit to Colombia last summer a change of pace was clearly needed so this year it’s a week in a Premier Inn on the outskirts of Braintree. Clean, comfy, very good breakfasts. Some great pubs in the area such as The Jolly Sailor in Maldon and the Galvin Green Man in Great Waltham. And only a short train ride away from Chelmsford, home of Intense Records. Intense is owned by my second cousin Jon Smith and I spent an entertaining morning there with Jon and his assistant Tom, working my way through the vinyl and having a chat.

Intense grew out of Jon’s DJing and love of drum and bass – indeed when Intense opened it was purely a drum and bass shop. With the renewed interest in all things vinyl Jon has evolved the shop into a more mainstream proposition, whilst still retaining its focus on all things dance-related.

Record Store Day was huge for Intense this year, the busiest to date with over 300 people coming through the doors.  It’s also a busy time for Jon’s wife, Jennie, as her company Get Customised supplies the official RSD merchandise to all the record shops around the country.

Intense is very much embedded with the local music scene.  Once a month they host the Chelmsford Record Fair at The Ale House, a pub two doors down. When I got to the shop Jon was restoring the vinyl racks to their usual position, having moved them out the way to host the launch of a local reggae label in the shop the night before.  And they stock Asylum magazine, a completely bonkers local fanzine and guide to what’s going on locally, which turns out to be a lot. Musically there is a lot more to Chelmsford than just hosting the nearby V festival (now rebranded as Rize).

Ferreting through the Intense racks and boxes turned up a Led Zeppelin RSD 7” (Rock And Roll / Friends) and a Beatles Long Tall Sally EP, both very fairly priced and in good nick. The shop is next to the bus station and across the road from the railway station, making it an excellent place to while away a few minutes / hours / days. Highly recommended, and tell them I sent you.

For more information on Intense Records and four other independent retailers in Chelmsford check out this informative online article in Essex Live.

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