The saying ‘What goes around comes around’ could not be any more apparent this year as vinyl has made a flourishing comeback, with new figures suggesting that sales could surpass the million mark by the end of the year – the most sales since 1996.

Although crashing to an ultimate low in 2007, when sales only reached around 205,000 copies, the almighty polyvinyl chloride musical cornerstone has been resurrected into the digital age, thanks to artists such as Sheffield-band Arctic Monkeys, whose fifth studio album ‘AM’ was the biggest vinyl seller of the past year as well as Jack White’s ground-breaking ‘Lazaretto’, released last June as an ‘Ultra LP’, coming complete with a whole host of oddities including a hand-etched angel hologram.

Unfortunately, there has been a stark contrast between the thriving rebirth of vinyl and the shops that stock them.

At the moment, there are only a handful of record shops in South East London, as opposed to the times when shops such as the retailer HMV were dominant forces on the nation’s high streets, before its well-publicised administration in 2013.  Today, the only HMV left within our local area is situated on Bromley High Street, in addition to one in Croydon’s Whitgift Centre.

Since the departure of record stores from not just our local communities here in South East London but also nationwide, many organisations and schemes have been set up to keep the humble record shop spirit alive, including ‘Record Store Day’, a day observed internationally which gets artists involved by issuing exclusive and sought-after vinyl to attract fans to independent record stores.

However, it’s not just independent record stores getting involved to support the cause of the vinyl.  In fact, hipster-fashion favourite clothing brand, Urban Outfitters, has hopped on the vinyl bandwagon and stocks a plethora of new LPs as well as a variety of kitsch turntables and has recently claimed itself as ‘the world’s biggest vinyl seller’, which proved to be incorrect as the title had already been won by the online giant Amazon.  By stocking vinyl in its stores, this has allowed its young clientele to be in touch with something that was once considered as a by-product of the past, especially in the era of iPods and Spotify to name but a few.

In order to find out why vinyl has made such a comeback, I spoke to the owner and manager of Greenwich’s brilliant Casbah Records, Graham Davis, who has recently noticed a spark in the interest of vinyl not only in his own shop on Creek Road, but also nationwide.

1. Why do you think it’s important to revive the vinyl and keep it alive?

Once it became so easy to copy CDs and to download music for free, I think the vinyl format sadly lost its appeal. The rise of the CD was always based on the notion of superior sound quality and its compact size. But personally, I think the sound of vinyl is a lot warmer and closer to the sound created in the recording studio by the artist and I feel album artwork cannot be fully appreciated with CDs, there's nothing like holding and looking at a gatefold sleeve while you listen to the record - it's a thing of beauty!

If you buy into the above argument then it’s a no-brainer situation to champion vinyl and spread the word. To be honest, vinyl has never gone away and it is simply due to its durability and the affection in which it's held by so many people, especially in the face of the music industry that slowly tried to kill it off with digital downloads and streaming etc.

2. What do you think has attracted so many people back to listening to vinyl in the digital age?

In this day and age, everything seems designed to save time. However, it's still nice to prepare and cook a meal instead of buying a cheap ready meal or sit down with friends and have a coffee instead of constantly using a mobile phone to communicate. In the same way, it's a lot more satisfying to make a selection in a real record shop, rather than iTunes for example, and then go home and listen to the whole album and fully appreciate it. Artists spend so much time making a whole album so the least we can do is respect and listen to the record as it was intended and not dip into odd tracks and stream whatever we want to and when we want to. Vinyl seems more 'real' and permanent and I think that's increasingly what people are looking for again.

3. Do you think we need more record stores in the local area and why?

I think all towns and cities should have at least one or two independent shops to encourage people away from the facile option of the internet. You can browse and hold and touch the product, talk to other customers or the staff and make an informed decision and I truly believe it's a lot more fun that way.

Today as 54-year old man, I can still remember where I bought records forty-odd years ago and even what the person behind the counter said. Building a record collection is like building a little scrapbook of your life, so I would love to see people in the community experience the same joyous thing. But ultimately if the demand is there, record shops will start to open up again. We are already seeing signs of that happening now and every so often, there seems to be a new shop appearing somewhere, so I think we are definitely turning the corner slowly.

4. Why do you think there are so many young vinyl listeners/buyers?

Most people under thirty have grown up in the age of the download. The majority of this young generation don't even buy CDs anymore so for them, vinyl is a whole new world to be discovered. The youth of today are beginning to appreciate the aesthetic values of vinyl for themselves, as well as reviving old customs and starting trends which teenagers commonly like to do.

Overall, as a self-confessed vinyl enthusiast, I think it is imperative to keep the vinyl spirit alive, not only in respect towards the artists who release them but also to support the record shops that champion them on a daily basis, on a local level in South East London, but also on a nationwide level too. And maybe, but highly unlikely, this vinyl revolution could even overthrow the digital medium that our generation is so overly familiar with today.

Sophie Allen, Sydenham High School