Mark Grounds has been in love with vinyl records since he was young.
Mark Grounds has been in love with vinyl records since he was young. Warren Lynam

In a spin over my vinyl devotion

HEARTBEAT. The sound that signifies an animal has life in it's being.

That is the first sound that I remember vividly from a record.

The lone heartbeat mixed with the crackle from Pink Floyd's album "The Dark Side Of The Moon" brought to life my love for music.

In the mid 1970s, this album would be on the turntable regularly thanks to my family. I wasn't the biggest fan as I found the sonic experimentation quite frightening but that's the impression good music can have.

Fast forward to 1988 and I was quite chuffed with my cassette collection - 15 of them Pink Floyd albums.

I had briefly bought records but they weren't compact and I had a Walkman, which meant you could take your music with you, not quite in your pocket but still portable.

By 1995 I'd been in the digital age for a while and had maybe 200 CDs in my collection when I went to one of the independent record shops in the city and they were giving away a t-shirt with Pearl Jam's CD "Vitalogy" (which translates to "study of life") to celebrate their first show in Australia.

I noticed on the display wall a copy of the record and asked if the deal could be used with the record which, I recall, was $35 instead of $25 for the CD.

Vinyl was back as part of my life - a large part with a lot of my down time devoted to sourcing more music.


VINYL DEVOTION: Marl Grounds with just some of his thousands of records.
VINYL DEVOTION: Marl Grounds with just some of his thousands of records. Iain Curry

Currently my collection is in excess of 10,000 records. Not every piece is rare or good for that matter but they all have a story and in most cases I can remember where in the world I found them, as collecting has taken me around the world.

I was fortunate enough to have a job touring with bands looking after their merchandise and for about 10 years I was away most of the time in places all over Australia and New Zealand.

The crews of the band kept wondering how the boxes kept getting heavier in the trucks instead of lighter, but I was utilizing every spare moment to excavate hidden treasures from wherever I could find them.

The sad thing is that I went to New York City maybe 10 times and not once did I see the Statue of Liberty. However I bought some cracking records.

I had a stopover in India for 20 hours, enroute to the UK in 2003. I managed to squeeze in 10 hours of "digging" and promptly changed my stopover on the return journey to a week.

I spent days on end searching and finding and I met somebody at a place called The Thieves Market who said "You want LP? Come with me" so I jumped on the back of his motorbike and was zig-zagged to god knows where and found myself in a room of floor-to-ceiling records.

There I found a copy of The White Album by the greatest band ever, The Beatles.

Sure, that's pretty common, even with all the photos and posters. But this copy was numbered under 1000!

By jumping on the back of a stranger's motorbike I could have been putting myself in a dangerous situation where I had one of my kidneys stolen or something similar, but my mission paid off.

The only problem has been excess baggage and having to cull at airports.

When I wasn't touring and earning money, I would trim the fat of my collection at the Fortitude Valley Markets and the occasional record fair in Brisbane.

Sadly, I let go of too many treasures deeming them unfit for playing due to track three being a dud or some other illogical reason.

I also took up selecting (playing records/DJ) at parties and weddings and bars, playing classics and floor-fillers without the gimmicks of computers or CDs.

Record collecting has taken me all over the world but in 2011 I relocated to the Sunshine Coast for work at JB Maroochydore.

As music manager I started to give the CD department something different by ordering in a small amount of brand new vinyl but was asked to stop. I didn't and a year later JB rolled out vinyl sections to its shops.

Sunshine Coast stores Backbeat and The Time Machine were also selling a great range of records but I had an idea to bring together the vinyl community and a heap of vendors under one roof to share their wares.

A Sunshine Coast Record Fair!

It was a huge success with a massive turn-out from stallholders and the public eager to find that elusive collectible or grab a bargain or two.

The donations raised went to a great charity and I couldn't have been happier that my vision came to life.

I've held numerous more events since then, both large and small, and now after four years I'm holding my 18th event and to celebrate I've decided to add an extra day of trade for those who can't make it on the Sunday (or those like me who need to go through everything).

Today, Saturday, November 11, there will be around 150 crates of records from about 10 local stallholders and some other cool music-related items to rummage through from 1pm-5pm.

Then tomorrow, the circus comes to town. From 9am-2pm, there will be more than 50 tables of records to dig through. Everything from ABBA to ZZ Top across every genre, bargains, collectibles, old, new and maybe even that white whale that you've never seen in the wild.

There will be turntables set up and DJs spinning wax grooves and also a coffee stall to give you the second wind.

It's all happening at Buddina Primary School in the hall right near the entrance to Coles at Kawana Shoppingworld.

It's only a gold coin donation to get in and get down during opening hours and that is going directly to BeyondBlue supporting people with depression and anxiety.

It knocks down so many musicians and to me music is my medicine.

If you are looking to sell your records, contact me. I'm always on the lookout for things I haven't got.

I'm still working at JB Maroochydore and we have a stack of brand new albums on vinyl, turntables and accessories available but I used to work at a great indie shop in Brisbane that closed down about 10 years ago.

It's also good to support the little guys as the money goes back into the community so if you can't make it over the weekend, support the local independent music shops and keep them alive - Backbeat at Nambour, Time Machine in Caloundra, Surfside Wax on Bribie Island and Sonic Sherpa in Brisbane.

Music is life and it's a large part of my life.

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