Community Connections – Damian Jones of Pop Classics

ON MEETING Damian Jones, I was struck immediately by his enthusiasm for all things musical. He’s been an avid and obsessive record collector since childhood, inspired by his father’s collection. Born and raised in Reading, Damian has been married to Martina since 1988 and they have raised three daughters together.
Damian took media studies at Newbury College and went on to work for the iconic Reading printers Cox & Wyman. Starting as a compositor, he spent 20 years at the firm before redundancy allowed him to follow his passion – music. He’d been dealing at record fairs for years and began doing so online, quickly gaining a reputation for his knowledge and contacts. Such was his expertise that, when Channel Four’s Posh Pawn series featured the owner of a large and expensive record collection, they turned to Damian for consultancy advice.
Reading Museum benefitted from Damian’s knowledge of the industry when he helped with their exhibition marking 50 years of the Reading Festival, telling the story of the first event in 1971. Adding another string to his bow, Damian wrote sleeve notes for Acid Jazz Records, who also published his first book, ‘Circles: The Strange Story of the “Fleur De Lys”, Britain’s Forgotten Soul Band’, a labour of love co-authored with Paul Anderson. “Fleur de Lys were one of the most unsung mod bands of the 60s, they should’ve been huge, they were the Robin Friday of music”, Damian told me, referencing Reading’s legendary ‘Greatest Footballer You Never Saw’.
In recent years the online record and music memorabilia business Damian has built up, Pop Classics, has seen a significant downturn in trade due to the increased costs of importing and exporting to customers in Europe. Even the war in Ukraine has had an effect. “We had a surprising number of customers in Russia”, said Damian. But the resurgence of vinyl records encouraged him to serve more customers in the Reading and wider Berkshire area by opening a shop in St. Martin’s Precinct, Caversham. Why not pop along to revive your own collection?
How long have you lived in RG4?
I live in Southcote, but the shop has been open in St. Martin’s Precinct since September.
Where are your favourite places to eat, drink and shop in Caversham?
Quattro and River Spice.
How do you think we can all be eco-friendlier in RG4?
Recycle and upcycle more, donate to charity shops and most importantly – consume less!
Being a part of a community reaps a wealth of benefits; how would you strengthen our sense of community in Caversham?
I’ve spoken with local traders about this – we could put on more local events and entertainment, using spaces such as the precinct.
If you could bring anything to Caversham – an event, an experience, a shop – what would it be?
Live music in St. Martin’s Precinct!