cover art for Ep. 7: The Importance of Being Virgin

The Fanzine Podcast

Ep. 7: The Importance of Being Virgin

Ep. 7

Tony Fletcher reunites with musician/composer Jim ‘JG’ Thirlwell, DJ Wendy May, and Dimple Records boss Brian O’Neill, all of whom he first met in the late 1970s when they bought copies of Jamming! off him while they were working behind the counter at the Virgin shops in Oxford Walk, Notting Hill Gate, and Marble Arch respectively. During that thriving post-punk period the entire Virgin chain served as a needed middle ground between the pioneering independents like Rough Trade, Probe and Revolver, and mainstream high street shops WH Smiths and Woolworths. Without the autonomy Virgin granted its record buyers, a lot of independent labels, emerging bands and street fanzines would not have enjoyed such a wide profile. In this conversation, the four discuss the role of the record shop during that period, the freedom the staff enjoyed at Virgin, and offer specific anecdotes and reminiscences about serving the likes of Elvis Costello, Boy George, Paul Simonon, David Coverdale and more. Additionally, Jim recalls how an encounter with a customer helped point him on a different creative musical path, Wendy talks of how she ultimately received the classic ultimatum - "it's your job or your band" - and Brian talks of how his love of selling records has inspired him to start a new independent label in his retirement years.

JG Thirlwell is at Website and

Wendy May can be found on Instagram and Facebook.

Brian O'Neill's label Dimple Discs is at

His Microdisney documentary project is

For details about the book events mentioned on this episode visit

The Best of Jamming!: Selections and Stories from the Fanzine That Grew Up 1977-86 is published by Omnibus Press

'The Jamming! Fanzine Podcast Theme' is by Noel Fletcher.

Editing assistance and art by Greg Morton.

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