The Camberwell Society

Society for those living, working or interested in Camberwell

Vinyl is the real deal


Cornelia Falknas visits local record shop Dash The Henge

“After having had a record store here for 22 years it would’ve been heartbreaking for them to turn it into a chicken shop,” says Tim Harper. He has been managing bands for several years and founded the label Dash the Henge three years ago, together with the booking agent Rebecca Prochnik, and the artist Nathan Saoudi from the band Fat White Family. Their objective was to support artists outside of the mainstream, who struggle to find a home even at other indie labels. Now he’s standing behind the counter of their own store on Camberwell New Road, while a vinyl is spinning, and people are flicking through their carefully curated selection of records.

Sub head Vinyl legacy

The location previously housed the store Rat Records before they closed in June 2022, and Tim says that it feels important to carry on the legacy.

“Even during the time, we were doing all the work, when we were just painting out front, I swear ten, fifteen people came up every single day and said, ‘is this still going to be a record shop?’ So, there was a real sort of excitement around that.”

At Dash the Henge they all are, or have been, South London residents, and Tim says that they’re big fans of Camberwell.

“It’s just a really good buzz around here, you’ve got a lot of pubs that are still affordable, that do live music and stuff like that which is kind of rare in London. Most places are stupidly expensive or inaccessible to the type of artists that we work with. And Camberwell has always had that buzz, it’s always had that vibe. So yeah, it just felt like the right area.”

Sub head Live music

He says that a big part of what they want to do at Dash the Henge is making it a safe space for the local community, where it is possible for everyone to come in and get involved. At the back of the store, they have built a small rise which serves as a stage area, and currently they’re hosting live music performances every Saturday afternoon. This benefits both the artist that gets to play in front of a new audience, and the store as it draws people in, not to mention the visitors who get to enjoy live music for free. In the future they plan on introducing spoken word and more community focused events.

Although the local community remains an important focus, it is apparent that their clientele is not limited to Camberwell residents.

“We’ve already noticed that Dash the Henge people are coming from north, west, and east to come and visit the shop,” Tim says. “We’re proud to put this little part of South London on the map again.”

He describes their target audience as “literally everyone”:

“There was always a very early goal for the record store, there should be something in here for every person that walks in. We don’t have a specific target audience at all. It’s a record store for everyone.”

Independent artists

That their opening would happen in the midst of a cost-of-living crisis was never something that made them hesitate. Tim expresses a strong belief in the fact that people within the art world in which Dash the Henge operates will always find a way to continue supporting each other. Although the cost of living remains a challenge, Tim says that the first months have been nothing but positive, and that sales are good.

“I think people do appreciate coming and buying a record from a small independent artist,” he says. As live performances were made impossible during lockdown, he thinks many people realized that smaller artists get “very, very, very little in returns from streaming” and that if you’re not buying the art, you’re not supporting the artist.

“People will often buy a record of an artist, they might not even have a record player, but they want that physical item, and they also want to support the artist,” Tim says. “And then you can go home and listen to it on Spotify, that’s fine, but you’ve actually invested financial support in that artist.”

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The Camberwell Society was formed in 1970 and is the recognised amenity society for those living, working or interested in Camberwell.

The Society’s objectives, as defined by our constitution, are: to stimulate public interest in Camberwell, to promote high standards of planning and architecture in Camberwell, and to secure the preservation, protection, development and improvement of features of historic or public interest in Camberwell.

We are a charity and raise money for local charities. In the past we have raised money for Southside Rehabilitation Association, St Giles Trust, Cambridge House, the CamberwellCommunity Choir, the HollingtonYouth Centre and the Camberwell Arts Festival