RECORD tokens aren’t exactly what they used to be.

“They’re much more up to date than the old record tokens which you used to get from grandma – a £5 WH Smith voucher which you’d go and spend on records or books,” said Paul Holmes.

“These are like a credit card. They can be loaded up with an amount. You can put up to £250 on them, so if someone’s feeling generous you can get a nice Christmas present!

“You can take that and spend it in any participating shop that has signed up to the scheme. It’s all independent stores rather than the big chains.

“Record Store Day and the tokens are all about getting engaged with shops again, rather than just going online and buying stuff. It’s helping to keep the high street alive.”

Last year, more than three decades after the impending death of vinyl at the hands of the CD was announced, more than four million of the large black discs were sold in Britain.

“It’s reported that sales are up 20 or 30 per cent each year since it really started to gain momentum again. It was probably about six or seven years ago, the signs that vinyl was really coming back. It never went away completely; it was under people’s radar for years and years, but the real enthusiasts were buying it in small quantities.

“That’s why the records made in those times, the nineties and the early 2000s, are very collectable now. They were pressed in such small quantities.

“As soon as CDs came out I started buying into them and replacing a lot of records I had on CD because they were sold as being much better, much more convenient and virtually indestructible - which of course they weren’t.

“I think it was Tomorrow’s World who put peanut butter on them, scraped it all off and played them again, but I don’t think you can really do that - not too many times, anyway.

“That’s the thing with digital, it either works or it doesn’t. But with analogue, like records, if there’s a scratch or a tick it’ll play over it and carry on. If you get a fault on a CD, that’s it. Nothing happens.”

Paul’s personal music collection spans just about all available formats, but he readily admits that vinyl is his favourite. Like many vinyl lovers, his explanation for that love always seems to involve a certain word.

“A lot of people use the term, ‘warmer.’ I don’t know if it’s really an accurate description of it but that’s what they always say about analogue versus digital.

“Digital is always cold and blue, whereas analogue is warm and red, or has a deep, orangey glow.

“If you’ve got the right equipment - a reasonable turntable and amplifier-speaker combination - it’s just a lot more natural-sounding.

“I’m trying to avoid saying ‘warmer’ but that’s what you’re drawn to as a descriptive term for it.”

A growing army of fans agrees. Clients at Red House Records, once mainly older people, come from all age groups. They range from people wanting to replace fondly-remembered classic albums to younger fans of the many current artists issuing new vinyl.

“It was definitely a slow burn,” said Paul, “but it’s done a big leap every year, and in the past three or four years the momentum has definitely increased.

“Things like Record Store Day give it a massive boost every year. They bring more people into the club, as it were.

“These days a certain part of it is nostalgia among people my age who remember vinyl the first time around, in its heyday, and for younger customers there’s a certain curiosity about this big thing that you use to play music on and the machines you use to play them.

“A turntable is quite an intricate thing, not like a box with a drawer that comes out and you stuff a disc in and that’s the last you see of it.

“With turntables you can see what’s going on, and it’s definitely much more of a ritual to go through your collection, pick out the one you want to listen to at the time, make sure it’s nice and clean and make sure you haven’t got fluff on the needle!”