DEREK Brown isn’t the first person to start a vinyl record shop in Swindon, but he’s the only one currently operating and he’s planning to stick around.

We live in an era when vast libraries of scratch-free, jump-free and snap-crackle-and-pop-free music can be carried in a device smaller than a packet of cigarettes – and that’s 10 cigarettes, not 20.

A run-of-the mill iPod can hold enough tracks to fill a van with CDs, a truck with vinyl singles and albums or a fleet of barges with antique 78s, and it’ll still have enough memory left over for a few dozen photos of your cat.

Add to this the fact that most people aren’t exactly flush with spare cash at the moment, and making a living selling old records seems a formidable challenge.

But Derek, who lives in Park South and trades from the tented market as Mayhem Music, was never one to shirk a challenge, and his reward is a growing band of customers.

“I was a lorry driver for many years,” he said. “But that all came to an end when I was diagnosed with MS.

“I’ve had it for nine years. I had to stop working straight away.”

A vinyl collector since he was barely out of childhood and a lover of music ranging from golden era rock to heavy metal, and from Pink Floyd to classical, he carried on collecting as best he could in spite of his changed circumstances.

It was this insatiable desire to collect, plus an inadvertent brush with the authorities, that ultimately led to him setting up shop in the market.

“I was once accused – falsely – of dealing records,” he said, shaking his head at the memory.

“But I was just going to the sales and buying what I wanted.

“I’m an avid collector who collects anything, and now it’s good because I’ll take any record that comes in here.

“Vinyl is better than cds. It has a warmer sound.

“I’ve been here for ten weeks, although I used to be in here a long, long time ago, working for somebody who sold records.

“There have been record dealers here before but I’m different because I’m cheap. I want everybody to be able to afford music.

“My doctor kept telling me I’d be in a wheelchair in three months. I said ‘no problem.’ I’ll just make sure my shop is wheelchair friendly and carry on.”

One of the customers there when the Adver visited was 36-year-old Rob Yates, who is studying music technology in Bristol.

“This is the only shop like this in Swindon,” he said. “It’s great that there’s somebody who is still continuing this trade.”

Albums at Mayhem start at 50p each and many more cost a pound or two.

Some of the more a sought-after items are costlier, and the most special of all are kept elsewhere when Derek isn’t around.

These currently include an original Beatles White Album, complete with serial number, a run of picture disc Beatles’ 45s released in the 1980s to celebrate the 20th anniversaries of the iconic singles, and original pressing of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side Of The Moon.

Derek has shelves of cds, DVDs, video games and other items, mostly at what used to be called pocket money prices, but the meat of his stock is the thousands of albums arrayed on tables, in cases and in boxes.

These range from well known classics of all eras to obscure offerings fit to make a collector’s mouth water.

There are also certain records so unusual and uncommercial that they’ll never turn up anywhere other than on old vinyl.

In recent weeks, these have included birdsong, field recordings of African wildlife and a sound recording of a 1960s Monaco Grand Prix.

Records are arranged loosely into categories, but Derek encourages crate digging. “That’s half the fun,” he said. “It’s why our customers like it.

“Vinyl will take over again. The way things are going for me, I’ll just get bigger and bigger.”