Music man quits after 32-years

David Bale 1976 was the year James Callahan became Prime Minister, Concorde made its first commercial flight and Malcolm Pell first opened a music stall on Norwich Market.

David Bale

It was the year James Callahan became Prime Minister, Jimmy Carter was made US President, Concorde made its first commercial flight and grandfather-of-six Malcolm Pell first opened a music stall on Norwich Market.

But now some 32 years on Gordon Brown is Prime Minister, Barak Obama and John McCain are battling it out to succeed George Bush as US president, Concorde has been retired - and 65-year-old Mr Pell, who also sells DVD and videos on his stall, is closing up and retiring - but he won't be giving up as a businessman, as he plans to sell everything he does not shift in this week's closing down sale on his internet site.

Mr Pell, who has been a fixture at the top of the market since 1976, said: “Saturdayis my last day and I do feel quite emotional about it.

“I imagine I will feel strange for about six months but I will still be selling records from my internet site, which my wife Gillian, 63, runs at the moment.”

When Mr Pell, who lives in Eccles-on-Sea, first arrived in Norwich from his home county of Leicestershire - he came because his wife was a student at the UEA - his stall was on the current motorcycle car park.

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He said: “That was the prior refurbishment to the one we have just undergone. The market was then outside the library, so when the library went up in flames, we all had an eyewitness view of it.

“It was ironic because it came six weeks after we had a fire in the undercroft, below the memorial gardens.”

Mr Pell, who managed a hi-fi shop in Leicester before he came to Norwich, sells all kinds of music in all kinds of formats and has so many he does not know the exact total.

He said: “I would hesitate to say how many I've got and I would hesitate to say what my favourite kind of music is, because I have listened to so many genres.

“When I first moved here, it was before punk, so there have been a lot of different tastes and styles since then.

“My favourite music is probably American roots music which I first heard on my father's gramophone record coming over from Germany on the American forces station.”

Mr Pell's stall became so well-known that it was visited by legendary DJ John Peel in the early 1980s.

Mr Pell said: “We had something in common as the first record I had bought for me was the same one he had bought for him - 'Blue Tango' by Ray Martin from 1956. John Peel also bought some reggae records from my stall.”

Retailers may be struggling across the city during the credit crunch, but Mr Pell said Norwich market still had a good future.

“For every one of my customers who has passed way or stopped coming, two more have replaced them,” he said.

Terry Grimes, 62, who runs the car accessories stall opposite, is hoping to buy Mr Pell's stall and expand his own.

He said: “I have only been here about two-and-a half years since the market refurbishment, but it will be strange to see Malcolm go. It won't be the same.”

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