The Vinyl Whistle – No Red Cards, Just White Labels
Whilst sitting comfortably on the sofa the other night watching my beloved Spurs…something caught my attention.Amongst the excitement of it all, I overheard the commentators say that the referee on duty that night, Jon Moss, owns a record store. I was pretty impressed by that statement alone but it got a whole lot better when they revealed the name. ‘The Vinyl Whistle’. What a stroke of pure genius. It left me wanting to know more about Jon Moss and the story behind this ingeniously named record store.
Jon Moss was born in Sunderland in 1970, he was passionate about football from a very young age, playing youth level for his home club Sunderland, as well as Millwall and he was even good enough to earn himself a football scholarship at the Central Connecticut State University.
However, he chose to stay in the UK and concentrate on his studies, eventually enrolling at Leeds University where he studied physical education and teaching.Later, this led to his appointment as PE teacher at the Westbrook Primary School in Leeds, where he coincidentally taught Premier League footballer James Milner, whom he went on to show a red card to during a premier league match in 2019!
The infectiously vibrant city that Leeds is drew him in and after meeting his now wife whilst at university there, the couple decided to raise a family and settle in the city.
Alongside the day job, Jon Moss was running a sideshow as a referee, progressing his way through the leagues to his eventual position in the premier league in 2010.But in his spare time, he enjoyed indulging in his other passion, music. He plays the guitar, joined bands and regularly attended the abundance of gigs and live music events available to him in a city teaming with culture. Having developed a passion for music from a tender age, Jon speaks fondly of growing up in the 70’s & 80’s and that pure joy of buying your first records. An experience far more immersive, tactile and satisfying than streaming or downloads.
At the time there were plenty of record stores dotted all over Leeds and Jon and his wife Julie would enjoy browsing the collections, listening to all kinds of music from Jazz to Dance. But as years went by, we saw a large drop in the amount of records stores and music stores in general on our highstreets and Jon Moss took it upon himself to fix that with one of his very own!
And in 2019, in the heart of University land, on a road buzzing with youthfulness and energy, famous for the drunken antics of freshers weeks and the infamous ‘Otley Run’…’The Vinyl Whistle’ was born.
The beautifully presented store stock a variety of genres, brand new and second hand. The store boasts a listening booth equipped with turntables and headphones, offering an area to lose yourself in one of the many carefully selected records on offer. They even serve fairtrade coffee and vegan cakes with tables and chairs for you to relax on and chat all things music with fellow punters. Jon believes records stores should offer more than just vinyl and fondly recalls meeting all sorts of interesting people over the years he’s spent browsing stores all over the county whilst on referee duty and it was his and Julie’s mission to ensure that this was paramount at ‘The Vinyl Whistle’.
They didn’t stop there, amongst the many musical treasures, they even found room on the shop floor for some football memorabilia; match shirts, signed programmes and medals top it all off making this the perfect haunt for anyone who shares the same passion for music and football as Jon Moss (and myself)!
So, if you ever find yourself in Leeds. Make sure you take a trip to Otley Road and pop your head in and have a browse at ‘The Vinyl Whistle’. You may be lucky enough to meet the man himself and ask him some questions about his musical taste or indeed his illustrious career as a premier league referee!
Words by Lottie Lee