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Inside the UK's first and only floating record store, Rubber Ducky Records.

Business is booming for the UK’s only floating record shop, with the canal boat now open and operating again following a difficult period without physical sales.

Helmed by Myles Greenwood, Rubber Ducky Records has relaunched after the canal boat sank last year whilst en route to Manchester. The captain of the narrowboat has since seen incredible support in his first three months from crate diggers.

The boat encountered a problem after the propellor was caught on a piece of fabric, breaking the stern gland, and ultimately sank Rubber Ducky Records. Myles could only salvage three boxes of records whilst losing nearly 1,000 vinyls, turntables and amplifiers to the water.

Subsequently, A GoFundMe page was created to ensure it would sail again. It raised £10,000 to fix the damages, replenish the stock and get his record shop back up and floating again.

Rubber Ducky Records has been operating again for three months after the relaunch, which is now bigger and better than before, as they now house over 3,000 records. The stock is eclectic in music offerings and specialises in Electronic, Minimal, House, DnB and Techno tracks. With the publicity the floating shop acquired since sinking, Myles has seen an increase in bookings.

Rubber Ducky Records is moored in Islington Marina in Ancoats, Manchester, after operating in Sowerby Bridge, West Yorkshire, since opening in October 2022.

Inside this yellow and blue haven is a treasure trove for anyone with a remote interest in electronic music. A brew is waiting for you on arrival before shoehorning your way in through the door. Instantly, you're greeted with a cosy boat donned with anything rubber duck-related. Whilst getting accustomed to the rocking on the water, Myles was quick to point out which box belonged to which genre and offered his opinion if needed.

Myles has worked internationally in Switzerland for most of his adult life, but working at Legram VG, a dance music specialising record store, inspired him to run his record store. Myles needed an exit strategy when the pandemic hit, and he packed up everything he had in a van and drove back to England. “I wanted to do what I loved in Switzerland back in the UK, where the music scene is bigger, has a deeper history, and is way more eclectic, which is more exciting,” Myles told GigPig.

“I was trying to think of ways to run a business with low costs, like shop fronts in arcades, mobile shops and pop-ups. I went on a walk on a canal to clear my head after a night out, and I was walking past these boats thinking, ‘Why not on a boat’ I think that was the lightbulb moment.”

This creative thinking to avoid the steep rent costs has made the boat a cult favourite amongst crate sifters. One of the greatest assets of Rubber Ducky Records is the ability to be flexible in the mooring place and capture a large audience in each location it stays. But currently, Myles has no plans to leave Manchester in a hurry after what happened. “I’m not running before I can walk. It’s doing well, and I’m having a nice, happy life with customers from all over. I’ve met so many incredible people since re-opening. It’s a super eclectic mix of people, and that’s the joy and beauty of being in a city like Manchester. It’s a very musical city with a very exciting scene, and it’s great to be a part of it.”

After taking 18 months to initially set up Rubber Ducky Records by completely renovating an old canal boat, Myles started in his hometown near Hebden Bridge for half a year and looked to relocate to Manchester just before Record Store Day 2023, but ultimately couldn’t make it through Rochdale Canal.

Despite losing six boxes of records when the boat sank, the salvaged boxes were resold as ‘sunken treasure’. These sunken records have allowed the customers to purchase a part of Rubber Ducky Records’ history.

“The support I received when the boat sunk was quite overwhelming. I got this donation of 2,000 records from this guy, whom I have never met before. That kindness from a stranger is incredible.

“At the actual moment of crisis, I was quite calm. I was just thinking about getting the boat to safety. Two friends were sailing with me to get into Manchester as the stretch of the canal is infamously quite difficult. But when it did go down, I had a few friends turn up with cars and vans to get all the records off. I had some great people around me advising me of the next steps.

“I was fortunate because I had this huge sum of money, and anytime there was a large repair or a large collection to buy, because at that time I quit my job to do this full time, I was able to spend it on the boat and get everything relaunched.”

For the last ten weeks, I’ve felt like I was floating (I was literally), but it felt like I was walking on air. Running a shop on a boat has some challenges, but nothing went wrong apart from an odd parking ticket.” Myles added.

Through his time as a DJ and being surrounded by the records in Switzerland, it’s clear that this is purely a passion project for the owner, and with that came immense knowledge for his stock. He was keen to start conversations about the music and use his expertise to steer you in the right direction for an LP.

“I can tailor my advice to each customer that comes in, and within an hour, I’m confident that people will be able to find some great music on the boat. If they find a record they like, I can advise them in a certain area. I try to gauge it as I can be quite full on as a person, but if people are happy to converse and get that feedback, then I can pull stuff out of boxes for them.”

Myles recently brought the shop on land after Rubber Ducky Records took over New Cross in Manchester for a pop-up. Whilst it’s more challenging to give the same level of personal advice, the benefits have encouraged Myles to do more.

“I have previously done a few in London, which have all been really successful. It’s great because I can meet people in London who are into record collecting and aware of the brand and business but won't necessarily travel to Manchester, which is understandable. But to do one in Manchester, it was so nice to invite friends, and so many people passed through. I don't have that space to accommodate eight or nine people at once on the boat, so I think every couple of months I would love to do that.”

Myles is welcoming customers to sift through his crates on the boat, and slots can be booked here.