'The Mad Hatman' vows to continue Edinburgh institution Backtracks Music and Games after 30 years of business

Despite retail’s struggles over the last few years following the recession in 2008, Backtracks has constantly reimagined itself adding retro games, musical instruments and miscellaneous items.

Monday, 28th October 2019, 1:02 pm
Updated Monday, 28th October 2019, 1:03 pm

For 30 years, Tommy Robertson - also known as The Mad Hatman - has run one of Tollcross’ most recognisable shops.

Now, as record stores and traditional retail continues to struggle, he vows to continue on at Backtracks Music and Games.

Opening in November 1989, the shop has developed from a record shop into selling everything from retro games to plug sockets.

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For 30 years, Tommy Robertson - also known as The Mad Hatman - has run one of Tollcross most recognisable shops.

“It’s been me, myself and I” says Mr Robertson, 64, “but I started it from a shell and built it into what it is today.”

Thirty years ago, Backtracks began at the heyday of the music business with CD and vinyl sales flying high.

Mr Robertson added: “Things have changed quite considerably in terms of online but I haven’t gone down that road.

“It was something different because I had never been in the sales side of things. I started it as a music shop because I have a great interest in music and it was something I fancied.

'The Mad Hatman' vows to continue Edinburgh institution Backtracks Music and Games after 30 years of business

“I have been a disc jockey for 43 years and I am still doing functions and that type of thing so music’s in the blood.”

Mr Robertson added he has focused on keeping his shop relevant to his customers rather than necessarily looking perfectly manicured.

Despite retail’s struggles over the last few years following the recession in 2008, Backtracks has constantly reimagined itself adding retro games, musical instruments and miscellaneous items.

He added: “There are ups and downs every week, but that is why the shop has evolved. A lot of businesses have closed and big record stores have closed, never to return.

Despite retails struggles over the last few years following the recession in 2008, Backtracks has constantly reimagined itself adding retro games, musical instruments and miscellaneous items.

“A lot of shops are probably more aesthetically beautiful than mine, everything has had a lot of money spent on it but if you spend a lot of money making your business look good, it doesn’t last so you have got to live within your means.”

The shop will be celebrating its 30th birthday this week, with Mr Robertson saying he will continue even as shops around him continue to close.

“I have still got a few years left in me but who knows what might happen. I will probably be here in five years but if someone might offer me £1m I might just say yes!”