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5 Things I Own and Why I Love Them – Tom O’Dell

Tom O’Dell is an art director and stylist living and working in London.

Record players

Music is a huge part of my life. I wish I had learnt to play an instrument when I was younger but unfortunately this didn’t happen. I am lucky enough though, to own a few turntables, which has filled the void and given me hours and hours of pleasure.

The one that started my relationship with vinyl and music is my grandfather’s Monarch 1950’s record player. It’s a beautiful looking piece of technology and one that sits proudly in my house. This was the first analogue record player I owned and it got me into buying and listening to music in a different way.

Incredible that it still works after nearly 70 years. It’s a lovely thing to own and it feels special that it was passed down to me. I hope to do the same one day.

Technics Turntable in Situ

I also own a simple turntable which has a super-nice needle (perfect for playing jazz).  I keep this one in my bedroom, but the player I use day to day is my Technics 1210 turntable – they are normally seen as a pair, but I have one set up in my living room attached to a good set of speakers and nice amp.

They were gifted to me by a good friend of mine and a man who has one of the biggest record collections I know. Four of us lived together in a house in Queen’s Park for nine months in 2010 and the decks were a permanent fixture in the house. Music was pretty much played 24 hours a day (literally, if my flats mates had anything to do with it).

My friend gave me one of the turntables when we moved out and I have been playing records on it ever since. I wake up and put on music, I play music when I work from home, and most nights I spend my time going through my records and having a little shuffle in my front room. These decks are the best ever made and are pretty much unbreakable.

I’m always looking for new records and love digging out records from London record shops or when abroad at flea markets.  Pure Vinyl records in Brixton is great for jazz, soul, funk and disco. I recently purchased D’Angelo’s Black Messiah album from there, a record I had wanted since it was released in 2014.

Greaves and Thomas 1960’s Sofa

Greaves and Thomas Sofa

I saw this sofa and had to have it. I remember the excitement when I found it online and noticed it was just down the road in Peckham. I went to have a look and said yes straight away.

Not only is it a beautiful sofa in pretty much mint condition, but it’s also a sofa bed, one of the first to be produced. It has a ‘Davenport’ sofa bed mechanism which is amazing for such a beautiful piece of mid-century furniture. With one pull down, the sofa folds out to a flat bed.

Many people think it must be Scandinavian but it was made in London by Greaves and Thomas of Bond Street. It’s made from teak and beech and still has the original upholstery in my favourite colour – green.

Like all of these things it will never be sold and will move with me, wherever I live. It’s stunning to look at from all angles and is quite comfortable to sit on, yes quite!

Jazz book

I love the colour of the book, the simplicity of it, the typeface for the title and the three lines on the opening page: Jazz – From Congo to Swing. The book was published in 1946 – I always think how exciting jazz got in the 50s and 60s.  It’s just a lovely thing to own and it cost me 50p from a shop in Birmingham.

Paul Smith Pen knife

Paul Smith Pen Knife

I was given this when I left my Saturday job as a student in Richmond by the shop owner next door. I think it’s an early product from Paul and makes me smile every time I look at it. I’ve never seen another one and think it sums up the Paul Smith brand. If everyone knows any more information about it then I’d love to know! @odellsstudios

It reminds me of all the places I’ve worked and that you can be successful by being individual and unique. It’s always on my keys so is a little worn. For those who can’t make it out, it’s a toy sailor saluting with a little pull-out penknife. Brands don’t make things like these anymore – silly and practical.

My cat

Frank is the best thing I own. Just look at his face. Enough said.

Tom O’Dell


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