Monday, May 10, 2010
Great records shops of LONDON!
I must first preface this by saying that I know there are many other great record stores in London, but due to time constraints I was not able to visit all that I wanted to visit (next time!) so this is by no means a slight to some of the other shops I have hard such great things about.
First off, I must say that possibly my favorite shop was OUT ON THE FLOOR records in Camden town. Camden is a gas to visit anyhow, with great funky shops and stalls, and this shop is a true treasure; three floors of greatness! The ground level shop has a great selection of reggae 45's and a great selection of rock, reggae, soul LP's. Next I visited the basement and SCORED! Found around 20 great British beat 45's, all priced very reasonably. There are more LP's down here as well as a turntable to check the selections. The woman behind the counter was very friendly as well. Next I visited the middle floor, run by the very friendly Leigh. Leigh prints silkscreened and hand tinted posters featuring very hip images that are simply fabulous- if it wasn't so loaded down with luggage already, I would have bought a few. I found some amazing mod 45's here and he was happy to let me try them out on his turntable. The best find for me (being a lifelong Who fan) was a copy of "I Can't Explain" in top condition with the Brunswick company sleeve. Sure, I could have found this on ebay (although this record is almost always thrashed) but the experience of buying it in London from a great store is a much better experience.
At the recommendation of my friend Gavin (aka brilliant DJ G The P), I checked out JB's records, located right off of the Leicester Square tube station. GREAT little shop packed wall to wall with great records and a very friendly London vibe. Could have easily loaded up with some nice UK LP's, but I was being mindful of my already bulging suitcases. found some great singles nonetheless.
My last stop was Intoxica, located on Portobello Road (a magical location if there ever was one). I have purchased some ace records from them via mail order in the past, and I specifically went here last as to see how my budget was holding up. This shop is known to have a large collection of heavy hitters. Went through the countless boxes of 45's behind the counter and snagged some gems; more British beat and a few soul 45's. I wasn't expecting to buy many soul 45's in London as I was expecting prices to be very high (they were, but I still snagged a few gems). I almost went for 2 expensive records, but looking at the pile of moderately priced records it just felt like more fun buying those and saving the heavy hitters for mail order. Once again, the owner was kind enough to let me listen to a handful of records I wasn't familiar with but was intrigued by. Intoxica also has a very impressive collection of LP's.
All in all, London is one of THE GREATEST cities in the world full of friendly folks who make shopping excursions such a gas. Cheers to all the new friends I met in this king of cities, as well as the web friends who I was able to meet in person.
Images of JB's and Intoxica were borrowed from Gavin's site. Gav, I promise you that I will compile a list of bay area stores for you finally; two years after I initially promised you!