Wednesday, March 29, 2006

"I will now sell five copies of the Beta Band's Three EPs."



Some would consider that a trip to London purely to slope from one record shop to another all day would constitute an appalling waste of time but I enjoyed a marvellous and relaxing hour or seven yesterday doing precisely that. Berwick Street is a splendid thoroughfare and contains, I would suggest, about eight independent record stores of the Nick Hornby Hi-Fidelity sort. Having met D in the clinical and corporate Virgin Megastore, we strolled down Oxford Street, took a left and spent quality time and money in these more ramshackle establishments before a light lunch and a jaunt to the fine Fopp Records which represents the more acceptable side of record shop chains. In Fopp I bought Sufjan Stevens' Greetings From Michigan which I'm playing and hugely appreciating as I write this, Dandruff by the eccentric Scottish poet and musician Ivor Cutler who died last month and whom I used to listen to avidly on the John Peel Show, and some kicking bass and drum, New Forms by Bristol's Roni Size, a Mercury Prizewinner, no less. The seven pounds I paid for the Stevens album was the most I spent on a single purchase all day.

The smaller shops produced the goods too. For two quid apiece in Mister CD I picked up Shakespeare Alabama, a lost eighties classic by all accounts, by Diesel Park West and Bubblegum by former Screaming Tree and favourite of D, Mark Lanegan. After lunch, I returned to Berwick Street on my own and bought, for a single pound each, Pig Lib by Stephen Malkmus, Monsoon by Preston School of Industry and Spoonface by Ben Christophers. I'm delighted with my spoils. I look forward to hearing them all over the next day or two although I am already familiar with the Malkmus and Size opuses.

There's a couple of pictures of Berwick Street above. Fans of derivative and uninspiring 90s guitar music might recognise the first one.

2 comments:

Sweeny said...

Won't keep pestering you with comments, Martin, but I read about your trip with more than a little jealousy. Usd to live in London myself and know Berwick street very well.

Is Daddy Cool's still there? Best reggae shop I have EVER been in...

Cheers

Martin Cole said...

Pester away chief! It is good to know that people are logging on and I'm keen for the site to be more interactive. It proves I'm not whistling in the dark. I failed in my quest for reggae on Tuesday. I had a list of about 6 or 7 reggae albums I wanted but returned empty-handed. I didn't see Daddy Cool's alas but I'll be in London next week so will look for it then. A quick google search shows me that there are a few decent reggae shops in London to look into. Failing that, Amazon...