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Great memories of this bonkers place. Trying to find it was bad enough. All the windows were blacked out like some kind of sex shop. First time I went I had to ask the newsagent across the road where the record shop was. The only thing to identify it was a tiny sign by the door bell with 'these' written in mirror reverse. Rarely was there ever anyone else there. I once read they only had about 12 customers a week.

Once you went in you could tell it was essentially a front room converted into a small shop. I'm guessing the blacked out windows were necessary as it was sub-legit as a shop. Two brothers ran it and lived upstairs, one tired looking one called Howard I believe, can't recall the other's name but saw him less.

It stocked wilfully obscure arty music, recordings of droning electric pylons and such like. Their catalog was a hilarious read. Lots of categories that would raise a smile, like 'Rock Askew'.

In the middle of the shop was an ever-changing 'artwork' of some sort. one time I went there was a bathtub full of CDrs, another time they were loose all over the floor. One time I was flicking through the records and heard a chirping sound. I looked up and they had a tank filled with crickets fixed to the wall.

The brothers were highly opinionated. When I asked after a particular (reasonably avant grade band), Howard said 'we don't stock that kind of stuff here'. I once brought mate who was after some free jazz. Howard looked puzzled and said, 'well, what genre of free jazz?' Whenever you wanted to listen to something they insisted on playing side two rather than side one.

I discovered some great music. They had lucky dip bags where you'd pay a tenner for ten records wrapped and re-wrapped so you had no idea what they were.

What a place.

Erik Stein



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