Three days later I am still really not sure how to put this in to words. Occasionally I write reviews of used record retailers, worship the great, lament the better ones and have a bit of a dig at the shit shops (Da Capo of Berlin I am talking to you). What to do then when you are confronted by a shop so far from the mark you are forced to re-evaluate the past?
I imagine this is how astronomers feel when they discover a new star or a new galaxy, your perspective of distance and time and infinity suddenly alters, changes slightly. Changes drastically.
D.O.C Records is the record shop equivalent of what is known in weather terms as 'a perfect storm': Blind grading, ambitious book based pricing and a stock nested in a dank basement that is what can only be described as patchy at best, the records sandwiched amongst the most impressive collection of over-priced VHS videos I have seen in a long time.
I feel the need to add an upside here on the off chance that the friendly and helpful owner ever reads this: you were both friendly and helpful and for that I thank you.
Now back to painting a picture akin to Bosch's vision of hell...
No i can't, being a blog bitch or wannabe Michael Winner of the record world really isn't me, at least not today. I will just say that the trip was something of a dissapointment especially when you take into consideration the setting: Off a main road in North London, tucked away in a suburban street a long hike for the Asian/European 'Axis of Evil' currency tourists and not mentioned anywhere.
It has all the hallmarks of the thing of legend (Pied Piper Records of Northampton circa '95 for example) a gold mine, a holy temple of all things flat round and plastic. But no. I mean yes, some (and I mean some) of the stock is there: The Stooges - The Stooges first press but it's 195quid and judging by the copy of Led Zep III (Out at EX/NM - Record had a gash across one track making it unplayable) It wouldn't have been worth checking even if I did have an urge to spunk mad money on it.
The main issue with D.O.C however was the fact that something, somewhere in the shop was rotting. From experience it smelled like rats had possibly got between the floorboards before dying and initially that made staying long enough for even the most fleeting of views a bit difficult. I say initially because after about five minutes and around the time I hit the Kinks section my eyes had stopped watering and my lungs had adjusted. Amazing what the human body is capable of enduring for the most paper-thin promise of reward.
'No! Wait, just give me five minuts, I know you can't breathe but there might be a copy of that G.T.Os album in here....Stop crying and look goddamnit!'
And the worst part is this is not my first visit to said shop. I went fully armed with no expectations to be met and no reason to return. It was a Saturday and I was sat in my local pub when I was hit by that 'oh so familiar' overwhelming compulsion to get to a record shop as soon as possible.
The entire trip can be summed up in the words of my chiseling partner for the day...
'Let us never speak of this again.'