Thursday, February 25, 2010


So last week saw me in the fair city of Amsterdam for work based reasons and on Thursday night I found myself with just over an hour between leaving work and a business based dinner. Hmmm, what to do? A former resident of the city I was armed with two things: The knowledge that Thursday night is late night shopping night and a mental map of at least nine record shops within the city limits. Before even plotting a course I found myself marching briskly alongside a canal in the rough distance of 'record shops'.

I worked out that the nearest decent shop was Record Palace. Record Mania was closer but I never had much luck there. I did buy a copy of the first Runaways' LP from them years ago, but I left it on a tram so it doesn't really count. Anyway, about five minutes later I am outside. The lights are on, I push the door... The door is locked. The only way of describing the feeling that washes over me is sheer panic. I try not to let this show as the owner comes to the door and unlocks it.

'I am sorry we are closed, we are open again tomorrow morning.'

'Thanks but I am only here for the night.'

I am not sure what happens next, maybe he took pitty on me or feared for my safety. Basically he asked me if I was after anything in particular, I mumbled something about Frank Zappa and he let me in.

The shops owner is called Jan, Jan is a particularly cheery bloke once you get him on a subject he is passionate about, say European Avant Jazz. Safely ensconsed I took to the racks like a Beagle tearing apart a Fox in one of those Anti-Hunting campaign videos. Jan keeps the Jazz in the basement and his fondness for the genre is obvious when you see that it takes up more room than Rock and Pop A to Z. I do a quick once through and then take my time on the individual sections that look most promising. I have an original ESP Fontana copy of Sun Ra's Heliocentric Worlds Vol.2 in my hands withing seconds. It leaves the shop with me.

Back upstairs Jan is going through a newly bought stack of used records and takes great delight in showing me some Sunny Murray albums that neither of us has seen before. He is very accomodating and although from prior experience the stock in the shop can be hit and miss it is well worth a visit should you be in the vicinity. As we talk he explains that he has no problem with me taking my time.

'The Japanese just called, they are coming straight from the airport.'

I had got there just in time. No doubt the shop would be laid to waste and raped like Nanjing within the hour. Jan's comment surprised me. I had been under the impression that the Japanese collectors were still licking their wounds from the beating the Yen got a year or so back. I was wrong.

The above 'Intel' is confirmed when I talk to the owner of Rollin' Records at the weekend. (I will expand upon this particularly fruitful trip later on)

Lock up your A1/B1 Matrix numbers, it looks like there's a storm a coming.

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