Tuesday, August 14, 2012


'Where are we? What is this?'

Almost a year later I still don't know. We were cycling around the Surrey Hills in an attempt to shed some of the weight that comes hand in hand with a love of fine wine fueled delicious cake eating and we came across this. 'Chaldon Books and Records'.

Chaldon is near Brunton, I know this because there is a sign in the above picture. I could Googlemap both of these places but I wont. I want the entire experience to be as geographically ambiguous as possible - It adds to the mystery, the odd spookiness of the occasion.

So I ride up the hill toward a junction, out of breath and wishing I had worn a helmet due to about five near misses with on-coming vehicles in as many minutes. Something catches my eye ahead, it can't be, it looks like a branch of Music and Video exchange in the middle of a one horse town.

'Fuck me! Record shop! Record shop!'

I signalled to those riding with me and they duly pulled up, glad of the opportunity to rest, to swig water from badly rinsed bottles, attempt to stop their hearts exiting through their mouths.

'Watch my bike.'

Instantly a months wages fall to the ground with a fiberglas klong and I open the door.


There are two people in the shop in and around the counter, they both greet me, they are in their late fifties possibly sixties, I can smell cats.


The layout is as you would expect. Chaotic, piles of books, records and cassettes (see window in above pic) towering toward the ceiling. Time is on my side but I am so pumped from the cycling that my hands are twitching before I even hit the racks. I lay waste to Rock and Pop A to Z in a matter of seconds, my mind, slower than my fingers still working out exactly what records I just scanned past. I hit 'Jazz' and I try and slam the brakes on, take my time to see if there is anything worth removing from it's sleeve, examining, smelling. Unfortunately there is not.

I take time to soak up my surroundings fully. There is nothing in this shop I want but this shop is awesome. I want this shop. I imagine the ghosts of records that have passed through here over the years, far enough from the greedy eyes of Japanese collectors to be picked up by random appreciators, in it for the death and glory rather than the net 60 point profit margin after Ebay and Paypal charges. I close my eyes and brush the racks, breathing in the must of ages.

'It happened here.'

Not some ancient evil or exorcism but rather an exchanging of cash for records that made somebody, very, very happy. Judging by the state of the shop it was some time ago but it happened, it definitely happened. I dearly wish I could be more specific, offering some clue to the actual event but I can't, my psychic abilities do not stretch to the levels of Mystic Meg.

If you are in Chaldon or indeed Brunton visit this shop. There is a chance, albeit a slim one that you might encounter the very same magic that I did, the very spirit of the used record shop.

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