Florence, home of romance, renaissance, enchanted Italian architecture and 'Data Records 93'.
I came upon this place by complete accident. I was working in Italy and on passing quickly explained to my colleague that I would need a few minutes and vanished inside. Boy was this place loaded? Sizable Jazz and Progressive sections, a wall of Punk, a separate New Wave divider, a big fat 'Kozmik Musik' section. So why did I come away empty handed?
Time, money? A bit of both really, the clock was ticking for the duration of my stay in this wondrous world of card covered plastic and the pricing ranged from expensive to shockingly expensive. There is also the fact that I am finding it harder and harder to get excited about specific records, I have everything I want (that I am aware of) that I can afford.
The part in brackets above is important, I am still happy to do a 'Mutant Sounds' and buy something odd looking with the right instrumentation, sleeve or production accreditation and that stuff was here by the bucket load but there appeared to be printing errors on the 'how much?' stickers. But whatever, I wont moan any more about the pricing for three reasons, firstly:
Different country, different rules. We know Italy is a strange one, we know that Italian postmen bolster their income by stealing records, hi-fi equipment, anything they take a fancy to really so maybe this has meant that records in Italy are a lot rarer than they were a decade ago.
We also know that because of the above most people on Ebay refuse to post records to Italy again, creating something of a supply and demand situation to be exploited at will by record shop owners.
Last of all, it is absolutely none of my business if the owner of a record shop wants to put a speculative or slightly inflated retail price on his product, I do not have to buy it and in the case of the above shop I felt truly honored to be able to go inside, look around and eventually close my mouth. At it's best it was like a museum: The kind of thing that takes pride of place in my collection on the wall displayed in an almost blase fashion. Multiple copies of the more difficult to find highlights from the fabled NWW list wedged together in over full racks. So much stuff that I didn't know but dearly wanted to know, but couldn't buy because now as a parent spunking 200Euros on a record because the sleeve looks good isn't really an option anymore.
Yes there were some odd 'WTF?' moments. Too much Eric Clapton, Joan Armatrading and Michael Jackson, middle of the road wankery that took the sheen off the rest of the stock but given the vast majority of what was in store could legitimately be filed under 'Aladdin's Cave' I can gloss over that.
And what do you think might be at the very back of the record shop? ...Another fucking record shop full of more of the same. So to conclude, if you are in Florence, go there, take your time but be prepared to spend your money, then eat some of those little cakes they have out there, the ones with chocolate and cream in.