Camden used to be one of the best places to go record shopping in the whole of London. There was a time when as many as eight record shops lined the high-street. Now it's just a shit storm of Spanish tourists and time-traveling dreadlocked types. If you have the patience to dig through the six deep streets of newly imported fake as fuck euro-punx, past the bootleg t-shirts and stands selling stolen street are with no sense of irony what so ever then there are still one or two places worth a visit.
Amongst them is 'Out on the Floor' which is actually (or at least it was last time I popped in) three shops in one. Sadly the stock is clouded by re-issues but there is some of the good stuff there. This said if you don't have an issue with owning 'copies' then take that as a reason to shop there because the choice of stock represents the essential musical establishment excellently. It also has one of the best Reggae sections in London, the Jazz section is solid and has thrown up some great free and 'spiritual' gems in the past and whilst the A to Z has been pilfered and exported a hundred times over, you never know what's in stock.
I used to bounce across there from Music and Video Exchange when I was local, have a quick flick, get a feel for the place. The stock is reasonably priced, which given the tourist heavy clientele is a pleasant surprise. Another reason to shop here, and this is where I wish I'd taken a picture or two is the section dividers, if, like me you have an appreciation to meticulously hand drawn band names or genres then it's worth a visit for that reason alone.
So, 'Out on the Floor', it's a good place to go for music, if you like music rather than examining matrix numbers, smelling sleeves and Gerrard & Lofthouse.
There are other places to record shop around Camden but the majority of the stock moves on a daily basis between temporary market stalls and the like. I've never bought anything from there but not to say it isn't worth a visit. If you are into Jesters Hats, juggling or drug bongs as well as records, please put this on your 'to do' list - You will be in some kind of fuck-witted heaven.
The other picture I have chosen to illustrate the contemporary Camden scene touches on a very ugly underside. No not the knife-crime or sporadic heroin shitting, I am talking about those people who think nothing of turning records into clocks or even worse melted vinyl record fruit bowls. It's not that they are aesthetically vile, or pointless and over-priced although they are all of those things. You just shouldn't do that to a record, even if it is 'The Best of John Denver' or some Readers Digest classical music cock-fest. Although I'm not usually an advocate of recycling I am pretty sure in the right hands they could be turned back into records, melted down, given a second chance not to be 'The Only Way is Up' by Yazz. By turning them into a fucking wall clock all you are doing is prolonging that death.
My only hope is that one day somebody buys a clock says 'Huh, an Elvis Presley 78, I can sell that back in Texas for a few thousand bucks' and leads them to check each and every one of those fuckers against a worn and outdated copy of the Record Collector Price Guide 1998.