So, at a loose end following an aborted music festival (cheers ATP) last night I decided to do something, anything today other than staring at my own reflection in the bathroom mirror shouting 'you're a failure, you're a failure' over and over until it's time to check my empty inbox again.
Then the idea bit me. I should go record shopping! But not just go record shopping, also make a day of it. Maybe turn this purposeful pilgrimage into a regular annual thing... a 'record shop day'. Imagine that. A day, say maybe once a year dedicated to record shops, records and record shopping. Thus 'Record Shop Day' was born.
Record Shop Day started badly. After arriving promptly at 11.00am at my first store of the day 'Kristina Records' of Dalston, London, I find it won't open for another hour. Far from disheartened I head to the second shop on my list 'Eldica'. Thankfully the kind sir and I am assuming owner of Eldica is at least good enough to open at a sensible, real world time. It does make me wonder if Alan of the famous 'Alan's Records' isn't running an illegal card game for record shop employees that goes on long into the small hours.
Eldica is more of a brick-a-brac slash record store. Interestingly enough one corner of the store smells like somebody has slashed on said bric-a-brac and records. Unless its me. In my unemployed state it is entirely possible that the pissy stench is eminating from my badly dried t-shirt. Smelling myself I lay the blame squarely at the pile of 7"s in the corner. (Which reminds me of the time I actually did piss on a large pile of 7"s out the back of a record shop I worked in many moons ago, about an hour later I found a friend chiseling through them and wiping the 'rain' on his sleeve. Sorry Ben.)
Anyway, friendly enough nod from the proprietor, on the way in my hopes are high-ish. Not much in the way of order to the stock. Every divider appears to read '60s Soul' or '70s jazz'. I find and chisel the 'new in' section. Not bad, it's a mix of soul, jazz, second grade 12"s, interesting looking library titles and the odd early electronic album. Whilst I don't feel compelled to buy anything I am happy that good things have been and gone through these racks.
Eldica is I assume a destination for 'crate diggers' and or 'beat pilferers', rather than people who say actually listen to 'rock' and or 'pop'. The first clue is the positioning of such sections under the racks, on the floor and difficult to get to. That's okay. If everybody liked Indie the second Raincoats album would be even more expensive than it currently is.
I return my nod and leave.
After a suitably hipster breakfast (I know it's a hipster breakfast because the food to price ratio is way off and the waiter first calls me 'man' and then 'dude'. Man dude.) Shortly after this Kristina is finally open for business. It's very amiss of me to have not ventured here before now, not least because this is one of the few record stores to have opened in the last few years rather than, y'know, closing.
Before the customary critisization of the stock a little about the store: it's lovely. Basic plywood fittings, concrete floor, clean and very easy to shop. Design wise it takes its cues from much of Williamsburgs new wave of retail, presenting itself as unpretentious and plain, with the added bonus of having an environment that should, if maintained properly never smell like COB records.
Stock wise its got enough highlights to have me mildly hyperventilating. There is little in the way of full medical emergency but the Daniel Johnston and Bikini Kill records I swipe from the wall and come away with leave me happy enough.
Dalston has changed so fucking much in the past its literally unreal. Now, often mentioned in the same breath as Brooklyn due to the mix of aforementioned interesting retail, bars, venues and eateries. It used to be utterly horrible, a place to avoid, a dirty rift in the North London landscape like a trench of shit separating two far more desirable and less stabby areas. Now it's the happy home to much of creative London. Good for them, high-fives all around.
I temporarily have a couple of Pastels 12"s and the first Shellac album in my hand but decide that I don't actually need them and given that this is my first stop of the day (technically second) it would be prudent to curtail my spending and spread my finances more evenly. I have a pleasant chat with my host, I find myself accidentally saying out loud the words 'techno, techno, techno' far too close to the ear of a young chap browsing the dance music side of the shop. I leave soon after this.
There is a partial sale in Kristina in which they are off-loading much of there new stock. An issue I am assume that derives from the fact that Amazon is loading up with more circular blackness on a daily basis or more specifically US affiliated sellers offering very, very reasonable shipping through said site are successfully undercutting not just the UK high street but also Normans Records and Boomkat. I'm as guilty as anyone and always buy from the cheapest vendor. Anyway, this appears to be the side effect. Three, no four racks dedicated to off-loading newly released music. The other minor downside to the shop is the huge amount of space dedicated to 'rave' music or whatever you want to call it this week.
Either way, I'd be glad to call Kristina my local, it would be fantastic if such an outlet magically appeared more close to my home. I need somewhere to hang out and look mildly deranged whilst muttering insults at people buying Adamski (?) records.
NEXT: Haggle Vinyl, Gramex, JBs and more...