Funky Dollar bill y'all, US Dollar Bill! So, Haggle Vinyl, at last we meet. This is one of those places that get's mentioned from time to time for a number or reasons, not all of them positive. I got there on foot from hip and also happening Dalston, it looked a lot closer on my iPhone. Anyway, this place. This place! It absolutely looks like it's going to be the best record shop ever....Until you get up close to the window or walls. Unfortunately the pictures I took don't really do the lack of decent records any justice. What they do show is a particularly jolly fellow who most definitely owns and runs the joint. How can you not love that welcoming smile! Yes we have no records (of particular interest) but what a welcome.
I'm being a little harsh, there were one or two bits (nothing exceptional) but things that I might have considered (had I not already got them)... If they had been priced accordingly. The word I would use is 'ambitions' or 'over book'. I didn't try but maybe that's why it's called 'haggle' vinyl? You start with an outrageous price on the table and barter down to something closer to Record Collector.
Anyway, I don't want to be too harsh because despite the endless 'RARE' signs pointing to nothing it appears the shop is closing by the end of the year and whilst this isn't the greatest record store on the planet it is a record store and if memory serves shit sex is better than no sex... or is it the other way round? Either way, this smells like a proper record shop (in a good way) and is run by the quirky chap in the picture closer to the top. I believe he is some kind of self styled local celeb (See below pictures from window - This also gives you an idea of the level of 'radness' in the shop - Pam Ayers) and I have no doubt that this far end of Essex Road will be that much duller when this shop closes.
It's on leaving very empty handed that I notice another interesting little quirk...
Oh Henry! Now I have no idea who this guy but wow. Here we see his entire CV uploaded from Linked In and pasted on the window of his former employer with what (regardless of circumstances) amounts to a slanderous allegation regarding something that happened five or more years ago. Are we to think that the mild mannered eccentric record shop owner has a darker side? Is he blaming the demise of his shop on this one employee? Who knows? I'd like to say 'who cares' but I can't because I do, because the only thing better than gossip is record store gossip.
So, hat's off in advance to the end of an era, regardless of whether this was a decent record shop or not.
Swiftly, and I do mean swiftly I pelted it down the road to Flashback Records. Yaaaay! Stuff to buy, things that whilst I don't need, I do want. See, I like what Flashback do. They keep the shit outside, in the rain, where it belongs... Where people can piss on it.
We didn't get off to the best start and this was entirely due to me. Not currently use to the company of others (children and wife aside) I marched into the shop camera phone held high snapping away. This was super not cool. You can tell by the look on stripy girl's face...
'Fuck you! Camera phone!' ...And she's right. Well, kind of right, I mean it's a look that would have been more appropriate had I accidentally trodden on her collection of Field Mice 7"s
''You've scuffed the sleeve of my copy of 'I Can See Myself Alone Forever!''
Whatever. I get it. I'm sorry. Hopefully I made up for things by leaving my dickness at the door and leaving with mad records in hand... Or rather very stylish Flashback Tote-bag. Fucking yes. (Luc Ferrari, Percussions of Strasbourg, the first Clay Rendering 12")
Flashback is pretty cool. Upstairs they have everything you could possibly need new shit wise. Closest thing I can think of to it is probably Other Music in NYC. Downstairs is where the good stuff is. I think they were having a bit of an off day when I was in there because the only two things that really got me hot that I couldn't buy were a copy of that Don Cherry album I was slagging off and a Dutch pressing of Skip Spence's 'Oar'. Even so it was nice to let my fingers do some walking and not have them feel bad dirty afterwards.
Here we see some guy that looks like Charles Ng on the listening deck. To the right of him the Dutch 'Oar'. FYI this version has a laminated sleeve. I did think I'd walked into Conrad Schnitzler heaven with that back wall but no, they are just doing that thing that the Berwick Street MVE does (colour matching sleeves).
Anyway, how am I doing? How is Record Shop Day TM shaping up? Yeah, pretty good. It helps that I've added to the bag and am no longer just flapping a mere two records around in a stylish but see through Kristina carrier bag. it's funny but a decade ago Flashback wasn't really on my radar. I was spoiled for choice. Now it's officially one of the better stores in our fair Capitol. Bidding farewell to the gent behind the counter after a most pleasant but brief chat about the lack of windows in the shop and effects of lack of sunlight I leave, taking special care to thank the lady in stripes on the way out.
Next, a shit filled splutter in Waterloo and final sprint past the finishing line in Soho...
Yaay for Record Shop Day (Not affiliated in any way with Record Store Day).