Mittwoch, 15. Juli 2009

Vacation 2009 (or should i rather say business...)

Another summer means another trip to London for me. I've been doing this mix of vacation and business since more than 20 years. I gave up going by plane in 1994, so i took the bus instead since then. This year it took me a lot of good words to convince Marina to hit the road again. In honest the bus-journey is pure horror ! We left berlin on sunday afternoon and reached london in the early hours of monday morning. The tour operator offers an sight-seeing tour before we can check-in into the hotel. No interested in this we left the bus at Elephant & Castle Tube-station around 9.00. It took us another 30 minutes to reach tube-station Oxford Circus. I always enjoy this place in the early hours, the streets are still empty. We first went into HMV to buy some music-magazines. Soon after we moved to Berwick Street, which is still one of my favourite places for record shopping, although some shops were closed down over the last couple of years as Mr. CD which was an amazing place for finding bargain stuff. We spent a while in Sister Ray where i bought the new Rumblestrips EP (just out on that day) plus some bargain cds. Too tired to have a look at all these 7“ boxes we left to enter Revival Records. This shop is around since two or three years. I was too late the other year, so I've never been to this shop before. A friend of mine went in the last year and bought some excellent stuff. To be honest, i didn't found that much, just bought stuff for a friend and the latest Camera Obscura album for cheap money. Next it was our plan to visit Record & Tape Exchange, but normal thing in the early hours, the bargain floor was still closed. Some time left we decided to have a first look at Cheapo Cheapo Records which is just a couple of minutes away from R&TE. To my horror we found out that the shop has finished business. How sad ! This shop was one of my alltime favourite stores. A friend of mine told me later that they have closed down a couple of weeks before.
We moved to Paddington station to get in the bus again. Another surprise hits us when we found out that the hotel was based in Heathrow. Not a good thing. We arrived an hour later. After some conversation with our tour guide we went into our room to fresh up again and left our bags. Only can say great words about the hotel (the breakfast was amazing by the way) but it took us an hour to reach London City each day. We spent the rest of the day at Records & Tape Exchange at Berwick Street. I bought some cool albums from the likes of Montt Mardie, The Answering Machine or Little Jackie for 0,50 pence each. I also found an compilation album called “The Sounds Of The Rhubarb Triangle“ which dates from 2005. It contains favourites Skint And Demoralised with an early take of “It's Only Been A Week“ which will be part of the band's debut album which will see the day of light in october and an great tune by Pavilion whose had an fine 7“ single out the last year. The next day we went to Camden for some clothes shopping. Sure thing, we went to Record & Tape Excance as well. I bought records from Dubious Brothers, Jamie Wednesday or Marden Hill for a pound each. Next up we took the tube to move to Angel. It took me nearly four hours to go through all the boxes at Haggle Records. Marina meanwhile spent the time to check the streetmarket which is nearby. I bought around 40 records from Haggle for 2 pounds each including some nice stuff from bands as Red Harvest, Guernica or Felt. Now it was time for some lunch and we took a bar just next up to Flashback Records for it. While having an cold banana shake i noticed that Christian of Soulboy Collective fame went through the bargain boxes of Flashback. What a surprise ! Christian left Berlin a couple of years ago for living in London. After some cigarettes (my first since we arrived to London!) we've spent some time to going through all the boxes which can be found at the shop's second floor. Nice stuff was found ! Christian offers an pub-session but i rather stayed away as it would have been impossible for me to drive back to Heathrow with having some beer before. How sad ! We spent the rest of the day for clothes shopping around Oxford Circus.
Next day we moved to Covent Garden to visit my friend Stephan (Ship Shape Club) who works in London since last december. It was great to meet him again after all those months. After some drinks we went to Notting Hill Gate to spent the rest of the day at Record & Tape Exchange. I bought around 100 cds / vinyl at the bargain floor plus some more stuff at the regular floor. What kicks me back home was an 12“ by an obscure band named After Tonite which was engieered by John Rivers. The record's a-side leaves me cold but both songs on side b sounds amazing to me. “It's Getting Harder And Harder“ let me think on such fine bands as Fragile Friends, Ade Moose and Walker or Decoy Avenue mixed up with the guitarsound of Archie Bell's “Tighten Up“. How great ! I played this record to death when we moved back home. It's up on places as musicstack, so please feel free to have a look for it !
On thursday it was on the plan to visit Alan's Record shop in East Finchley. I heard great words about this shop from friends of mine. The shop is based 218 High Road. It will took you a 10 minutes walk from the tube station to reach Alan's shop, but do not worry, there are a lot of Charity Shops on it's way which are worth to visit. We've been to four or five of them and found rather amazing stuff. Another copy of that amazing 12“ by swedish band The Hip Horace was found at the first shop. It was only the second copy i ever saw of this unique record. I just bought it from an scandinavian dealer a couple of months ago and i tell you what, this record is more than worth to have. Songs somewhere between late Close Lobsters, The Smiths and vocals ala Grahame Skinner makes this one an big favourite of mine. I also found a copy of the rare 12“ ep by obscure irish band Cuba Dares at the same place. At the next shop i took Trash Can Sinatras deadly rare “Senses Working Overtime“ 12“ plus some regular stuff from bands as McCarthy, Mousefolk or Jim Jiminee. It took us nearly two hours to finally reach Alan's shop only to found out that the shop's owner was on holiday. A letter on the shop's window promised that he will open again on saturday, so no problem. We took the bus and went to Portobello Road where we spent some nice time for shopping as well. I went into Rough Trade Shop only to find out that they now have an second floor which offers second hand stuff. I was surprised about it. They stock some nice stuff, so i can recommend a visit ! I bought some 7“ vinyl at the regular shop as well before we went into Oxfam shop which is just around the corner. Marina went through some books while i was searching for some cool records. I bought the first Pooh Sticks album plus 12“ singles from Boxing Clever, Fallover 24 or The Servants from it. A nice place to go as well !
We took our bus on friday for a trip to Brighton. The tour operator offers the trip for just 12 euro each. I always enjoy this town very very much. Unfortunately i left too much money for an polo-shirt only to found out an hour later that i could have saved more than 15 pounds for the same one from a shop nearby. Anyway, i was an happy man to found some obscure records the next door in the likes of stuff by The Waiting Sound (ever heard ?), The Sardines or that cool EP by obscure Lancashire based Hate Syndicate which were around the early 90's. The next hours we spent some time at the Brighton Beach. How lovely !!
On the way back to the hotel we left the bus in Brixton to walk around the streets over there.
The next day we had to bring our bags into the bus which took me nearly an hour. After we found out that i've bought nearly 400 cds plus 150 vinyl, i decided to left all the cd jewel case in the hotel but it was still a hard walk to transfer everything's into the bus. After work was done we spent saturday morning for some more shopping at camden town before moving to East Finchley again to visit Alan's Record Shop finally. This time he was in ! How great ! It took us nearly five hours to go through all his records, and we only checked the indie and pop section !!! we bought around 30 records and Alan makes us an great discount. I have to say honest, that i've been never into an more friendly shop than this one. I absolute recommed this place. Please make sure to visit his place the next time you're will be in London. It's more than worth !
Still time on our side we went to Covent Garden to visit Fopp Musicstore. We spent the rest of our money for cds from Beautiful South (BBC-Sessions), Lloyd Cole & The Commotions (sessions), Belle & Sebastian (just another BBC-Session Disc) or the deluxe edition of the Housemartins first album which was on my top must-have list for our vacation.
Hours went by and we totally forgot to pick up Stephan who just works around the corner for a “goodbye drink“. Shame on us for it ! We went back home to berlin soon after. It took us nearly 18 hours and costs me 30 euros for an taxi to bring my stuff home from the busstation.

My Top 11 list of songs from the records i bought:

Answering Machine – Another City, Another Story
After Tonite – It's Getting Harder And Harder
Skint And Demoralised – It's Only Been A Week
Pavilion – Lost In The Moonlight
The Northwestern – All The Ones
Tim Yen Yen – When The Song Applies To You
The Twang – Barney Rubble
Rumblestrips – Not The Only Reason
Beautiful South – BBC Sessions
The Hip Horace – Local Cornershop
The Steeples – Loosy Lucy


  1. Unbelievable. Finding Fallover 24 in a charity shop south of Birmingham is amazing. And the Hip Horace in a charity shop. Reminds me of the time I got Chin Chin's Stop You're Crying on Farmer records in a charity shop in Acton and last month found Hot Rain's It's A Lie in a charity shop in Ealing. Is that you selling Cuba Dares and the Hip Horace records on ebay?

  2. Hey Rupert !
    thanks for the nice words. great founds !
    i found another copy of the Fallover 24 EP the last year at a charity shop in Portsmouth which comes with promo sheets and photos. i was surprised to found it again this year. yep, it's me who is selling the Cuba Dares EP on ebay at the moment but it must be someone else who has Hip Horace up for sale.

  3. You would have been in Alan's about a week before me. I usually go there every six weeks or so. I usually check out the nearby charity shops and I think I saw Hip Horace in one of them but ignored it and now I'm paying the price, literally as I just bought it off of ebay.
    I love Alan's, one of the few record shops left in London and unlikely to close as he is making lots of money from his reggae sales. There are two second hand record shops on the edges of London and Kent, one in West Wickham
    and another in Beckenham. Next time you visit England you should pay them a visit. But I don't know if I should encourage you to snap up all the good stuff before me, ha,ha.

  4. Hi, I too was surprised by the sudden closure of Cheapo Cheapo Records. I've written about it in several entries in my blog and found that someone had actually composed a song about it! You can find it here:

  5. Hello!
    If you look on the back of the record by "The Hip Horace" you will find "Johan Rapp", bass there. That's me.

  6. And there were 1000 copies made of "Hand it back". I have a couple of the first without print on the label.

  7. Hi!
    Nice to see this, I´m one of the two guitar players from Hip Horace, Mats Bååge