Great records shops #1: On The Beat Records, 22 Hanway St London W1 – a great old record store

Discussion in 'London and the South East' started by editor, Nov 1, 2012.

  1. editor

    editor hiraethified

  2. ringo

    ringo Macaroni cheese controller

    I used to work just round the corner in Soho Square, popped in about once a week. Usually found something to take home, and never outrageously expensive. I like all the memorabilia on the walls, gives it that proper old record shop feel, as does the owner who's obviously been there decades. :)
     
  3. clandestino

    clandestino no llevar papel

    Actually I've found the guy in there to be incredibly rude. It's my least favourite record shop in London.
     
  4. editor

    editor hiraethified

    Sadly that's got to be quite a short list now.
     
  5. ringo

    ringo Macaroni cheese controller

    I said he gives the place an old record shop feel, not that I liked him :D

    Can't think that he's ever been rude to me but agree he's not the warmest of shopkeepers. It is traditional in a record shop to be a bit sneeery/unhelpful though innit.
     
  6. clandestino

    clandestino no llevar papel

    He was incredibly rude one time I went in, just because I wanted to listen to a record to check its quality.

    When I think of great record shops in London, I think of the places where that request would actually spark off a conversation about music with someone who clearly loves records and music and never tires of talking about it - somewhere like Intoxica or Alan's. He gave me the impression that he'd stopped caring about music long ago and just wanted me to hand over my cash and get out.
     
    Onket likes this.
  7. clandestino

    clandestino no llevar papel

    And I don't agree that it's traditional in record shops to be sneery/unhelpful. I go shopping for second hand records fairly regularly and people are either friendly and helpful, or functional (which is fine). Even the bloke in Haggle, who is supposedly famously grumpy, was OK. Only the guy in On The Beat was actively rude.
     
    Fozzie Bear, Onket and ska invita like this.
  8. Voley

    Voley Sign On You Crazy Diamond

    Rough Trade in Covent Garden used to revel in their grumpiness. They had a letter from the Melody Maker blown up on the wall that was along the lines of 'Why are all the staff in Rough Trade such arrogant fuckers?' or words to that effect. :D
     
  9. Voley

    Voley Sign On You Crazy Diamond

    I miss this. There used to be a record shop in Penzance (Sound Check) whose owner and anyone that worked there were incredibly knowledgeable and friendly with it. I once had a chat with the bloke behind the counter about '1969' by The Sisters Of Mercy being a cover version. I'd never heard the original and wondered what it was like so he dug it out for me, put it on and I was fucking dumbstruck by it. I walked away with this record under my arm:
    [​IMG]
    which is a comp of the best bits of 'The Stooges' and 'Fun House'. I played it to death and would say that that bloke behind the counter (still don't know his name) has had as big an influence on my musical taste as John Peel.
     
  10. clandestino

    clandestino no llevar papel

    For the record, here's my shortlist of truly great London record stores.

    Intoxica - sadly threatened with closure, but a great great shop. The last time I was in there, I ended up having a huge conversation about music with the guy behind the counter, who'd I'd never met before.
    Alan's - a fair trek to East Finchley but it's worth it. Fantastic selection, really friendly guy who seems to always knock a few quid off the records you're buying.
    Flashback - my favourite probably. Nice little shop on Essex Road, a couple of decks so you can listen to the records yourself.
    Music Exchange in Notting HIll - the Record And Tape Exchange of yore, the staff there were famously grumpy tbf, but it's better these days I reckon. The soul branch is particularly good, and the little room upstairs in the regular branch is good too.
    Out On The Floor in Camden - nice little shop, with a great basement. Lots of good soul stuff here.
    Reckless in Soho - is fine. Not really a joy or a pain.
    JBS - the best record shop on Hanway Street for my money. They don't have the selection of On The Beat, granted, but there's often good stuff in there, and the guy seems nice.
    Sounds Of The Universe - often some decent stuff in the basement there. Not a shop I've been to loads, but I know others rate it highly.

    Have I missed any out? I've got a flyer for a shop in Fulham that only opens on Friday and Saturday that I want to go to. And there's that place in Putney that I haven't been to yet.

    ETA:

    Haggle - also on Essex Road. The proprietor is famously grumpy apparently but he's always been fine when I've been in. Classic old school stop stuffed with vinyl.
     
    Onket and ska invita like this.
  11. clandestino

    clandestino no llevar papel

    Great album! I played that to death when I was a teenager too.
     
    Voley likes this.
  12. ringo

    ringo Macaroni cheese controller

    Fair do's the world of reggae record shops is/was notoriously difficult. At one end of the spectrum you had Keith at Daddy Kool in Berwick St who was the rudest shopkeeper in the known world. He once threw me out of the shop for accidentally leaning on the light switch and turning the light off. Another time I wanted a rare German reggae LP discography I'd been searching 15 years for. He refused to sell it to me and I didn't go back for 5 years.

    On the other hand shops like Dub Vendor in Ladbroke Grove were hugely intimidating in the 80's, especially for a young white lad who didn't really know what he wanted. The counter would be taken up by sound system selectors listening to the latest releases just off the plane from Jamaica. One staff member would play 30 seconds of each tune and those who wanted it would slap their hands on the counter and shout while the second staff member would try and serve them all. I would just stand there mouth open, occasionally attemptng to make myself heard & get a tune.

    The general second hand shops of Brighton when I was nipper varied between the ones you describe and the aloof, wanker staff who sneered at anything they thought uncool.
     
  13. ska invita

    ska invita back on the other side

    My record shop experiences are usually really positive: went to supertone last month, and had a friendly chat with staff and one other punter, and another guy came in offering his services as a singer! The reggae guy in Sounds of the Universe is always very helpful, Birdy in Honest Johns is great, and the guy I met in the new BM basment for Dub Vendor couldnt have been nicer, we ended up talking about dubstep and the future of the dub scene etc. BITD Nicky Blackmarket was always super friendly even when the shop was packed, as were many many others ... no need for grumpy service really... especially these days. Thats partly why i like to go to record shop on the odd occasion i can - its nice to interact with people.
     
  14. DeadManWalking

    DeadManWalking Active Member

    Yes, Rat Records in Camberwell
     
    RaverDrew likes this.
  15. clandestino

    clandestino no llevar papel

    Yes, good point. A great store, and very fairly priced. I love the photos they post up of the new stock that's going to go in the racks on a Saturday morning.
     
  16. twistedAM

    twistedAM Left Of The Dial

    I haven't been in that shop since I was with a friend looking for the first Labradford album. The guy asked what type of music is that and I said it's a new American band and that CMJ,NME etc were referring to it as post rock. He guffawed at that one and accused me of making up names and/or being a journalist to which I said something along the lines of "Listen cunt, I was quoting, so fuck your shop", and haven't been in since.

    Always thought Rough Trade in Covent Garden staff were cool or maybe that was just because there was one guy there who also liked everything on Alias Records.
     
  17. ATOMIC SUPLEX

    ATOMIC SUPLEX Member Since: 1985 Post Count: 3

    I have been in loads but I don't think I have ever found anything worth buying. Almost impossible to get service even if you are the only person in the shop. No bargains as such. I pop into all the central record shops, this is probably me least favorite.
     
  18. ATOMIC SUPLEX

    ATOMIC SUPLEX Member Since: 1985 Post Count: 3

    I think it's 101 records in Croydon that I am currently loving. It's central but kind of hidden. They mainly stock good quality stuff at a decent price. There is a massive bargain bin of crap though, I waded though it the other day and found some good stuff.
    I have lived in Croydon seven years now, and only found this shop last month.
    There is another one not far from it round the back exit of TK Max, the prices are ok, but never bargains and the limited stock rarely seems to change.
     
  19. TitanSound

    TitanSound Mr Beardy Drummer

    The guys in Pure Groove on Holloway road were always helpful. When I got my first decks at the tender age of 15, I used to go in as it was only round the corner from my house. It was mainly garage, but they got me onto the more breakbeat tunes as I didn't really get into the whole UK garage/2 step stuff. From then, I discovered the actual genre which was mainly slowed down Amen breaks with heavy basslines at that time. Lazy jungle so to speak :D
     
  20. twistedAM

    twistedAM Left Of The Dial

    Wow, didn't know that was still going. Thought all the shops had closed down. I used to go to Croydon every Saturday for some Beano's (selling) and Shake Some Action (buying) and I'd often pop into the other three or four shops that were there too.
     
  21. RaverDrew

    RaverDrew self-banned for a bit R.I.P.

    I thought 101 had shut ? :eek: last time I went in there a year or so back (actually maybe it was a bit more) they said they were a few weeks away from closing down forever.

    I spent pretty much every Saturday in 101 and Beanos as a teenager, they were both brilliant record shops with very friendly and knowledgeable staff. :cool:
     
  22. ATOMIC SUPLEX

    ATOMIC SUPLEX Member Since: 1985 Post Count: 3

    I'll have to check that I have got the right name. I was going to nip down at lunch today or tomorrow anyway.
     
  23. clandestino

    clandestino no llevar papel

    Is this second hand stuff or new stuff? CDs or vinyl? I'm a bus ride away from Croydon so could go take a visit.
     
  24. clandestino

    clandestino no llevar papel

    Are you talking about On The Beat? I agree - even though there's loads of stock, I've never found anything decent in there. Whereas I walked out of Flashback £50 poorer the other day but with some amazing records.
     
  25. ATOMIC SUPLEX

    ATOMIC SUPLEX Member Since: 1985 Post Count: 3

    Yeah, on the beat. I have never found anything in there.
    What is that other small shop on Hanway Street? Is that Flashback. I kind of like that one, friendly guy and a decent (if limited supply).
     
  26. clandestino

    clandestino no llevar papel

    No, that's JBS. I agree, nice guy, decent stock, but a small shop. Flashback is on Essex Road.
     
  27. clandestino

    clandestino no llevar papel

  28. Dan U

    Dan U Boompty

    Croydon used to have so many good record shops.

    Beanos, 101, H&R Cloake, Apple, Wax City, Swag (still going i think)
     
  29. ATOMIC SUPLEX

    ATOMIC SUPLEX Member Since: 1985 Post Count: 3

    Oh right, that's too far for any casual browsing.
     
  30. ATOMIC SUPLEX

    ATOMIC SUPLEX Member Since: 1985 Post Count: 3

    The guy in there actually says 'thank you' even if you leave without buying anything. Aw.
     

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