Around The World In 80 Record Stores by Marcus Barnes (Dog ‘n’ Bone Books 2018)
Imagine how wonderful it would be to travel the globe with the sole purpose of shopping for records. Since such a pursuit is a mere fantasy for most of us, the next best thing to doing so is to purchase a copy of “Around The World In 80 Record Stores,” which was compiled and authored by internationally known journalist Marcus Barnes.
An obsessive music collector himself, Marcus has patronized all of the 80 shops he reports on, so he certainly has first-hand experience of his subject matter. Aside from noting the location of the shops and genres of music and other assorted odds and ends these brick and mortar dwellings stock, he graphicly describes the exterior, interior and atmosphere. Bits of trivia are also often tossed into the mix. The oldest record store in the world? Spillers Records in Cardiff, which was founded in 1894. Pop star Prince’s final tweet? To Electric Fetus in Minneapolis, Minnesota where Prince was a regular customer. A shop that houses a statue of a life-sized gorilla? Public Possession in Munich. The biggest record stores in the world? Tower Records in Tokyo and Forever Young Records in Grand Praire, Texas.
So kick back, slap some vinyl onto the turntable and allow Marcus to take you on an exciting journey from Paris to Prague, from Cape Town to Chicago, from New York to Nairobi, from Singapore to Stockholm, from Montreal to Melbourne, and many other stops in between, and prepare to trawl through the aisles and peruse the shelves of a vast variety of record emporiums.
Looking for a store specializing in the holy trinity of new wave, prog rock and old school hip hop? That would be Unknown Pleasures in Edinburgh, Scotland. Do you collect Arabic music from the sixties and seventies? If so, Chico Records in Beirut fits the bill. For the serious heavy metal fan, there’s Crypt of the Wizard in London, while Play de Record in Toronto is big on reggae, 12 inch dance discs and DJ equipment. Occupying a dank basement in New York City is The Thing, which sells used vinyl at super cheap prices, and Real Groovy in Auckland, New Zealand carries comics and memorabilia amid its wide selection of recordings.
As for me, the only shops in this great book I have physically visited are Mississippi Records in Portland, Oregon and Amoeba Records in Los Angeles, California. Highly recommended indeed.
Marcus is an excellent and expressive writer whose love for music shines brightly and is utterly contagious. His vivid visages of the shops appearing in “Around The World In 80 Record Stores” will make your ears tingle with glee and encourage you check these cool places out, whether online or in the flesh. Music is a gift, and “Around The World In 80 Record Stores” is a testament to the good people who create, sell and promote it... Dig on!
- Beverly Paterson
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