Tuesday, July 14, 2009

London Town

Back from Europe and back to work. Lots of great ideas came out of the trip, as trips are often fond of doing. But before I get into the more intriguing of ideas, I wanted to simply follow up on the last post about London. 

Being a book and music collector, my visits to cities always include a list of record stores and second-hand book stores. London is a great place for both. As for books, there's a one block street in London, off Charing Cross Road, called Cecil Court. It's made up mostly of book stores that sell first editions, or rare editions of books. In other words, it's a book nerds dream come true.

The last time I was in London, I had planned to spend some time on this street. However, the day I ended up making it there, it was late afternoon and most of the shops had already closed. So this time, I set aside an entire morning to geek out.

I arrived around ten in the morning and was one of only a few people there. I went into every shop and browsed every shelf, leafed through endless amazing books, and even bought two at reasonable prices. I spent over two hours on this little street in heaven. It was like a museum but with things I could touch. 

I looked at a signed Andre Gide title. I found several first edition Borroughs. But by far, it was the children's books that I spent most of my time looking through. There is one store on the street called Marchpane that has an amazing collection. There is an entire book case of Alice in Wonderland editions in every language, ranging from the last 100 years. There was a first edition of Lewis Carroll's Sylvie & Bruno Concluded for a cool one hundred pounds, which I considered picking up to go with my first edition of Sylvie & Bruno, but held back. Instead I picked up a slim paperback Dutch Alice from the first half of the last century. 

They also had entire book case of Arthur Rackman illustrated books, but those were too pricey for my tastes. I did manage to score an early edition of Peter Pan & Wendy with great illustrations however from another store. 

As for music, I decided to only visit Rough Trade this time around. Last time I was there, the East shop was closed and moving. So on that trip, I visited every other shop in London, unfortunately Rough Trade East is the one that would have had everything I wanted. So this time, I made the trip...took the Central Line out to Liverpool in the mid-morning and then went a browsing. 

The store is amazing. It's not quite Amoeba Records (L.A. or San Fran), but much better than any store in NYC. Plus, they had a UK section, which meant I didn't have sift through all the albums that I could get in the States for half the price.

They had exactly what I wanted...E.P.s from local bands that you can't here and that I'd never heard of. I bought a stackload of stuff that I'm just starting to listen to (more to come on that in Weekend Roundup). 

So basically, this post is just an FYI for any fellow collectors out there...do yourself a favor, don't miss either of these places on your next jaunt across the pond.

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