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Thursday, January 17, 2013

Twenty quid will get you the last great record shop carrier bag

One of the most interesting record shops in London used to be Dobells on Charing Cross Road. It finally shut its doors in 1989.

Dobells dealt exclusively in jazz and folk, operating such a strict apartheid between the genres that they had separate entrances from the street. When I first came to London it was just about the only place you could get imports. I couldn't possibly afford to buy them but I used to go in to read the covers and inhale the atmosphere of tobacco and superiority.

On the few occasions I bought anything there I was most delighted to take my swag home in a Dobells bag. Its design, copied many times in the years since, by me and lots of others, showed the spines of a shelf-full of records, in the days when no home could have anything more impressive than that.

Leon Parker, who used to work there and now runs the British Record Shop Archive, is mounting an exhibition all about Dobells. He's soliciting small donations on Kickstarter on a page here which explains all about it. If you give over £20 he'll give you one of the 50 Dobells bags he managed to rescue from the ruins. I'm tempted.

1 comment:

John Medd said...

Funnily enough, my Dobells bag houses all my other record shop bags: like Russian dolls. I know, I should have got out more. And Ray's was only a hop, skip and a jump away - remember Hen's Teeth?