This time I hit up Kingston, ON. This trip was not made to go digging, because driving an equal two hours in the opposite direction would yield much more magnificent results, in Montreal. I went with my pal/band mate Eric to buy a bass cab, and record shopping is an obvious time killer (read: obsessive necessity?).
The first shop we're directed to is Brian's Record Option. I'm gonna get this out of the way, and make this perfectly clear. This graveyard should never be an option for record shopping. If you're in the area, pop in quickly to be amazed that anyone could allow their shop, what they rely on for their income, and where they spend the better part of their week, to degenerate to such an extent. This place looks like WWII bombarded France, where the flooring is not hardwood or carpet, but shattered records and ripped sleeves. The (assumingly) once organized bins are now impossible to slip through, because not only are they jam packed beyond capacity, but theyre are not even in single file (view photo).
This is the Metal section. No, the Thin Lizzy record was not worth buying. Brian also told us it is apparently alphabetized.
Genres are split haphazardly, and are advertised through means of sharpie on the particle board shelving, or just a decrepit piece of cardboard. Any of the fun or joy one would normally gain through flipping is completely diminished when Brian tells you the new arrival section is the 50 LPs cascading across the floor, like I said, there is no room left in the bins.
I know it's hard to read but this is the "Woman Artist" section... or something.
And what's the point in flipping anyway? Sure there's a record you enjoy here and there, but they're destroyed, a product of their environment. On top of that, they're priced as if they are mint copies. I found a copy of Iron Maiden - Powerslave that looked like someone had used sandpaper to clean it. Devo's Are We Not Men? We Are Devo! had a large crusty stain on the back. Maybe he had used it as a plate during his lunch?
Bingo! The Punk section... oh.. wait. It sucks. And the Picture Disc section appears to only contain one picture disc. WHAT IS GOING ON?
Brian's sanity may be called into question, but I have a feeling this all stems from living in Kingston too long. Anyone I've ever spoken to in Kingston, and the locals I encounter on my sparse visits leaves me with the conclusion that Kingston simply breeds some of the strangest people I've ever had to meet. Use this photo of the "singles" section as an analogy for the typical Kingston mentality.
Where singles come to die. :(
I did noy leave empty handed though. He has loads of tapes, and evolution has graced tapes with a strong plastic exo skeleton that is impervious to the gulag like environment of the record shop, so it was in relatively good condition. It was a Henry Rollins spoken word tape, Big Ugly Mouth, that I got for Finner, who had bought it for me on vinyl years earlier.
The next shop we went to was Zap Records. It was diametrically opposed to Brian's shop, neat tidy and a great atmosphere. The guy working was completely cool to talk to, but unfortunately no records that interested me there. Anyway, everything was alright in the end because less than a week later I went to Montreal to see Fucked Up and got tons of great records at some of my favourite shops. Maybe I'll do a proper guide for Montreal next.
My Montreal finds plus three Fucked Up 7"s I bought off VLV user Doody (The top right 3). Oh wait, and I got Celtic Frost from Eric. But I also got the Morrissey "Suedehead" 12" single as a gift for Ross, so that took its place.
I also found this youtube documentary about Brian, but it does not showcase the ultimate disarray of his shop. It reminds me of that single dude (who am I kidding they're all single) from that documentary Vinyl who stacks all his records vertically.