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I(Chris) have not visited London for many years, and while visiting during the Olympics, we heard a lot about the Spitalfields markets. So one morning we decided to check it out. This area of East London felt quite different from what I was expecting. The Spitalfields markets contain a new and an old section.

We wandered around the stalls, bought some stuff (including a London Underground shower curtain) and had lunch at Canteen. A pleasant, inexpensive chain serving British food.

Afterwards, I ventured further east and the streetscape changed to that which reminded me of Camden lock market. I did not have a chance to revisit Camden this time and am wondering if it has changed.

By chance, I stumbled into the flagship store of Rough Trade East just off Brick Lane – a record shop with a bit of history.

I bought their album of the month – Solo Piano II by Chilly Gonzales – a special edition containing an additional Rough Trade bonus track featuring some improvisation.


Here is a clip of video featuring a medley of the tunes on the album. Enjoy it while reading the rest of the post.

If you like it, go to his site – where several more videos are posted. The pieces are relaxing without being New Age-y – but a few are liable to be used as background music in Korean soap opera.

The front of Rough Trade has a cafe – the Broken Arms.

Rough Trade’s store front is disproportionately smaller than the inside. It is quite big inside, I guess the rent was cheap. Hope they signed a long lease.

Huh, Hang the DJ – Dance counter.

They have a photo booth, monochrome shots only – just 3 pounds.

They sell more vinyl than CD here.

They have mixers and keyboard for customer’s use and even a separate room for trying some synthesizers. I don’t think they sell synthesizers so I am not sure of the purpose.

Any one can go in to play assuming one knows how to operate the synthesizers. I have never seen this type of setup before but it is very cool!

There is a test listening area.

They also sell some books organized by the categories of Steidl, Caught by the line, London, Sex, Drugs, Rock and Roll, Street art and Musical making and instruments.

They also have a “hobby” section – titled “Prick your finger” which sells knitting supplies for the ladies, and robotics kit “Technology will save us” for the boys.

This kind of stores are slowly becoming extinct but I hope this one can diversify and survive despite itunes, Spotify, … etc.


One Comment

  1. The store looks really cool! If only we have that kind of store here 😉

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