Wednesday, December 19, 2012


There's just about time to get this in before it all ends. If the Mayan's are right the last record shop really will shut for good at some point on Friday making all of this and oh so much more kind of without point. But then if the Mayan's were so good why did they dress like the bad guys out of Stargate the movie? ...Exactly. Shit movie, shit calendar.

So, 'Rare and Racy'. This place has taught me a couple of things. Firstly that I have gone for thirty eight years spelling 'Racy' incorrectly - It appears that there is no 'e' in the word. Secondly, books and records can co-exist, in perfect harmony just like Paul McCartney (of Nirvana) and Stevie Wonder.

So many stores get this completely wrong and we are faced with something akin to a jumble sale or charity shop. The cross-cultural lair of some jack of all trades that nails neither, this is not the case with 'Rare and Racy', the music represented is good, the books are great. Granted the music based stock isn't what it used to be, there was a time when the vinyl section here was more exciting and diverse than anywhere else in Sheffield. Despite this it still has the feel of a very special place, somewhere I could happily kill half an hour or so.

'Rare and Racy' used to be the end of my unofficial (partial) Sheffield 'Record Shop Crawl', assuming that you are too tired to make the walk past the Octagon to 'Record Collector' on/in Broomhill. I always was. That kind of Scott like trekking needed special preparation and a day all too itself.

Before hand I would have bounced up the hill from 'Kenny's Records' on the Wicker, up to Castle Market to the Goth Shop on the first floor balcony, then onto 'Their Price', then that one up the alley way that might have been 'Roulette' then to 'Fopp', then 'Jacks' and finally 'Rare and Racy'. And that list only takes in about 50% of the shops at the time.

Now... Well now there's 'Rare and Racy' and given that the Vinyl Holocaust of the past decade has not been able to claim them maybe the Mayan Sun God will leave the cosmic battlefield head down and defeated as well.

Record wise the stock has a Jazz lilt but still caters for more experimental musical tastes. I bought an early Melt Banana CD in here at a time where the only other place in the UK to get them was London or Slap-a-Ham records. Yes it comes across as strafed, but from time to time there is enough good stuff here to keep you coming back and on the trips when there isn't it doesn't feel like a wasted journey but more a pleasant diversion.

So here's to Sheffield city centre's last bastion of civility, cultural intrigue and the occasional record, may you last forever... Which if you are Mayan is approximately 36 hours, and if you are Mayan you have built a religion around the wrong Kurt Russell film, next time try Escape From New York.