Smithfield is within the jurisdiction of the City of London, but outside of the old City walls. It is the furthest that Wat Tylor and the Peasants Revolt reached in 1381 and the furthest that the Great Fire of London got in 1666. And now it plays host to what is probably the City's first and only independent/alternative record shop.
Its called Pure Groove. I got a very pleasant suprise when I walked through Smithfield this Monday luncthime and saw it.
It is a big shop but it only sells 100 titles at any one time. They pick the 100 CDs that they are really into and display them over on one wall. They change the selection every week. It is a great idea: less is more. I will end up going in the store just to find out is in their 100.
They used to be in Archway (North London) but moved to Smithfield in June this year because they could have extra space for instore gigs. The benefit of only selling 100 titles is that it leaves the rest of the store clear for gigs, art exhibitions and installations.
I've been there every lunchtime since I found it. I've bought We'll drive home backwards by Cocosuma and Love, ire and song by Frank Turner. Very happy with both. I felt my age when I read Pure Groove's description of Frank Turner as 'a modern Billy Bragg'.
Here is a video of one of their instore shows: the Virgins. My favourite bit is 5 minutes into the video when they take the band over to the 100 wall and the band comment on the selection and on the other bands represented in it
And here is Frank Turner's instore there: