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Alienate Design: Gargoyles, Demons and Aliens
This is a small shop in the Camden Stables market, tucked away in a back corridor. The walls are painted red, the better to show off the sculptures. The prices are very good and mostly all the merchandise is made in the UK.
What to buy: Alienate Design is probably one of the more unusual shops i've ever been in. The walls and ceiling are covered in plaques, sculpture, mirrors, incense burners.... all depicting characters and faces and designs showing skulls, aliens, trolls, gargoyles, Tribal symbols, sci-fi figures and more. Anyone that is a fan of the bizarre and demonic will love this shop. My boyfriend loves horror movies and images and also the surreal artwork of a man named HR Giger (http://www.hrgiger.com/) and there are items that reflect his works as well.
*There was a serious fire in the Camden Lock market in early 2008. I'm not sure if this store was affected or not but it's possible this isn't open anymore*
Vin Mag Co Ltd: Film memorabilia
This shop has been here since 1975 and I have been coming here for many years now. They sell lots of film memorabilia, like posters, photographs, calendars and bric-a-brac of movie stars and series such as Dr who. I got quite a few posters and pictures of Jean Reno from here over the years too; the one from Roseanna's Grave is really horny, and him at his very best.
What to buy:
Posters, photographs, calendars, cups, keyrings, models, lifesize cardboard cut-outs, T-shirts, books, stickers, clapper boards, tin toys, figurines and masks, etc etc.
On the last visit, 6th October 2003, I bought 2 Jean Reno posters, one of 'Le grand bleu' and one of 'Wasabi'.
What to pay:
They are quite expensive in here... £7.99 just for a poster!
- Historical Travel
- Arts and Culture
Vinmag: Where do you find a 1975 copy of Vogue ?
Vinmag, stands for 'Vintage magazine'. Located on Brewer street, the ground level part of the store is all postcards, movie posters and other commercial junk. Downstairs, however, in the cellar (passing by the celebrity signed magazines on the stairs) lies a rabbit warren of old magazines and comics. Most are packaged up in sealed plactic wallets ready for sale.
A mid 1970's copy of Vogue will set you back about 25 Quid ! So what was thrown out in the rubbish by others may well be gathering value in the furthest recesses of your loft.
They seem to specialise in certain magazines, such a 'Vogue' or 'Playboy' where they seem to have every copy going together with a range of other mags, specialist newspapers and comics.
Want a copy of New Musical Express from Oct 1973 ? Price then 2 and a half pence, price now 15 pounds. Now that's what I call inflation.
What to pay: From around five pounds to hundreds.
The Hemp Trading company: Pass it around , man
Fitting in well to the bohemian feel of soho, in the heart of the rather small 'red-light district' of Brewer street, lies shops such as this one. The 'Rasta' colours of it's signboard are a clue to the contents within.
It is an oddity of law in the UK that whilst a legal company is not allowed to sell any form of illegal drugs, there is no law against promoting it, or selling any of the paraphanalia surrounding it.
Sourbugger of course knows nothing of such things, but it may be of use to some.
"Come on baby light my fire..."
Koochi Bazaar: Go belly dancing in exotic Sydenham
The dusty Sydenham Road makes an unlikely setting for a shop specialising in belly dancing clothes and accessories. Lovely jewelled costumes ...
Jewels designed to fit every part of the body ...
Old black and white pictures of Cairo dancers in days gone by.
The owner also has a wonderful book with pictures of accommodation in a village by Luxor, available to rent at low prices. She owns one of the properties, and knows of others.
What to pay: 99p for a card up to 100 pounds for part of a costume. Skirts are about 25 pounds
- Arts and Culture
The Button Queen: First the gays, then the queens
A unique shop in the heart of London's West End, The Button Queen is a treasure trove of buttons. Here is the sort of shop you could even imagine Dickens writing about. Ornate and unique buttons correctly filed away in proper drawers. Established just after WW11, the shop remains a family business. The Button Queen sells a large selection of all types and styles of buttons that reflect the changing button fashions of the last three centuries.
They offer a vast range of antique and modern styles, including Art-Deco and Art-Nouveau. Their services include button and buckle covering. One of my ultimate specialist stores.
Martyn and Isabel Frith are your hosts.
What to buy: Are you serious?
What to pay: Rumour has it that it's relatively inexpensive
- Women's Travel
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
Esoterica: Burlington Arcade
Burlington Arcade (Tube: Piccadilly Circus) is the famous glass-roofed, Regency-style passage leading off Piccadilly. It looks like a period exhibition and is lined with lots of interesting shops and boutiques. The period identity is enhanced with the wrought-iron lamps and decorated with clusters of ferns and flowers. It has many small, smart stores which specialise in fashion, jewelry, Irish linen, cashmere, and more.
At 5:30pm a hand bell called the Burlington Bell is sounded, signaling the end of trading. At this time the beadles (the last London representatives of Britain's oldest police force), in their black-and-yellow livery and top hats, ceremoniously place the iron grills that block off the arcade. At 9am they just as ceremoniously remove them to start a new business day.
- Luxury Travel
Neal's Yard Remedies: Neal's Yard Remedies
What to buy: I bought sandalwood massage oil, bathoil and frankincense body lotion. I' ve tested all 3 off them and loved them. They have this smell that reminds me off old days when people made their own lotions. Rich and luxurious.
They also sell all the ingredients to make your own beautyproducts like rosewater, sandalwood oil, ...
What to pay: It was not cheap. But that's what to expect when you want quality.
Forbidden Planet: Comic Book & Sci-Fi Fans!
"Other" is the only accurate description for this wonderful place. Filled with everything a comix-sci-fi fan would ever want, especially JUDGE DREDD graphic novels, FORBIDDEN PLANET is the coolest shop in London that I kknow of. If there's anything better, someone please let me know.
It is definitely worth the visit! I believe it's on New Oxford. There's also a walking cane store nearby that's been around for dedcades that's worth a look into as well if you're into nice canes and walking sticks.
Remember, "I am the law!"
What to pay: Keep the exchange rates and postage in mind to ship back all the goodies you'll find here! It can really add up!
D R Harris & Co: Apothecary to the elite
Old-fashioned homeopathic pharmacy, dark and mysterious, full of bottles and jars of assorted potions, and smelling scrumptious.
A total sensuous experience!
The nearby residents of St James's and Buckingham Palaces are known to favour homeopathic medicine and this is where they come, as the several royal warrants in the window testify.
What to buy: "The Original" is said to be an effective proprietory hangover cure. I've never tried it myself, I usually rely on strong black coffee.
Neal's Yard: Neal's Yard
A peaceful, colourful area in busy Covent Garden which is good for organic bits and pieces and anything that is environmentally friendly.
What to pay: More than normal.
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