DJ WeeGee has been turning London and beyond onto his eclectic tastes for over thirty years. Known for playing soundtracks, jazz, lounge and the weird and wonderful it is reggae though which is one of Weeg’s main loves, creating a unique WeeGee sound. Here WeeGee selects his ten favourite desert island discs – come selector!

1. Black Man Get Up Pon Foot – Welton Irie (South East Music 7″)

Heavy, heavy deep vibes, with scorching dub side complete with a rewind built in! This is one of my all-time favourite reggae tunes.

2. Heart and Soul – Junior Byles (Errol T. 7″)

More deepness from the sweet vocals of Junior Byles, this is a killer version side with the amazing Errol T. at the controls.

3. Walk On By – Motion (Blue Inc. 12″)

Sublime Brit jazz reggae stylings from George Oban, the original bassist with Aswad and featuring his wife on vocals. My favourite version of ‘Walk On By’  fullstop!

4. Run Run – Delroy Wilson (Coxsone 7”)

Incredibly solid rock steady cut – Delroy’s finest moment on vinyl I reckon.

5. Melting Pot – Dillinger (Wind 7″)

Classic talkover business from Dillinger on the much used but awesome ‘Stalag’ rhythm – everything in this tune is spot on from the lyrics to the mix.

6. Isn’t It Time To See – Tetrack (Rockers 7″)

A Silver Camel Sound System power play from the late seventies.A fantastic roots cut from the Augustus Pablo stable – check the way the dub effects seep their way into the vocal side from the dub side.

7. Sunburst – Tribesman (Direct Records 12″)

More gorgeous Brit jazz/reggae, this time from a band that was formed at my school, with hints and influences from the Finsbury Park Greek/Cypriot community that they lived amongst.

8. Send Another Moses – Lopez Walker (Phase One 7″)

Killer vocal and an even better dub side – Phase 1 in full effect.

9. Bloodsuckers – Pablo Gad (Burning Sounds 12″)

A proper Brit reggae steppers tune if ever there was one, with the dub section, almost seven minutes of it, going off into uncharted territory.


10. Blood of Africa – King Tubby (Fay Music Lp)

Classic King Tubby dub with strong modal overtones – check the horns in particular – awesome.


May 2015

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Interview with Jim Lister, VERSION



Jim Lister is a DJ and music lover. His new night VERSION is an evening of dub and dub influenced music, from reggae to disco, house to techno and beyond. In essence it’s about playing the roots of dub and reggae but also playing anything with a dub feeling, whether that’s a DJ Nature track, a Larry Levan remix or an old Pink Floyd track.

I conducted the interview below via e-mail and for full disclosure, Jim is a friend.

Hello Jim. Long time no see, thanks for agreeing to do an interview. First questions: how did you get into music? What were your early influences? Am I right in thinking your dad was into UK jazz?

My mum and dad are both from South London. My dad was a mod in the early sixties, into nice suits and jazz, particularly Tubby Hayes. I later ‘inherited’ all his Tubby records.  He used to go to the Flamingo, Catford Savoy and the 100 Club, where my   parents had their first date.

I have early memories of my dad playing his tapes around the house on a Sunday before The Big Match started while my Mum was cooking the Sunday roast. He’d play Earth, Wind & Fire’s Greatest Hits, the opening track ‘Got To Get You Into My Life’ was a big one. And also The Crusaders ‘Street Life’ album, Gladys Night & The Pips, and stuff like Phil Collins and Genesis.

I got into music properly when I was around ten or eleven through my best mate’s older brother Elliott. He came home one day with the Thompson Twins’ ‘Hold Me Now’ 12”, I’d never seen a 12” record before, so it really turned my head! I bought the Thompson Twins album ‘Into The Gap’ which I played to death and went to the Hammersmith Odeon to see them, which was my first ever gig.

Around the same time, and also through Elliott, I got into Depeche Mode who I still really love; it was the ‘Master & Servant’ and ‘Some Great Reward’ period. Again we went to see them at the Hammersmith Odeon in 1984/5. My mum took us to the gig and she sat up the back reading her book all night while I went nuts down the front, bless her.

Following Depeche Mode I got into Frankie Goes To Hollywood and I’ve still got my ‘Two Tribes’ 12″, which still sounds incredible. I loved all the Frankie videos and the t-shirts and their whole ‘thing’ [Ed: there was huge fashion trend at the time of t-shirts emblazoned with ‘Frankie Says Relax’, ‘Relax’ being Frankie’s controversial first single]. Later on I realised what a genius their producer Trevor Horn is, with stuff like Grace Jones ‘Slave To The Rhythm’. I was also recording a lot of tapes from my local library. Grandmaster Flash stuff circa ‘White Lines’, was a big one. Another influence was another mate’s older brother who was really into early hip hop. It was around the time of Beat Street and Ollie & Jerry. We used to hang around Croydon on a Saturday in our Pepe jeans and Hi Tec Tecs, and Nike two-tone jackets, wishing we could breakdance!

Again, through Elliott I got into U2 around the time of ‘The Unforgettable Fire’, and was obsessed with them for years. I was into the whole stadium rock thing with bands like Simple Minds, The Waterboys, INXS etc.

It was only through the recent Nile Rodgers documentary that I found out Nile produced INXS. It’s easy now to dismiss U2 and Simple Minds as rock dinosaurs, but both bands were testing the musical waters during their early years. You mentioned Simple Minds’ ‘Empire and Dance’ and ‘Sons & Fascination’ albums as being particularly experimental.

I got into both bands later on during their mid-period,  Simple Minds’ ‘New Gold Dream’ and U2’s ‘Fourth of July’ spring to mind. You are also into The Stone Roses? Another band that pushed the musical boundaries.

When I was 15, I really got into classic rock stuff.  I was massively into The Doors, The Stones, Van Morrison, Led Zep etc and then in late summer 1989 I heard The Stone Roses debut album which had come out a few months earlier. It completely changed my life! For the first time there was a new group that really felt like ‘my band’, my version of The Beatles, Sex Pistols, The Smiths.  Everything changed from there on in. Not just the amazing music but their whole attitude, the clothes, the interviews – they were the real deal and I worshipped the ground they walked on.

Once I was in my late teens, I started going to lots of raves and clubs. My girlfriend at the time was at Sussex University and living in Brighton so we used to go raving there a lot. We often went to The Zap Club on the beach front, and we went to ‘Tonka’ (Ed: a legendary club night with DJ Harvey) which was a real eye opener, probably my first proper house music experience.  Around the same time I also was getting into Young Disciples, Brand New Heavies and Galliano etc. And so the funk / acid jazz years began!

The Gilles Peterson Years

In 1992 I went off to college in Southampton and as well as getting deeper into the funk and acid jazz stuff, the south coast hardcore thing was massive at the time, things like Sterns, Interdance etc. So I was going to raves, but the music never really did it for me, I was more interested in rave culture than the music.

Then I started getting into house music properly. One of my flat mates, Andy Allday, had a nice record collection with stuff like early Underworld, Junior Boys Own, Cowboy Records, Guerilla. A lot of this type of music was defined by Mixmag magazine as ‘Progressive House’ at the time.

In 1993, whilst getting increasingly into the house thing, I discovered Paul ‘Trouble’ Anderson’s Saturday night show on Kiss FM, and that was another big moment. Hearing disco / boogie stuff from the likes of Leroy Burgess, and weird tracks like Martin Circus was very influential for me. And Trouble’s mixing blew my mind.

From Trouble I started to explore Kiss FM a bit more and in 1994 came across a show by a DJ called Gilles Peterson, and that was that. Gilles Peterson was a massive game changer once again. A whole new world of music and clubs opened up to me, including Gilles’ That’s How It Is night (Ed: an influential, groundbreaking Monday night club night), and I started taping Gilles’ ‘Worldwide’ show religiously from 1994, for probably the next 10 years.

The same year, I also came across Fabio’s show on Kiss FM. The whole drum n’ bass thing was really taking off around then, Gilles was starting to play it too, and I loved the music of Photek, Peshay, Alex Reece, Reinforced, Goldie etc.

The Reggae Years

I’ve always loved reggae but in the last five years it’s overtaken everything else, even jazz – and I’m a big jazz fan! I reckon 75% of my record buying and listening is now reggae and dub, which a few years ago most definitely wasn’t the case. Life is full of surprises!

After Bob Marley one of my first reggae influences was Horace Andy through Andy guesting on the Massive Attack stuff in the nineties. Horace is still probably my favourite reggae vocalist. Through Massive Attack’s ‘No Protection’ album remixed by Mad Professor, I got into dub.

I went to see Massive Attack in ‘94/95 at the Galtymore Ballroom, Kilburn. Massive Attack were in one room and Mad Professor was playing dub in another. This gig and the Blood & Fire reissue label were hugely influential on my love of reggae. Blood & Fire released so much amazing music, including Horace Andy’s ‘In The Light / In The Light Dub’ albums. Around the same time, I started to catch the end of Joey Jay’s show on Kiss FM [Ed: influential reggae DJ]. Joey Jay was on before Gilles Peterson on a Sunday night, and Gilles would often start with a reggae tune to link to Joey’s show e.g Ijahman Levi’s ‘I am a Levi’.

I first went to Carnival in 1996 and have been going pretty much every year since then. That would have been the first time I discovered proper reggae sound systems, and hearing them outdoors on the street is such a buzz, just the sheer weight and power of those systems. For years I religiously went to Norman & Joey Jay’s Good Times sound system, and they’re still some of the best parties I’ve ever been to. On the way to Good Times I would always pass through Aba Shanti, the dub and reggae system that’s just around the corner. I remember being blown away the first time I walked thru Aba Shanti, just the sheer volume and the bass! I’d never heard anything like it, and probably still haven’t.

Good Times was a real influence, partly because Joey Jay would always have a 30/45 minutes slot during the day when he’d play things like John Holt’s ‘Ali Baba’, Toots & The Maytals ’54-46 That’s My Number’ and Fabian’s ‘Prophecy’. The latter track is one of my all time favourites. But as the years went on, Good Times was doing it less and less for me. My tastes were changing, Norman’s selections were changing, and it was starting to get a bit too busy, so I started spending more and more time round the corner at Aba Shanti, and over the last few years, it’s taken over from Good Times as my favourite party of the year. The vibe at Aba Shanti is a very special thing.

Even though the music policy and crowd sizes are different, Aba Shanti and Good Times have a lot in common. There’s the same warm family atmosphere at both systems, no moodiness, just good vibes with people enjoying themselves and getting down in the open air, with music that lifts the spirits and touches the soul – it gets no better. I went to Carnival in 2012, just after the riots had happened, and there was a real feeling of uneasiness as we walked down from Kensal Rise tube station, I remember seeing a lot of police, and quite a few kids getting searched on the way as we walked towards Aba Shanti. Then as we started to get nearer Middle Row where the system is, I remember hearing Bob Marley’s voice getting louder and louder, and then when we got to their spot, the sun was shining, it was really quiet and peaceful, and all you could hear was Bob Marley singing ‘We don’t need… no more trouble’. It was amazing, a real Carnival moment.

Another big influence on my reggae education was moving to north London and listening to a local community radio station, Station FM. Station FM plays mainly reggae, soul and lovers rock. I started to listen to one show in particular every Sunday afternoon from 4-6pm – Robo Ranks ‘The Bonafide One’. For me, Robo Ranks is the sound of Sunday afternoons. He’s a legend, he always starts his show with this killer instrumental tune by The Dynamites called ‘Eternally’. I finally found out what the track was last year when I rang the station and Robo told me himself! In the first hour Robo plays a lot of 70s/80s lover’s soul stuff that always sounds great on a Sunday, and he also plays lots of lovely old reggae and ska. He’s just the best radio presenter. In a very pirate radio fashion, he sings over the tunes, and like a good pastor, he always talks about moral issues, the importance of family, and how you should bring up your kids the right way. I could go on about reggae all day, but Lloyd Bradley’s book, ‘Bass Culture’ was also a very big influence. I first read it around the time my son was born in 2012 and am reading it again now. Such a great book, and it’s not just the musical story, but the history of Jamaica and the way reggae came over to the UK. I love learning more about Jamaica’s cultural history, it fascinates me. In 2003/4 going to Francois Kevorkian’s Deep Space night in New York again opened my eyes to the dub side of things and is a big influence on VERSION. It’s a whole other world, especially when you look at the influence it’s had on all other forms of music; from disco to house to techno to jungle etc. A lot of music I’d always loved but until that point had never made the connection with reggae and dub. I think dub is a lot more influential than many people realise, which is why doing VERSION is an important thing for me. I guess my aim if I have one is to try and grow a London/UK version of Deep Space. The same outlook and concept but with very much a London attitude. We’ll see what happens.

The next VERSION night takes place between 7pm-midnight on Thursday 4 June at Brilliant Corners, 470 Kingsland Road, E8 4AE London with selectors Kirk Degiorgio, Demus and Jim Lister. Facebook VERSION for more details.



Following popular demand, here are four shops reviewed from the archives of The Secret List – New York. Each shop was visited anonymously at least once, often twice or three times.

The rating system follows the Michelin guide’s line: 3 stars is outstanding, 2 is excellent, 1 is highly recommended.

For places to visit please check the New York City Guide in the menu bar above.

A1 RECORDS                                                                                              3 STARS

439 EAST 6th Street, NEW YORK, NY 1009


TEL: (001) 212-473-2870

Dusty grooves

I am outside A1 Records, peering through its heavily stickered windows. I can see masses of records and I really want to go in but the door to the shop remains firmly closed. An assistant spots me outside – the shop is a good half an hour late in opening – and lets me in. I enter and within a minute I realise that the shop easily satiates a record lover’s needs: all genres are covered and soul and funk are especially good. Eavesdropping in on the assistants’ banter was equally interesting.

“What’s my man drinking?”

“Carrot juice, $4 from across the road.”

“Carrot juice? $4? Check Mr Williamsburg in the house.”

Williamsburg, the area, carrot juice vendors and all, is the mecca for record shops. But make no mistake the East Village locale where A1 is  located is its equal. And if you need further evidence then look at A1 Records, which is, quite simply, incredible. The shop is huge and dusty with racks and racks of records. It can be almost overwhelming at first, as a sea of vinyl seeps into the abyss wherever you look. Once you have adjusted to the sight of the sheer scale and range of records, you could easily lose yourself for hours here, happily rifling through the stock (no CDs), eyeing the rarer but not too expensive 12”s on the wall and admiring photographs of the rich and famous who have visited the shop.

This is a lovely area of New York, with a huge concentration of record shops. On each visit, new shops seem to have sprung up, ready to be discovered, that are not always on the radar of even the most discerning vinyl hunter. What is fascinating for an outsider is the mix of independent shops in what is a very residential part of the city. The main thoroughfare is quite edgy with lots of tattoo parlours, bars etc. However there are also leafy side streets full of brownstone apartments with stoops that do not seem the most obvious setting for shops selling rare hip hop breaks. But here it is. And the hush of the area is matched by a quiet ambience inside the dens of wax.

You can listen to records on a handful of record players dotted around the shop. Calling them listening posts would be an exaggeration as the well-used turntables are positioned haphazardly. Initially the shop seems a tad intimidating and the dusty environment can be off-putting for the less hardened record lover but the staff are knowledgeable and helpful.

It is when the headphones are on, and the needle hits the record that the sound erupts and “you hear a drumbeat go like this.”

On my visit I spotted:

Da Enna C’s ‘Throw Ya Hands In The Air’, Jay Dee’s first production, for $40;

Gary Bartz’s ‘Another Earth’ ($25, good condition); and

The Latin Jazz Quintet’s ‘Oh Pharoah Speak.

A1 records is the granddaddy of New York record shops, helping spawn the much rated The Sound Library and Big City shops, now both closed. A New York institution.


GOOD RECORDS                                                                                        2 STARS

218 EAST 5th STREET, NEW YORK, NY 10003



TEL: (001) 212-529-2081


Get on the good foot

If crate digging is all about the ‘find’, then the discovery of the record shops that hold these rare records are ‘finds’ in themselves. Good Records is one such place.

Located in a mainly residential part of East 5th Street, a plethora of steep stoops and narrow residences with wrought iron balconies and metal fire escapes gives the area a quiet buzz.

Although Good Records starts the trail of record shops on this street, it is easily missed, situated as it is on a lower ground floor. Inside, the shop is bathed in light, decorated in pale wood, with records neatly stocked in boxes. This may be a far cry from a crate digger’s messy, unkempt shop heaven but be warned the stock is to die for. The elongated space houses jazz, rock and folk on the left of the shop, disco and hip hop to the right. A medium-sized selection maybe, but a quality one nonetheless – a real treasure trove of delights.

The whole buying experience is highly enjoyable, from the pleasant surroundings to the very friendly and chatty owner, and all accompanied by the constant whirring of a record machine cleaner keeping the stock in pristine condition. Ultimately record shops all come down to interesting finds, and this is where Good Records wins handsomely.

Gems include:

Manu Dubango’s ‘Soul Makossa’ with a different album cover $30; American Gypsy ‘Inside Out’ $20; and

The Electric Prunes ‘Underground’ $20.

 EARWAX RECORDS                                                                           1 STAR



 TEL: (001) 718-486-3771


You put your record on wax” – The Gas Face, 3rd Bass

This review is for Earwax’s previous location in Bedford Avenue at the foot of Williamsburg. I first visited in 2007 at the beginning of the hipster revolution, which has its roots in the area. I loved walking across the Williamsburg Bridge, with its imposing gothic gates, from the Lower East Side.  Looking at the panoramic view of the city from the bridge is one of New York’s magic moments – the sheer size of the Gotham metropolis coupled with a Zen like calmness.

The shop was in an area punctuated by independent bookshops and eateries and was one of the must visit shops in the area for alternative sounds. Online reviews suggest the new shop in North 9th Street continues the tradition, and what a tradition! Earwax was my first port of call during any record shop tour of Williamsburg. I much enjoyed rifling through multiple genres, surrounded by a pleasant and friendly vibe.

Two-thirds of the shop’s stock was indie, rock or alternative, very much like the UK’s Rough Trade chain of shops. If you were looking for an old Stone Temple Pilots album, the new Arcade Fire CD or an Aphex Twin re-issue here was the place.

Earwax’s vinyl selection was very good focusing on reissues and second hand funk, soul and hip hop.

There was a varied enough selection of genres to keep the crate digger happy and whilst there was no record listening post (it was broken on my visit) the shop was happy to audition CDs. The friendly member of staff, complete with washed out dungarees, faded baseball cap and long beard, rocking a ZZ Top roadie look, was – in keeping with the shop’s friendly atmosphere – very accommodating.

Vinyl issues included:  French soundtracks; Serge Gainsbourg; Fania label; Mulatu etc; rare eighties boogie 12”s  – prices ranging between $20-25 for sealed copies.

THE THING                                                                                                 2 STARS



TEL: (001) 718-349-8234


The legend that is The Thing


The legend that is The Thing is well documented on Youtube, blogs and is on the lips of every serious record collector (“have you been to The Thing?”). Its reputation is thoroughly deserved.

On my last visit to New York, I took a long stroll from Williamsburg to The Thing. It is quite a distance, but it was a sunny week day, so the area was not drowning with people and I photographed some wonderful graffiti which just happened to be next to Futura 2000’s workshop, who – bang on cue – walked past me. En route, I also discovered The Record Grouch, so this nicely set the stall for my visit.

There is no other word for it. The Thing is huge. On entering the main shop, with its relaxed vibe, which stocks furniture, assorted bric-a-brac and books, you walk to the far end of the store and into a back room. There are masses of records. Tens of thousands of records, all genres, all eras, all conditions, and laid vertically in shelves in (I think) no particular order. It was overwhelming but after taking a deep breath, I ventured into digging through the massive collection. All records are $2, and there are some finds. There is one turntable to play records. Being able to audition your selection is crucial here, as it allows you to sample the many records you are unlikely to know.


But there is more. There are a few stairs, complete with a cautionary notice warning you to step carefully, which lead down to what is the biggest ‘mess’ (meant in a nice way) of vinyl I have ever seen. The basement – dark, slightly damp with a breathe carefully vibe – has hundreds of thousands of records, on shelves, stacked in crates and piled horizontally on the floor. There is vinyl everywhere, including in the closed back part of the shop.


It’s a great experience diving deep into the masses of vinyl although wash your hands afterwards! You will find many records you will like, some you will know but most will be discoveries. I am not sure if there are any rarities to be had; if you have three days to spare, you might find out.

The legend lives on. An absolute must.


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Where to buy The Secret List – stockists, shops and online

The Secret List is available from the publisher Lulu

Los Angeles


Worth checking on the home page to see if there are any of the frequent discounts available

The Los Angles book is also available to physically buy and online at:

Honest Jon’s, London

The Paris book is available to buy at:

Phonica, London

Superfly, Paris

Betino, Paris

and finally online at Amazon.




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Record store day 2015 – the gifts that lie within; travel stories about record shops

To celebrate record store day, I’ve highlighted some of the owners behind the record shops – both well-known shops and off-the-radar ones – and the stories behind the shops. It is often these owners and my own journeys to these shops which make record stores unique. Support the independents.

Barn Home Records, Shinjuku, Tokyo


Barn Home Records is a humble operation housed inside a nondescript building on a busy thoroughfare in one of the busiest Tokyo districts. Like entering many Japanese shops there is a little trepidation in walking into a space hidden from the public’s gaze, lost as it were at the end of a corridor up a flight of stairs. Inevitably, you discover a quiet atmosphere; despite being a record shop, there is little noise.

Although small, Barn Home Records had some quality selections: classic soul, folk and progressive rock to name but a few examples. I went into the shop knowing the owners would be unaware of The Secret List and helped myself to the sixties soul selection, happy to be guided by their recommendations across this and other genres. The conversation started to flow: the state of record shops in Tokyo, my holiday in Japan etc, and a friendship began to form. They saw me eye up the psychedelic rock albums and more recommendations followed – not a hard sell to purchase, more a love of sharing their knowledge of good music.

The husband and wife owners then emerged from behind the shop counter, bowed their heads and presented me with a US West Coast ‘surfin’ seven inch, complete with a cover good enough to frame. I was really touched and am grateful to have chanced upon this wonderful gem of a shop.

 Barn Homes Records, Clean Nishi-Shinjuku 1F, 7-5-6 Nishi-Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku


Fat Beats, Los Angeles

The Fat Beats shops, now sadly closed, were a huge influence on the evolution of hip hop. Discerning hip hop lovers from the UK visiting New York would pay pilgrimage to the downtown shop. The New York shop put the store on the record store map, and a smaller sister Los Angeles branch, based in the cool meets funky Melrose Avenue, had similar success. Other shops opened in Atlanta, Tokyo and Amsterdam, spreading the Fat Beats name worldwide.

Fat Beats supplied music, or fat beats, to hip hop producers. Its stock was hip hop as well as a wide variety of ‘breaks’, samples, spanning disco, rock and soul. The stock was perhaps not as eclectic or deep as New York’s ‘The Sound Library’ or ‘A1 records’ but Fat Beats was worthy of its reputation as the place for hip hop. This reputation was further cemented by a celebrated clientele – DJ Premier, Pete Rock, Large Professor etc: a long line of the who’s who of producers whose names and testimonies lined the walls at Fat Beats shops.

My name was also on these famed walls, not scribbled under some DJ pseudonym but contained in an article I wrote for Shook magazine prominently displayed behind the counter. A handy addition to have in the shop, so it turned out, as it proved to be my ticket to buying records at the Melrose branch.

I had walked into the empty store, on a quiet stretch of Melrose Avenue, hidden from passers-by by being tucked away on the first floor of a nondescript building. I, as ever, when greeted with an empty shop, impressive stock and a willing assistant, helped myself to a handful of aural delights. As I swapped stories with the assistant and came to hand over a hundred dollars on my credit card, I fell foul of the stringent American ID laws. No passport or driving licence meant no old school hip hop, no Madlib, nothing.  But ah ha, I can prove who I am, sort of. Behind you is an article I wrote, coincidentally on record buying.

Offering ID in the form of an article on record digging probably falls foul of credit card law. But appropriate in a shop, and more widely hip hop, where the premise is to search thoroughly for information. Digging for the perfect beat as the mantra goes.

Conch Records, Auckland

“If you’re free this evening we’re going for a drink. See that wooden door opposite, push it open and there is a secret bar behind it, meet us there from 6pm.”

At the far end of Ponsonby Road, a funky strip home to some of the best coffee producers and their cafes and littered with cool but not overtly hipster shops, lies Conch Records. Conch Records is a wonderful shop. It is a well-designed space, easy to navigate, with lots of natural light and a garden with a cafe. Gentrified it is not. I got my fingers suitably dusty finding a weird Latin cover of the Jamie Principle classic ‘Baby Wants to Ride’ and an obscure and cheap-as-chips Japanese jazz album. These purchases reflect Conch Records’s eclectic selection as well as stocking a host of new releases, making it an essential stopover for visiting international DJs. The likes of Gilles Peterson and Norman Jay have graced the store.

The owner Cian is brilliant, going as far to recommend a number of New Zealand- based records, and as he didn’t have them in stock, alternative places to buy the records. And, with his friend, DJ Sam-E, who I met at the shop, a very good drinking companion.

Cian and Sam invited me to an after work drink soiree with what seemed like half of New Zealand’s music industry. Suitably clandestine, the bar was hidden behind an anonymous door – I stood outside for a good thirty seconds thinking I had been had – opening onto a small courtyard with a barbeque and DJ. As I swapped stories with my new friends – Sam’s experience of living in a squat in Southall – I was asked what I did. Jaws dropped when I said I wrote a record shop guide series, I quickly reassured my friends they had nothing to worry about in terms of any review. And besides The Secret List being invited to a secret bar is a story well worth telling.

115A Ponsonby Rd, Ponsonby, Auckland 1011

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At long last, after a few technical hitches the second edition of The Secret List, covering Paris, is out now.

Buy here and check for any discount codes on the homepage.






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The Secret List – Los Angeles now published!

Here it is! The first volume of The Secret List, The Secret List – Los Angeles is finally available. The book features record shops, thrift stores and somewhere off the beaten track. There are also a few travel highlights to inspire a visit. If you are into record shops or more generally music, or if you fancy a visit to Los Angeles, you should take a look.


32 printed pages in full colour, a record shop guide through the lens of a travel/music writer, in a handy seven inch single size, what’s not to like?

Buy your copy here,

I hope you enjoy it.





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Have a look at our Tumblr site, which includes short form posts, photos and previews of the book.


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From London to Los Angeles via Paris, The Secret List is a guide to selected record shop capitals of the world. The book collates, describes and reviews record shops, from the well known to the hidden away thrift store in a travelogue style. I visit every shop anonymously at least twice, often three times, to review each shop. The book is completely independent, we do not have any investors or have any business relationships with shops.   Each book is also beautifully designed and includes some hidden, ‘secret’ spots giving the book much more interest to a wider  audience.

The Los Angeles edition was published in November 2013 and the Paris edition in July 2014. In addition an online New York guide was published in May 2015. I set up both physical and online distribution for the books, rare for a self-published book. The books were stocked in four shops in London – Honest Jon’s and Phonica  – and Paris  – Superfly and Bentino’s, as well as in over twenty online sites including a number of Amazon sites. The books were deleted in January 2016.

I started my own fanzine, Left of the Jazz Side, in the early nineties which lasted three issues. This hand stapled, photocopied tome brought me to the attention of one Will Ashon at Trace magazine, who commissioned one of my first reviews. My first review, a live review of the soul singer Maxwell, was published in Blues and Soul where I would work from the mid-nineties to 2002. The last two years at Blues and Soul were writing the monthly jazz column where I covered music from Joshua Redman to Rza. Since then I have had regular work published for Flyglobalmusic and the now defunct Shook magazine. My work has also appeared on BBC music online amongst many other websites.

Sanjiv Ahluwalia

All original work by Sanjiv Ahluwalia copyright Left on the Jazz Side 1992; Sanjiv Ahluwalia 2016.


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