Hand-written signs on the doors, the latest indie band concert posters on the stairs leading to the genre-stretching departments of the upper and lower floors, unkempt, sticky floors… The prices are on either a card insert for the CDs with the booklet ready for you to have a read through the credits (who played the triangle on that number 1 hit?), or on a sticker labelled to the many vinyl covers that have been bought, sold, re-bought, re-sold… The prices are reduced on a periodical basis, with the staff writing on these labels the next pound off, every time using a different-colour marker pen.
The Music & Video Exchange should not exist in this day of the download and the British high street but it so proudly does, chest out and head held high with headphones on, listening to the latest gems found here.
What I love most about the Music & Video Exchange is the self-titled Bargain Basement. CDs surround the walls, vinyls in the centre and I have unearthed upon many a visit a complete, 10-album back catalogue and still had change from ten pounds. There is no database of stock, just look in the many different categories.
The Exchange chain also has other stores around the corner on Pembridge Road in the form of comics, books and clothing, all offering a trip back in time and an impulsive tug of the purse strings or a tap of plastic now that we are in the 2000s.