The original sound of Northern Soul, popcorn and R&B. Celebrating 50 years of Northern Soul at the famous Golden Torch night club in Stoke-on- Trent featuring legendary golden torch classics by The Valentines, The Inspirations, Roscoe Shelton, Jerry Fuller, Linda Jones and many more. At the height of its fame it the Golden Torch boasted a 5,000-strong membership & attracted international soul acts including The Drifters, James & Bobby Purify, Ben E. King, J.J. Barnes, Fontella Bass, The Stylistics & Ma-jor Lance. Over half a million passed through its doors before its untimely closure in March ‘73 when the local council refused to renew its all-night licence.

Soul royalty Edwin Starr accompanied club owner Chris Burton to the licence hearing, but to no avail. Within six months … More

Love Is All I Bring showcases the very talented female performers of Trojan Records, who in the world of reggae can often to be overlooked. Featuring vocals from the likes of Millie Small, Althea & Donna, Marcia Griffith, Phyllis Dillion, and Susan Cadogan plus productions by Sonia Pottinger this all female collection also includes personal album notes from musician Rhoda Dakar. Split across 2 LP’s discs (extended version), with hits on one and rarities on the other, this collection comprises some of the greatest reggae tracks, whilst highlighting the importance and talent of Jamaican female artists.

New double vinyl LP available in store and online.

Hans Holbein’s 16th-century masterpiece, The Dance of Death, reminds its readers that no one, no matter their rank or position, can escape the great leveller, Death. In a foreboding series of woodcuts, Death, depicted as a skeleton, intrudes on the lives of people from every level of society, from the sailor to the judge, the ploughman to the king. By highlighting our common fate, Holbein exposes the folly of greed and ambition, and in doing so brings a corrupt and callous elite crashing back down to earth.

In this darkly satirical update, Guardian cartoonist Martin Rowson sharpens and reshapes Holbein’s vision for the 21st century. Death seizes … More

Vintage mid-60s magic supervised by the producer most closely associated with the mod genre. Club favourites, nuggets from the Planet Records catalogue and many unheard gems – all straight from the Shel Talmy vaults. Double LP version pressed on 180g transparent red vinyl in heavy duty gatefold jacket. Shel Talmy is a name that any discussion of the significant stewards behind British pop’s mid-60s purple period will immediately bring to mind. Were it only for his early supervision of the Who, he would still remain a mod hero. Add the dozens of other records and artists – from best-sellers such as the Kinks to obscurities along the lines of the Mickey Finn – with which he was involved, and his role in bringing forth the most powerful examples of the genre becomes unequivocal. Even a venture that was ostensibly a failure – his bespoke label, Planet Records – has acquired semi-mythical status amongst the mod cognoscenti, thanks in part to its association with Talmy’s great white hope, the Creation.

Rather than recycling the over-familiar, the new “Planet Mod” compilation digs deep into Talmy’s rarely tapped tape vault to uncover … More

Following on from The Stone Tide, Gareth Rees’ ‘Car Park Life’, is out now. Car parks: commonplace urban landscapes, little-explored & rarely featured in art and music, yet they shape the aesthetics of our towns & cities. Hotspots for crime, rage & sexual deviancy; a blind spot in which activities go unnoticed. Skateboarding, car stunts, drug dealing, dogging, murder. Gareth Rees believes that the retail car park has as much mystery, magic & terror as any mountain, meadow or wood. He’s out to prove it by walking the car parks of Britain, journeying across the country from Plymouth to Edinburgh, much to the horror of his family, friends – and, most of all – himself.

He finds Sir Francis Drake outside B&Q, standing stones in a retail park, and a dead body beside Sainsbury’s. In … More

From heart-stopping accounts of apparitions, manifestations and related supernatural phenomena to first-hand encounters with ghouls and spirits, this collection of stories contains new and well-known spooky tales from in and around Hastings. Drawing on historical and contemporary sources Haunted Hastings contains a chilling range of ghostly phenomena.

From the haunted staircase at Hastings library in Claremont and the singing spectre of Hastings College, to the mysterious witches’ … More

The novelist Alexander Baron (1917-1999) was born into a working class Jewish home in Hackney, joined the Communist Party as a young man, saw the thick of battle in Sicily & Normandy, & became one of the most admired writers of post-war Britain. His first novel, From the City, From the Plough (1948), was acclaimed as the definitive novel of the Second World War, the first of a trilogy including There’s No Home (1950) & The Human Kind (1953). This was followed by a string of novels about working class life in post-war London, including The Lowlife (1963) a cult novel for many other writers ever since. In recent years his reputation has flourished with many of his fifteen novels back in print. This is the first detailed study of the man and his work.

Susie Thomas has taught Baron’s novels for many years and is the reviews editor for The Literary London Journal. Andrew … More

For those that enjoyed the recent BBC4 documentary on Randy’s ‘Studio 17’, here’s a collection of some of those great artists that featured on the programme. Kingston’s musicians and artists would congregate outside Randy’s shop (and in Chancery Lane at the side of the shop) waiting for the chance of a session or listening out to hear if their records were being played in the shop. Chancery Lane was such a popular meeting place for Kingston’s musical fraternity that it became known as ‘Idler’s Rest’ and Studio 17 was now known as the place where the hits were made.

Vinyl LP available in store and online.

Born OTD in 1906, German-American philosopher and political theorist, Hannah Arendt. A hero of political thought, the largely unsung and often misunderstood Hannah Arendt is perhaps best known for her landmark book, The Origins of Totalitarianism. Arendt led an extraordinary life. Having endured Nazi persecution firsthand, she fled across Europe, coming to live in a world inhabited by such luminaries as Marc Chagall, Marlene Dietrich, Albert Einstein and Sigmund Freud.

She ultimately sacrificed her unique genius for philosophy and her love of a much-compromised man – the philosopher and Nazi-sympathiser … More

Reissue soon come. “This album which you are about to hear will give you more than an earful of the ingredients which are characteristic of a group of three youngsters popularly known by fans in the music world as ‘The Maytals’. When these three youngsters debuted on the scene two years ago, they brought along with them a new style, a new spiritual “Ska Beat”, which was eagerly welcomed by the listening public. When their recordings became “Giant Size Hits”, it was obvious that their phrasing and dynamic delivery had earned unreserved approval.”

“Beginning with the tune “I’ll Never Grow Old”, this record quickly established a bright jumping pattern of success followed by … More