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can anyone give me any tips on good record shops in the big smoke?
Steer clear of pure groove ( Farringdon ) it has like 4 records in it. Rough trade west and east are both pretty good. I normally get my records from there but if I'm looking for dance/electronica I go to Phonica Records. For Jazz/soul etc go check out Soul Jazz Records in Soho.
Sounds of the Universe which is near to that (Broadwick Street is it?)
Phonica Records in Poland Street
try Rays Jazz & Blues, which is in the cafe area of Foyles. Ever since Rays downsized & Mole Jazz shut London hasn't really been well served on the 'weirder' end of the Jazz market. ECM stuff you're probably just as well going to the HMV at Oxford Circus. FOPP in Covent Garden might be worth a try though. Sister Ray might be able to help on the Prog side of things.