Well, I told you I would find the former site of “Championship Vinyl,” the record shop in High Fidelity, and I did. And no one (except maybe Nick Hornby) can tell me I’m wrong.
It satisfies the criteria:
- It’s in Holloway.
- It’s just off the Seven Sisters Road.
- It’s in a location that guarantees the “minimum of window-shoppers” — in other words, the only customers are those geeky young males who go out of their way to seek the place out.
- I was looking for a vacant space, on the theory that since the book was published 15 years ago, and since Rob was trending toward changing his life for the better toward the end, that he would have moved on from running the store, or moved it to a better location, or something by now. I mean, he and Laura would have some kids by now. Any road, this is a good theory for me to have to explain that it’s not actually there, since, you know, it never really existed.
I made up that last criterion, but the first three are in the book.
So, you ladies are wondering — just how patient is my wife, to go along to places like this? Well, she didn’t. This was the one thing I did
on my own. Today was the day we were leaving London for Oxford, and she just wanted to get up and get ready. So I got up before she did, hopped the Jubilee line down to Green Park and got on the Picadilly way out to Islington, to Holloway Road, and hiked over to Seven Sisters.
Then, after “finding” Championship Vinyl (it was the first street off Seven Sisters with some actual commercial fronts off the main road) on Hornsey Road, I walked back east until I got to Arsenal Stadium, the scene of other Hornby tales. At Arsenal, at least, I wasn’t the only geek taking pictures of the stadium — but the others were English football fans. One guy was having his wife take his picture there while she tried to keep the kids in order.
After I found the Arsenal Tube station (this required asking directions four times, twice from people who did not speak English), I rode back to our stop, and left Swiss Cottage station with sadness. I really, really love the Underground. (There’s no other way I could have gone all the way to Islington in a city this crowded and done all that walking about and gotten back in less than two hours.)
Oh, and if you wonder why I would want to do this… well, you just have to read High Fidelity. The movie was great, but the novel was much better.