Stranger Than Paradise


Reading Time: 3 min

As one of the newest additions to the face of Mare Street Market, Stranger Than Paradise is the place to go when we want to hide away from the modern world and immerse.

Stranger Than Paradise Records

117 Mare Street
E8 7RU

This month, we’re focusing on Mare Street Market, arguably the cultural focal point of the Hackney Area, and the next on our hit list is Stranger Than Paradise, a vinyl shop with a difference.

Stereotypes are often present for a reason, and whether its John Cusack and Jack Black in High Fidelity, Zooey Deschanel in 500 Days of Summer, or the deranged Alex DeLarge of A Clockwork Orange; the institution of the local record store has long been the stomping ground for the misfits of the world who, despite changing times, prefer to flirt with the analogue and avoid the modern world.

Stranger Than Paradise has been around in East London to offer this sanctuary since the March of last year, and it’s already become synonymous with the effortlessly alternative vibe of the market it calls its home.

The store takes its name from the 1984 film of the same name; one whose minimalist but exceptional direction has forever made its mark on modern cinema.

On their website, they say that this move is something they need to be considerate of— “we have to honour that magic, and do our best to transfer it to what we’re doing here.”

Indeed, there' has always been something wonderfully magical and tactile about flipping through vinyl in Stranger Than Paradise; the waft of air from each carefully curated track list as it flips forward, the recognition on the face of a customer who’s just stumbled across the album of their youth, and the fiddlyness of it all, a sense of being limited with the slowness of your eyes and fingers to how much you can discover; something often alien to us in a Spotify age.

“There’s something wonderfully magical and tactile about flipping through vinyl in Stranger Than Paradise.”

A sense of intimacy prevails inside, something ever-present in the personal world of music; but, given an inch, the staff are friendly and knowledgeable about the vinyl that comes through their doors.

It’s apparent that, for Stranger Than Paradise, there’s a careful curation behind a fellow design-driven movement, whether it’s through their selected staff picks (something that’s become something of a bible for the Paradise Row Office) or behind their occasional events, the most recent with personal favourite Yasmin Lacey for World Record Store Day.

The brand is only in the infancy of what’s been a crazy year for the store, but whatever the future of Stranger Than Paradise, there’s a safe haven for the self-confessed musical weirdos of Hackney to come and immerse themselves in a better world (dare we say, paradise?)

Words + Images : Hannah Crosbie