There was a huge New Years party at the commune next door last night, and it went on till early this morning. The house got sold recently so the young crowd who live together there decided to throw one last big bash, and they did, cool for them..
But now its early morning in Cape Town, New Years day 2011, and the wind that has been terrorising the city for about a week now has stopped, and has been replaced by a moody overcast sky and some light rain to dampen down and sooth all those hard-partied bodies.
Mabu Vinyl is closed today in honour of the New Year and to allow the staff to recover.
So, as I begin my first blog of the year, which will focus on the realities and many joys of running a record shop in Cape Town in this century, its a good time to pause and reflect on the simple fact that we have a well-supported record shop, here in 2011.
We do still stock CDs, that rapidly fading musical technology that was supposed to sound the death knell for LPs. All those LPs that now occupy the large portion of our shop in their proud boxes with their hand-written name tags.
Those full CD shelves that most people now walk right past to see the Record section, some thrilled to find so many records available for sale, some excited to see and remember and show their kids what a real old school record shop used to look like back in the 60s, 70s and 80s.
But we are not a museum we tell those people who come in and ask us, in all seriousness, if people still buy records.
We are a functioning record shop that sells The Beatles and the Stones and Miles Davis and Bob Marley and Fleetwood Macs Rumours and Dark Side Of The Moon, and any Hendrix or Doors or Elvis or Smiths or Joy Division or Tom Waits vinyls that we get.
And we only get stock from people who bring in their boxes of old vinyls to sell to us, or to trade for other stuff in the shop, like books or CDs or DVDs. Its all second hand, so the universe has to bring it to us.
So, the current stock in Mabu Vinyl is simply what people have brought in, minus what people have bought, and whatever is left is what we have. We cant order old records, we can just look out for them in the boxes that come in, and they do come in, all the time, and we never know what we are going to get next. But what we get is what we have.
So working at Mabu, if you love music and records and CDS and books and movies and hanging out with other people who also like those things, will constantly bring you into contact with all kinds of stuff that comes in as well as all types of interesting and strange customers and other people who come in all the time with their requests and questions and opinions and tastes.
Thats how it is with music and music shops and music fans, its like a strange cult that those in it dont have to explain, but those who arent, find it kind of quaint, but, those who are in it know the thrill of finding that special vinyl, in good condition, or just the thrill of going through a batch of R10 record and finding a gem.
Heres how it works. You go to a party and youre sitting with a group of people and they start talking about what they do. And then you tell people that you have a record shop. And you find that people really connect to that, to the fact that such a thing still exists, and runs.
And that conversation always stirs up a host of memories and emotions for anyone participating your first record player, your pile of records, your dad bringing home the new Beatles record and hearing it for the first time, remembering records that soundtrack a special time in your life, the records your parents used to play.
Lawyers and accountants and even doctors dont get that kind of reaction when they tell people what they do. But music still touches people very deeply.
So, these days we are fortunate to get to spend our days in a record shop, in Cape Town, and every day we get to experience all kinds of stuff like interesting customers, new batches of records, strange requests, and lots of other things that happen in and around Mabu Vinyl, and Im going to tell you about some of that.
We are in Rheede Street in Gardens, just off Kloof Street, and still, Just a muffins throw away from the Vide e Café.
Have a great 2011 and please come and visit!