Starting at Mabu Vinyl in Gardens in the city centre we weren’t expecting to find anything of particular interest.
Yet after ten minutes of digging through crates and crates of seemingly unimportant stuff, we landed up with a pile of about 50 records! JED and I were in complete awe of just how much good stuff was just sitting there overlooked day after day. In turn, this made us realize just how much we still have to learn about the music we love. We’re often so caught up in looking for digital music that our exposure to physical material is simply lacking.
It’s fair to say that one of the reasons that clubbing in South Africa has lost some of its charm is simply by virtue of DJs becoming too lazy to dig deeper for more obscure (yet often more exciting) material.
We kept digging until we got the chance to visit Mabu’s exclusive vinyl basement. And as expected, Zak found more exciting material for him and us—so needless to say, we all left happy and with our hands full.
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Town, New Years day 2011, and the wind that has been terrorising the city for about a week now has stopped, and has been replaced by a moody overcast sky and some light rain to dampen down and sooth all those hard-partied bodies.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.
Inside, Mabu Vinyl looks and smells like an authentic second-hand store should. It’s stacked to the ceiling with used VHS tapes, random posters, loose CD’s, second hand books, and of course, vinyl records. It’s all about the vinyl. As it should be. It’s dark, it’s moody…it’s perfect.
This ION Profile LP Turntable is a normal, high quality record player that has three useful functions…….Firstly, you can simply connect the ION Profile LP Turntable to your existing amplifier and speaker system, old or new, and it works as a regular turntable … ….Or! ….. Secondly, you can get this ION Profile LP Turntable and a special set of Logitech Z323 Speakers that work very well with the ION Profile LP Turntable, without needing an amplifier (the ION Profile LP Turntable has its own built-in Pre-amp), and you now have a working stereo system to play your records on …….Or!! …. Thirdly, you can just connect this ION Profile LP Turntable to your PC or Mac or laptop, via the USB port, load the accompanying software, and you can now listen to your records through your PC speakers …… And!!! ….. you can convert the tracks off the record to mp3’s while you are listening!
Mabu Vinyl, the well-known music shop in Cape Town, will soon be celebrating its two-year anniversary in its more spacious new premises at 2 Rheede Street in Gardens. The shop is situated just off the corner of Kloof Street (next door to A&A Furnishers), and is just a “muffin’s throw away” from Vida e Caffé, the very popular nearby coffee shop in Kloof Street.
Mabu Vinyl carries a large selection of new and second hand items including LP records, 12” singles, 7” singles, 78’s, CD’s, DVD’s, cassette tapes, videos, books, T-shirts, comics, magazines, and even a selection of refurbished turntables and hi-fi’s. Mabu Vinyl buys, sells and trades in all and any of these items. The shop also carries a range of independent CD releases by a range of South African artists.
Mabu Vinyl grew out of the well-known Kloof Street bric-a-brac store, Kloofmart, which was run for many years by Johan Vosloo in the premises now occupied by Vida e Caffé. Jacques Vosloo, the owner’s son, started the record store in the back section of Kloofmart before the store moved to its next premises a few shops away, next to the other well-known Kloof Street music shop, High Five.
Then in October 2003, Mabu Vinyl again moved further down the road into its next premises in Buitenkloof Centre on the corner of Kloof and Buitensingel Streets. Soon after, Stephen Segerman joined Jacques in the store, adding a stock of CD’s, tapes, and DVD’s to the already huge selection of records that fills every corner of this eclectically decorated store.
The new Mabu Vinyl store has something for everyone with hundreds of 7″ singles, 12″ dance singles (for the many club DJ’s who frequent Mabu), and a broad range of rock, pop, jazz, soul, country, comedy, blues, soundtrack, South African and classical LP records. There is also a wide range of new and used CD’s, DVD’s, cassette tapes and books, mostly at reduced or sale prices, and the shop has many regular customers who love to take a few hours to browse through the many music items on display.
Parking for the new Mabu Vinyl store is available downstairs in the Rheede Centre parking garage, or at the nearby Kwikspar or Lifestyle centres in Kloof Street.
With everything going digital – including television transmissions – it is refreshing to know there are still stores who are “kicking it old school”. While many DJs are choosing to “travel light”, leaving behind their huge bags of vinyl, in favour of using software like Traktor to mix MP3 tracks on their laptops, the CapeTowner found three stores in
the city centre that are among the few which still stock vinyl.
The first stop was the recently revamped Hi Five in Kloof Street. Hi Five was opened by Kevin Phipson and Kurt George eight years ago and offers a wide range of collectable rock vinyl albums, among other genres. The store is visibly stocking a lot less vinyl since it re-opened, and store manager, Rob Scholtz, agreed that vinyl is “dying out”. But, he said, the store is currently attracting a different clientele. “Vinyls are definitely dying out due to all the software available for DJs, but the clientele is starting to change; we are starting to see more listeners come into the store as opposed to DJs,” he said.
The second stop was a charming store in Rheede Street called Mabu Vinyl, which offers a wide range of second hand records at reasonable prices. Unlike the other stores visited by the CapeTowner, the majority of the stock at Mabu Vinyl was, in fact, vinyl and not CDs. The store first opened its doors eight years ago, said store manager, Stephen Segerman, when it operated out of the well-known Kloof Street bric-a-brac store Kloofmart.
“Kloofmart was owned by Johan Vosloo and his son, Jacques Vosloo started the record shop in the back section,” Mr Segerman said. And who could ever forget the iconic corner that housed Mabu in those days, bursting at the seems with crates of records, windows plastered with flyers for various parties, and all types of music lovers popping in for a tune. Despite it’s new swanky location just off the must-be-seen-in Kloof Street, Mabu has maintained its charm and seems to have maintained its loyal clientele.
The last stop was Soul II Soul records in Bree Street, formely known as Syndicate Records, which was started by Dino Michael almost 19 years ago. The store’s selection is mainly new records, including house, hip hop and old school music. They also run workshops, including the DJ school, where young aspiring DJs attend individual lessons conducted by Tony Smith. It’s been more than 20 years since the industry first started phasing out vinyl in favour of CDs, but there are still those who prefer the older medium. Unlike the abrupt and certain death suffered by cassette tapes, records have managed to maintain their popularity, perhaps because of their charm and – if your vinyl is in good condition – excellent sound quality.
Still, for many reasons, portability high on the list, digital music is gaining popularity and it’s now, possible to carry hundreds of songs of a fairly decent quality on some thing as small as your little finger. So, while vinyl may have survived the CD revolution, it remains to be seen whether it will outlive the age of digital music.
● Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Mabu Vinyl is the record, CD, DVD, cassette, book, comix and turntable store in Gardens, Cape Town, that was established in 2001 by Jacques Vosloo, who now co-owns it with Stephen Segerman.
Mabu buys, sells and trades vinyl LP records and CD’s of all genres, as well as DVD’s, cassettes, books and comix, and has a large selection of Dance music, Hip Hop, House, Techno, Trance, Rock, Pop, Jazz, Soul, Funk, D&B, R&B and much more.
2 Rheede Street
8001 Phone: + 27 (0) 21-423-7635 Contact:Stephen email:email@example.com
Mabu is open 7 days a week….
Monday – Thursday: 9am till 8pm
Friday: 9am till 7pm
Saturday: 9am till 6pm
Sunday: 11am till 3pm