Thursday, 29 July 2010
Today marks the reopening of Spillers in Cardiff, widely recognised as the oldest record shop in the world. And what an institution it is. I recently read a comment about how shabby the old shop was; and how the photocopied album covers didn't offer the greatest custemoer experience.
It's strange, how I'd never seen it that way. I recognise all of those criticisms; and yet somehow none of that ever mattered to me. Spillers has something that the other shops don't - it's part of that cultural heritage of old Cardiff. Along with the Market, the Vulcan, Hayes Island Cafe, Jacob's Market - it's not that pretty; but it has an old-world honesty that I much prefer to the showy generica of St.Davids shopping centre (which still has no music shops or bookshops at all - the best one can say for it is that's it's clean - and I understand even that has been brought into question.)
Walking into Spillers was never a gaudy, glittery experience. My first impression was always one of heading into a musical cave - where some interesting song would be playing - never something obvious; instead it would be bluegrass or obscure spacy-pop or blues or motown. Often, you'd want to know what exactly it was that was playing - sometimes I was compelled to ask. And the dark, dingy interior was hung with posters for upcoming gigs, gigs for local bands. I'm sure Spillers has helped the local music scene considerably by being a focus for such local talent. And then there were t-shirts and tickets and other paraphanalia. All of which served to form a gritty tribute to music in Cardiff.
For me Spillers has never been just a shop. It's more like being allowed into a secret underground world, a musical speakeasy if you will.
I guess losing the photocopied album covers would be a good idea. But for my part, I hope the new premises will be a great success, and I wish them the best for the future.
The new shop is in Morgan Arcade, I think I'll pay them a visit today.