Old Groove, new Peel
Real Groovy Christchurch suffered damage to both its building and stock in the September 2010 earthquake, but owner Paul Huggins was determined to continue, reopening a month later in a new location. I paid a visit there in January – it was a cool little record shop.
Unfortunately the new shop got even more munted in the February quake, so Huggins called it a day and has moved back to Wellington, starting anew with Rough Peel Music (a tribute to Rough Trade Records and John Peel, perhaps?), at 140 Vivian Street (between Cuba and Marion Street). It’s a part of town that, like K Road in Auckland, has substantially changed after the Prostitution Reform Act, losing much of its red-light business and in need of a new identity. Could RPM help reinvent Vivian Street? The shop opened on Saturday, so I popped in to check it out.
The shop was bustling with activity, with a good range of CDs, DVDs and vinyl. Much of the stock seemed to have come from the old Christchurch Real Groovy, complete with the familiar price stickers, and indeed there were signs advising of “Quake Sale” special prices.
Looking around the shop, I noticed that most of the people were over the age of 30. And that’s when it hit me – teens don’t go to record shops any more. Record shops are for oldies who either still buy CDs, or they’re vinyl purists. So record shops today have a different feeling to the youth explosions of the olden days. Record shops are now more specialist retailers for people who have specific needs, as well as those who can’t get enough of the thrill of flicking through unsorted bins, looking for hidden gems.
RPM seems to have perfectly adapted to this new demographic. There are plenty of vinyl fiends out there (including one of the Wellingtonista), so I’m sure Rough Peel Music will find a customer base. And indeed it looks like that block of Vivian Street is on its ways to become a cool little part of the Cuba neighbourhood.