Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Real Gone

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  • Joe Wylie,

    where echo was a well laid out manageable affair when real groovy took over they moved to the barn in tuam street, put out the trestle tables and made the whole shopping for music experience unmanageable. text

    I thought that was a deliberate attempt to recreate the look 'n feel of the Queen Street store - kind of the semi-shambolic house style.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 3421 posts Report Reply

  • Peter Darlington,

    Can I use the musicality of this thread to remind PAS'sers that we now have our own group on last.fm and anyone is welcome to join. The group is at http://www.last.fm/group/PAS+Rollers and you just need to register and download the client to start getting in on the playlist love. We have 10 members but another 50 or 60 would be great.

    This week I have discovered that while Haydn may be a ginger, he's also played Roots Manuva 281 times so I gotta give the man some props.

    Nelson • Since Nov 2006 • 886 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Can I use the musicality of this thread to remind PAS'sers that we now have our own group on last.fm and anyone is welcome to join.

    D'oh! I've just added that information to day's post like I was meant to.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18802 posts Report Reply

  • philipmatthews,

    Maybe a victim of their own success, in a funny way. In an age of Warehouse and JB HiFi selling new stuff much cheaper, the only way forward was to be a good niche specialist, but the thing about the Auckland store is that, while it was huge, none of the genre categories were especially well-stocked, compared to stores like Amoeba in the US (probably the model). If you really liked NZ alternative or electronica or metal or whatever, you either needed to find a specialist store or go online.

    Also, their imports were unjustifiably expensive at a time when anyone can see what they cost on Amazon or other sites. Every now and then, I used to wander into the Auckland store and look at their copy of the Criterion two-disc DVD of Solaris (er, the Tarkovsky one) and think about whether I should part with $90 for it. Bought it last week in Melbourne for A$50-something. On Amazon, it's no more than US$30 plus postage. Just unacceptably high prices at RG, really. I think they didn't adjust the prices back down when the exchange rate became more favourable.

    But it is sad. Those of us old enough can remember when Auckland had a really good circuit of second-hand record stores -- the one up on Victoria St, the one underneath Whitcoulls corner, a couple up on K Rd, Real Groovy. At school, we used to do the rounds on a Saturday morning. And I did really like the ambience at the Auckland store.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2007 • 642 posts Report Reply

  • Sue,

    Al i know is colin morris records detah
    was more of a concern and great sadness to me than Real groovy

    Colin is a legend
    you you pop into his store whistle a tune and he knew the record every time. i know a few people who tried tot rick him but he never got stumped

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 472 posts Report Reply

  • Che Tibby,

    their imports were unjustifiably expensive

    i would go there to sample cds, then buy them online...

    </shameful blushing>

    the back of an envelope • Since Nov 2006 • 2025 posts Report Reply

  • Grant McDougall,

    @ Stewart and Rachel: Hey, don't take it too seriously, I'm a big fan of the Rolling Stones, The Fall and Julian Cope myself.

    Dunedin • Since Dec 2006 • 590 posts Report Reply

  • James Green,

    I thought it was weird that after taking over Echo in Dunedin they went from a high street store to a more destination shopping (near countdown and off the main street). It probably helped (not my bank account) that the shop was right on my bus-stop.

    And agree with the comments re:Amoeba.

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 683 posts Report Reply

  • Stewart,

    It is the association with teh National Parteh that I object to.

    As for the demise of RG, I'm not a natural-born Aucklander so I didn't have a close relationship with the place. Sure, I'd been in once or twice but I'm not too much of a city boy so I was seldom in that part of town, but I have availed myself of their online services quite a bit in the last few years.

    Someone mentioned that NZ's size is a factor against lots of 2nd-hand music stores - does it also affect the main record stores? I think that, 'out west', we don't have a recognised music shop anymore & that the likes of the Warehouse (that shutter-down of many smaller local businesses) have prevailed. Even Sounds & ECM have gone...

    Gonna have to learn to download music one of these days.

    Te Ika A Maui - Waitakere… • Since Oct 2008 • 572 posts Report Reply

  • Grant McDougall,

    I shed no tears for Real Groovy's demise, they shot themselves in the foot and the gangrene spread.
    I used to love scoring LPs at the Queen St branch whenever I visited Auckland. But they really made a hash of things when they took over Echo. I've never heard of Echo "failing". I've never looked at their books obviously, but Dunedin's a small town and I knew loads of people that worked there and didn't hear any gossip to that effect.

    It got quickly worse when it became Real Groovy. The prices for both new and second-hand stuff jumped up, with some of the s/h prices really getting into the taking-the-piss territory. It's not surprising that a lot of people started calling it "Real Greedy".

    If they'd left Echo alone, Dunedin would still have a quality music shop. Now we have nothing. Since Roy Colbert sold Records Records three years ago that shop rapidly became mediocre; obscenely high prices, a terminally dire selection and offering "credit" instead of cash.

    Also, for Chris Hart to blame the demise on down-loading, JB Hi-Fi, The Warehouse, etc, is rubbish. Down-loading and The Warehouse were around long before they made the ludicrous decision to splash out on 572 container loads of bloody Rumours LPs and delude themselves they would instantly sell at $8 each. Next joke.

    I can but hope that either - or preferably both - Borders or JB Hi-Fi open in Dunedin before too long.

    Dunedin • Since Dec 2006 • 590 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    It is the association with teh National Parteh that I object to.

    *sigh" Not as if Mick Jagger needs a tax cut - he doesn't bloody pay any to begin with.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11897 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Also, for Chris Hart to blame the demise on down-loading, JB Hi-Fi, The Warehouse, etc, is rubbish.

    Well, Chris might have a point. As Russell said, JB Hi-Fi seem to have a grip on the whole customer service deal. The last time I was in the Queen Street Real Groovy not at all. Sorry folks, but if I want to waste my time with surly passive-aggression, I have a mother.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11897 posts Report Reply

  • Che Tibby,

    Hi-Fi seem to have a grip on the whole customer service deal.

    indeed. if i want to see sanctimonious record-store wankers i'll read hi fidelity.

    ps. i'm mad, and i'm not going to take it any more.

    the back of an envelope • Since Nov 2006 • 2025 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    With all respect to Grant, I looked at the bands as political parties years ago, on some long lost post on my blog and decided, to my mind at least, that there was something very Dire Straits about the National Party. That was, of course during the Brash days, but the analogy is even stronger now with the grey shoed blandness of it's current leader.

    Real Groovy.. the days I spent with Kerry and Kirk Gee in the late 1980s and early 1990s talking shit and trawling through boxes of new US hip hop and house 12's, often at very great end expense to myself

    I took Gilles Peterson in there in 1994 and he bought 600 bits of vinyl..some for himself and some for resale in Japan...

    Or as others said, rummaging through the cheapo bins (where the best stuff was often found) and getting things like a bunch of early Fingers Inc singles on Trax for $1, dozens of early US indies disco and post punk 12s, and the score of scores, a white label Sugarhill test pressing of Grandmaster Flash on the Wheels of Steel..for 50c.

    But it's the incidental people I really feel for..people like Grant McCallum, James and Michael Monroe who'd been there for decades. They were, as much as anyone, the spirit of Real Groovy. Very sad...

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3206 posts Report Reply

  • Eddie Clark,

    I can but hope that either - or preferably both - Borders or JB Hi-Fi open in Dunedin before too long.

    You certainly won't get a Borders, Grant. Borders has drastically pulled back its overseas business and is concentrating on America. It's been trying to sell its NZ stores for a year, and whitcoulls almost bought them but I think the deal fell through at the last minute. Either way, they're not going to be opening more NZ stores.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 270 posts Report Reply

  • Mark Easterbrook,

    A couple of months back, before all this annoying finance crash business, National could've released this...

    "If I could give you a bigger tax cut,
    'Cos I hear they're all the rage
    Would it satisfy ya, while actual policy slides on by ya,
    Would you think the ploy was strange?
    Ain't it stray-ay-ange?

    I know
    It's a dog-whistle blow
    But you like it like it yes you do..."

    Apologies for bad Friday parody.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 244 posts Report Reply

  • Grant McDougall,

    Also, for Chris Hart to blame the demise on down-loading, JB Hi-Fi, The Warehouse, etc, is rubbish.

    Well, Chris might have a point.

    He does, but down-loading and competition are red herrings. By his own admission it's the bad foreign exchange deal (read "umpteen container loads of crap) that's landed them in trouble.

    Dunedin • Since Dec 2006 • 590 posts Report Reply

  • Peter Darlington,

    Real Groovy.. the days I spent with Kerry and Kirk Gee in the late 1980s and early 1990s talking shit and trawling through boxes of new US hip hop and house 12's, often at very great end expense to myself.

    The hiphop was excellent when Kerry worked there. I used to get up to Auckland about once a year and always leave with an expensive box of hefty beats.

    The only place in Wellington with a small but excellent vinyl rap selection was 'Soul Mine' in Kilbirnie.

    Nelson • Since Nov 2006 • 886 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    You certainly won't get a Borders, Grant. Borders has drastically pulled back its overseas business and is concentrating on America. It's been trying to sell its NZ stores for a year, and whitcoulls almost bought them but I think the deal fell through at the last minute.

    Nope, it did almost fall over but the sale to A&R Whitcoulls went through in this June. Not necessarily a bad thing -- Marbecks hasn't turned into a steaming pile of corporate shit after Murray and Roger Marbeck sold the stores to the CD and DVD Store chain last year. But I find it amusing that it's the American wing of the business that put Borders in the poo soup (including an acquisition spree in the US which was, to put it generously, unwise), but it's the solidly profitable overseas operations that are getting sold?

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11897 posts Report Reply

  • Alan Perrott,

    Grant, matey...maybe it was only the truckloads of Rumous albums that reached you, but I couldn't list the gold I've dug out of the bins up here. I still get misty remembering the moment I flicked over a single to find ? and the Mysterians' 96 Tears on the original label. Yes, the specialty bins have been flagging for some time - Conch beats them everywhere - but for offbeat 2nd hand stuff, only Wax Factory in Brighton beats them for mine.
    Maybe the exchange deal was a total cockup, but I would never slag them for what it delievered.

    anyway, what you up to this days young man?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 308 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    but it's the solidly profitable overseas operations that are getting sold?

    To be honest though, Borders isn't a shadow of it's past. When it arrived in Auckland it was fantastic, but since then it's depth of stock has slipped year by year.

    NZ has some wonderful smaller bookstores but has a big gaping hole when it comes to the large comprehensive variety, of the sort that most cities the size of Auckland have elsewhere.

    A branch of Kinokuniya would be a wonderful addition.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3206 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    The only place in Wellington with a small but excellent vinyl rap selection was 'Soul Mine' in Kilbirnie.

    Ah....Mr Tony Murdoch, who used to be in a killer band called Marching Orders. Grant and I mused over him back here..

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3206 posts Report Reply

  • Mark Harris,

    A branch of Kinokuniya would be a wonderful addition.

    not for my wallet it wouldn't. I spent SO much in there last time I was in Sydney. And I never got near the comics....

    Waikanae • Since Jul 2008 • 1343 posts Report Reply

  • Eddie Clark,

    thanks for the update, Craig - I was overseas when all that was going on so I wasn't 100% sure on how it ended up.

    And yes, Simon, the best bit of Borders is the email coupons - I don't think I've ever bought a full price book/cd/dvd there. Full price books is what Unity is for!

    Likewise, I have bought about 75% of my CDs from Real Groovy... and about 5% of those are for full price. As long as the bargain bins stay there for me to pick over, I'll be happy.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 270 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Litterick,

    Bring back Crawlspace, somebody.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1000 posts Report Reply

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