Time to be a benevolent dictator
There comes a time in a man’s life where he needs to reassess his priorities. Fresh directions need to be explored, new questions asked. Questions such as: In between all the work, is there enough fun being had?
Has commerce triumphed over joy? And are other people drinking all my beer?
And so it was that I had a good hard think a few months ago and decided to, as a career adviser might put it, ‘‘diversify my employment portfolio’’.
My wife and I are opening a record store.
I will still be writing, of course. Bolting together a sturdy sentence from a junkyard of unpromising words is one of life’s great pleasures, and one of the few areas where I have sufficient skill that someone will hand me some cash each week to do it for them.
But I need more music in my life, and also more beer, and so it is that I have hatched a plan alongside my lovely wife Josephine Cachemaille to open a record store on a site both holy and profane: inside the beer garden of a Nelson bar called The Free House, which was once a church.
It’s called Family Jewels Records, because this is surely the perfect name for a record store.
The ‘‘family’’ bit has connotations of community, of whanau, of a tribe of fellow travellers, and that’s the backbone of every good record store.
The ‘‘jewels’’ implies rare gems, which is exactly what punters will be searching for in the vinyl LP bins.
And best of all, when you add them together, ‘‘family jewels’’ is winningly rude, or at least it was, 50 years ago. If you don’t know why, ask your nana, who may well start giggling into her sherry as she explains.
A record store inside a bar inside a church. This is surely a first for New Zealand, perhaps the world. A place where a sinner can sup pints while browsing through bins of dusty old LPs.
A place where musical arguments can be lubricated by fine IPAs, bitters, pilsners and stouts. A place where I can spend my Fridays and Saturdays when I’m not writing: the landlord, the guv’nor, the benevolent dictator of my own teensy empire.
It is the start of a new chapter in the cheap comic that is my life. Wish me luck.
This will be my last weekly column for this fine publication, but you’ll still find me in these pages as a feature writer.
And if you’re passing through Nelson on a Friday or Saturday afternoon, you’ll find me in our new record store, with a contented smile on my face and a turntable spinning nearby, a foamy pint in one hand and an eftpos machine in the other, ready to take your cash.
I need more music in my life, and also more beer, and so it is that I have hatched a plan... to open a record store on a site both holy and profane.
This is Grant Smithies’ final column for the Sunday Star-Times, but he’ll continue to write for Culture.
Family Jewels co-owners Josephine Cachemaille and Grant Smithies.