Monday, October 15, 2007

Spillers Records

So I'm walking past Spillers Records in downtown Cardiff and I hear the strains of intriguing music emanating from within. Ducking inside I clock New York anti-folk singer Jeffrey Lewis doing an in-store gig. F**king A. Turns out he's got a show at Clwb Ifor Bach tonight and he's doing a little warm-up here first. Thank you Lord.

Lewis has just brought out an album 12 Crass Songs which he is currently promoting. His Spillers mini-set includes a Crass song (for those of a certain vintage it was Systematic Death) plus a ditty about cockroaches and another about being an ex-hippie. Whilst he performs this last number (unaccompanied) he shows the audience a storyboard of its lyrics. Lewis is also an accomplished cartoonist you see.

Anyway, it was great - Lewis up on the makeshift stage being clever and cool; the sound of street noises from the open door behind; and smart kids with haircuts lapping it all up. And it was free.

Now this is my point right - Spillers Records is one of those places (like The Vulcan, Staff Club, Bear Shop etc) that helps define this city to itself. For that reason alone it makes it a hell of a lot more important to most South Walians than, for example, the Wales Millennium Centre which was built essentially for tourists and the bourgeoisie.

For Mr and Mrs Joe Cardiff Spillers Records is its lo-fi Sydney Opera House - it's where most of us started our own cultural education. And it has been performing this valuable function for decades (see pic from 1957). So if you do nothing else today please sign the online petition to keep Spillers Records out of the oleaginous clutches of greedy landlords. And don't forget to buy some stuff next time you're in there. Because like Jeffrey Lewis says: "It's a great store!"