Thursday, February 28, 2013


i spent a portion of yesterday packing up boxes of used vinyl records, tapes, CDs, and books. there wasn't any hooplah, just a handful of kids, neighbourhood residents stopping by to see what was happening, and the man w/ the plan, OTIS music honcho, todd fuller. surveying the crumbling scene, i couldn't help but taste the irony. there was no local news teams in sight, no hollow social media campaign ("SAVE THE OTIS"), no intrepid music journalists (*bar this one, wink, wink...), but right before our very eyes, a 20+ year cultural institution of vancouver as important as any other was quietly saying goodbye. OTIS music was a rare breed of street level realness in this oft superficial sea side city, a melting pot, community drop in, and unparalleled educator/peddler of fine sound recordings. it was helmed by a passionate proprietor who actually cares about music (you'd think that would be mandatory for a record store owner??? think again my friends!!!), people, arts, and the area he's called home for a quarter of a century. squeezed out by a building sale (can't wait for another sh!tty west side restaurant to open in its place!!!), the future of OTIS is uncertain. w/ escalating rent, it likely won't re-emerged on davie street (where fuller, a toronto transplant, ran 2 separate OTIS locations for a spell in the early 2000s), but after a little rest and recovery, a new and improved store should arise like the unstoppable phoenix OTIS so clearly is. maybe i should have used a canine analogy here, "returning to the ring like a champion bulldog???" any which way, hey newspapers, there is a pertinent story in waiting here!!! todd's as colourful as a 24-pack of laurentien pencil crayons and as a long-time vancouver business owner and cultural ambassador for both locals—of all stripes i might add, the store's annual PRIDE festivities were truly epic—as well as music loving tourists, he has vivid insight into this city, how it's evolved, and where it's going. for those that deem this message inconsequential, you missed out on an experience as exciting as any of the departed waldorf production's much ballyhooed events (i know, i was involved in a fair share of them...). for those in the know, it will be remembered dearly. of course, it wasn't just about the records, it was that twinkle in fuller's eye, cigarette smoke subterfuge, teenage bedroom rock and roll posters, and the cackle of much hearty laughter. as we took apart the store's analogue sound system that never went digital bar the first wave CD player that todd claims cost $1,600 back in day ("maybe to some poor audiophile," well, not financially anyways), there was a surprising whiff of optimism in the air, but i know deep down that the west end of vancouver will never be the same... LONG LIVE OTIS MUSIC!!!

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