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Closing the Circle

December 22, 2011

Summary: You can now buy my Band T-shirt zine at Red Eye records.

The Full Story: When I was a nervous teenager I had to build up a lot of courage to approach the counter in the music stores where I stocked my zines. Sometimes I’d browse the shop for half an hour or more, waiting for the right time, rehearsing my opening lines in my head.

It has been a long time since I stocked zines in a record store, but that is where a zine about band t-shirts belongs, so I took some along to Red Eye earlier this week.

Red Eye was probably the place I discovered zines, either there or Waterfront. It was the early 1990s and Red Eye was located in the Tank Stream Arcade, an dingy underground arcade on the corner of Pitt and King streets in the city which has now been replaced by an underground Coles supermarket. The store was adjacent to a food court with big 70s orange chairs, where punks would sit smoking and office workers would have lunch. The store moved to a few locations in the Tank Stream arcade before moving across the street and above ground to Pitt st. Recently the store has moved underground again to 143 York st, behind the Queen Victoria Building.

Descending the stairs I felt a sense of full-circleness, both about the zines and about the band t-shirts. I bought a fair few of the shirts I wrote about from Red Eye. Everything was coming together in this moment, I even felt a shadow of my old nervousness as I waited at the counter to drop off my zines. But my old shyness was a shadow that faded as soon as I started to speak.

“Do people still buy band t-shirts?” I asked the Red Eye guy. He told me they still sell lots of them. I had noticed on a previous visit that there was a whole section of band t-shirts at the back of the store.

“You look like your from my vintage,” he said, and told me how strange it was that people had been coming in to buy Mudhoney shirts the week before, after Mudhoney had played. He’d had a Mudhoney shirt in the 90s that he’d worn til it fell to pieces. (The story of my own Mudhoney shirt you can find a couple of posts earlier.)

I left the zines there on consignment, shook the hand of the Red Eye man and ascended to the busy streets above, with Christmas buskers and people charging along with retail madness in their eyes. It has been twenty years since I first went to Red Eye as a shy teenager and I felt a sense of connection to that time, like that girl from the past would be happy to know she would still be around so many years later, stepping out in a spotty dress, into the same and different city.

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