It would have been embarrassing to have asked anyone. It might have been gone a long time and I had failed to notice. There had been such an embarrassing moment in the past. Asked to go to the village shop to buy some things, opening the shed door had revealed that the bicycle had gone. The telephone call to the police station had prompted a series of questions as to what the bicycle was like. After the bicycle had been described, the policeman muttered grumpily, ‘We have it here; we have had it for a week. Someone must have ridden it for a while and decided they didn’t like it – it was thrown over a hedge into a field’.
Losing a bicycle was one thing; losing a record stall was another. Trout Records had been there last time I had walked through Dublin’s George’s Street Arcade, admittedly, that was probably last January; in the meantime, it had disappeared without trace. There was a sadness in walking the length of the arcade twice, just to make sure that it hadn’t moved, I had liked Trout Records.
It’s hard to remember how many second hand CDs I bought from the stall; a few dozen at least. On one occasion, when I was clerically dressed the stallholder picked up the discs I had placed on the counter and said, ‘Now, what does a man of faith listen to?’
‘Well’. I said, ‘what do I have here? Creedence Clearwater Revival, The Band, Crosby Stills and Nash, Jefferson Airplane and Pink Floyd’.
‘Hmmm’, he said ‘I like Floyd’.
‘A bit before your time’. I had said. He had looked no more than thirty. Now I would never discover what he might like when he was forty.
Googling ‘Trout Records‘, more in hope than in anticipation, there was a moment of delight. They had gone underground; their former life had ended in February and Phoenix-like they had risen from the record sleeves and empty plastic boxes and now lived in the basement of another store.
Maybe it wouldn’t matter if one more record seller had disappeared, but maybe it would.
On Trout’s Facebook , it says, ‘Long considered the funnest record shop in Dublin. One of the last places where you can have an actual conversation with the staff and a proper dig through the crates for a bit of musical treasure hunting’. ‘Funnest’ captures a sense of what Trout is about.
But it’s about more than a record store.
In twenty or thirty years time, where will people go for a Trout experience? In a world where music is purchased in online downloads and where records have no tangible existence, where will one go for that moment of serendipitous delight in finding Creedence Clearwater Revival, or whatever band it is that strikes a personal chord?
Life is moving from the actual to the virtual. The Internet is reducing experience to a series of digital interactions; the concrete, the tactile, the human, the things that make human life what it is, are being lost.
Trout Records is about more than second hand CDs.