Today, I went to Jibbering Records in Moseley for probably the last time. They close in a week – but I’m off to NZ on Monday evening, and unless I get a chance to pop in during the day on Monday for one final cafetiere and a browse through the Funk bin, that was my last visit.
Jibbering’s not just a local independent record store that’s closing down – it was our second home in Birmingham. When we first moved to the UK, it was where we made our new friends, became involved in a ‘scene’ and spent all our spare time drinking coffee, listening to great music, surfing on the internet and hanging out.
Our experience of Britain would not have been nearly as positive and welcoming as it had been were it not for the Jibbering community and for that reason, we’re really disappointed to see it go.
In the grand scheme of things – it’s not a tragedy. The people of Jibbering will still be around with a new place in Digbeth. Only, it won’t be a record store and probably won’t be a cafe of any sort either. They’ve sworn off retail and have been doing far better with their gallery work, PA hire, CD duplication and, particularly, events organisation business.
Jibbering will still be a driving force of the local creative and cultural communities – probably more so than ever, without being dragged down by the difficulties of running an independent specialist music retail outlet – and they’ll still be an important part of our lives.
But the ‘meet-you-at-Jibbering’ default plan, the serendipitous encounters with interesting people and the ‘you’ve gotta check this out’ music recommendations over the counter will be a thing of the past, and Moseley itself will be much the poorer for its loss.
Not sad – in fact, I’m happy for the people involved, because it’s a stage they were ready to move on from – and it was one of my few remaining reasons to keep Moseley as a base now we’ve moved further away (it’s a two-bus journey to get there). But it’s really significant all the same.
Few social hubs have been quite that important in our lives. Cafe Rupin on Vulcan Lane, City Cafe on Lorne Street, Jolt on High Street (all in Auckland) and Jibbering. End of another era.