Slow Boat Records is a long stretch of a store set in a slight alcove halfway down Cuba Street – number 183, to be exact. Its outer walls are bedecked with musical posters and paraphernalia, and faded yellow signage announces its name and purpose; SLOW BOAT RECORDS. BUY SELL TRADE; RECORDS, COMPACT DISCS, TAPES.
The blazing red emblem – a junk ship silhouetted against a half-set sun – is what allows pedestrians who spare Slow Boat a passing glance to connect with what the store has to offer. It exists primarily to make available the music that was at its prime prior to the store’s establishment in 1989, the kind of music that has become hard to find online or in chain stores. Slow Boat Records allows its customers to take home their own little piece of the past in the form of audio.
Cardboard cutouts that dangle in the window of David Bowie and Elvis in their signature get-ups reflect the styles of people passing by and through the store. Men in sleek business suits who have jumped on the hipster-combover hairstyle bandwagon resemble modernised Presley’s, while more daring expressionists with made-up faces and bizarrely printed shirts reflect Ziggy Stardust’s style.
Some choose to portray their musical appreciation in a subtler manner; people in well loved t-shirts with faded band logos can be seen frequently milling in and around Slow Boat – staff included.
Stacks of records and CD’s sprinkled with dust garnered from the storage rooms out back fill the maze of shelves inside. The unobtrusive lighting and constant beat of background music creates a calming and welcoming atmosphere. Ultimately, the store is a place for lovers of song to come together and celebrate their collective tastes. It is a safe haven in which to relax and meet others to whom you can relate and connect and, most importantly, to find and rediscover the music you know and love.