Saturday, December 16, 2006

Now that's the way to Christmas shop

Eva finishes school at 1:30 on Fridays, so yesterday afternoon we took a trip down to Kensington to do a little Christmas shopping. Kensington is a great little village in the heart of Calgary that reminds me very much of my old neighbourhood of Wortley Village back in London, ON. Lots of funky little shops and tea houses and the best used record store in the city - Hot Wax Records. I had noticed that the Kensington Riverside Inn was decorated up as Whoville, so I got the family photog to get a few shots. I especially like the lime green Whoville wreaths.

Hot Wax Records was a gold mine yesterday. First all, both the old hippie guy and Lorrie Matheson, local singer, curmudgeon and top-notch Ralph Klein critic, were working at the store. As we walked in the door, I heard Eva exclaim delightedly, "they're both here!" and I knew she wasn't talking about any cds she had found.
I finally told Lorrie how much we enjoyed his performances at the Calgary Folk Festival this summer and he admired our cd choices.Although it was a trifle embarassing when he asked if these were Christmas presents and we had to admit that, no, all fourteen cds were for us. (They were used, it was a hell of a bargain, so lay off me!)
Hot Wax is the most well organized used record store I have ever tried to peruse. Not only is every cd properly filed, but they are alphabetized within each letter of the alphabet, not just all the "g"s lumped together. Plus they are categorized and they have a "just in" section where I found three killer finds.
After the Hot Wax stop, we found the really cool present that we had planned to get for Jerry (don't say anything to him) and Eva pretended she didn't know I was getting her some stuff at the art supply store.
We topped off the afternoon with a lovely break at the Oolong Tea House where we not only got the covetted window table, but I had the most wonderful London Fog tea and Eva had a mango smoothy and, piggies that we are, we shared a piece of carrot cake and a blueberry thing. The Oolong tea house has a great atmosphere, slightly dishevelled but comfortable, with soothing sage walls and wood cabinets loaded with tea blends. It's the kind of place where you could happily while away the afternoon sipping tea and people watching. Even the bathrooms were charming.
All in all, it was a most civilized and relaxing way to go Christmas shopping, even if we spent most of our money on ourselves.
But check out the great used cds we got:
- Pixies - at the BBC
- the Pretenders - Learning to Crawl
- Margot and the Nuclear So and So's - The Dust of Retreat
- Jesus and Mary Chain - Psycho Candy (we already had the songs, but not the cd)
- the Replacements - Stink
- Falconhawk - Here's Your Ghost
- James - B-Sides Ultra
- the The - Love is Stronger than Death EP
- Hylozoists - la Fin du Monde (I had to ask Eva if anybody bought this already because it was on my Christmas wish list)
- Sparks - Music that You can Dance to
- the Fall - Perverted by Language
- Lush - Spooky
- James - Gold Mother
- Kirsty MacColl - Titanic Days
Now that's what I call Christmas shopping.


mellowlee said...

OOoh awesome finds!That teahouse sounds amazing. I love the whoville pics, but the photo of you is my favorite! I survived the Pacific Centre Mall, Winners and Future Shop, but I do feel rather "Mauled"
I told the cashier jokingly that I hadn't been pushed and shoved around so much all year, and that's saying a lot because I take transit. He thought that was pretty funny :)
Im glad you had a good shopping experience!

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Oh man, you are so brave, tackling the mall on a Saturday, Mel. I hope you are not too bruised from being malled.

When you get here I'll have to take you to Kensington and some other places. I think you'd like some of the shops there.

Anonymous said...

Now that's my kind of Christmas shopping! I love used CD's. We have a great little store here that is my number one guilty pleasure. I always seem to be able to justify a pass through whenever I'm downtown.

Nice picture by the way. You just look so calm and reflective in it.

All in all sounds like you and Eva had a great girls afternoon out.

Deb said...

I believe we used to have a Hot Wax out here too...hhhmm. As usual, I don't know any of the CD's you bought and that's very exciting to me. I love how I have you as a resource for music and can now go explore some more new stuff. Thanks for being so bloody hip!!

The Whoville thing is awesome...I've gotta' show Linds. She's often been told she looks like Cindy Lou Who...her nose and how she sometimes styles her hair.

Ah, that picture of you just screams are you so composed at this frenzied time of year? I'm pulling my hair out (not really - I actually don't care that I have all but nothing done. I should, but I don't!).

668 aka neighbour of the beast said...

i've been to that tea shop! and sat at that table! (i have to yell a lot because my ears are ringing from joan jett. or perhaps i'm just very excitable tonight. who can tell?) i went to hot wax but for some reason i felt ill and had to leave. next time, i will attempt it again.

hilary m. said...

Kensington is ma turf! I was actually there on Friday after school, but around 2:40 or so and we spent a lot of time at Shoppers Drug Mart. Riverside Inn always has the Whos, and punkins on Halloween.

My friend spends a lot of time at Hot Wax, I go there once and a while. But I did buy space sand and a yoyo for my friends at Livingstone and Cavell (a toy store). We went to the dollar store down tenth street (by Safeway) and bought Snow-In-A-Can. Then sprayed it on the trees so they could be festive.

You should go to Kensington on Saturdays though. Free parking, free candy canes, nice elves, nice carollers, bands. It's very fun.

Evelyne said...

It sounds like a nice afternoon. And i totally need to find a place like Hot Wax Records in Montreal.

And I really like the pictures that Eva took at the Tea House. There's nothing better than a good tea (well, or whatever they sell) after some shopping.

Karen said...

14 CDS? Holy smokes! What a great way to treat yourself (and Eva). Sounds like you had a fabulous day. And mangos, mmmmmm.

I love the idea of a Whoville display.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

One should always make an excuse to go into a used record store imo, Toccata. You never know when you will find that rarity you've always been searching for (or even a Velvet Underground record you can sell for $175,000).
Eva is a good photog - she can make anyone look decent.

You've got picture on your avatar, Deb! Very lovely!
Isn't it funny, I use other people as music resources - I guess it's the whole circle of life or something like that.
How cute that Linds could be a Who! She should come down to Kensington sometime and hang around the Riverside Inn and see if anybody recognises her.
You know, I'm a pretty calm person, so although I get grumpy about Christmas I don't generally get all that stressed.

I'm looking forward to hearing about the Joan Jett concert, 668. How cool that you sat at my table! That's a lovely little tea shop, isn't it?
Hot Wax can be kinda smelly sometimes because I think they smoke in there occasionally, so maybe that's what made you ill. But be wary, I heard the guys saying that the french fries they were eating were good, but cold, Then Lorrie said "we should get a deep fryer in here". God I hope he was joking.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Too bad we missed each other on Friday, Hilary! I wonder if we would have recognised each other if we passed in the street. Well I'll keep an eye out for you next time I'm down there.
The Riverside does a great pumpkin display, too, don't they? I'm always driving by on the way home so don't have time for a close look.
Sounds like you got some great finds as well and I'm sure the trees will appreciate being made festive-looking. If I lived closer to Kensington, I'd be down there on Saturdays, but I tend to stick to my hood.

I'll bet there are some great used record stores in Montreal, Evelyne. That's part of the fun of a new city, is finding all the good places.
Going for a refreshment after shopping is a lovely way to wrap things up and it's so nice to not have to go to Starbucks for a change. I'm so sick of that place.

I know, Karen, I felt like such a glutton, but on the other hand I really like to support stores like Hot Wax.
The Whoville display really captured the feel of the afternoon for me. I'm feeling quite Who-like, as opposed to Grinch-like, now.

668 aka neighbour of the beast said...

it could be the smoke, or thinking about it, it could be dust. i get ill in used bookstores sometimes as well.

a deep fryer?! good lord, then it really would be hot wax... tee hee.

mellowlee said...

I actually think the mall experience made me forget about the pain in the neck for the time being ha! So there are advantages ;) I can't wait to see all those shops!

Barbara Bruederlin said...

hahaha 668. Yah they'd likely have to add a deep fryer to their logo.

And we could go see them without waiting until one of us has neck pain, Mel.

phlegmfatale said...

It's a pitiful reflection on the state of affairs when I am actually surprised when the alphabetizing in book/record stores is coorect, these days. Harumph! Good on you for having a good one close & handy, and manned by admirable people, yet!

Ben said...

I just love second hand record shops, particularly vinyl. The browsers in these stores are all the same as me, sad lonely individuals who furtively rummage through the discs like they're porn fiends.

You got some good discs there Barb. Obviously TJ&MC is a classic of its time. That Pretenders album is great, their second best after the debut IMO, and that Pixies compilation sounds interesting. They did a few sessions for John Peel that I've not heard so that should be cool.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Good point, Phlegmfatale! It is a sad statement that we are surprised and delighted that:
a) people know the alphabet
b) people care enough to file correctly.

"rummage through the discs like they're porn fiends" - good analogy, Ben! I get a little like that in used record stores as well, you are not alone in your perviness.
You would like this store, I think, it has lots of vinyl, in fact it has a basement FULL of nothing but. If you ever come to Calgary, that will be one of the first places I take you.

Leazwell said...

Spending money on one's self Christmas shopping - ye, I have that problem.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

It's so easy to do, when you know exactly what to get yourself, Leazwell! You are the easiest person to buy for!

Anonymous said...

Great shopping finds! I love used record shops. Reminds me, time to visit mine too and cash in on some credit.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Thanks for the reminder, Dale! I have a whole bunch of credit at the one near my place. Woohoo, post Christmas cd shopping!