Here at Sound of Aarhus, we’re extremely sad about the closing of Stardust. A place where we’ve bought records, had coffee or beer and experienced incredible live sessions. We asked two of our beloved writers, who both have Stardust close to their hearts, to write a tribute to this special place.
Jesper Nyboe Nielsen
Back in 2009 two people from the music industry – who had fallen in love and found their common ground in Aarhus – decided that they wanted to open a 3 in 1; café, record store and book store. They found a beautiful protected half-timbered house at Klostergade which was the perfect frame. In February 2010, – five years ago – they opened the doors for the first time. It was something original in Aarhus. There was nothing like it. Not just in Aarhus – in the whole of Denmark. That combination of the old surroundings, the art, the coffee, the ecology, the Finnish treats and books and last but not least the vinyls and CD’s.
It took me a month or two to notice the place. After about half a year I recommended Stardust on my blog (I also wrote a piece on Stardust for Aarhus Culture later on). My friends and me hung out at Stardust, especially to get the local Aarhus Bryghus beers. I also went through the records many a time. Even though they weren’t that focused on my main passion – hip hop. And I bought the Hansen’s Is and Ice Coffee every summer. I also got most of my books from Stardust. It was an inspiring place just to hang out. Even when I started working at Fona, I still came to visit in my time off. Just to hang out at the café and suck in the atmosphere.
Back in 2012 I suffered a serious neck injury that had me tied to a bed for nine months and left me in constant pain and in a continuing recuperation. Through all this I needed something that could be a constant in my life – something to get me out of bed in the morning. So I contacted Jette and Juha and asked to start working there as a volunteer. At first it was one hour a week. Later it got to be as much as 15 hours a week. It’s now been two years and Stardust is as much an integral part of my life as anything else. It’s my second home. Now however, my second home unfortunately is closing down for good.
Considering all that Stardust means to me, however, I feel more sorry for Jette and Juha than I do for myself. Stardust is part of my life, something I have attached myself to. Stardust is in someway their life, their baby. Juha has been working at least 70 hours a week for all the time I’ve been there. You can only do that for so long no matter how much you love it. Especially when you are struggling economically as well.
One must not, though, dwell in all the negatives. Stardust has accomplished more in five years than most have in a lifetime. It has been a meeting point for musicians and a melting pot for creativity. There have been hundreds of concerts and releases, many exhibitions and the focus has always been on the local music scene. Everyone from Nelson Can, Ida Gard, Lydmor, Hannah Schneider, Mads Björn and Poul Krebs to unknown upcoming bands have played in the small space in the corner and the box with local vinyl was always full. Earlier this year Stardust even released their own vinyl with a live concert recorded at Aarhus Jazz Festival.
One thing you also notice is the effect Stardust has had on all the regulars. It is not only evident from the hundreds of messages they have posted on Facebook but also the emotional conversations I have had with them when they heard the terrible news. The way some people offered support, gave gifts and so on. For a lot of people Stardust was a safe haven where you could be yourself. It didn’t matter whom you were or if you wanted to socialize or just sitat a table for yourself. If you were sad it might cheer you up – if you wanted to reflect you could do so while listening to the music. It was a very special place for a music geek like myself. Juha knows his music, even though his taste and my taste is somewhat differentiated. He is also a great sound engineer and the only reason the sound has been so good at all the concerts. Juha is unique. The guy you want in every record store, but find in almost none. He is straight out of High Fidelity. He was so passionate about Stardust that he started out selling his own record collection, something I would never be able to do.
One must also not forget all the volunteers. Every single one of them have devoted their precious time to Stardust just for the love of the place. It has been a small family and I have gotten to know and love people I might have never met otherwise. Jette and Juha has been there for us whenever we needed and I hope everyone has enjoyed their time at Stardust as much as I have.
It has been five great years for me and hopefully for Juha and Jette as well. They should be proud of what they accomplished with Stardust. There has never been something like it before and I doubt there will ever be something like it again. At least I have the memories, my Stardust t-shirts and my Stardust Sessions Vol. 1 vinyl to put on any random Sunday when I start to reminisce. My deepest thanks to everyone I have met at Stardust. Thanks for all the discussions, the great concerts and all the inspiration. I am a richer human being for having been there for the last two years.
I keep thinking of Joni Mitchell when I open the doors of the beautiful old house that Stardust has dwelled in for the last 5 years on Klostergade; “We are Stardust, We are Golden, and we’ve got to get ourselves back to the garden”, Mitchell was talking about the turning point for the youth revolution of the 1960s in her song Woodstock but I was simply associating “the garden” with being this little record shop and café that was next door to my flat the entire time I lived on the street. Now it’s closing – another end of an era.
Over the few years that I lived on Klostergade, Stardust became a sort of garden for a lot of people I think. The vibe of the place was positive and happy – I got a lot of records there that have given me great joy – call me an emotional sap, but I make those connections. In an interview I did with Juha (the co-proprietor) for Record Store Day last spring he told us that he started the shop with his own personal collection of records – putting his life of emotions on the rack to be picked through and sold piecemeal – something I don’t think I could ever do, but I admired it.
(Photo of Bobby McBride in his Stardust t-shirt)
Last week I stood there buying the last few albums that I’ll ever buy there – some gifts for a friend I was on my way to see in Ireland. We had a little chat about the shop closing and even though I could tell he was a little sad to be saying farewell to all of their regular customers he still remained very positive and logical about it all. “Well…It lasted longer than we ever thought, so we are still happy to have tried it” .
What nice people, what a nice little place they made for us. I don’t know how the world of business works in this town, I’m just a customer – but I will miss coming to Stardust. All I can say to my friends and our readers is to get out there to your independently owned record shops and buy your music there. Amazon.com won’t save a copy of the new Dylan album for you on release day and your postman won’t tell you how he feels about the new Morrissey album. You might pay a little extra, but just think of it as a tip or a sign of gratitude for these people keeping our love and passion for music alive because-
“Don’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you got ‘till it’s gone”
–Joni Mitchell (Big Yellow Taxi)