The party of the first part as Groucho and Chico Marx famously and hilariously discussed in A Night at the Opera, is in this instance a Dundee institution – Groucho’s Record Store. Record store? What that did I hear the young among you say? Groucho’s sits today in the heart of the city in Nethergate having first opened in 1976 on the Perth Road around a mile west of its present location. At that time downloads were things which slid off the backs of lorries. The store is of course named after the man himself and I guess one of the things they have in common is being different. Despite the downloading tsunami the store is one of Dundee’s many success stories while Groucho Marx’s anarchic super fast before broadband wit and distinctive persona were one offs.
Now although most of my music is bought via download these days I still love to visit Groucho’s Aladdin’s Cave of vinyl CD and more to unearth hidden gems. I recently bought a retro record player in there. What exactly Groucho would have made of Groucho’s I can’t begin to imagine – it opened the year before he died. But perhaps we shouldn’t try to second guess if a meeting between Groucho and one of his greatest fans is any guide. That was none other than one of the great English poets TS Eliot.
A dinner was arranged between the two men and it turned out to be a disaster apparently. TS Eliot knew the Marx Brothers’ movies to almost anorak proportions and wanted to talk about nothing else. Groucho Marx on the other hand had swotted up on English Literature hoping to engage the literary giant across the table so it turned out to be something of a dialogue of the deaf. Quite a lot of work for Freud in there I guess. I wonder what TS Eliot would have made of Groucho’s?