The East Gallery died and only a ghost inhabits it

Something strange happens in this city of insatiable commercial rotation, where there may be locals boasting in English and without the slightest ironic pride: “Since 2014”. We go in search of The Little Hole, the mythical 3×2 record store that is in the no less legendary East Gallery from (since) 1969. More than a record store, a symbol of resistance, Andrés Calamaro tells us.

On the way to the center, we think that the different turns of life made vinyl, with its sensual physical format, invigorate a certain kind of business that is permanently on the way to extinction. We have verified it in any street: a hepe Vilma Palma’s sobaquero is like carrying Being and Nothing under one’s arm.

Only Godot knows why record stores had another chance. Or maybe every business has its 15 minute historic repair. If so, who knows, soon come the turn of the parripollos.

The Galería del Este, where Mario’s ghost is today, brought together the extravagant fauna of Buenos Aires. And Borges: exception to the rule.

Proof names centennials

Without saying your age, mention something that centennials don’t understand: Casa Tía, Eduardo Sport, Lollipop ice cream, Sacachispas ankle boots, Geneva Llave, Vascolet, El Agujerito record store.

Peperina, by Seru Giran, I went to buy it the day it came out to El Agujerito on Maipú Street ”, 40 years after the appearance of that album, they tell us.

We have seen celebrities in strange places: Robert Duvall in a Recoleta tailor shop. Luca at the College of Notaries. Fernández Meijide in El Agujerito. Natacha Jaitt in a panchería next to the Vélez court. To the baby of Sixth Sense (Haley Joel Osment) in a brewery in San Telmo.

It was written that El Agujerito was founded by Susana Silva and the Epstein brothers as a record store specializing in jazz and rock. It was always in the local 10 from the Galería del Este and is characterized (ba) by fabulous pieces, imported and inhalable.

According to legend -El Agujerito is-, the logo of the place was designed by Louis Philippe Noah with “psychedelic aesthetics”. More was said: his very existence was an angel caller for music lovers and treasure hunters.

A photo in sepia

We arrived at the Galería del Este on a Tuesday at 3:45 p.m. Everything in half light. Not even Federico Manuel Peralta Ramos would have imagined this place gloomy. The only thing that is well lit is the bathroom. You scream and the echo is heard.

A photo in sepia. “We started in the afternoon in the Manzana Loca, around the Di Tella Institute: the Galeria del Este bar, the Florida Garden, the Moderno. Then we disembarked on Corrientes Avenue ”, he told us Javier Martinezby Manal.

Until it would be preferable if it is legally closed. Very sad panorama. The Galería del Este adds to the pain that Florida Street gives us. The Little Hole: you touch the stained glass window of the sanctuary as if it were a scared animal and you stay there pachucho, without the possibility of writing a travel chronicle or an old man’s chronicle.

-It hasn’t opened like two years ago. Out of 30 stores, no more than four are open.

A ghost that speaks

A voice over the back implies that we are not so alone. The guy seems relatively harmless. Medium stature, full beard, cap barely bigger than a yarmulke.

-You say that the others are empty?

-I say that the only thing that has a job in Argentina today is ignorance.

-Sorry, I think I have seen it from somewhere, can it be?

-Can be. I am the ghost of Galería del Este. Mario salcedo, pleasure.

Soda Stereo, in its beginnings, rehearsed at the Galería del Este.

Soda Stereo, in its beginnings, rehearsed at the Galería del Este.

He invites us to take a seat in one of the chairs in the famous little bar where Borges used to sit. The writer lived across the street, just across Maipú Street. There are three wells on the tables, but the bar – and almost everything else – is closed. Cups, he says, cannot be touched. “They are like installations that post testimony of a last coffee.”

-Do you work here?

-I was working. I have been in the gallery since 1968. El Agujerito only opened a year later.

-What’s happening, Mario?

“This died,” he says with a creepy laugh. Do you know what the City Library, where García Márquez signed the first edition of One hundred years of loneliness and where Borges practically lived?

-No.

-A boy has it who sells used records …

Object of study

We walk like flaneurs through the shadowy corridors as he tells us that it is the fifth note they have given him in two months. That just as one came to know about a certain famous place, not by chance are we the only ones in memory.

The attraction of “vintage”? We suggest without anxiety.

-I ask you please a little more respect …

Mario is 76 years old and a face between José Luis Gioia and the great Ricardo Becher. “A documentary is being made about the gallery. This site is really important ”.

His mission in what he has left, says the ghost, is to rescue the treasures of a certain time and place.

-The singer of Virus, Federico MouraHe had a clothing store and a production company right behind you. At that table began the story of Soda Stereo. Moura produced the first album for them and Soda was rehearsing in a basement down here. The bar where we are – he says like a tour guide – was called Barbudos and Borges, who came every day, asked about me …

-Why?

-Because I was his eyes in the gallery.

Borges crossed paths with Spinetta and Javier Martínez, by Manal, at the request of Mario.

-And what you do for a living? –Borges wanted to know.

“I make a protest song,” Martinez answered.

-Ah, I noticed, I don’t even dare to protest.

Borges’s “second house”

It was the “second home” of the illustrious writer. We read that on the first floor of the gallery he used to give his free lectures, in a space that always filled a hundred people. Another fact: through the gallery where there are now only two of us, about eight thousand people passed daily.

It was 1975 and Borges was going to sign copies at the Galeria del Este bookstore. The renowned journalist Enrique Raab I worked for the newspaper The opinion.

“At almost 6.30 p.m., Jorge Luis Borges walked through the gallery (…) The ceremony did not go without incident. For unknown reasons, the El Agujerito record store, located in front of the bookstore, interrupted its broadcasts of Pink Floyd and Mae MacGraw and waited for Borges’ input to place on the turntable plate. the version of The Peronist march sung by Hugo del Carril. Borges decided not to realize it ”.

“I was the one with the idea,” interrupts the ghost. I gave it to Juan Carlos Diez, who is now a journalist and writer, but at that time he worked at El Agujerito.

-You wanted to bother him?

The famous City Library, converted into a record store.

The famous City Library, converted into a record store.

-No dear! We saved your life! In that presentation there were some boys who came armed. I saw their intentions and I wanted to show something that not many know: Borges was no gorilla. It turns out that as soon as the march began to sound, the boys began to sing it and then, immediately, they left.

Stained glass windows The Little Hole they are still upholstered with records. It does not look like a melted-down or disassembled premises. “I think they attend online. He has a phone taped to the window. But to the public it did not open more ”.

-Who was the most spectacular character you saw passing through the gallery?

-Father Mugica. Rodolfo Walsh. I’m not going to tell you Charly, because García came all the time. I saw Bill Evans enter the Little Hole myself. Spinetta came a lot, but he went to buy books and asked me to speak to Borges. I was driving the doll. If the old man needed to go anywhere, I took him. If he needed a plumber, he could get it for him.

-Hajjaja …

-I’m really telling you. I sent my friend Aldo, a Bachelor of Arts who worked as a plumber. The old man invited him to tea. He was delighted and the next day he thanked me: “I’m going to have to agree with Perón: That worker had a flower of culture!”

E.S.​

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The East Gallery died and only a ghost inhabits it