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Now that our local second hand vinyl shop in Rotterdam has closed its doors, we had to start shopping elsewhere for pristine and affordable vinyl. But where? We discovered a shop a good hour's drive away in Antwerp of Belgium. For us Antwerp is not just another city, it's really abroad. Although Dutch, the Flemish dialect there adds something very attractive and musical to our ears. Our Dutch Dutch is harsher. It is laden with guttural G-sounds whereas the Flemish variant is softer, with a much more pleasing G coming from the mouth rather than throat. Grrr.

Anyway, in Tune Up and proprietor Carlo Andriani, we found a new source to satisfy our vinyl craving. And guess what, during our latest visit to the shop -- if you have seen the High Fidelity flick, you can imagine the atmosphere and personalities -- Carlo announced a relocation to Melkmarkt 17 above another of our favorite Antwerp haunts, the International Magazine Store aka IMS. As of April 1st then -- and that's no joke -- Carlo assured us that at this address, you can now get music and music magazines.
IMS stocks at least 20 audio-related titles in Dutch, German, French and English - plus a zillion other mags. Wowie!

To check it out, we attended the gala opening of Tune Up. Carlo indeed had not made us April fools as the upper level of the magazine store filled with music lovers drawn to the new shop, Carlo's personality and of course his live music group. Tune Up now cooperates with the Vintage Crew, an initiative to "relive the best of the recent past" in the music of the 20
th century that influenced art, design and fashion. The cooperation started April 1st under the auspices of Music Crew to operate the Tune Up store as a record wholesale and online business. The new shop will not only be a point of sale but serve as inner-city meet, concert venue and art gallery.

While at the opening we were pleasantly surprised by the Zita Swoon live performance. This popular Antwerp region band not only proved very musical, they also showed how a 7-piece band can make electrifying music on just a few square meters. By playing at just the right level -- an achievement in itself -- they were able to express and communicate musical emotion. In the words of the group's multi-talented front man Stef Kamil Carlens: "We can make music anywhere there is a wall socket". Hey, we've got a few of those in our digs.

In a previous discussing with shop owner Carlo, he made clear how he is not into hifi. Music is his passion and the fact that a better turntable or amplifier should cost so much makes no sense to him. It was funny then to meet Koen Vaessen at the opening who arrived with his enigmatic egg-shaped high-end loudspeaker and a set of Luxman electronics. Was he there to spread the gospel? Will Carlo give in to the lure of high-performance audio?

We will be back in Antwerp soon to find out! And refill our vinyl pitcher.