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Thursday, 11 July 2013

A piece of Rock Legend!

This weekend was a quiet one for us, but we did go on a little jaunt to a place which is in my opinion a a pretty damn cool destination. Nestled on Union Street in Chinatown is a small building, which if you weren't looking for you really would miss. And there lies Vancouver's little Jimi Hendrix Shrine.

I've been a Hendrix fan for some years and as the place is only open during summer months it was a must for us to go and visit. Hendrix was born and raised in Seattle, Washington, just over the US border where his parents Lucille and Al met. His paternal grandmother, Nora Hendrix, lived on East Georgia Street in Vancouver and worked at this location on Union Street, back when it was Vie's Chicken and Steak House. As a child Hendrix was often brought here to visit her during the summer months, and he visited again for the winter of '62-'63 following his stint in the army. It is said he practised at Vie's after the shop hours.
I read in advance that it was a small slightly run down place and well...it was. But to be honest the chilled out vibe and laid back rock and roll style sort of added to it's charm. We wandered in and were greeted by the most enthusiastic man I've ever met. There is only one room of the building left now, which they believe would have been a storeroom for the shop, but the guy enthusiastically offered the idea that Hendrix could have jammed exactly on the spot we were standing on.

The walls are covered with posters and pictures. There are family photographs of his relatives when they were alive and news clippings about them, along with images of tickets to his shows and copies of his handwritten lyrics. There's a small section for merchandise, and the volunteer who greeted us very kindly gave us a guitar pick with the image of an album cover on it. The guy loved us. He said that we actually looked interested when he did his little introductory talk, and I think he loved that we were British, he kept talking about the 'British connection.

After we had a little wander round the room, we had a peek round the back where they have a small garden with seating, and a few people chilling out in the sunshine, and more pictures/murals of Jimi.

Overall, it is a pretty small attraction, but it's only there for a few months of summer, and run completely by volunteers. The guy told us he does it out of love, thanked us so much for visiting and told us just to 'Keep loving Jimi.' You get the feeling it really has been born out of love and respect for the man and his music.  Sadly the owner is thinking of alternative uses for the building, so it might not be there for much longer. If it's something that would interest you get down there a.s.a.p.

Personally, I loved the place and the experience and would love to now visit the Jimi Hendrix Exhibit in Seattle. It's been added to the To Do list!

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