RECORD STORE TALES Part 246: Dancing Steve
One of our best customers at the original store was Dancing Steve. I’ll get to why he’s named Dancing Steve in a minute, but I first met Steve when I started at the store. Steve would come in or call looking for various cassettes (never CDs), and put them on hold until he had $150 or $200 worth, and buy them all in one shot. That’s just how Steve rolled. Normally we would never stockpile so much inventory for a customer for so long, but Steve spent so much money and was so pleasant that it was a special arrangement just for him.
Steve would call looking for songs. I can remember putting a Gina Vannelli tape on hold for Steve, and I also remember him looking for Rod Stewart’s then-recent song “This”. I found that song on Rod’s latest, the excellent A Spanner in the Works. It was always so nice dealing with him, he was so friendly, and even if we didn’t see him for two months at a time, he was uber-reliable.
I knew Steve was a hockey fan as he would often wear a Kitchener Rangers hat or jacket. What I did not know was that Steve was legendary among Rangers fans! Steve often wrote (and I think he occasionally still does) long letters to the editor of the local newspaper, cheering on our Rangers and offering his strategic advice.
T-Rev and I found ourselves at a Rangers game one weekend. I don’t remember the circumstances. We may have got the tickets for free, but neither of us were particularly fans of the game back then. The Rangers scored, the crowd cheered! Then, T-Rev noticed some commotion in the seats of one corner of the auditorium. To our left and down was a man in a Rangers jacket and hat, dancing. It wasn’t a sophisticated dance, it was a bit of an awkward shuffle, in that big warm Rangers jacket. The crowd loved it, cheering him on! It was none other than Steve, our Steve. I found out his actual nickname in town was Dancing Steve, because he had seasons tickets and rarely missed a game. Steve would get up and dance any time something good happened: a goal, a power play, whatever!
To this day, I feel cool that a local legend like Dancing Steve was one of our earliest, most loyal customers. In fact we didn’t lose Steve until 1997, when we discontinued carrying cassettes. Steve didn’t make the transition over to CD. He was crushed when T-Rev had to tell him we weren’t going to be selling tapes anymore.
I have been to a couple Rangers game since, but not seen Steve. I know he still goes though, as I’ve heard tell that Dancing Steve dances on at the Aud. I would like to dedicate this chapter to Steve, an example of a jolly good fellow if there ever was one!
TOMORROW: Something exciting.