This photo celebrates the people who made Rare & Racy a special place. A shop well known and loved in the city of Sheffield. It was selected by Tom and Allen of Rare & Racy from a number of images taken on the last day of trading. The title for the photo was chosen by Allen.
It’s a Family Affair
On 1st July 2017, after 48 years of trading Rare & Racy closed their doors for the last time. The cultural map of Sheffield is presently being re-drawn with a skull and crossbones marking the spot once occupied by the store. It’s presence in the city as a cultural hotspot, social hub, bookshop, art gallery, record store and quiet hangout among other things will be greatly missed.
Familiarity can make it easy to think a place like Rare & Racy had always existed and that it always will. It was however only through love, dedication and hard work that the shop evolved to become the place we knew and loved before it closed. Atmosphere, character and personality cannot be bought from a shop fitter and it is unlikely we will experience anything of it’s like again. To many Rare & Racy was more than a shop. It was a place of exchange where people traded ideas and inspiration and kept one another informed of upcoming events. It was an outlet for local writers, musicians and artists. It was a shop that connected people from across the city and other towns.
Rare and Racy served as more than just a bookstore. People who frequented the shop can all share tales of unique moments or how they spent half of their misspent youth there. Moments spent reading and buying books or listening to music while chatting with people who have now become important figures in the arts, locally and globally. Rare & Racy was proof that a business can be about much more than just business. Over the years it has been a catalyst to conversations and friendships. A place where people could tap into new or different ways of thinking and of being. Having a chat and discussing books or politics or music was all part of feeling at home in Rare & Racy.
It was evident on the last day of trading that the Rare & Racy family extended well beyond the people who ran the shop. Hundreds of people turned out on the day, not out of duty but because their lives are richer for what Rare & Racy gave them and the city. It was more than a business and peoples memories of it will not simply be about it’s four walls or creaky floors. Their memories will be of people, books, inspiration, art, radical ideas, music, connections, friendship, quiet moments, discovery, conversations and laughter. For nearly half a century Rare & Racy enriched the lives of many and I hope the philosophies embodied by them will live on in the people whose lives they touched.
The shop may be gone but it’s heart beats on…
Best wishes to all at Rare & Racy
Below are links to photographs of Rare & Racy, a link to their website and a two music videos. Sly and the Family Stone because it’s where the title of this post was borrowed from and a less well known Jonathan Richman song.
Inside Rare & Racy Vol I HERE
Inside Rare & Racy Vol II HERE
Inside Rare & Racy Vol III HERE
Inside Rare & Racy Vol IV HERE
Inside Rare & Racy Vol V HERE
Inside Rare & Racy Vol VI HERE
Inside Rare & Racy Vol VII HERE
Rare & Racy shop front HERE
The Rare & Racy website is HERE