Brazier's bookshop on the block

By Ben Hill

A vacant old bookstore that helped nurture a swaggering rock'n'roll rebel is in need of a new owner.

Brazier's Books & Art, the childhood home of the late Hello Sailor frontman Graham Brazier (pictured) goes to auction on Wednesday.

The musician spent his formative years at the Dominion Rd store owned by his mother, Christine, and he later ran it when she moved into a rest home.

The shopfront became an impromptu shrine to the singer after his death last year, featuring beer bottles, shot glasses and flowers.

Founding Hello Sailor member Harry Lyon said he had fond memories of days spent creating music in the shop.

"We used to have little acoustic rehearsals in there. Dave McArtney and I would arrive with a six-pack or something, and Graham would already be in there, of course, with his six-pack.

"It was a great place," he said. "We would sit around and chew the fat, try out new song ideas and enjoy a few social occasions."

He compared Brazier's management style to cult television show Black Books, about a dysfunctional bookshop owner with a lack of enthusiasm for retail. "I couldn't help but draw some parallels, except Graham wasn't acting.

"In saying that, though, he was amazing with customers and would go to all sorts of lengths for them.

"Graham was surrounded by books his whole life. He was amazingly well-read.

"It was a great place for someone who was writing songs."

Built in 1926, the section with a capital value of $760,000 houses the shop downstairs and a two-bedroom flat on the second level.

Since the singer's death in September last year it has been held in a trust.

Ray White real estate agent Michael Greer is marketing the property and calls it "the most interesting listing I've ever had".

"It's an end of an era, and it's sad in a way."

The band's powerful legacy was reflected by the large interest in the sale. "I've probably had nearly 100 parties through the property, which is staggering. A lot of those people are curious, there's a percentage who knew Graham."

Would-be buyers will need to splash out on a spruce up.

"It's original, which is another way of saying it needs refurbishment," Greer said. "I hope ultimately we get the right outcome. You kind of want it to go to a good home.

"You want the building to carry on breathing with that same heritage. You want it to have that similar vibe."

The books are in storage and still held by the trust. They are not included in the auction.

- Herald on Sunday

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