"Absolute zero"

Skivbörsen 2020 12 02 800pxAbsolute zero is the lowest limit of the temperature scale, −273.15° on the Celsius scale −459.67° on the Fahrenheit scale. At absolute zero, all motion comes to a standstill. This pretty much sums up the impact of covid-19. One of the early victims of the pandemic was Atlas Records, read more here (opens in a new window). A month ago, I took a walk along S:t Eriksgatan in Stockholm, the former hub for second hand record stores in Northern Europe. I walked past one of the few remaining (?) and also best store, Skivbörsen, located at S:t Eriksgatan 71. The store has been closed since March 2020 due to covid-19. It's a wonderful establishment for cds and vinyls. Skivbörsen gives the concept of chaos a new and deeper meaning. However, the supply is unmatched and prices are very moderate. A hand-written note on the entrance door. Closed until further notice. The modest shop lighting is still on. I took the photo through the storefront. A lot of vinyls on the counter in their protective sleeves. It seems like the owner was handling them and then suddenly decided to evacuate. I came to think of the Chernobyl disaster, the nuclear accident on 26 April 1986 near the city of Pripyat in Ukraine. Pripyat was not evacuated until the day after, approximately 36 hours after the initial blast. The evacuation of 47 000 inhabitants, in 1 200 buses and 200 trucks, took only a few hours. Initially it was decided to evacuate the population for three days; later this was made permanent. Nowadays, you can go there on guided tours. The phenomenon is called disaster tourism. It has been defined as the practice of visiting locations at which an environmental disaster, either natural or man-made, has occurred. It's a ghost town. Cracked concrete buildings, abandoned apartments, peeling wallpaper, moldy daycares and the never opened Ferris wheel located in the Pripyat amusement park. The Azure swimming pool and Avanhard stadium are two other notable tourist attractions. Urban explorers find decay of uninhabited space profoundly beautiful. I don't think Stockholm will decay, but maybe change. I can already detect small changes in the streetscape: clearance sales, bankruptcies and vacant business premises. For many years we have been visiting second hand record stores. Not so much anymore. Is this delight over now?  


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