Owner and founder of Vinyl Hero, Hong Kong's notorious record store.
Proof in Hong Kong that vinyl will outlast CDs.
Mr. Au is a super engaging storyteller that immediately grabbed our attention. One of HK’s long-time local entrepreneurs whose passion for the classics has brought a valuable and unique music shopping experience that is so Hong Kong.
I was born in Saigon, Vietnam, back in 1957..and during the Vietnam War in the 60’s and 70’s I was there watching American TV.
And we would watch and listen to them [American TV programming] a great deal. It was like an education, [something I had never seen before, and I was hooked], and that’s how I got into this kind of stuff...you know?
When I first came to Hong Kong I lived in North Point, as a “squatter” in an old building. Finally, in 1983, I moved to this district [Un Chau], just..two blocks away from here and I loved to come to these flea markets [from time to time].
Accidentally, I found some very good records. The records that I had been dreaming of and could not afford to buy in the 70’s and all that. And..they were still in very good condition and I started to collect them for my own enjoyment. [After a while}..there got to be too many and I started to sell them on the street.
I like the flea market because..it’s like I could own anything I could get my hands on. For example, at that time in the 80s,..people were throwing away all the good stuff from the 60s and 70’s including records and musical instruments. Everything that I couldn’t afford to buy in the 70’s, they were there!
Then I had this fantasy of owning a private 70’s music culture museum of my own. And..that’s how I got this obsession to start collecting crazily.
I’m not a wasteful person, I consume very little. In fact, you can tell here, that everything in the store is used...not brand new. In the 60’s and 70’s in fact, most of the people here in Hong Kong,..they were not rich. We [the community] had been dreaming of having good quality records but we [the community] had no choice. So we lived happily with cheap clothes, cheap records, even bootlegged cassette tapes..and all that.
I insist on this 60s’s and 70’s lifestyle. If you listen to old music on a CD it’s like you are drinking champagne from a paper cup. It’s not the [right] lifestyle, it’s not it.