MUSIC

Iconic El Mocambo sign up for sale on eBay

10/22/2014 09:26 EDT | Updated 12/22/2014 05:59 EST
The neon El Mocambo sign, an icon of Toronto's live music history, is now up for sale on eBay.

The multicoloured palm tree sign, which has stood tall over Spadina Avenue for decades, can be yours for a price that as of 9 a.m. stood at US $6,600. More than 55 bids have been placed in an auction that ends Oct. 31.

Once a mainstay of bands visiting Toronto, the El Mocambo club is in the process of being sold. Bands as varied as Blondie, U2, Fats Domino and the Rolling Stones have played the El Mo stage over the years.

Music journalist Nicholas Jennings was on CBC Radio's Metro Morning Wednesday and during his interview with host Matt Galloway lamented that the sign, which he called a "beacon" to generations of Toronto music fans, will now be sold to the highest bidder.

"The idea that it's now just up for grabs on eBay is heartbreaking for anyone who cares about the live music history of Toronto," said Jennings.

Jennings said the club "it is sort of like a rock and roll landmark," of the city. "There isn't a more famous club in Canada I don't think. Artists of all genres have played there. People have incredibly deep and rich memories about that club."

Jennings said he hopes the sign will be bought by someone willing to display it in a place worthy of its heritage.

He mentioned how B.C. band 54-40 bought and restored the sign of the Smilin' Buddha Cabaret, also a shuttered former landmark of that city's music scene. The sign now hangs in the Vancouver Museum.

"We need something like that in Toronto," said Jennings. "Where artifacts that mean something in this city can be preserved and displayed."

"We need reminders of our past. I don't think we can just obliterate all evidence of what we've had and what we've been. The city is enriched by reminders of its past and I think the El Mocambo sign is in keeping with that history."

Jenninngs jokingly wondered whether Rolling Stones singer Mick Jagger couldn't purchase and somehow preserve the El Mocambo sign.

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