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The Joyful Alternative, Five Points: May 2003   73 comments

Posted at 9:35 pm in Uncategorized

It's hard to characterize The Joyful Alternative. One commenter called it a "Head Shop", but I don't think that's quite right. "New Age" doesn't exactly capture it either. I guess "Eclectic" comes pretty close.

The Joyful Alternative started in 1970 and was located in the lower left side of what is now the Five Points Starbucks building. My mother liked to go there and browse the handcrafts from around the world, and look through the various prints, candles and statuettes. I liked the various humorous postcards and placards though in general the store didn't interest me as much as it did her.

However, there was always a rather odd assortment of books there, and I remember very well the day I found the old Ace paperback editions of Jack Vance's "Planet of Adventure" books there (City of the Chasch, Servants of the Wankh,The Dirdir and The Pnume). I get the impression from the overall series title that Vance was asked by his editor Why don't you just write a straight SF adventure for a change instead of all that weird stuff with the footnotes? Of course he wouldn't be Vance if he actually did that, but the overall meta-plot of the spaceman trying to get home provided the discipline to keep him from getting bored after he had described all the weirdities of his invented world, and the books are among his very best. (He was later persuaded to changte the title of the second book to The Wannek after being informed the meaning of wank in Commonwealth countries, and not wanting it to sound like a book about 15 year old boys :-)

Anyway, I don't know how that happened, but it was the only time I saw SF books there, and in those pre-Internet days, I never would have known of those volumes at all, not having seen them elsewhere. The store continued into the 80s, 90s and 2000s, but sales gradually declined, and the place finally closed in 2003 with Starbucks moving in fairly shortly thereafter.

So I guess in the end there was no alternative..

Written by ted on December 13th, 2008

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73 Responses to 'The Joyful Alternative, Five Points: May 2003'

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  1. When I first discovered “The Joyful Alternative” I was a freshman at Carolina in 1973. At that time it was located on Greene St. in an old warehouse looking building several blocks west of the location pictured here. And back then it was very much a “head shop,” selling rolling papers, pipes, bongs, etc., along with the books and handicrafts you mentioned. The place was full of all sorts of things, a kind of hippie emporium. But what I remember best about the place was the smell! The incense was almost overpowering. I only visited the location pictured here once. But that was some years later and times had changed. It was still a nice place in its funky sort of way, but it wasn't the “Joyful” I remembered.


    14 Dec 08 at 3:57 pm

  2. For its first ten years or so Joyful was on the other side of Greene St. (where Coal Co. was.)

    I never liked the place -- I got some sort of very creepy vibe the first time I went; I mean the hair stood up on the back of my neck and I felt I had to leave right away. I never went back.


    15 Dec 08 at 5:38 am

  3. The original Greene Street location was the best one for me. It was where I first associated the truly exotic smell of patchouli with a name, having smelled it on several college girls at the free outdoor rock concerts circa 1970 in the old Valley Park, which is now Martin Luther King, Jr. Park. I notice that oddly enough google maps calls this Green Valley Park. Anyway, there were only a few body scents to choose from in those days and it wasn't very hard to match up my memory with the bottle of patchouli. To this day I love the way that stuff smells. Speaking of sorted sundries, saw my first bottle of Dr. Bronner's peppermint liquid soap there before I saw it at The Backpacker, which in those days was a stone's throw away on Harden Street across from the old Sears store (where the Food Lion is now). Joyful was the first place I saw books on alternative energy and people like Buckminster Fuller. They had the whole so-called New Age movement anticipated by at least 10 years in 1971 when I made my first visit. If you thought the book section in the Saluda Street store was quirky, you would have been truly fascinated with the selection in the original. Much more variety, including more comics and sci-fi titles. And for some reason, I seem to remember that the name of the store in the beginning was just Joyful Alternative, but that may be a false memory. Most people I know just called it Joyful, however for the sake of this comment I'll refer to it as The Joyful Alternative. Considering that there are only 3 comments, I suppose it matters very little.

    The Greene Street version was definitely a head shop with a hippy culture accoutrement store added on to make it legitimate. Actually I would say a head shop with bookstore and then a hippy boutique to fill the building out. Any kind of bong, pipe, paper, holder, measurer, scooper, storer, tester and anything else you could possibly need to fully enjoy your favorite substance was for sale. To be honest with you, now it seems incredible that they got away with selling all of these items in plain view at the very front of the store back in the early '70s in Columbia South Carolina.

    One can only wonder what phenomenon Dennis was picking up on when he walked into Joyful and whether it was in the original store or the one on Saluda. I'm curious about that because I had the same thing happen once when I walked into this old house years ago in Eugene Oregon and I remember it like it was yesterday how the hair stood up on my neck and I had this weird sinking feeling in my gut. Hadn't had it before and I haven't had it since.

    One of the neat things about the original Greene Street location was that it was in what was a former coal company that sold coal for heating and cooking back in the days when everyone used coal. Think it was the Columbia Coal Company, could have been the Capital Coal Company. I remember a "side-track" from the main tracks that cross Greene Street that allowed the coal to be delivered directly to the coal company along the back side. In those days, trains were loaded with lumber cars and coal cars and they regularly made side deliveries right to the loading dock of a lumber yard or coal company. This is where a photo would come in handy, but The Joyful Alternative left the old coal company signage on the sides of the building but fixed up the entrance and the display window (always full of freaky artwork) giving it that nice double-use patina. Turn-of-the-century Columbia side-walls meet early 1970s hippy storefront. There are no doubt photographs taken by stoned would-be photographers in homage to their "equipment" supply store but unfortunately for us they don't hang out at Columbia Closings. Or maybe they do but are too embarrassed to admit that they forgot where they put the pictures all those years ago.

    When Joyful moved south a few feet to Saluda Street in the mid to late '70s, the Greene Street location then became a music club by the name of The Coal Company (of course keeping the coal company signage), and they did extensive remodeling of the basic interior of the building and put in lots of levels and compartments. Levels upon levels. This club was a precursor to Greenstreets, which brought even more levels. I had some mighty fine times in both of those clubs in the various levels both real and imagined, and saw my first Swimming Pool Q's show here and also the great soul shouter Delbert McClinton, among many others, in what had formerly been The Joyful Alternative.

    Delbert McClinton taught John Lennon how to cross-harp on the harmonica when he first toured the U.K. to support Bruce Channel's 1962 #1 hit, "Hey, Baby," in which his harp work features predominately. Listen to "Love Me Do" and it's easy to hear the harmonica part in "Hey, Baby" from a cross-harp perspective. The synchronistic thing about cross-harping is that in this building when it was The Joyful Alternative and had a great book selection, I had thumbed through books on how to cross-harp on the harmonica among other music books, and this is NO JOKE, while Delbert was playing he was elevated perhaps 2 feet off the original floor on a stage and was standing approximately in the space where the books had been. This is not hyperbole. Cross my harp and hope tie dye.

    In the google street view below, if you go back about 30 feet from the bench, that would have been the front door for The Joyful Alternative in the original location on Greene Street. I should add that this was before the present 2000 Greene Street building was a building so what you see in the street view today is what was built in place of the old coal company building. The coal company building was derby hat handlebar mustache with cigar in mouth old.

    Google Street View

    [it may take several seconds but the street view will eventually load]

    Michael Taylor

    4 Dec 09 at 9:49 pm

  4. Oops! ... not quite finished with this one simply because I looked something up after I made the comment. That's a good practice, by the way. Here's a great YouTube video featuring Bruce Channel, Delbert McClinton, John Lennon and the songs, "Love Me Do," and "Hey, Baby" in very vivid comparison. In one of the interview clips, McClinton dispels the rumor that he actually taught Lennon how to cross-harp, but there is a Lennon interview where he mentions the song, "Hey, Baby," as being a big influence and they did meet in England during the tour for "Hey, Baby." Delbert also briefly demonstrates cross-harping and how it's different from "regular" harping. In one poignant clip, he gives a very lyrical description of his impressions of Liverpool. A great 5 minute clip worth watching.

    Michael Taylor

    6 Dec 09 at 4:37 pm

  5. I've always enjoyed reading off the wall stuff, and The Joyful Alternative was loaded with it. The Whole Earth Catalog, ZAP! Comix, Oat Willy, Furry Freak Brothers, Wonder Warthog and all kinds of R. Crumb greeting cards. The owner was an easy to talk to fella named Dale, and he always seemed to hire nice looking girls. My future wife really liked their jewelry and odd candle selection.

    Though I never heard Dale say it, I always thought he chose the name of the shop to be in contrast with other stores like Maudy's Bosom, The Purple Turtle and AW Fully's. Instead of loud, blaring acid rock they played loud, blaring Grateful Dead. Patchouli is unique.


    6 Dec 09 at 7:26 pm

  6. Yes indeed brother Terry, Dale Allen Bales is the name I was trying to think of when I was writing my first comment. All it took was your mention of a Dale running the place, thanks for your great comment. I think he sold his share of the store and at one point moved to Los Angeles in hopes of being a screenwriter in the early-'80s or so. Don't know what happened on that front.

    Thanks for mentioning the other shops, one of which I think pre-date Joyful. Maudy's Bosom was the first "head-shop" that I actually remember hearing about in Columbia in the late-'60s, but because I never went there I didn't write about it. I do know it was in a two story turn-of--the-century house on Santee Avenue behind where Harper's is now.

    Off point a bit - I recently calibrated my monitor somewhat and for the first time in the last few days have noticed that some people have websites attached to their name. I never noticed the difference in lightness between the ones who don't and the ones who do. I visited your site and checked in on your blog and enjoyed the photographs of the air show and the story about your transistor radio envy. Airplanes and radios are two things that really fascinate me. And because I'm seriously thinking about selling this old house down the road, the other part of your site was fascinating as well.

    Michael Taylor

    6 Dec 09 at 10:13 pm

  7. Hey is there where the substation II was also?

    Mr Bill

    7 Dec 09 at 11:56 am

  8. Yes, there was a Substation II next to Joyful at the Saluda location. If you look at the bottom floor in the above photograph of Starbucks, the sub shop was the bay window on the right and Joyful was the one on the left. Their #12 sub was a cut above the other locations around town, and I ate one once a week when I worked downtown in the early '80s. They were so thick I could order a whole sub, eat half, and then have the other half the next day.

    Michael Taylor

    7 Dec 09 at 3:28 pm

  9. I will always remember going into Substation II down there after I left the fair one night in '88. It was the first time I ever heard Sweet Child O' Mine. It was playing on the jukebox. Been a huge GNR fan ever since.

    MR Bill

    8 Dec 09 at 10:43 am

  10. Dale Alan Bailes had a business down at Folly Beach for awhile and also served as some kind of Poet-in-Residence in some SC schools, but I can't remember anything more specific than that.

    Of those who remember the Coal Company bar, does anyone know any details about the great painting that hung on the back wall near the bar, such as who painted it and what happened to it? Consistent with the "Coal Company" name, it was a very large, semi-circular panel depicting a moonrise over a Carboniferous Era swamp. The moon was large, presumably in line with the idea that the moon was closer to the earth at the time (or maybe just for dramatic effect.) The rest of the landscape showed a lake surface and lush vegetation.

    I think I recall that one exterior wall or part of a wall was lined with actual coal, so that was a distinctive feature. Come to think of it, didn't the place catch fire some time after Greenstreets closed?

    The Coal Company/Greenstreets deserves an entry of it's own, but the remains have been pretty well paved over, so there's nothing to illustrate it with.

    Baron Grinnett

    3 Feb 10 at 4:24 pm

  11. Ah man, that painting in Greenstreets was something else wasn't it? I would have been proud to have it on my walls, but you would have needed pretty big walls because as I remember it, that sucker was nearly 15 feet by about 5 feet at the apex of the arch. The fantastic world that the artist created was done in a semi-photorealistic fashion, and it was pretty easy to get carried off deeply into the lush other-worldly jungle depicted in the painting. If he played his cards correctly, the artist could now be doing sci-fi matte paintings for the film industry and making a very good living doing so.

    As far as the actual painting goes, I hope differently, but I'm willing to bet that it was destroyed in the fire that sealed the fate of the old coal company building back in the 80's. That painting would easily be worth $10,000 today, especially with the provenance of the old music clubs and the coal company building history thrown in. Sadly, it was probably included in the statement to the insurance company at the time of the fire for a mere $5,000 or so. That said, a call to Doug Goolsby would solve the whole thing.

    Michael Taylor

    3 Feb 10 at 7:32 pm

  12. how happy to stumble on to this stuff...


    Dale is me. I am in Burbank, still going at the screenplay stuff.

    I named Joyful from a flyer that was put in my hand during a peace march in SF, when I lived there; it advertised a concert/light show after the march and was called "A Joyful Alternative to War."

    I had a music hall called The Dancing Bear at Folly Beach in the mid-70s. Booked people like Drink Small, Buddy Ray, Don and Pam McMahon /with Dave Holder, Jack Williams and John Brannen...Nashville sent over Marshall Chapman,and The Contenders and Uncle Walt's Band. Swimming Pool Ques came to Doug G and Greenstreets from the Bear; Dixie Dregs played a long weekend there just before they broke nationally. Sweet memories.

    During the 70s I worked with several other published poets to start and participate in the Poets In The Schools Program for South Carolina. I edited 8 anthologies of student poetry in seven years for that program.

    During the 80s I returned to graduate school and got an MA in Media Arts at USC (east) and and MFA in Professional Writing at USC (west). One of the great things about this was I saw Carolina play Southern Cal out here in 1981, then saw them play in Columbia in 1982.

    I was in Columbia last week for a visit, and ate some good grub at Doug Goolsby's new joint over on Rosewood.

    Hello to all the folks with fond memories of JA days; I have a million myself.

    Catch you on the flip flop!

    Dale Alan Bailes
    10153 1/2 Riverside Dr PMB 172
    Toluca Lake CA 91602

    Dale Alan Bailes

    9 Apr 10 at 8:20 pm

  13. Was one of them _The New Janitor's Nose_?


    9 Apr 10 at 11:38 pm

  14. Wow, ain't the internet grand?

    Michael Taylor

    10 Apr 10 at 4:30 am

  15. yes, one was THE NEW JANITOR'S NOSE

    Dale Alan Bailes

    13 Apr 10 at 7:47 pm

  16. One of my cousins had a poem in that one. I've still got a copy somewhere!


    13 Apr 10 at 9:45 pm

  17. My boyfriend and I would come to The Joyful Alternative whenever we were in S.C. I am so sad to hear that it is no longer there. It was a great funky store and will be missed. :-(


    25 May 10 at 1:37 pm

  18. im having a brain cramp, what was the other alt/head shop in 5 points called (beside group therapy)? it was the only place in columbia to get skate stickers and docs back in the day other than the brown moose over by the trenholm park pool (i think that's right? the one that used to have a cover over it?).

    (forgive me if missed it listed above...)


    8 Oct 10 at 1:49 pm

  19. steveb, it was superior feet playhouse. i spent most of my money in middle school there.


    8 Oct 10 at 4:48 pm

  20. Anybody remember Marty's Bosom?


    8 Oct 10 at 7:39 pm

  21. Scroll up to Dec 6, 2009, Jim.


    9 Oct 10 at 1:37 am

  22. Jim - what a difference 35 years makes. When Marty's Bosom opened the city fathers and the local media freaked out, and decided you could not have a Columbia business with the word bosom in the name. To keep from getting closed down, and so that he could buy ads, he spelled it backward and it became Marty's Mosob.

    Now there's a Hooter's in every neighborhood.


    9 Oct 10 at 7:12 am

  23. I just looked at the Dec 6, 2009 post about Maudy's Bosom. My old recollection was from when it was just called The Bosom and was a drug counseling center. My older sister told me that it had previously been a head shop called what I misheard as "Marty's," but my sister tells me that she thinks Maudy's is correct. But she was a stoner back then, so . . . .


    9 Oct 10 at 4:25 pm

  24. Maudy's Bosom is correct. Awesome store to visit for "hippie" threads and for incense!!

    Joyfull was too cool also. I remember the cool sign and curvey artwork on the front of the building. Jakie Brown made the curvey thing. I wonder whatever happened to it. I loved it.

    In the early 70's, a guy would come and made leather sandals and belts that were fantastic. I still have the belt I bought!

    Hey Dale!!!

    Yes, Isn't the Internet wonderful?


    8 Nov 10 at 11:59 am

  25. I think I still have a piece of pottery I bought there around 1972


    24 Dec 10 at 5:19 pm

  26. I worked at TJA for several years in the '80s when I was at USC (flipping back and forth between there and The Basil Pot). Barbara Howell was running it then and Ian and Sam were working the register. Dale would pop in once or twice a year. Those were incredible years. I still have things floating around my house from The Joyful - a printed bed spread, crystals, some pottery, lots of made the 80s tolerable. I met some really incredible people in that little place.


    27 Jan 11 at 9:04 pm

  27. Go my first earrings at TJA. Also played in a band that played the Dancin' Bear aka The Folly Beach Music Hall. Good Times.


    10 Mar 11 at 12:57 am

  28. Was on the poster! Woman on right looking down. Helped Barbara, Dale, Don, Pam, Joe and Mary open the place in June 1970. Went on to start the Palmetto Coop, which had its beginnings in the Joyful's gararage (thanks to Dale). Love the memories. Like Dale, I have many stories and they're all weird and wonderful. How did we get away with it!!!

    Diane Samsel

    4 Apr 11 at 3:18 pm

  29. I hung out at Maudy's Bosom head shop. I also drew psychedelic posters there, in the Fall and Winter on 1969. My name back then was Jupiter Superfreak. I remember the battle Maudy's had with the phone co. about listing the name of the head shop in the phone book. "Bosom" was a shocking word in the Sixites! The first time I bought albums by King Crimson and Blind Faith were at Maudy's. I mostly hung out at the radical UFO Coffeehouse on Main Street across from City Hall. I have a photo of the UFO. Drink Small and a band called Speed Limit 35 used to play there. Bess Revalise (sp), "Witch", and "Flame" were local hippies there.

  30. The Joyful was as much a state of mind as a location and it does not surprise me that people who didn't "fit" would have felt their alien-ness on entering. Oh, we would sell to anyone but not everyone was comfortable there.

    I remember a day at the original store when a woman came in, looked around nervously, obviously wishing to bolt out of there, but was halted by J. C. (you will know who I mean) who asked "May I help you?"

    She timidly raised her Lisbeth Wolfe shopping bag and said "I've just bought a skirt and need a blouse to go with it."

    J. C. thrust forward a hip with a fist upon it and drawled, "Honey, we may find something to match but they'll NEVAH get along!"

    I can't tell you what her reaction was because I was on the floor behind the counter laughing. She was gone when I recovered.

    The JA was most definitely a stark alternative to other retail establishments at that time and, for my money, was pretty darned joyful!

    As for you, Dale, greetings, my old friend! When the mirror depresses me, I take out "Cherry Stones" and read your inscription. Ah, the glory days...


    15 Aug 11 at 6:28 am

  31. Among all the other odds and ends, I used to love picking up copies of the Furry Freak Brothers comics here. They had a cool selection of alternative books too.


    26 Sep 11 at 8:09 pm

  32. Anyone remember a health food restaurant (may have had a store, too), that was up on Wheeler Hill near the Purple Onion in the late '70s? Can't remember the name, but it was across from the old American Legion hall.

    One of my wanna-be hippie girlfriends turned me on to that place. Food was good, healthier than most Columbia eateries of that era. First place I had pita stuffed with sprouts and hummus and washed it down with Celestial Seasonings Red Zinger. Attractive, friendly waitresses in long flowing Mama Cass style dresses, tie died, sandals, long hair no makeup.

    Trying to remember if that's where I first started buying Mother Earth News, back when it was still poorly printed on newsprint, before it became a big, slick mass-market magazine.

    They had stacks of business cards for an eclectic mix (back then) of non-mainstream stuff services. Acupuncture, fortune tellers ("readers"), chimney sweeps, wood stoves made of old 55 gallon drums, numerologists, solar water heaters.

    Met some interesting folks there.


    9 Feb 12 at 10:46 am

  33. Was that the building that had a restaurant called "Place on Pickens" and a bar named "Sylvester's?" I never went into either one, but do remember those names being in that general area.


    9 Feb 12 at 2:03 pm

  34. I think that may have been the building. Given that I didn't frequent the Wheeler Hill places, just can't remember where each place was ... or when.


    9 Feb 12 at 4:24 pm

  35. I was too young for all that back then in the 60's.. I may have been anywhere from 8-12 years old when the UFO and other places where the "Hippies" were and hung out. I do remember the UFO, but it was long gone before I was 18 or older.


    9 Feb 12 at 6:39 pm

  36. Wasn't the UFO in Exile on the block of Main just north of the State House?


    10 Feb 12 at 7:36 am

  37. The UFO was next to Manafest Records during the 70's and 80's..that's until Manafest moved and the buildings were torn down, but they were more near Main Street Methodist Church or about a block up I think.


    10 Feb 12 at 4:45 pm

  38. meant to say MANIFEST.


    10 Feb 12 at 4:45 pm

  39. I did a search and found this on the UFO Coffeehouse

    South Carolina Law Review
    ESSAY: The UFO
    Winter, 1995
    46 S.C. L. Rev. 363
    William Shepard McAninch *
    Twenty-five years ago, April 27, 1970, three young men were convicted of the common-law misdemeanor of maintaining a public nuisance for their roles in operating an anti-war coffee house in Columbia, South Carolina, which is the home of Fort Jackson, a major army recruit training depot. They were sentenced to six years in prison. What follows is the story of that prosecution.

    The UFO operated for nearly two years at the end of the 1960s at 1732 Main Street in Columbia, immediately next door to the Elite Epicurean Restaurant. As an anti-war coffee house in the deep South, it was an uncommon institution, although some local observers might have used other adjectives. It served coffee, tea, soft drinks, fresh fruit, music, and anti-establishment propaganda, much of which was pointedly anti-military.

    The space, formerly occupied by a succession of failed restaurants and a pool hall, was modestly furnished with wooden tables and folding chairs, an area for a band, and displays of reading material featuring underground newspapers, such as the Berkeley Barb, Short Times, The Great Speckled Bird, and numerous pamphlets, as well as mainstream newspapers and periodicals. The decor consisted largely of plants and posters, many with a civil rights orientation--Martin Luther King, Jr., Thoreau, and Malcolm X, and some rather less mainstream.


    11 Feb 12 at 11:03 am

  40. the times have changed since the Vietnam War and the Anti-Establishment move of the late 60's. I wonder what ever became of the UFO crowd?


    11 Feb 12 at 7:40 pm

  41. They all became investment bankers...


    13 Feb 12 at 7:41 am

  42. I shopped at the Joyful Alternative Coal Co. location in the early-to-mid 1970s before I left Columbia for California in 1978. The place had a profound impact on me--it seemed to have the only decent poetry section at the time in the Columbia area, and I'm sure that was due to owner/poet Dale Alan Bales.

    I was a budding poet while attending Airport High School in West Columbia, and I bought my first copy of Allen Ginsberg's "Howl" and other such books at JA. I also remembered the smell. It pervaded the pages of the books in the store, so when you bought one of the poetry books and took it home, the smell lingered while you read. I didn't know what it was--I thought it was incense--I just liked it. The experience of the store remained with you for years as you went back to the poems in your books again and again. Other titles I picked up there: Jerome Rothenberg's "Poems for the Game of Silence." I had never heard of Rothenberg, but the title grabbed me, later I picked up his landmark anthology of Native American poetry, "Shaking the Pumpkin." In that sense, JA played a role in radicalizing me and providing me with a cultural perspective I never would have picked up in Columbia, S.C. in any other way.

    When I first learned of the store, I still couldn't drive, so I had to get my mother to take me there so I could buy poetry. She refused to come in and sat in the car. I couldn't understand why at the time, but I guess she instinctively knew that she might not fit in, or she might get one of those bad vibes that squares would get when entering.

    While at Airport H.S., one of Dale's poets-in-the-schools--Walter Griffin--came to visit Airport. He submitted three of my poems to Dale, and Dale included them in the particular anthology cited above--The New Janitor's Nose--the best of three was a poem called "Eye Diving."

    I've published about 40 or so poems in small West Coast lit journals since those days, but I'll always be thankful to Dale because he published me first. Although Dale and I never officially met, I think we heard stories of each other through a mutual friend, a USC art major named Maggie White.

    I re-visited the JA Saluda location in the 1990s before it closed, and I was disappointed when I couldn't find the poetry section, but I did find some great postcards of radical American writers--one of William S. Burroughs, I remember distinctly.

    Mike Pulley

    5 Jul 12 at 1:44 pm

  43. Just to clarify. I see now I picked up the misspelling of the last name of Dale Alan Bailes from one of the earlier posts. Sorry Dale if you happen to read this again. Additionally, I don't want future visitors to replicate the error.

    Mike Pulley

    5 Jul 12 at 2:37 pm

  44. I remember the opening and the closing of the Joyful. I knew Dale in his pre Joyful days as the editor of the USC literary magazine, The Crucible and as a member of the debate team. In its early years The Joyful was the best bookstore in Columbia for poetry and contemporary literature and Dale had the greatest parties in Columbia. Barbara did a wonderful job running and inspiring the Joyful in the years after Dale. Dale was wonderful with students--I had him come and talk to my classes at USC and his work continues to inspire...

    And hello Mike!...great to know you are still writing...


    30 Dec 12 at 8:14 pm

  45. Dale Alan instructor of mine at USC in the late 70s, I'm sure. Maybe for screenwriting? I may still have the textbook and copies of the crap I wrote for the class.

    I'm working in a field far afield from when I was a student in Media Arts in the 70s.

    I seem to recall some classes or sessions were held at his (your) house on Green Street...


    21 Mar 13 at 9:16 pm

  46. Oh, how I loved The Joyful Alternative. I was at USC in 1971-76, (OMG the best times ever and never to be repeated), when it was still on Green Street then moved Blossom. How I loved that store--rolling papers, wonderful books, lead glass crystals to break-up light for your window in the sunshine, the wonderful smell of incense when you entered the store, the best card shop ever. Did I mention it was a great book store? I was at home when I went to the Joyful Alternative. My son and I made a yearly trip to the store until it, sadly closed. This wonderful, magical place is in my heart forever and will NEVER close in my mind.


    24 Mar 13 at 8:07 pm

  47. What is all the babbling about?


    10 May 13 at 1:25 pm

  48. Automated spam -- I've deleted it.


    10 May 13 at 4:39 pm

  49. I have the stained glass signage from the front door in my living room. My mother got it when the store closed.


    15 Jun 14 at 9:48 am

  50. Lonnie, would you take a photo of the sign and send it to Ted? And Ted, would you add the photo to the listing? I would love to see that again. I will bet Dale would enjoy it, too.


    15 Jun 14 at 6:16 pm

  51. Dale is or will be moving to Pawley's Island to live with his GF Jo


    21 Aug 14 at 1:34 am

  52. @Kathy - Is that Dale Bazemore - aka Caycekid??


    21 Aug 14 at 1:46 am

  53. I suspect she's referring to Dale, the owner, mentioned previously in this thread. CayceKid is actually 'Del.'


    21 Aug 14 at 5:53 am

  54. Duh - stupid me. I knew Caycekid was Del. Must have been having an adult beverage moment.....


    21 Aug 14 at 6:20 pm

  55. Ah, the Joyful Alternative! Dale & Barbara built a landmark that will remain a fond memory in many minds. Several of my friends worked there, in fact, my former wife, Beatrix, worked there. We were married by Dale who had gotten his minister's license mail order from Universal Life Church. One Christmas, I set up a portrait studio in the back room, and photographed Joyful customers. Wonder if I still have those negatives. If you remember those b&w photos on the wall in the 2nd Joyful location, those were my shots. My god, that's been over 40 years. Dale is now living on Pawley's Island with Jo. I think Barbara is still in Columbia. I wrote her a letter years ago—she didn't do computers—but, she never answered.

    Ol' Huck

    26 Sep 14 at 3:07 pm

  56. Ran into Dale and Barbara today in 5 Pts for the Jerryfest event. A good time was had by all and I just happened to be wearing a a pair of earrings from the Joyful Alternative!

    Debbie McDaniel

    5 Oct 14 at 7:29 pm

  57. saw dale @bones house for dinner just before bones and kent(myskyns-market st.,charleston)helped build the dancing bear when we were living on folly beach/FABOULOUS THUNDERBIRDS/opened(?)40yrs...?DRINK was there...I was also night watchman @JA before invention of burglar alarms. thanks for the memories...sandy beach,(allen)maui,hi

  58. I am glad to have discovered this site. From 1969 to 1973, I lived a good part of the time in what was called "Freak Row" by the longhairs of the day. That is the neighborhood across the street from Maxcy Gregg Park. that was the first "hippie" neighborhood in Columbia. In those days, I knew many of the people associated with the Joyful, Maudy's and other similar establishments in the Five Points and whereabouts in the central city area.

    At Freak Row lived a lot of people with artistic inclinations. Musicians, painters, writers. I am trying to compile an anthology including the writers of the period, also hopefully to include photographs, essays, recollections, et cetera. I've already talked to Dale Alan Bailes about this and many others, and many, including Dale, have offered to help. But I still have a lot of work to do if I am ever going to see this project to its conclusion. If you think you can be of any help, I can be reached at gleongelpi at Yahoo. Thank you in advance.

    Gonzalo Leon

    1 Sep 16 at 12:33 pm

  59. I was trying to Google any info about JB Gant's, a bar about a block from the Horseshoe, late '60s (seems to predate many of the commenters on this thread). I am one of the UFO Coffeehouse Five, the only native South Carolinian . . . which I mention only because I see several mentions above, one of which speculates we all became stockbrokers. That's a very reasonable guess, I'd say, given how many old lefties seem to have found new religion following the buck; but, in fact, it didn't work out that way. I moved to Washington, DC, to do more anti-war work and became part of a radical activist gay commune, worked with an alternative leftist bookstore. Now, as an old man, I volunteer in support of literacy, the arts, and the humanities. I serve on several boards trying to find, drum up, and direct funds for community projects all over the state (SC). Several of my coworkers from the UFO have stayed in touch, and they, too, have kept the faith in remarkable and generous ways.

    Will Balk

    10 Nov 16 at 9:33 pm

  60. Hi, all... great thread, which I fortunately found as I was trying to wrack my brain about where the Purple Onion had been located (my perception was it was on the corner of Whaley and Pickens and was followed by Sylvesters... or preceded? Vague - and in the same row of buildings as 221 Pickens, the original vegetarian co-op, which pre-dated Basil Pot, which became the fancier veggie place).

    But back to Joyful... great thread - Dale Bailes has moved back to SC (yay!) and splits his time between Pawley's and Cola-Town. I shopped in Joyful, have everything I ever bought there and it was filled with treasures of threads and paper for me, but not rolling papers - I was probably the only hippie that didn't do that part of the subculture. LOL.

    Barbara is active in painting (very talented) and does Tai Chi and remains as fabulous as ever, as is Dale! I was one of the bartenders at the original Coal Company and then the Greenstreets that was on Greene Street - not further up in the bazaar - by that point I wasn't bartending any more and that club was amazing and I got paid for seeing acts I'd have paid big bucks to see... what a horizon expansion that was. I am so sad they razed that building. It had been Capital Coal - totally forgot but when I read that above, it reminded me of the nickname we called it.

    The photo I got of the building for my book, South Carolina Blues on Arcadia, featured Delbert McClinton's appearance - so that was a neat bow on my recollections and this entire thread of memories.

    What fun reading y'all's memories about this amazing piece of real estate that launched two seminal businesses of an alternative cultural nature that shaped Columbia's cool factor! And I got confirmation that the club I had put in as a keyword was where I had remembered it. Bonus! Win/Win!

    This website is a treasure! I have a painting that Barbara painted of "A Carolina Bluesman" (ahem, Drink Small)... if y'all would like to post it here I can email it to the admin - I also have a really bad photo of the old Coal Co bldg.

    Clair DeLune, Blues Moon Radio and South Carolina Blues

    Clair DeLune

    22 Dec 17 at 10:31 pm

  61. I remember Joyful when it first opened in 1969 or 1970. Bought the only pair of bell bottoms I ever owned as well as a number of real photo post cards of celebrites and historical figures, a brass water pipe, and a brass Buddah incense burner. I still have all but the water pipe. Went back to Joyful several times after it moved to Saluda St but it was never the same again for me. More like just a ghost of its former self.

    Jimmy Baker

    14 Jan 18 at 11:16 am

  62. Does anyone have an email address for Mr. Dale Alan Bales? I would like to send him a note, but cannot find him anywhere on line. He is currently featured on Amazon Prime as a contest on a gameshow called Blockbusters from 1981. I can be reached at Thanks for your help!

    John Sears

    19 Jan 18 at 12:33 pm

  63. Was it Joyful that had that sort of catwalk thing suspended by chains from the ceiling? I always thought that was VERY cool.

    Lori- you probably knew my sister Shelley, she did the same thing if I remember right

    I always thought there was some kind of fire at the original location, and that's why they moved down the street.

    Brian Gilbert

    31 Mar 20 at 9:35 pm

  64. I was at USC from 71-76. We used to go to the Joyful all the time. on one occasion,I went there to buy some ZAP comics as a gag gift, and they had Solzhenitsyns ‎ books :The Gulag Archipelago ,
    and Cancer ward for sale. I think Solzhenitsyn had just won the Nobel prize.
    Truly a unique store reflecting the Zeitgeist of the time.

    jim faulk

    2 Aug 20 at 7:16 pm

  65. Such great memories! Kind of quirky memory, but I used to get their flat espadrille shoes...striped and solid, in every color... and the cards, and the books, etc. I wasn’t there when it started, got to Cola in ‘74. I really miss those days.

    Melinda Lucka Kelley

    17 Nov 20 at 7:48 pm

  66. Its funny how people connect. I was watching the old TV game show BLOCKCHAIN where Dale Allen Bailes was a contestant in 1981 I think., He mentioned he had moved to Cali to begin screenwriting. I went to look him up to see if he had indeed done so and If there were any movies or tv shows of is to watch. I found this thread... Interesting!


    27 Apr 21 at 4:07 pm

  67. BLOCKCHAIN 1981, Ep 105


    27 Apr 21 at 4:08 pm

  68. Maudie’s Bosom

    Duna Miller

    24 Sep 21 at 5:34 pm

  69. @Duna: Maudy's Bosom


    24 Sep 21 at 6:00 pm

  70. to the comments that mention my name "Caycekid"'s Del Bazemore. Lavonne Bazemore is my Dad and taught Band at Irmo, Chapin and Dutch Fork schools from the late 50's to the early 80's before he retired. Warren Bazemore of the former Silers Bald is my much younger brother. I grew up in Cayce before we moved to Whitehall and going to Irmo Middle and High School, but before that, I attended the original Heathwood Hall in the 60's.


    25 Sep 21 at 2:37 pm

  71. Such great memories of the Joyful from the mid to late 70’s. I bought lots of books and clothes and striped canvas espadrille shoes in different colors. And cards.. It was such a homey shop. Just Loved reading so many happy comments. Amazing how places like the Joyful Alternative, and the Basil Pot, 221 Pickens, and Tunes n’ Things where I worked, and Dzik’s and all the other favorite places during college were incredibly special, then and the memories now. MLKelley

    ML Kelley

    7 Oct 23 at 10:30 pm

  72. Sandy W.

    18 Jan 24 at 6:53 pm

  73. Oh, The Joyful Alternative... how I loved it. I was 18 just got married in a Nehru jacket and boots, picked my wedding flowers on the side of the road. I remember the store like it was yesterday. Early 70's, in love with the world. My new husband bought me a beautiful dress with the most unique insert of mirrors and colors. I wore the dress out and kept the insert and just today have handed it over to Kai as a graduation present.
    May Kai be in love with the world too.

    Lynn V

    10 May 24 at 6:39 pm

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