Art & Design


Rising From The Niches

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Speaking with Charlie from Collector’s Corner, I asked him if there was a sense of reciprocation within Melbourne’s record store industry. He replied, “I’ve worked at different record stores over the years and I’ve definitely seen the same record twice. You can tell by certain markings on the vinyl or names written on the sleeve. So, yeah, there is.” The funny thing is that he misunderstood my question, but in doing so revealed exactly where Collector’s Corner fits in the mix. It’s a place for enthusiasts, for people who notice these types of things.

A few months ago, Collector’s Corner packed up their iconic Swanston Street store, in favour of two new streamlined conceptual stores, dedicated to different genres. The one I visited can be found within the iconic Curtin House, just down the street from their original locale. Their sister store can be found at Missing Link, where the two institutions now co-exist. Charlie compares it to “the Japanese niche record store model, where you have stores that concentrate on something like just free jazz, or a certain type of rock and roll that only existed in Chicago for half a decade. And those are the stores that are tucked away in really interesting weird spots.”

That being said, they’ve devoted their stock entirely to Jazz, Funk and Afro-Soul in both used and reissued vinyl. “We do second hand, but we’re also really into reissued vinyl that are pretty hard to get in Australia. There wasn’t a really big soul funk scene in the seventies in Australia, so the only way to get them would be to import them, except for the really famous ones, like Isaac Hayes, but the rarer stuff is impossible to find here.”

The store is three floors up, but there is a lift. Not many record stores have street views where pedestrians look about the same size as the musicians pictured on the album you’re eying. The store itself conveys a sense of a unique experience, which goes hand-in-hand with the vinyl listening experience. As Charlie puts it, “with vinyl, you can touch it, you can feel it. It’s real. It’s the anti-Mp3.” They also stock a nice selection of a art-house DVDs that are well-chosen and priced, and carry a variety of record player styluses and cleaning kits if you’re player or records are in need of a tune-up. There’s also a modest CD selection that Charlie “hopes to eventually get rid of.”

Collector’s Corner is located on the 3rd level of the Curtin House, 252 Swanson St, Melbourne. They’re open 10am to 7pm on Monday to Saturday, and noon to 6pm on Sundays. Their sister location can be found at Missing Link, at 405 Bourke St, Melbourne.


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