Ruminations and recipes from a small kitchen in a big city.


The shop that wasn't there.

It was early afternoon on a cold Tuesday in May. I was striding purposefully through town as usual after yet another speedy yet satisfying lunch (the bento box comprising fruit, vegetables, teriyaki beef, tofu, rice flecked with seaweed, pickled ginger, wasabi, miso) at Don Don in Swanston Street where the food is always fast and the music is always Tom Jones when two old dears stopped me in my tracks in Little Collins Street. This often happens. I must look like a signpost. Not that I mind. I like helping old ladies. I’m always reaching things down from the higher shelves in the supermarket for people.

They looked like they’d just got off the train from Heyington or Camberwell or Mont Albert. ‘Can you direct us to Batman Records?’ they asked, and smiled at me in that vacantly patient way that old dears do when they have asked a question and are trying not to look demanding as they wait politely for an answer. Must be a generational thing.

I told them, sadly, that Batman Records closed many years ago. They wandered off. I hoped they didn’t start looking for McGill’s instead.


Martin L Kennedy said...

I wonder what they were after. Speaking of hard to find music shops, every time I go to the city I look for Basement Discs in the Block Arcade. Can never find it. I know it's there somewhere...

Anonymous said...

I love this story. It's full of pathos - did you mean it to be? ( or is that my slant?). It reminded me of all the great shops that used to be in the city but aren't anymore.

kitchen hand said...

Martin, it is there somewhere, severely outnumbered by the ridiculous number of lookalike cafes with their overpriced 'foccaccias' and 'lattes'. I have personally witnessed people in Block Place complaining about the price of CDs in the music store and then paying $30 for breakfast IN THE SAME STREET. Eerily, I've nearly fallen down Basement Discs' steps when wandering through Block Place. Also - and even more eerily - I have a Basement Discs paper bag on my desk right now containing my lunch. The bag contained your latest CD which mum bought for me, evidently surviving the steps and the latte crowds. The bag should be good for several more lunches.

Quince Poacher: Ball & Welch, Foy's, Walton's, George's, Town Talk Tailors (an uncle who died last year was one of them), Margareta Webber's Bookshop, The Paperback Bookshop, Melbourne Sports Depot, Fine Music, Cambrooke Cafe, White Hen Cafe, the Little Bookroom .... I could go on.

On the other hand, Discurio is still there.