What’s this? A second hand clothing store in Newtown that’s no longer in operation?! How could this be?!
I’m sure C didn’t see the convenience in this situation. Nor did the council when it was forced to take a bite out of the awning to get that pole in. It’s not a good look, but neither were most of the fashions C had up for sale. Let’s please leave flares in the past.
C actually fills in the historic blanks him/her/itself on the C’s Flash Back website: “C’s flashback began as a humble stall at Glebe Markets selling antique collectables 20 years ago.”
Here’s where the timeline gets a little muddy: “Within 2 years they had expanded to a brick and mortar store in Newtown and later in Surry Hills.”
So this sign has been here for 18 years? There’s no mention of when the Newtown location closed; in fact, the website speaks as if it’s still operating: “With quality low-cost exotic clothing in the heart of Newtown, the King Street store provides many of the costume pieces for fancy-dress uni-parties throughout the year.”
You don’t say.
It’s also noted that C’s love of dressing people in outdated styles continues to have outlets at Surry Hills, Paddington and Glebe Markets.
Thank goodness Glebe still has a place to buy second hand clothing.
We specialize in selling American, British and Australian Comics and Pocket Libraries, Story Papers, Science Fiction/Fantasy Books and Pulp Magazines, First Edition and Out of Print Books, Vintage Paperbacks, Vintage Magazines, Records, Children’s Books
“Tell me this,” Tony says, as he reclines in his chair. It’s more like a throne, and he’s surrounded by his plastic subjects that dedicate each of their five points of articulation to their king’s whims. Tony is the proprietor of the Old Book & Comic Emporium in Beverly Hills, which specialises in books, toys…and comics.
“In the first one, you had Lex Luthor with a real estate scheme. In this new one, you’ve got Lex Luthor with a real estate scheme. You’re telling me that there wasn’t another plot they could have used from the nearly 70 years’ worth of stories? For that reason alone,” he says, as he turns the page of the newspaper he’s absently reading, as if to dismiss the matter entirely, “I’m not going to bother.”
He is, of course, completely right, and he should know; he must have well over a third of those stories in his collection.
Faces from throughout decades of pop culture stare back at you as you stand at the counter. There’s Freddy on the far wall, daring you to go to sleep. Behind Tony’s desk is the rictus grin of the Joker, and perched atop his cash register (no EFTPOS) is the withered visage of Emperor Palpatine. They feel as much a part of the place as gruff old Tony. He’s made this shop his own.
I first became aware of Tony’s Old Book & Comic Emporium in about 1999, when I was on a serious nostalgia trip. It’s a familiar story: disposable income, an age that’s both responsible and irresponsible at once, a firm grip on the past and a tenuous one on the present. In the shop window was a factory sealed box of Topps trading cards (with gum) from the 1989 Batman film, a movie I’d originally seen just down the road. I’d never gotten the whole set as a kid, so I had to have them.
But the cards were the gateway drug. Once inside, I marvelled at just how many blasts from my past the owner had accrued. Monsters in My Pocket. Fangoria. The Inspector Gadget doll with the telescoping Go-Go-Gadget neck. Interspersed among these were blasts from others’ pasts: Hardy Boys books. Monkees lunchboxes. Old Playboys below a sign marked ‘Adults ONLY’. Nice try, Tony.
I lived in the area for a few years, and in that time I became a regular. I’d hang out in the shop on a Saturday afternoon shooting the shit with Tony about the latest movies, stuff around the shop, and the past. Never the future. Tony liked my writing style, and one afternoon wrote down the contact details of the editor of a pulp sci-fi magazine called Andromeda Spaceways for which he thought my work would be a perfect fit. I didn’t see it myself, so I never followed it up.
Thinking back now, it’s gobsmacking to imagine a two-storey modern-age antiques shop in a suburb like Beverly Hills.
Fate must have noticed the oversight, because one day long after I’d moved away, I swung by only to find the shop empty. All that remained was the sign on the side of the awning, and the piece of paper with the Andromeda Spaceways details still sitting in my wallet.
If you’re reading this, Tony, I hope your bold and much appreciated experiment didn’t meet too painful an end. You added a bit of colour to an otherwise boring area, and no-one’s ever going to fill your shoes. I mean, I’m sure the world needed another family law centre (especially the long-awaited first choice), but I’m sorry: you ain’t no Tony.
Underneath the rust and soot of this building lies a dinosaur: a. it existed years and years ago, and could not exist today. b. it died out around the same time as its brethren in some kind of mass extinction. and c. there’s plenty of evidence left behind for us to use in piecing together what happened. Spoiler: the discs weren’t so unlimited after all.
Unlimited Discs, in north Beverly Hills, sold cool stuff – vinyl, CDs, comics – and I’d wager it was both first and second hand. I never went here BITD, but if I’d been able to, I would have. While all of the shop’s touted inventory have either become obsolete or are on their way out, back in the heyday, you could get any of them easily, be it from music shops like Brashs, or in the case of comics, your local newsagent. Things have changed, obviously. Shops like Unlimited Discs existed for people wanting to buy then-prohibitively expensive CDs on the cheap, or those enthusiasts who couldn’t get what they needed (back issues, rarities etc) from mainstream outlets like newsagents or record shops. Unfortunately, as the mainstream outlets dried up and the internet rose to prominence as a shopping medium, the Unlimited Discs of the world died out.
Not helping the situation of this particular record shop is its extremely close proximity to the Beverly Hills entrance/exit of the M5 Motorway, which opened in 1992 and would have impacted upon Unlimited Discs’ business. Suddenly, in their rush to hit the motorway (presumably to go to the ‘better’ record shops in the city) no one wanted to shop local anymore. Also a factor: the shopfront appears to have been set on fire at some point, which isn’t good even if you don’t stock a tonne of vinyl. We can’t know exactly what happened here (unless YOU do, in which case let me know) but we can get an approximate date as to when it happened. The shop looks as if it’s been abandoned for years, with this Visa sticker in the window providing insight into the time when business was good:
Good luck, team.
I’d love to be able to get inside Unlimited Discs and see what’s still in there. I imagine stacks of unsold stock lying around waiting to be rediscovered and introduced to the 21st century. I imagine someone living there with hundreds of stories to tell about the golden years, when the discs really did seem unlimited. I also imagine I’m completely wrong, but I can dream, can’t I?
Bonus: around the back of this shop is Moondani Lane. Some of the locals have had some fun with it (perhaps they got the record at UD):