Metropolis Books and Music (website here
) is tucked away in Curtin House on Swanston Street in the city. It’s just a couple of doors up from record store Collectors Corner, and is above beloved watering hole Cookie by a couple of floors. Curtin House is becoming quite the culture-consumption nexus, what with food and drink (Cookie), burlesque and performance (The Toff in Town) and clothing, jewellery, books and music on level 3, including Metropolis.
Some people might remember the days when Metropolis was in St Kilda, and for those who do the city store will need little introduction as the basic ideas behind the curation of materials on offer are the same. For those who don’t: Metropolis is divided into two parts: part one is a bookshop centred broadly around The Arts: film, graphic design, music, photography, visual art, music and cult crafts. From small colourful gifty-books about pretty nonsense (most book shops have these, but Metropolis’ selection are prettier, odder and often locally produced) to impressive hardbacks on architecture, film directors eg Tim Burton, David Lynch, typography, photography and much more. If you’re after a present or are a little light on the pocket, they also stock fantastic cards and postcards – eg ‘hard boiled’ crime covers on postcards, local artists work, indian kitsch and many more.
In the other part of the store is Metropolis music, sourcing some truly obscure sounds. A large experimental section includes an admirably large amount of vinyl LPs, featuring much Sun O))), industrial artists, breakcore, some field recordings and more. New York No Wave rereleases, ambient, psychedelia and indie classics are also on offer – again many on cd – plus the occasional tshirt or other paraphernalia.
Both sections sell gig tickets for numerous events, many at The Toff In Town one floor below.
The best thing about Metropolis: many, many pretty things. I particularly like the cult film section, but am impressed by the solid selection in visual art, photography, textiles… also the experimental music section which, since the closure of synaesthesia records, may be the most contemporary experimental available over the counter (new, particularly).
The downside: can there be a down side to great books and music? It would be fantastic if it were open the same hours as Cookie and Toff – late night book and music browsing would be ideal.
Level 3 Curtin House
252 Swanston Street
ph: 03 9663 2015
fax: 03 9639 0024
Mon – Thurs: 10 – 6
Fri: 10 – 7
Sat: 10 – 6
Sun: 12 – 5