So underground there ain’t no photos of it, so just keep reading, and hopefully, one day my attempts at covert surveillance will bear the fruit I so obsessively hope for *wringing of slightly damp hands, deranged squint etc etc*.
Peril Underground – once located on Swanston Street as Peril 305 in the days before Student Headquarters took over upper Swanston (not that there’s anything wrong with that etc) – now lurks subterranean and unique in a basement on Elizabeth Street near Flinders Street. One enters via a laneway next to the horridly iconic Golden Arches, where you then enter the basement on the right, descend with care down the rather unfriendly stairs (careful in stacked heels or pumps, people), and then you’ll find yourself in Alternative Paraphernalia Paradise. Chief of the subcultural seraphim is owner Peter – a fixture of this downstairs lair and an affable and well versed fellow in alternative culture. His fair realm exhibits the following counties:
The Tattoo and Piercing Parlour. Often booked out and for good reason – so warning: a casual impetuous (possibly drunk) visit hoping to be bedecked may not bear fruit. Book ahead if possible.
Music store: featuring collectibles from teen-faves Tool, NIN, Manson etc to utterly obscure worthies like Shinjuku Thief, Laibach, Imperial marching music… with a lean towards industrial, gothic, “ebm”, metal and dark rock this store ticks the angst-o-metre up to 11 and for anyone desiring an initial dip into the murky pool of these genres, a trip to Peril could just sort you out with your first few hours of listening! For those already well familiar with such sounds there’s unknown pleasures awaiting you, plus the added bonus of an extensive catalogue to order from if you can’t find it on the shelf. In the days of internet purchasing that feature may not hold such a drawcard – except in the case of the rare recordings Peter stocks…
The clothing emporium: with humble beginnings as a small corner of the empire, the clothing behemoth has opened it’s silken maw and taken huge bites of the shop space, now emerging the uncontested winner and dominant area of Peril’s fifedom. For club girls, victorian gents, cyber freaks and the casual Top Goth shopper alike, there’s gold in them thar frills…Thoughtfully accompanied by piercing jewellery, badges, patches and artwork, not to mention gig tix and -for veteran shoppers the beloved gift voucher – Peril supports local artisanship as well, with artwork, photography and clothing – plus cds of course – from the cloistered Melbourne gothic community on display to buy.
Dvds: a small collection of cult dvds – music, documentary and film.
Best thing about Peril: the staff! Peter and his revolving band of bon vivantes will entertain you, help you and won’t scowl at you even if you are asking for a Tool live dvd. Friday nights sees a cavalcade of musicians, artists, other shopkeepers and general layabouts descend for a rowdy or possibly quiet catch up… you’re still welcome to browse but you might be able to spot the Gothing ‘leet commingling…
The downside: the hours can be quite strict, and if not it’s spontaneously so. Go during the day, don’t wander up after 6 expecting that because it’s alternative types they’ve got nothing better to do than entertain you in the evenings: they do. Also, they have no web presence to speak of which is nothing short of criminal… word is that they’re gearing up (only ten years too late!) for cyberspace though, which can only be a Very Good Thing.
The oddest thing about Peril: they accept vouchers from other shops! So if you got a bum voucher for a present and don’t know what to do with it: take it down to Peril and try your luck trading it in for perilcash!!!
Address: 17-19 Elizabeth St.City: MelbourneContact: 03-9614 2040