UPDATED February 7, 2023: Highgate Continental no longer have a physical store. If you’re a biblio- or audiophile, you can now find them at http://www.highgatecontinental.com.
THESE Gen Y blokes may be digital natives, but they sure do value the romance of reading paper books and listening to vinyl records.
They’re about to open a new arts hub on Beaufort Street with a focus on literature and music in their traditional, hardcopy glory.
The other side to the venue—Highgate Continental, a name inspired by the feel of old Italian delis—will be an art gallery and meeting place for local artists.
Co-owner Alex Malkovic says seeing little artsy shops tucked away from passers-by in European warehouses, garages and cafes during an overseas trip two years ago sparked an idea to bring something similar to Perth.
“It was inspiring to see the thriving counter-culture of start-ups in cities like Paris and Amsterdam,” says the man who studied fine arts in both France and WA.
“You can walk into these old stores and tell some of these places have been around for many generations. Others are trendy pop-ups, fresh and alternative. They all have nice lighting and an old, romantic feel to them. There’s something romantic about being able to hold a book, music or piece of art in your hands.”
These stores aren’t typically found in Perth, Malkovic says. “Our store undoubtedly fills a gap in the local arts community,” he says.
The store will specialise in small-press architecture and art books as well as “alternative and fresh” hard-to-find new music—some of which will be decades-old, and by relatively unknown artists, brought back for a second life.
So don’t go in with a preconceived idea of finding The Beatles, Malkovic says. “Walk in and discover something you haven’t heard of before.”
About once a month, there will also be performances and exhibitions from local emerging artists in the gallery space, called Rear Window Contemporary.
The Highgate hub at the corner of Chatsworth Road merges two Subiaco companies—Malkovic’s Apropos Provisional exhibition contemporary art space and his mates’ Good Company Records. Before setting up at Subi a year ago, they had been operating businesses from their bedrooms.
The guys will serve food and coffee on weekends, if Vincent council gives the go-head.
They’ve started a Pozible online fundraising campaign to help get their store fitted out before the official opening in the next few weeks.
Highgate Continental’s “soft opening”, which will offer a small taste of what’s in store for art lovers, is on November 11 and includes photography by Traianos Pakioufakis, who is returning home from Sydney for the event.
The store opens amid recent reports of a drop in sales for Kindle, a platform for reading digital books, as more readers rediscover physical books.
Last month, the UK’s largest book retailer, Waterstones, removed Amazon’s Kindle ebooks from its stores nationwide because of “pitiful sales”.
See their Facebook page for more details and visit pozible.com/project/201541 to make a donation.
by EMMIE DOWLING