Look beyond the Kebab-serving and Shisha-smoking restaurants that crowd Bali Lane and you will find a slice of Singaporean identity that’s been misplaced for the longest time – local music.
Located at 24 Bali Lane, Straits Records is both a record label and retail space that prides itself on promoting the underground music scene in Singapore. The place reveals a different side of our sunny island, where music lovers can escape from the monotony of their daily lives, to share ideas about their passion for music and immerse themselves in an alternative lifestyle.
Promoting local music to audiences
Wan, the down-to-earth and wise soul running Straits Records, works together with a collective of music lovers to provide a platform for local bands to showcase their music and performances. On their CD racks you will find all genres of music, but Straits champions local and regional music and carries more than 60% of it in their inventory. This is a clear departure from other music stores in Singapore, which typically carry 90% of international music with bits and pieces of local artistes. Read more
Doinky Doodles stands out against the dark folds of Bali Lane with its bright colours and imaginative murals. Stepping into the store, you find plenty of handmade items carefully crafted and made from scratch by owner Weng Pixin (aka Xin).
Set up in May 2008, Doinky Doodles showcases Handmade Art that has been creatively made from an assortment of earth friendly recycled fabrics. The result is original, nifty and fun pieces of art that visitors will find hard to resist.
Xin’s aim of setting up Doinky Doodles is to let people connect easily with art by making it more affordable and handy to use, as opposed to the classic notion of only owning pieces that are sold in galleries. Read more
The Pigeonhole always has a pleasant surprise in store for you.
The Pigeonhole @ Duxton Road
Looking in through its glass panels and doors, those walking along 52 & 53 Duxton Road may be a little confused about what this place does. A creative space lovingly fitted with bookshelves, eclectic furniture and painted with a scarlet floor, the Pigeonhole is a cosy cafe that attracts visitors with more than its aromatic espressos and delectable desserts. Read more
When Borders first arrived on Singapore shores in 1997, it exposed us in Singapore to the potential of bookstores as a social focal point, and more importantly it showed us how bookstores could appeal to the masses and still cater to those who love the printed word with highly knowledgeable staff and a massive collection of book titles.
14 years on, the company in the US has filed for bankruptcy and while Borders Singapore is owned independently by RedGroup Retail (themselves in Voluntary Administration), the reverberations of Borders US’ failure has triggered discussions about the sustainability of physical bookstores in general, and megastores in specificity, especially with digital books and hardware like the Nook, Kindle and iPad being convenient reasons for the issues faced by Borders US. Read more