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What it's like to work in junkie alley


About Ben

Ben Stone


An alleyway that almost everybody in the city walks past everyday, directly opposite the entrance to our underground train station, and yet it seems to the eyes of the council, it simply doesn’t exist.

78 Records has been operating in Perth since 1971. Almost anyone who wanted a piece of vinyl music, from back then until today in the streaming age, would have passed through our doors.

The dingy alleyway that leads to 78 Records is full of bins and junkies.

The dingy alleyway that leads to 78 Records is full of bins and junkies.

 In fact, 78 Records is alive and well, with the highest record sales in over 20 years of business a very promising sign.

Unfortunately, a dark cloud hangs over the business and it comes in the form of a neglected alleyway.

Read more on this issue: WA Govt, City of Perth ignore inner-city piggery

78s is situated at 255 Murray Street,  which needs to be accessed from a set of stairs in an alleyway. It's an alleyway that almost everybody in the city walks past everyday -- directly opposite the entrance to our underground train station -- and yet it seems to the eyes of the council it simply doesn’t exist.

At any one time you can find junkies shooting up, drunks arguing and fighting, primary school-aged kids smoking, people urinating and just about anything else unsavoury that would not be tolerated in the main Murray Street mall, which this alleyway runs off. 

The more these actions that take place in this alleyway get ignored, the worse it gets, as if people know that they can safely break laws and generally make a mess there, safe from the usual rules of the city. 

On my trips to and from work i have witnessed: at least four fights; two people shooting up behind one of the bins; a wheelie bin set on fire; and countless people publicly urinating into the drains, with perhaps the most notable to do so being a German tourist who must have simply seen the state of the alleyway and believed it was normal for us to do so in such a place. 

A wheelie bin left trashed after being set on fire.

A wheelie bin left trashed after being set on fire.

 On four occasions in the past three months, I've had to call the police to the store.

Two of the calls where about aggressive junkies who had come into the store to rant at staff and customers.

The other two involved people coming upstairs into the shop and starting to urinate in plain sight, then trying to hit me when I called the police.  

I understand drug users are impossible to avoid in life, especially around any city. But the simple truth is that these incidents aren’t occurring inside or by the entrances of any other shop around the city.

I believe it’s quite obvious why it is happening to shops situated in this particular alleyway, because as mentioned before, it seems to be in the council's blind spot. 

Everyone involved with 78 Records takes a great amount of pride in the way they present the shop and themselves.

It's a great shame to think of the amount of people that simply won’t make it inside due to what is happening in one of our city's most visible alleyways.

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