A Night at the Arc

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Ever wanted to hang out with film studs and listen to Jimi Hendrix vinyls while sipping on free drinks? Or maybe you wanted to meet Geoffrey Rush and chat with him about the inside goss of the Oscars (as I did last month at the Shine reunion) Well, allow me to introduce you to the National Film and Sound Archive, one of Canberra’s finest and most underrated spots.

It’s a Friday night in the city and I’m at NFSA’s Vinyl Lounge. I’m sitting in a cosy cinema, singing along to Crowded House hit “Tombstone” through a massive pair of vintage Tannoy speakers, though something seems to be off. I am the only person under 30 in the whole theatre. Now upon asking a number of my friends what they thought the NFSA was, I quickly learned why…

My mum went once but… actually I don’t even remember what she said. “Isn’t that place haunted or something?”
“My best guess- an archive of um, film and sound!”

But the Archive is so much more. It’s a hub of film festivals, music nights, free movies and everything you could ask for as a young person living in Canberra (especially since most of us students are broke and sick of visits to Dendy).

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So what’s the Vinyl Lounge? As Archive director Cris Kennedy puts it, “Vinyl Lounge is a time to hang out with awesome people, share your favourite music and have a chat about why you love it.”

The vinyl lounge is basically a place where you show up, bring your favourite vinyl, or pick from our huge collection- then you get to play it through a quality sound system and tell people what the track means to you.

Now this idea could seem a little daunting, if it wasn’t in the most chilled-out and friendly environment I’ve been in, hence the term “Lounge”. I was lucky enough to sit back and listen to wonderful stories about the meaning of music from a range of different people, from the first time someone listened to The Cure or the times after school when they rushed to the record store with their friends to buy a new vinyl.



The Vinyl Lounge is a wonderful event that brings people who otherwise wouldn’t have a conversation together through music. It is an eye-opener to a time when music used to be shared differently, and an opportunity to appreciate that with a group of people with different backgrounds and tastes. For me, Vinyl Lounge was a night of meeting great people, revisiting old classics and discovering new music, which now has new meaning to me. Each month I never know what stories and songs will move or inspire me.

Vinyl Lounge is a free event on the first Friday of every month from 6pm. It’s next on at the Arc Cinema on the 4th of November, at the NFSA located on McCoy Circuit.

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1 Comment

  • Jessica says:

    Loved this story! Would never have thought that something so cool would be happening in an “archive”.

    Isn’t it also haunted?

    I think it used to be the Institute of Anatomy and strange things happen. I’ve heard they even run ghost tours there. But a great story, keep them coming!

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