While Brad Nicholson is 45 years of age, he’s really just a ‘big kid’ who gets super excited about collecting ‘cool Retro stuff’ that reminds him of his childhood.
“I’ve always loved icons from the Retro era,” says Brad. “After all, I lived it, I soaked up as much as I could and, like so many of my generation in the 80s, I shared stuff with my friends and relatives.”
Today, Brad is a mad collector who has amassed so much gear that he recently opened GenX Retro Collectables at Gold Creek Village. It’s a retro toy and record store celebrating pop culture and attracting heaps of fans from across Canberra and beyond.
“There’s definitely a retro revival happening in many parts of the world,” says Brad. “Loads of people in their 40s and 50s are collecting toys and other memorabilia to reclaim their childhood.”
As though running his own shop doesn’t keep him busy enough, Brad decided to single-handedly organise a Christmas market at Gold Creek, on tomorrow with 45 stallholders packing out the square and all celebrating the season. “I wanted to do something for the community and bring Gold Creek to life,” says Brad.
Stallholders will sell everything from Christmas gifts to decorations to festive food, with something for everyone. The market will also hold loads of activities throughout the day, including live music, face painting, free yoga classes and Taro card reading. Gen X Retro Collectables will be open and Brad encourages pop-culture fans to bring their gear in for a chat.
“When I was a kid, most of my friends couldn’t afford to buy a full collection so we would get together and share what we had so we could all experience more items,” says Brad. “Now that us big kids have spare cash, we can afford to collect.”
Brad used to collect GenX era memorabilia by trawling through flea markets and second-hand shops, but it was a lot of hard work and sometimes not a rewarding experience because items are getting harder to find in Australia and sometimes they’re not in good enough shape to buy.
These days he hops on a plane and heads to Japan, a country rich with quality Western pop culture gear. “There’s more of it and it’s in pristine condition with the Japanese into recycling,” says Brad. “This means they know they’ll pass stuff on so they really look after it to make sure they get top dollars when they sell. That includes t-shirts and other clothing, videos, records and games.”
‘”The Retro movement is growing in Australia and you see it all the time now, including in the fashion world,” says Brad.
So what does Brad think is super cool from the era?
“Definitely transformers,” says Brad. “So is ET stuff. Movies like Gremlins and Starwars are hot. Old vinyls of glam rock metal and hip-hop are hot, including bands like Beastie Boys, Iron Maiden and W.A.S.P. Atari video games are also hot.”
Brad says he gets excited by anything from the 80s but he gets a special thrill when he uncovers gear like amazing BMX bikes from that time, and old skateboards.