Sunday, June 16, 2019

A Brunswick Street Stroll

This should perhaps be called a Brunswick Street Memoir.

Although I am very much a south of the river person, I quite like Brunswick Street, Fitzroy to the north of the river and we have visited the street many times but not so much lately. It is the natural home of the bearded hipster and the more 'interesting' people in our society. Even now as it has become an expensive area to reside, it still had the alternative feel.

In the early nineties I used to go there for lunch with a former workmate who was then a 'receptionist' in a brothel. I believe the gay equivalent is 'towel boy'. It was called The Angel and the dyke who owned and ran it was very nice to us. My friend for a couple of years pretended she was a dyke and knew how to flirt with dykes.

We had an absolutely wonderful lunch once with our Brother Friends at a place called Red Tongue?, our outdoor table surrounded by tables of minimally dressed hot European and Middle Eastern men. We didn't know where to look as we were overwhelmed with air redolent of straight male testosterone. It too has long gone.

We took Hippie Niece at about the age of 16 to Madame Sousatzkas for lunch and she was most impressed with the staff in in frilly short black dresses with lacy white aprons, and she also liked that the female staff wore them too. It has also gone.

I can't remember why but a couple of times we went there at night with friends, perhaps the early nineties, and parked at a place called the Bullring. I really can't remember what that was about.

Another time we were invited to a party by a gay couple we knew who lived in the parallel Fitzroy Street. It was nice old modernised two storey Victorian period house. We hung and chatted to the guys we knew in the kitchen but none us of missed that there was nude male spa bathing happening within our view. That was fine. Eventually we decided to look around the house and went upstairs and my goodness, what was happening in a very large dark room full of men even made my hair curl. We were at a gay orgy party. We descended the stairs with alacrity, not that we disapproved, but it was just so unexpected. We had no idea. The song, You'll Always Find Me in the Kitchen at Parties comes to mind, and we returned to the kitchen.

Now after a writing break I remember them. One was called David, an incomprehensible Scot who worked as a geologist for overseas companies and hence was away from home for extended periods.  The other was John, an Australian born person I think. They opened a bar called Jocks in I think Peel Street off Smith Street in Collingwood that went on to become Gay Trade Bar. It was a good venue. I know I've done this before but I forget. The same premises was once a posh restaurant and former  conservative politician Andrew Peacock and American actor Shirley MaClaine had something to do with it. Glo Glos?

After we moved to The Highrise in the early 2000s, we still went to Brunswick Street to have a cheap hair cuts at GI Joe's. There was a modern post office opposite and to my surprise when I went in to buy stamps, a gay former workmate was behind the counter. We exchanged phone numbers and neither of us called each other. He was also known to our friend who died last year. Both GI Joe's and the post office have gone.

Well, as R says, I live in the past. Not quite true, as I recently visited Brunswick Street and it struck me that there are so many.....things on roofs above shops.

It was before Easter and in spite of the advertising in the shop, I couldn't find an Easter egg for R. I Guggled and found my secret new Easter egg place in Church Street, Richmond, which is where I went on to after Brunswick Street.


Don't lie to to me. You know very well that with these radios you had to wait for the valves to warm up before the radio would come on. Yes, transistors were around in your youth, but valve radios were part of your childhood.


How cool.


A naked baby above a shop that has closed down. One can only imagine.


Shifty people can be very nice, as the steal from your pocket.


Is it a Friesian cow?


A tasteful more modern building among all the old Victorian period falling down buildings.


It looks a bit like a clock.


Polyester was an iconic place. Looks like it has gone now.


Has to be something to do with hairdressing.


The Brunswick Street streetscape hasn't been attacked too badly, with plenty of nice old buildings remaining.




I couldn't decide which of these photos to use.



Not all businesses come and go, with the excellent and popular cafe Black Cat surviving for over three decades.


I chose to have coffee at Marios, almost unchanged for over three decades.



Later edit: Two other businesses that have been in Brunswick Street for a long time, Fitzroy Nursery, a plant nursery and Lucrezia & De Sade. While I've looked in the window, I didn't quite realise what the shop stocked. Oh my!

23 comments:

  1. Love your memoir.
    I strongly lean towards the interesting people despite being v boring myself. I love to watch them. And to talk to them.
    I am a fan of older buidings too - but you knew that.

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    1. EC, we see ourselves as boring but perhaps we are not.

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  2. This post brought back some memories for me - of fun times had in Carlton...and a party attended in Fitzroy back in the mid-80s...I've written about those times in various previous posts... :)

    Have a great week, Andrew. :)

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    1. Ah yes Lee, that had slipped my mind. Thanks.

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  3. Now I believe you could make any place interesting. Hope you find the time to take us on tour of some place else. Love every minute of it. Haven't heard word "hipster" for sometime.
    Coffee is on

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    1. Dora, thanks, and hipsters are alive and well in Melbourne.

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  4. Anonymous9:49 am

    Brunwick street - half the shops are for lease now, the street is nowhere as lively as it was. the hipsters have moved to collingwood

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    1. Anon, it not what it used to be but still quite interesting. Smith Street in C'wood can be very interesting, but not always in a good way.

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  5. It must have been a wonderful vibrant place, reminds me of how inner city Newcastle was in my youth but I was too young and shy to appreciate it.

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    1. Cheryl, vibrant and a bit rough around the edges? I think many of us at different times were too young to appreciate things.

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  6. Great architecture. Very welcoming and intimate. You'll love 'The Lanes' in Brighton, and the small shops in Kemp Town. I shall expect photos. When are you off?

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    1. Cro, we have our friend Marie to guide us around and she was just so kind and wonderful in London when we met her. I am sure we won't see much of the stereotypical Brighton.

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  7. I too am very much a south of the river person. But there is nothing as delightful as going back to where our parents lived, shopped and worked, as long as the landscape has been protected.

    Brunswick St looks excellent. And I particularly love Lygon St Carlton.

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    1. Hels, that is going back when there were Jewish people there. In my memory, it was all southern Mediterranean. I have't done Lygon Street for a while. I should.

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  8. A nice stroll down the street today. I like the stuffs on roofs, but what caught my eye was the lovely old style windows, especially above "Polyester" and on either side. I remember a place called The Bullring, never did know what went on there, but remember walking past it once.

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    1. Haha River, we of a certain age who don't quite remember things clearly. I could have Googled Bull Ring, but I chose not to. I will try to remember.

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  9. Always good to recall the past at times, comes in handy too.
    Many business's come and go, you go somewhere and think I'll have a meal there to find it's gone - things like that can happen in a week or just days.
    The photos are nice, some interesting pieces to see there.

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    1. Thanks Margaret. Yes, and in the last year there seems to have been so much coming and going, and I am not sure that it is a good thing.

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  10. Brunswick St is enough to make your head swivel. So much to see despite the closures. Lucrezia and De Sade made me smile, surely the name gave its purpose away Andrew 😁

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    1. Grace, you know too much. I thought it was kind of leather wear, like vests and chaps and bodices. I didn't realise it was the full on everything for the delightfully twisted.

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  11. I enjoy your trips in historic direction, it is fascinating to see how places change and many times not for the better. I am a member of many old cities and railways sites on FB. The old photos trigger a lot of memories. And nostalgia.

    XO
    WWW

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    1. WWW, railways??? I didn't know that. Is it you who likes maps too? We should marry.

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