|My sketchbook drawings from last night's excursion to Brunswick Street|
When I was a teenager I discovered Brunswick Street, in inner-city Fitzroy, and let me tell you, it was a revelation.
I only knew shopping centres before that and in shopping centres you knew what to expect: same shops, same people. But here, in Brunswick Street, was the unexpected. People with weird and colourful hair, crazy clothes, people who didn't conform; it was a place were it was cool to be different. And I felt different. (In hindsight, which teenager doesn't?!)
This place seemed like the opposite to the barren, concreted suburb I lived in; a place which I felt was devoid of street life. Here was street life. Here was life.
In my twenties I got to live within walking distance of this street and I loved it. I've since come full circle and am back in the 'burbs, happily ensconced, with a new appreciation of their virtues (backyards, having my own clothesline, the ability to drive a couple of blocks without getting stuck in the most awful traffic jam).
Back when I was a teenager Brunswick Street was a bit different: a little grungier, more raw. It's moved up in the world since. There's chain stores now, a supermarket, a Seven Eleven. Its gentrification is complete.
But it still holds that pull for me, the allure of 'different', and it's a place I love to visit. I feel the wonder my sixteen-year-old self felt whenever I'm there. And it's still great for people watching (if only I could draw them!).