The Null Device

Bring on the Starbucks

A while ago, the Found Project Space gallery in Brunswick St. (which had previously hosted things like Cameron Potts' photography exhibition) announced that they were hosting an exhibit/competition for art representing the changing face of Fitzroy. Shortly afterward, the gallery was evicted from the space it was occupying (a former warehouse behind an Internet laundry) by rising rents and avaricious landlords eager to sell the space to a DJ bar or yuppie lifestyle apartments or something.

Meanwhile, across the road, the teen-oriented pizza bar that will be taking over the shell of the Punters Club has announced its own competition for a promotional photograph; the new face of Fitzrovian creativity (much like Sam Newman's Pamela Anderson mural was the new face of St Kilda quirkiness). And then there's the cancellation of the Fringe parade, and the continuous closure of shops that don't sell expensive designer fashion items.

I think what Brunswick Street really needs now is a Starbucks or three, and I mean that seriously. That would finally put the last nail in the coffin of the obsolete notion of the area being a hotbed of creativity, or indeed having any sort of authentic culture, or being about anything other than artifice and consumerism. And I think the location of PolyEster Books (or Records) would make a good Starbucks location, don't you?

There are 13 comments on "Bring on the Starbucks":

Posted by: Graham Tue Sep 3 13:20:39 2002

There's only one thing left to do. Move to Footscray.

Posted by: acb Tue Sep 3 14:07:05 2002

Fitzroy North isn't too bad. We have yuppies, but they're creative yuppies. And everyone here votes Green too. And we're outside the tourist area for now. And the Empress is 10 minutes' walk away.

Though it makes the tram ride to Brunswick St. proper a bit less useful. (Except to go to PolyEster, or catch gigs at the Rob Roy.)

Posted by: alex Tue Sep 3 14:07:30 2002

paul from polyester is going to sneak into your house with three japanese hermaphrodite schoolgirls who will introduce you to a whole new world of pain. then he will sell the polyester sites to starbucks for a profit and move to somewhere //rural//. for it is written in the bowel movements of my new kitten. i'm just waiting for the 'what's the new cause?' crowd to storm into somewhere inappropriate and destroy themselves and those in the immediate vicinity with a less-than-lethal laser device, or a nailbomb, whichever is cheaper on ebay. hi ma!

Posted by: acb Tue Sep 3 14:30:24 2002

PolyEster Books sticks out like a sore thumb among the teenage mooks/marios/homies/britneys and house-music bars and meaningless Prahran-style symbols. It'd probably make more sense somewhere like Sydney Rd., or perhaps in Northcote/Thornbury.

Posted by: Missjenjen http:// Tue Sep 3 23:38:18 2002

Actually, the crew wasn't evicted at all. The owner had the property revalued, and subsequently decided to put the rent up at the end of the current lease term (which I believe has now expired), and gave Found plenty of notice that this was happening. Found was given first option to stay but decided that the rent was a bit more than they could afford.

Posted by: Graham Wed Sep 4 08:54:56 2002

In a year or so, the yuppies will be wondering where all the "cool" people went.

Posted by: acb Wed Sep 4 09:02:35 2002

Not necessarily; boutique DJ bars with award-winning European-designed furnishings and $15 cocktails could be more "cool" for the people with money than grungy rock venues and real-life heroin chic. I don't see the yuppies deserting Fitzroy St., St Kilda; in fact, it could be argued that "The Secret Life Of Us" has made it more of a mecca for the aspirational set than it ever was in the days of the Little Band scene.

Posted by: Ben Wed Sep 4 09:49:13 2002

Y'realise that it's all your (our?) own fault: low-rent seekers involved in rock/art/drugs move into an area, thus causing coffee shops, venues and so-called bohemian atmosphere and, therefore, a rise in property values. The place rooned for the original gentrifiers, they move on to the next low-rent area...

Posted by: Graham Wed Sep 4 13:11:30 2002

There's always the top end of Mate St, North Albury. That's just waiting to be bohemed up. Cheap rents, and only about a thousand semis crunching their gears every night...

Posted by: acb Wed Sep 4 13:37:32 2002

As a graffito in (formerly boho, now thoroughly pink and corporate) San Francisco in the mid-90s read: "ARTISTS ARE THE SHOCK TROOPS OF GENTRIFICATION".

Posted by: acb Wed Sep 4 13:48:18 2002

Anyway, I wonder what will happen to the art/music scenes when the inner cities become commercialised to the point of unlivability. Will they be dispersed all over the outer urban sprawl, to the point where there are no detectable concentrations? Will the bohemian art scenes of the future be distributed across the Internet, consisting of isolated hipsters in low-rent garrets in Ferntree Gully and Albury and wherever? Or will certain pockets of Ringwood or Dandenong become new focal points?

Posted by: Mang http:// Mon Feb 14 00:18:27 2005

It's just change. What was Fitzroy like 30 years ago, or sixty? Do you see 80 year olds whingeing about how these modern electric trams are a sell-out? Or saying that Fitzroy lost its mojo when the gas lamps were pulled out? get over yourselves. Fitzroy was a little boho enclave for a while. A transient moment. It's changing and so are other places, in different ways. And maybe you should be thinking about changing, rather than wishing for 1995 to be kept in stasis forever... Good on you, though.

Posted by: Mang http:// Mon Feb 14 00:20:03 2005

Need I ask you: what's "cool" anyway? Converse Jack Purcells? I'll let you answer that one...