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whats UP in brunswick street ?

This week I ventured across to Brunswick Street for a happy dose of “caffeine and colour” – and of course I was hardly disappointed ! Where else in Melbourne do you find glorious, original Volkswagen Beetles and Citroen DC2s nudging into impossible parking spots, and their rather “glorious and original” drivers then nudging off the (vinyl) car seats and onto the (vinyl) stools of nearby cafés ? And have to dodge the well-past-middle-age gent on his bicycle, wearing a crash helmet with long Viking horns and flowing golden plaits ? Wish I’d captured an image of him… but I didn’t risk taking his photo and certainly wouldn’t risk publishing it. In Fitzroy (almost) anything goes – he could well have been a QC on his way into chambers !

This visit was planned as just a relaxing morning (with coffee) and no pre-conceptions of what I might discover – which is definitely the only attitude to bring along to Brunswick Street. But within 5 minutes a pattern started to emerge, and the further I walked the more that patchwork knitted into a quilt…. It soon became obvious that Brunswick Street is suffering from a serious epidemic of SALE signs……

Now please consider that I am not a fan of statistics – in fact, I’m still amazed that I ever managed a Pass in Statistics at all (only by committing those senseless formulas to memory and inserting numbers in the gaps… to arrive at a meaningful  / less ? interpretation of sampling and variables and probability and…oh gosh, it still gets me rambling incoherently !) But getting back to Brunswick Street – I’d say that around 75% of shops (excluding the cafes, hairdressers and bookshops) promoted some kind of SALE in their window – or variations of the same. I tallied nearly 50 sale signs (or variations…) between Moor Street and Alexandra Parade. To be fair, there were also a couple of shops with hopeful “new arrivals” signs – but the overwhelming majority were shouting discount, discount, discount

I’ve seen these SALE signs breeding like feral pests across so many shopping strips lately – Brunswick Street is certainly not the only area suffering the epidemic. It’s like a rabid and itchy infection, afflicting retail across all locations (and I’d suggest a nice pot of gold awaits anyone who can offer the immediate antidote)

On a positive note though – there were very few empty stores or “for lease” signs along Brunswick Street (compare that to Chapel Street – see whats UP in chapel street ?) This strip is looking quite healthy – the lights are on, the street is teeming with activity through to late at night – and the colourful characters continue to blend (clash ?) into the scenery. This charming corner of Melbourne has long-offered adventures and secrets – and half of the really interesting stuff is tucked away within the maze of side streets and alleyways and upstairs venues. It’s a bit like a great “pop up” really – you just gotta get out there, lose the attitude and find the fun !


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