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Brunswick Street review: Annie Rittman & Maz Wilson on Fitzroy’s bohemia

Brunswick Street by Annie Rittman and Maz Wilson. Brunswick Street by Annie Rittman and Maz Wilson. Photo: Supplied

Brunswick Street: Art & Revolution Annie Rittman and Maz Wilson Black Pepper, £75

The inner-Melbourne suburb of Fitzroy was, despite slum clearance, still largely “a backwater of seedy pubs and sleazy brothels” when Maz Wilson and Anne Rittman first moved there in 1975. But the rent was cheap, drawing writers, artists, musicians, performers and radical activists who would transform the suburb and its main drag, Brunswick Street, into a vibrant bohemian enclave. Venues, galleries and shops such as Rhumbarellas, the Black Cat, the Flying Trapeze Cafe, the Troubadour, Roar Studios, the Artist’s Garden, Polyester Records with its provocative catchline “Totally Weird Shit”, Misfit, Fetish and many more fostered and reflected the street’s alternative ethos.

The diverse voices, the spirit and daring of that era are captured in this exuberant landmark anthology of recollections, rants and raves by those who were there when it all began.

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