The Fitzroy–Collingwood Times:
Volume 2

Textures of Everyday

Follow SMA Projects on a journey through everyday moments in the streets and lives of Fitzroy and Collingwood, from dawn to dusk.

It’s twenty past sunrise on a mild Friday morning. Dappled light saturates the tree-lined length of Gore Street with a speckled glow as L walks the footpath, heading south. She loves her neighbourhood at this time of day, when she takes leisurely laps with a podcast in both ears. L smiles at the same faces – as well as the greyhounds and -oodles in tow – as they smile back with the kind of nod that’s given from one local to another. Good morning.

By now, everyone else has set off for the day. The house is quiet. E has been relishing the weekday sleep-in for the manna that it is. Yoga’s been booked, but that’s still a few hours away. E grabs their phone to double-check, Napier Quarter opens for coffee soon. That’s time to make a coffee here first, just an espresso to get the heart started. Then they’ll head over, with a long-neglected book, for a batch brew or two.

Morning Market on Gertrude feels suspiciously quiet, which suits B fine. He’s on a mission to get as much fabulous fare for tomorrow’s brunch as humanly possible. The usual suspects would be happy with bellinis alone, but B is unable to resist putting on a show. The haul so far: his favourite sourdough, assorted shiny pastries, Ramarro Farm tomatoes and a bundle of Macedon hydrangeas. And this is just B’s first stop.

The lunchtime stampede is a rite of passage. People line up for Alimentari’s chicken schnitzel wrap as the clock strikes noon. People like J. He’s been wrapping every Friday for nearly a decade, since he started a studio two blocks down Smith Street. In that time, takeaway salads have come and gone and there has been a complete changing of the barista guard. For J, one constant remains: the chicken schnitzel wrap.

“You can’t lob a rice paper lantern in Fitzroy without it bouncing off the window of a shop selling upscale homewares.”

S always leaves these things to the last minute. It’s a mate’s birthday tonight – a big milestone, too. With a few hours left on the clock, she yet to find the perfect present. Lucky for S, you can’t lob a rice paper lantern in Fitzroy without it bouncing off the window of a shop selling upscale homewares. Without panic, she sets off on her holy loop – Modern Times, HAY, MUD – where all beautiful treats can be found.

They’ve been eating there every week since they met. Back in the uni days. Now, at an early evening dinner, P & M are rehashing a decade-long (and often Nebbiolo-fuelled) debate over sauce. Napoli vs aglio e olio. They’ve always shared everything, including a passion for only-half-joke-fighting about what to order. Mario himself weighs in from behind the counter. “Just get both,” he bellows, cheerily. “Like last time. And the time before that.”

L has just finished a few knock-offs and waved his coworkers goodbye. They’re off to the next spot, but all L wants is a night in, by way of a bottle shop. As he’s weighing up getting wine on the way home, he spies a lively hubbub outside CCP – the Centre for Contemporary Photography. It’s an opening for an artist he’s followed for years. Street A quick peek couldn’t hurt. Plus, they’re handing out vino at the door…