Republic of Moreland

May 22, 2007

“It’s very new Brunswick”

Filed under: Brunswick,cafes & pubs,food,Lygon Street,Sydney Road — Kath @ 10:11 am

It was very new Brunswick to see the feature in today’s Age, called ‘Backyard Barista’. I can’t link to it, cos it’s not online: but apparently this obscurity is precisely what makes things “very new Brunswick.”

I nearly spluttered my very new Brunswick Fair Trade Organic Coffee when I read the double-page spread by Cheap Eats editor Nina Rousseau. In an otherwise good roundup of the best Brunswick cafés (including A Minor Place, El Mirage, Ray’s, La Paloma, Sugardough), Rousseau’s account slumped into ethnocentric journalese when she attempted to capture the local cant. Quoting no-one but her own publication, she wrote:

The Age Cheap Eats 2007 describes A Minor place as “new Brunswick” and you’ll often hear the term dropped meaningfully into conversations — “It’s very new Brunswick” —to describe something more than cosmetic. It’s becoming a style; a term to describe a particular look and demographic… To open a “new Brunswick”-style café anywhere in Melbourne you will need… cool indie tunes, resident funksters…”

Now call me insular, but I’ve never heard any ‘resident funkster’ [ahem] drop “It’s very new Brunswick” into conversations at any of these cafés. Maybe because I don’t mix in the real estate and market branding circles that Nina appears to. But I suspect this is not so much ear-to-the-ground, word-on-the-street reportage as… well, something else. Cringeworthy, made-up puff, perhaps.

But I’m happy to be proved wrong. If anyone, anywhere, knows of a conversation that “meaningfully” incorporated “It’s very new Brunswick,” please record it here.


Postscript: I just googled “very new Brunswick”. Lo and behold: The Age reviewer Matt Preston also used it in a review of A Minor Place: probably the very same review as in the Cheap Eats Guide. He also writes that café is frequented by “art school lesbian” types and “older locals who look like hip, SBS-watching teachers”. Don’t these (apparently Eastern Suburbs commercial tv-watching) Age reviewers ever get out?


  1. Hey, I heard someone say that in one of Canada’s eastern Maritime Provinces once. Does that count? On reflection, it could have been “It’s very Nova Scotia”.

    I’m going to start using this expression. Thanks, Nina!

    “Have you seen the Iraq War? It’s very new Brunswick!”

    “Look at my ingrown toenail! It’s very…” etc.

    Comment by Bane of Malakas — May 22, 2007 @ 10:20 am | Reply

  2. By the way, “resident funksters” is a pretty funny typo, ain’t it?

    Comment by Bane of Malakas — May 22, 2007 @ 11:23 am | Reply

  3. Don’t you think you’re being a bit new Coburg about this?

    Comment by Resident Funkster — May 22, 2007 @ 1:33 pm | Reply

  4. My next door neighbours, (close relatives of a certain high-profile-currently-overseas-Brunswick-identity) also go to a Minor Place. Pressed to come up with a spurious catchy phrase for them I would have called them old school Brunswick. Would you call old school at new Brunswick cross over or uber? Post-old school new brunswick?

    Comment by faith — May 22, 2007 @ 3:25 pm | Reply

  5. ‘New Brunswick’ is soooo last weekend. As the President Funkster, I’m already getting New Thomastown on you losers.

    Comment by Bane of Malakas — May 22, 2007 @ 9:43 pm | Reply

  6. I’m thinking of painting my house “very new-Brunswick” green. It’s like ths “very old-Brunswick” green, but with added calcium. Is that “very new-Moreland” of me?

    Comment by Marty — May 23, 2007 @ 1:24 pm | Reply

  7. By the way, anyone who says “very new-Brunswick” obviously feels like they’re missing out on living in the coolest area in melbourne…

    Comment by Marty — May 23, 2007 @ 1:25 pm | Reply

  8. Faith: perhaps your neighbours are “Somewhat New Brunswick”. Perhaps the Good Food Guide will put out a scale of New Brunswickness like the energy rating scale. (BTW, I often hear Tom Waits and Bob Dylan at A Minor Place. That’s not indie music: that’s SO old Brunswick).

    Marty: Brunswick green, in all its manifestations, is very old Fitzroy and Clifton Hill. Certainly not New Brunswick, not even in its caffeine-free soya-based variety. (But give us a yell when you paint yer house! I’ve got my painting kit ready!)

    Comment by Girl on The Avenue — May 23, 2007 @ 1:50 pm | Reply

  9. I just wish “new brunswick” would infect old coburg with a bit of style.

    Comment by peter robertson — May 23, 2007 @ 2:26 pm | Reply

  10. […] It’s very New Brunswick. […]

    Pingback by Blogger on the Cast Iron Balcony » Blog Archive » Gig guide — June 1, 2007 @ 7:43 am | Reply

  11. New brunswick is an interesting phenomenum indeed. For me its a bit of a love hate thing. We love the new music, new cafes, the revitalisation of Sydney Road (not so sure about Lygon Street, but thats the West Brunswick blood in me coming out). But I also fear that Sydney Road could be transformed into the new Brunswick Street – not the Brunswick Street of old but the new Brunswick Street – a hollow, cadaverous, soulless thing trying to become the new Chapel Street.

    So I want the grittyness, the multiculturalism to remain…

    Oh, the conflict….

    Comment by Chris Anderson — June 4, 2007 @ 12:26 pm | Reply

  12. i don’t like the ‘new’ brunswick stuff. wankers and teenagers spilling out onto the street cluttering up the place with their surly sneers and bad 80s retro clobber.
    bah humbug.

    Comment by dogpossum — June 5, 2007 @ 6:44 pm | Reply

  13. I’m looking forward to post-‘new Brunswick’, which will just be Brunswick.

    Comment by The President Funkster — June 15, 2007 @ 11:45 am | Reply

  14. Why hasn’t anyone explained to Cheap-Eat-Nina that if you’re going to invent a wanky neighbourhood label, you have to turn it into a word, based on a conflation of the first syllable of each underlying descriptor, as in SoHo, TriBeCa, NoLIta, blah blah blah… So, “New Brunswick” would at least need to become “NeBru”. But I prefer “Brunswick Nouvelle”, which is significantly wankier, and translates into the much more spiffing label “Bru-No”, or simply “Bruno”, which, ironically, is a very old Brunswick name.

    And what the funk is a funkster?

    Comment by Bruno — July 8, 2007 @ 9:06 pm | Reply

  15. a funkster is a “funky-hipster” (or perhaps a “funky-mobster”, which we have plent of in the ‘Burg)

    Comment by Marty — July 17, 2007 @ 1:01 pm | Reply

  16. we also have lots of ‘un-funky mobsters’. I believe my neighbours belong to what is referred to as ‘the trakky-dak mafia’

    Comment by faith — July 17, 2007 @ 2:59 pm | Reply

  17. All of these can be conveniently housed under the rubric Malakas.

    Comment by Bane of Malakas — July 17, 2007 @ 3:23 pm | Reply

  18. “new Brunswick” just popped up again in another Age publication last week, the foodie edition of the Melbourne magazine. This time they thoughtfully provided a definition which was that ‘new Brunswick’ is “old Fitzroy”, relocated!

    Comment by faith — September 3, 2007 @ 2:20 pm | Reply

  19. the cringe factor of this term ‘new brunswick’is excruciating. but this is even worse. the manager at ray’s cafe at the time openly stated to me that the guys out the front were not part of the ‘clientele’ this cafe was ‘meant for’. he was referring to the 3 lebos sitting on the crates out the front that had just made a vase out of a coke can and offered it to me on the way in. he may have thought his words were safe with me because both him and i are wogs, and as he mentioned ‘we have assimilated, you know? were not really (too) woggy’. so in some (few) cases I reckon the ‘new brunswick attitude’ may entail embracing and capitalising off the ‘cool multiculturalism’ but only with limitations. its the ‘really cool’ ones you gotta watch out for. what do you think about this?

    Comment by Katherine — December 4, 2007 @ 5:59 pm | Reply

  20. […] Read more about this topic from the author here. […]

    Pingback by Blogs » It’s very new Brunswick Republic of Moreland — March 11, 2008 @ 3:50 pm | Reply

  21. […] I go out of my way to be discourteous and even obstructionist. That’s 7. And that’s very new Brunswick, […]

    Pingback by Seven things meme « Republic of Moreland — May 3, 2008 @ 12:00 pm | Reply

  22. I prefer to think of ‘new brunswick’ as ‘north north fitzroy’ (or ‘south cobourg’ for some working class street cred) – but in Nina’s deffence, I happen to know she does live in the heart of ‘new brunswick’ so regardless of how wanky the term is, the ‘eastern’ suburbs tag is not correct. Re: for the ‘ethnocentric’ suggestion, I’m not sure you can really use the word that way – unless of course, you really want to, in which case, be my guest. As for the SBS-watching lesbian art teachers hanging in Minor Place – this would appear to be some kind of Matt Preston fantasy and given that he is not a local, on the upside, he may not be back and art teachers of all sexual persuasions will be free to roam the street unhindered by the prospect of being reviewed by a somewhat overweight 40-something in search of a snack.

    Comment by newbrunswick — May 8, 2008 @ 7:07 pm | Reply

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