Last year, I wrote an article about Footscray’s gentrification, which has now found a home in Peril’s latest issue, ‘Skin’. Despite having grown up in Melbourne’s affluent eastern suburbs, Footscray (or ‘Footscrazy’ as the locals call it) was a second home. Mum and Dad took me there every second week. It was the only place we’d dine out as a family, scoffing down Thanh Phu* pork chops on broken rice. It provided me with my first mobile phone, my first DVD, and the fabric for my first ao dai.
During my private school years, I hated the suburb. It smelt of piss, rotten vegetables, and fish sauce. Its inhabitants were fresh off the boats who paraded around in demoded styles that Alice Pung would later describe as ‘De Paul finery’. I spent most of my adolescence, sulking in the back of my parents’ station wagon, trying to drown out the front-yard karaoke with Backstreet Boys and Mariah Carey.
Footscray grows on you however. It’s loud, vibrant, and just a little bit dangerous. I shall miss the Footscrazy once the inevitable clean-up occurs.
*Thanh Phu has since closed down due a fatal food poisoning incident.