Meg Hale

About a year after high school my friend Mark and his family moved into an apartment on Anthony Street. It was just a couple of doors down from West Space, but that meant nothing to me. Back then I’d never even heard of West Space. I’d never even heard of an ARI.

Back then, Anthony Street meant a floor to crash on—in the city. The rest of us still lived with our parents in the outer suburbs, so this was a big deal. We’d all go round there when Mark’s parents were away (and sometimes even if they weren’t).

Strangely, we didn’t make much use of the city itself. Occasionally we’d head round the corner to Fluid Oz to shoot pool and monopolise the jukebox with hip-hop. But mostly we’d just hang out at the apartment.

Mark came from a pretty straight-up Chinese Malaysian family, and his parents were never too pleased when we showed up. If they were home we’d gravitate to the building’s edges: the rooftop, to swill beer, smoke and shoot the shit; or the basement car park, to make out in the back seats of our cars. The next day we’d peel ourselves off the lounge room floor and drive back to the ‘burbs.

Over time I hung out with those guys less and less, and eventually stopped going to Anthony Street altogether. I gravitated towards Melbourne’s arts scene, and soon I’d not only learnt what an ARI was, I was running one and living above it. Heading to an opening at West Space one night, I found myself back on Anthony Street. It was strange being there under such a different context. But new associations soon overtook the old, and a whole different connection to Anthony Street began.