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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Hoey.

For those of you who are too young, too far away, or too…. um…. nope, no other excuses spring to mind, the Hopetoun Hotel (affectionately dubbed ‘The Hoey’) is a small, dank, malodorous pub in Surry Hills in Sydney. It hosts a tiny stage at one end, a long bar down one side, a seen-better-days pool table in the back room, a downstairs lounge that would crumble into its foundations if it weren’t for the mildew holding the bricks together, and the tiniest courtyard known to man.

It is also, to Sydney’s live-music-loving throng, the beloved crazy old aunt of band venues. It wears its leopard-print dressing gown to the shops to get milk. It smells like last night’s chops and this morning’s menthol cigarette. Its hips creak when it gets up out of an easy chair, and its fingernails bear traces of last week’s nailpolish. Even though you suspect it's a stubbie short of a sixpack and perhaps owns three too many cats, you look forward to every visit and the gifts it brings you in its never-fashionable handbag.

Yesterday it was announced that the Hoey would close until further notice.

Before writing this, I thought perhaps I should do some research to make sure I filled in any holes in my knowledge of the Hoey – like confirming the rumours that you can actually get food there (I’ve always placed beer higher on my priority list), and checking that they did actually still have a pool table, and it wasn’t just my memory tricking my eyes and brain, as so often is the case. But then I realised that it’s exactly my own experience and memories of the Hoey that make it special to me, just as it’s other people’s experiences and memories that make it special to them. Plus, I’m a lazy old bitch. But that’s neither here nor there.

There are very few things as clunky, cramped and cacophonous as the Hoey that can be described as ‘special’, but for reasons varied and musty, it is. And stuff your reasons – I’m going to tell you what my reasons are.

The Music.
I have to lead with this one. Hardly any artists of more than middling renown at the time play at the Hoey, but that’s the point. The big blackboard near the bar that lists the week’s gigs usually includes more bands you’ve never heard of than those you have. A not unremarkable percentage of the bands that have played there have been… well, a bit shit. But this is where you go to get close to the noise, discover the new stuff, revisit the old stuff, have a beer and a chat to the bands afterwards and occasionally be part of some unscripted, raw musical brilliance, all of it in what feels like your own loungeroom. The Hoey makes you feel like you’re a sincere part of the Sydney music scene, not just a one-step-back observer.

The Wood.
Pretty much everything in the Hoey is made of wood (except the bar staff, who are generally eighty-five percent body hair). I can’t explain why this makes me feel all warm, fuzzy and gently strummed, but it does – the floor, the furniture, the stairs, the bar – it’s all that deep-smudged, creaky, sonorous timber that screams ‘pub’ instead of ‘bar’, and whispers a raspy farewell at closing time.

The Toilets.
I reckon you can always gauge the quality of a music pub by the calibre of its toilet graffiti, and the Hoey is a pearler in this respect. I remember being chest-puffingly proud that an epithet I scrawled on the wall of the left-hand toilet in 1996 was still there when I checked during a Christmas party in 1998. Toilet graffiti at the Hoey is the kind that invites responses and dialogue – sometimes the kind that snakes off the wall onto the door and even onto the toilet paper dispenser. Graffiti keeps punters in that the smell would otherwise drive out. It’s important. It’s relentless. It’s hilarious.

The Courtyard.
I love the courtyard at the Hoey. Get there early and you can watch the first band suck back beers and squabble over their set list. Pop out between bands and you’ll make lifelong friends you’ll never see again, and accidentally spill the drinks of some of the most scruffy and talented musicians in the country. Swing a small cat and you’ll hit fifteen more. And if you manage to get a seat, cling to it like your last breath of oxygen.

The Relax.
There’s something about the Hoey. I’m one of those painfully insecure people who can’t stand to walk into most venues alone, and always has to meet friends somewhere else beforehand. But not here. For the first part, even if you’ve only been seeing bands for six months in Sydney, you’ll probably notice some faces you recognise. For the second part, it’s just one of those places that you can start conversations in, even over the ear-jarring slam of all that glorious musicky noise bouncing off all that glorious wood. In my head, it’s a room in my own house. With beer.

If there are things we can do to save the Hoey, we should. If there’s a way we can stop it becoming a smooth-edged, shiny, pokie-funded, cocktail-peddling bar, we must. Sure, nothing stays the same forever and progress has to happen, but progress can pick any other street corner it likes.

Keep informed here.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

You Had Me At "Tooheys" #10 or This Week's Pick-Up Line

Wow. Haven’t done one of these in a while, which goes a fair way towards revealing what a slow year it’s been.

For the uninitiated, I’ll bring you up to speed – when I get approached by men with pick-up lines, it’s usually not how it happens on television or in my dreams. In fact, if you were going to place a bet on either the sun coming up tomorrow or me being targeted by a loser or a clinically insane raving freak, your money would be safer on the eternal darkness/Armageddon side of the fence.

To make matters worse, I have a pathological aversion to being impolite.* This means that I use gentle clues, body language and short, closed responses to indicate to the applicant that I’d rather eat bleach than touch their pasty person, when most people would just invite the gentleman to observe their middle finger and die, or similar.

Still, I reckon most normal blokes can tell the difference between:
a) a good time, place, and context to approach women and;
b) the queue at Gate 18 at Perth airport at one o’clock in the morning.

Hint: I don’t want to talk to anybody in the queue at Gate 18 at Perth airport at one o’clock in the morning, in fact I’m trying to figure out a way to turn the noise of my brain down. I’m tired. I’m cranky. My hair has looked better after skydiving. So basically, if you do even one, much less all of the below list of things, I will want to choke you with my complimentary head set and push you out the door of the plane. There is no safety demonstration telling you what to do in the event of being an irritating dickwad.

List Of Things Not To Do Or Say To Cranky Ladies At Gate 18 At Perth Airport At One O’Clock In The Morning:

1. Walk around me in a circle TWICE before starting up a conversation.

2. Have a shiny face. Might not be your fault, but really, really doesn’t help.

3. Tell me you partied last night until six in the morning, woke up at nine, and started again. I already know you’re a dick. Knowing that you’re a dick who only had three hours sleep makes no difference whatsoever.

4. Use the phrase “The good times don’t even start until 2am”. I get it. You stay up late. So does the dude who collects cigarette butts from the garbage bins in my neighbourhood.

5. Tell me you work for the Treasury like it’s a big deal. You can only use your job as part of your pick-up spiel if you’re an astronaut, a surgeon, a premium beer brewer or Roger Federer. Everybody knows that.

6. When a voice on the PA instructs anyone with an infant to board first, ask with a smirk “Do you think I qualify as an infant?”. I’m guessing your penis does.

7. Randomly and without prompting regurgitate quotes like “If violence is not the answer, then I don’t understand the question”. You. Are. An. Arsehole.

I don’t suppose the irony of the fact that I was flying Virgin is lost on anyone?

*In real life, I mean. Here in my own cyber-corner, I can be as rude as I like, and say whatever I want. Example: TIT FLAPS. See?

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Sit On Myspace And Tell Me That You Love Me #2

Well, well, well. Aren’t I just the social networking temptress? I have been approached by yet another suitor via MySpace. This can’t just be a coincidence. I must be either (a) amazing and completely irresistible, or (b) this is some kind of scam or phishing exercise.

Quite clearly, the answer is (a).

The molten missive reads as follows:

Hey sweetie… love your hair…
Hey hun how are you doing today?Hope all is going on fine with you and your family...really i am new hear and i just thought i should come up ere to look for friends,lovers just to make me happy then i saw your picture and went through your profile and thought i should say hello to you and ask if we could be friends....i really think you are very beautiful and i love evrything about you..can't wait to get along with you soon.......have you got a yahoo id?mine is
***** have a great day sweets.ciaoFrank.

Let me be frank, Frank:

- Your message title, whilst lovely of you, is one of the gayest things I’ve ever read.

- My family’s good, thanks. Shelley’s a bit stressed with the kids, Mike’s birthday is coming up, Mum doesn’t think I should swear quite so much, and Dad might need spinal surgery. Otherwise not much to report. Also, you should probably mind your own fucking* business.

- It seems you’ve just acquired a cochlear implant or similar, so congratulations on the whole ‘new hear’ thing. I SAID CONGRATULATIONS ON THE WHOLE ‘NEW HEAR’ THI- never mind.

- I’m glad you ‘love evrything’ about me, but I’m afraid I haven’t liked a boy who dropped ‘e’s since the mid-nineties, when it was fashionable.

- No, I don’t have a yahoo ID. I have a MySpace page, though. Maybe you can contact me there?

At this rate, I’ll be married by afternoon tea time. To an illiterate loser. You’re invited!

*Sorry, Mum.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Sit On MySpace And Tell Me That You Love Me.

Last week, I received the following MySpace message from ‘Billy’:

hello angel
I was Thrilled with the Words written on your Profile and we seem to share much in common, I am looking for a serious relationship.
I have been told that being a blue eyed, Dark black hair is very sexy so if you think so then that is me.
My closest friends describe me as shy at first but very friendly and Straight forward. My main goals in life are to be with the right woman for me ....A woman that shares her feelings (saying I Love You), you get the idea. I am looking for a woman... someone who can share in the fun times and the not so fun times. Someone I can't wait to talk to each day... the first person on my mind each day and the last person I think about before I fall asleep. This person doesn't have to have the exact, same interests as I, but be willing to join in on the adventures. If you are a Woman of integrity, honest, likes to communicate feelings, and knows about being wild at heart.
I am a pretty centered person, happy with myself, but believethere is always room for growth. My friends tell me I am a "go-getter" type of person. I look at the world from a "glass half full" perspective and always try to find the good ineveryone. I am told that I am intelligent, funny and fun to baround. I am looking for a healthy adult relationship. I deserve that.
I am looking for someone who doesn't play games. I am a big believer in telling it like it is, except if it would hurt someone. I am interested in someone who has the time to devote to a relationship or who will at least try to make the time, as I would.Distance doesnt mean much to me because i believe much in feelings and a relationship by God even anywhere it is, i know that if we are meant to be, wewill surely be... Honesty is my ONLY policy. Nothing is worse than finding out that a relationship is based on lies.
I am very interested in taking good care of myself and would like to find someone whobelieves in the same thing.. I am willing to relocate .. I am an independent businessman and am into importation and exportation of electronics, fabrics, aluminiums and antiques.Well You can contact me on My email address is Email Address: bkinggreat at y/a/h/o/o ./c/o/m please mail me there because my subscription will end today.. and will love to know you better... Add me on y/a/h/o////o. Chat IM: bkinggreat .. contact me there . ..Thanks Once
Again and I will be looking forward in hearing from you again and have a nice day ahead of you. Sincerely Yours. Billy

I don’t want to shock anyone, but I actually have a couple of comments.

- I’d like to know what it is he thinks we have in common. It can’t possibly be mad spelling skillz, and I couldn’t be less interested in aluminiums.

- I’ve never seen a blue eyed, dark black hair, but I’m sure they’re sexy as all get-out. They must be the kind of hairs teachers have on the back of their heads.

- If Billy’s friends are telling him that he’s both shy and a go-getter, then Billy’s friends are either idiots or they’re lying to him. Mind you, I visited Billy’s MySpace page, and he only has one friend. Surprising.

- One of Billy’s main goals is to be with a woman who will share not so fun times with him, and he also says he doesn’t play games. One of my main goals is to have fun totally all the time, especially when I’m playing games. Sorry, Billy.

- Billy, are the adventures of which you speak electronics-importation-related adventures? I hope so. They would be awesome.

- Billy says he’s ‘fun to baround’. I don’t know what ‘barounding’ is, but if it’s related at all to ridiculing lonely, borderline-illiterate people, then he’s right. It is fun.

- ‘Mail me there because my subscription will end today’? Billy, you know what I hate more than bad punctuation and not having fun? PEOPLE WHO GIVE ME RELATIONSHIP ULTIMATUMS. I don’t think a go-getter would just let his subscription end like that, Billy.

Aside from all that, Billy sounds like a total fox. He'd better not have also sent this same note to hundreds of other women at random. I hate a relationship based on lies.


Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Search Me.

It’s widely known that the most unoriginal thing a blogger can do is to list the phrases that people have entered into Google to end up at their blog.

I am neither proud nor original.

Looking through search phrases on my Site Meter brings me untold joy, quizzical facial expressions and an over-achieving gag reflex each morning. To illustrate, here are my favourite four search phrases from the last twenty-four hours, in order from most benign to most heinously wrong, that have somehow led people to my digital doorstep:

1. “Dirty Panty Liners”
The fact that this search brings people to my little corner of the world is no surprise tp me – obviously this post has a lot to answer for. The fact that for the last THREE YEARS I’ve had an average of two hits per day based on this search phrase alone means one of two things:
a) That there are lot of people who are curious about dirty panty liners; or
b) That there is just one person who is curious about dirty panty liners, and his quest is thorough and endless.
Further, since I’ve just used the phrase multiple times in this post, I’m assuming that I’ve probably moved myself closer to the top of the search results list. Hence, if you’ve just arrived here looking for dirty panty liners: HI, FREAK. THIS IS YOUR MOTHER. GO SEE A PRIEST.

2. “Pubescent Armpit Photography”
So, like, do they mean:
a) photographs of armpits taken by pubescents;
b) photographs of pubescent armpits; or
c) photographs of kittens, sunsets and dew-encrusted roses taken on an armpit-camera.
I’m totally plugging for c), and I want an armpit-camera for Christmas.

3. “Photos Of Matron Dealing With Errant Nurses”
I adore a perv with a decent vocabulary and a quaint turn of phrase. In fact, I consider myself to be one.

And finally, my absolute favourite for more reasons than I can possibly explain:

4. “My Westie Vagina Looks Saggy”
I… I’m borderline speechless. I just hope they found the answer, or the vet, that they were looking for.