Thursday, May 31, 2007

the big angry

sunday night was a funny old evening. We had one of our six monthly staff meetings/pissups kicking off about 7pm at the pub. well attended and positive vibes all round. Shaun the booker gave a cracker of speech based on his attendance at an award ceremony sponsored by a popular bourbon maker in sydney the week before. He gave great perspective on how our venue is viewed by the bands who play there and we all had the warm fuzzies on by the end of it. So far so good. We all then wandered around the corner to the local plastic paddy pub to dump the contents of the tip jar on the bar, drink deeply and indulge in large platters of deep fried goodness.

Fast forward 2 hours and we've fucked about $700 worth of tips between 20 people and things start getting a little lairy. I'm stil drinking off a hangover from the night before so I'm a little behind but I can see the mood is a little variable. One of our bouncers (who used to work at the plastic paddy pub) has sighted a couple of irish lads who got a touch fightative on Paddy's day and is making noises about belting one. Nick's getting in his grill about it (fair enough too) and two of Nick's other mates have arrived pretty messy simaultaneously. Chewy is doing her Pussycat Dolls dance to the fascination of every dude in the place and Lize and Jules appear to be having a very loud convo about, well lets say a very uncomfortable way of making love. This is also fascinating the male barstaff. (it emerges later the shafting they were referring too was metaphorical rather than physical, but you could have fooled me at the time.)

Anyway everything is happening at once when when all hell breaks loose in the men's toilets. Angry bouncer boy has followed one of the irish lads into the toilets and roughly a dozen on duty bouncers, barstaff and concerned onlookers have all piled in after them prevent trouble. Cue much throwing of the hands in the air, protestations of innocence and lengthy meaningless arguments outside the pub. Time to move on.

After apologising to all concerned I decide it time to move on to the club around the corner. This venue is rather new and feels it unneccessary to have security on any but the busiest of nights. This is to prove somewhat of a hindrance to my enjoyment of the evening as the night wears on. All is going swimmingly - the drinks are too dear, the music is too loud and one of former saff members is the harried sole barman behind the jump. Nick's two mates have come with us and this is where shit gets messy. One of them, who we'll call the Serbian has had a rough trot of late. He's slept with girls he shouldn't have, drank too much, drugged too much, his folks have split up and he's finished uni and managed to get sacked from his first job already. He and Nick begin having an animated discussion and disappear outside. I don't think anything of it, they do this all the time but after half an hour Nick can't be found. I'm breathlessly informed by one of their social circle that Nick has gone home after the Serbian had punched him twice in the face.

Now dear readers, if any of you know me, you will be aware of my placid nature. My patience and tolerance are famous within the small bounds of my circle of acquaintances. But when I caught sight of the Serbian calmly quaffing a pot of cold beer at the bar after maiming my dear friend and valued colleague my blood fairly boiled. Steam issued from ears, red mist descended and the old hackles well they rose too. I issued instructions through a third party that if the serbian didn't depart immediately I would want to know why.

Well the cheeky little fucker ignored me. What happens immediately after this is a touch hazy. Apparently I grabbed him less than gently and barreled him out the door and was waxing lyrical on his shortcomings as a human being when the cavalry arrived. I was restrained from hammering the little bugger by my bemused staff and the Serbian was dragged away into the night howling threats. I must have tipped down a dozen Jacks afterwards and smoked half a pack of fags trying to calm down. Full credit to Lizey and big Liam for holding the hand of man incoherent with sadness and anger for the next hour.

Anyway the wash up is as follows - apologetic texts have been despatched and a state of truce exists. I feel ridiculous and still a little angry. And that club around the corner better fucking lift their game security wise - letting people walk back into your bar after belting someone is a recipe for trouble and plain silly.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

10 things

i guess i should do one of these 10 things you don't know about me posts. This might seem less like yelling into a vacuum for me and if anyone ever reads this it might give some context.

1 I spent my prinary school years in Ahakeera in West Cork, Ireland. My Mam is Irish and that part of my heritage is pretty important to me.

2 I'm a damn good cook but I'm horribly afraid of Asian Cuisine.

3 I am a passable player of guitar, bass and mandolin and have a bit of a knack for production and songwriting. My absolute retardness around technology makes these abilities pretty redundant.

4 I drive slower than your granny.

5 Ventolin keeps me alive. Cigarettes try to kill me.

6 I like Ribena in my Guinness like a big girl.

7 I've been married for 10 years and I think she still likes me.

8 I'm useless around the house.

9 I'm terrified of the ATO, death and polo necks.

10 I think the Coodabeen Champions are funnier than the Chaser. (but not by much)


Cooked up the best meal I've had in ages tonight. A nice big lump of topside beef done rosy pink, crispy spuds with thyme, roasted parsnip, carrot, kumara and a fuck off tasty gravy made with red wine and the pan juices and other bits and bobs. Probably because our stupid hours and our refusal to act like grown ups Lize and I don't have meals like this very often. When we do though we bloody love them though. The only pity was we still felt too seedy to crack a bottle of red. So we had pints of water with our pimped out roast which was a bit sad.

sunday morning coming down

what a hell of a couple of days. Put in three nights straight at the pub for the first time in 10 days and i'm feeling a bit stiff afterwards. the fact we bevvied on pretty heavily sunday morning probably doesn't help but to be honest i was just happy to be in my business and help nick the bar manager and the kids out a bit.

There have been times over the last few months where owning and running a live music venue has been the last thing i wanted to do. Constant financial pressure, the Ballarat punters tendency to demand top line artists and then stay away in droves and my increasing health dramas have all combined to make it tough. Saturday was one of those nights that gives you hope though - the genuine buzz on the Dukes when they came offstage thanks to a bumper enthusiastic young crowd and an awesome night of cheery (on the whole) punters hanging out till very late. The coffers were filled (et least enough to keep the Tax Beast at bay for a couple of weeks) and it was smiles all round after work and I gave the jack and cokes a fair lash.

Lize, Nick and I went to léspresso for brekky and the bonhomie continued. Pleasantries were even exchanged with the theme pub up the road people.
Prior to this point relations have been strained (well they wanted to kill Nick anyway) so this was a nice thing. Pancakes and bacon were ace but teh bloody marys hurt me a touch but all in all a great end to the week.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007


an absolute stinker of a day. On the positive side of things it rained, and Lize and I got to hang out for an few hours at night have a drink and listen to records. Unfortunately the reason we saw fit to booze on a Tuesday night was a traumatic call from our previous accountant had made getting out of our skulls pretty much a neccessity.

Monday, May 14, 2007

first crack

I'm a 35 year old fat bloke from Ballarat who runs a bar. I guess want to have a go at blogging for the usual reasons - vanity, venting and to see if I can sustain any sort of writing over a period of time. I'm shithouse at teh old interweb so don't be coming here looking for links and photos and the like. Unless I learn something new and that ain't likely.

I don't think I'l name the bar I run yet, customers or worse still bands who play there might stumble across this and be offended or start badgering for shows. Having said we have bands probably gives it away anyhoo ços the live scene in Ballarat ain't exactly the Sunset Strip.

Thanks to combining the joy of gasro enteritis and a heavy cold into the one week there was no rock and roll for me last week. Three nights on the couch in the warming glow of cable telly punctuated by frantic sprints to the shitter/bone shaking coughing fits has left me almost missing the happy squeals of sound engineers tweaking a PA eq for an hour to have it sound the same as it did when they walked in.

I shouldn't whine about the job though. Since I was 12 I wanted to be a rockstar and due to a number of factors (lack of talent, looks and application) that didn't work out. But instead I've managed to eke out a living over the last 11 years initially working in and subsequently owning a live music venue. So sometimes you get to buy people whose records you love a drink or hear new stuff that blows your mind. That's the good bits in a nutshell.