Wednesday, August 6, 2008

behind the 8 ball

i hate pub pool, or 8 ball or whatever you want to call it with a passion. All my years working in pubs I have too often seen this game provide an excellent opportunity for dickheads to meet, disagree about the finer points of 'pub rules' and punch seven shades of shit out of each other. When thats not happening the damn things malfunction, get balls/cues/chalk stolen and provide an excellent surface to spill drinks on. Which further annoys the pool buffs.

But tonight was a bit different I guess. Eight or so dudes in their mid thirties, in a shed drinking beer, playing pool and listening to tunes is a bit of a different proposition. All eight of us in one way or another have known each other most of our lives. All our parents travelled in vaguely similar circles, 3 of us were born within 10 days of each other, and all of us became even tighter as we were drawn into one particular indie music venue in Ballarat in the early nineties. The venue was the Bridge Mall Inn, a legend in its own life time and a hallowed watering hole for freaks, druggos and some sweet ass rock and roll. The pool table we played on tonight was spirited away from the very same venue under dubious circumstances around the turn of the century and helped bring forth a few pithy yarns and salty stories as the evening wore on. The pool table had involved itself in wider considerably wider spectrum of activity than games of skill as it turns out and we all had our favourite stories that seemed to revolve around the well worn playing surface.

It set me to thinking. I managed that venue for few years and things became fairly acrimonious between myself and the last owners. They weren't indie people and didn't get the down at heel , loose feel of the place and in the process of improving the place threw the baby out with the bathwater. The punters and bands slowly dried up in front of me and it made me pretty bitter. The place had been a labour of love for me, working for bugger all and just vibing on the art while keeping the place moderately profitable. Anyway the war stories tonight helped me close the book a bit. The memories these guys have taken away with them will last longer than a scene or a business. And in the shifting sands that are rock and roll pubs I guess that's all you can hope for.

1 comment:

cogidubnus said...

Sorry I'm a bar-billiards man...I spent my formative years, (disreputably of course), in the company of Terry Race, currently licencee of a certain Brighton, UK pub and formerly Bar Billiards world champion...wish I had half his skill though!