Straights and lesbians banned from Collingwood’s Peel Hotel

Well, you’re not reading it here first — read The Age here, that magnificent font of investigative journalism the Sunday Herald Sun here — but at least you can actually read VCAT’s full judgment here: Peel Hotel Pty Ltd [2007] VCAT 916, and this little rag beats The Peel’s “What’s New” page to what’s new at The Peel. Deputy President McKenzie’s reasons run to only 1,600 words, kind of odd for a landmark ruling which has prompted interest from the BBC and in South Africa. It is apparent that a specific problem led to the application resulting in the right to exclude everyone except those men who identify themselves as gay to the bouncer in those cases “where to allow entry or unrestricted entry would, in the [bouncer’s] opinion adversely affect the safety or comfort of the venue for its homosexual male patrons, or the nature of that venue as a venue primarily for homosexual male patrons.” That problem is described in this way:

14. … Sometimes, groups seek to use the venue for parties and it is clear from Mr McFeely’s affidavit that these groups wish to look at the behaviour of the gay male patrons as a kind of spectacle or entertainment for the group’s enjoyment. Entry of these groups would undermine or destroy the unique atmosphere which aims to foster and not frighten or discomfit its gay male patrons.

20 The exemption … seeks to prevent discrimination against gay men, for whom this venue is designed. The anti-social behaviour which would be at the heart of a decision to refuse or restrict entry to groups of heterosexuals or lesbians is sexuality-based behaviour and includes sexuality-based insults and derision. It would be most unfortunate if at this venue, gay men were subjected to the very behaviour that the venue seeks to protect them from. I would add that I take a similar view of the restriction or refusal of entry to those groups who wish to use the venue for “hens’ nights” and the like, where they wish to use the gay male patrons as a form of entertainment. To regard the gay male patrons of the venue as providing an entertainment or spectacle to be stared at as one would at an animal at a zoo, devalues and dehumanises them. It is, although subtle, another form of sexuality-based humiliation or discrimination.’

Cavallero, Birdman Eating, Lentil as Anything reviewed; Beer haiku

Reviewing is a difficult art. There are certain constrained forms I particularly like. The obituary. The chess column. The restaurant review. All so constrained by the necessaries, requiring clever use of what little room there is for the decorations. The English tend to do them best. Zia Mahmoud does the most with the least with The Guardian‘s bridge column. Haiku fascinates me. The very word puts me on edge. I hate haiku about as much as shakuhachi music, but at the same time I love it about as much as a good egg breakfast, a short speech, photos of Japanese taking photos of cherry blossoms with unbelievably expensive cameras (snap thanks to a great photographer, Mark Alberding), and the way sacred cows get in the way of traffic in New Delhi. Short is good. Less is more. Small is beautiful. Metre is a useful discipline for the poet’s natural tendency to ungrammatical excess. Some of the most elegant writing going around today is to be found on this website. I particularly like: Continue reading “Cavallero, Birdman Eating, Lentil as Anything reviewed; Beer haiku”

Dante’s Maria buys Glasshouse

Gertrude St is my preferred east-west bike artery into the heart of the city, but from time to time I find myself wandering along Gipps St, one block north. It boasts the Laird O’Cockpen Hotel which in my imagination might conceivably be the place that erotic poet and Liberal parliamentarian Bruce Atkinson visited out of professional obligation, as well as Nicholas Dattner‘s emporium of super expensive wooden tables (did you know his old man was a British spy on whom Trevor Howard’s character was based in the 1949 zither music-rich The Third Man, one of the most famous films of all time?). It also sports the Glasshouse Hotel. I thought it was standing vacant, but I found out a year or so ago it was doing a roaring lesbian trade on certain evenings, and always had done. Now I find Maria from Dante’s in Gertrude St has bought the place. A little online pamphlet named Same Same says of the development: Continue reading “Dante’s Maria buys Glasshouse”

The Age gagas about local establishments

The Age‘s John Lethlean gave Lentil as Anything the thumbs up the other day. Now that same journal’s Michael Herden has given Cavallero on Smith St a decent plug. I’m dying to try the place: the assiduous Breakfast Blogger got there almost a month ago, and he’s got the whole of Melbourne to cover. He wasn’t totally convinced, but I’m calling it teething problems: I want to like the place. Mr Herdern calls Smith St a “psychotically eclectic strip”. Too many interior decor shops already I reckon, but there’s room for a few more Cavalleros (snap). According to the folk who supply their coffee, the Cavalleros have “a shiny new chrome 85 series two group”. That’s a cofee machine.

Terminus Hotel, Alison Whyte, Fred Whitlock

Today’s Good Weekend has a “2 of Us” profile by Bernadette Clohesy of the pair who own the Terminus Hotel, 39 year old Alison Whyte, and 41 year old Fred Whitlock. It’s certainly changing. Upstairs is the now mandatory fine dining restaurant, but there’s also a big party room giving out onto a large deck. Haven’t tried the restaurant, but the pub grub is superb. In fact, it’s a great pub. The place has a website which I have just discovered. Its history of the pub, which the pair purchased in 1996 — 11 years ago — is entertaining. It reveals that the original third partner is the bloke who bought and presumably did up the Healesville Hotel, another great pub, though mainly for the well heeled, unlike the egalitarian Terminus. I signed up for the mailing list so as not to miss out on events such as the 7 Culinary Disasters from the 70s for $70 dinner just gone.

Since the profile of the Whyte-Whitlock combo doesn’t seem to be available online, here are the bare bones, the bits at least not already covered by this newspaper (here and here). Whyte’s from Tasmania, Whitlock from New Zealand. They met at the Victorian College of the Arts. The class of people who transferred from Duntroon to the VCA might conceivably number one: just Whitlock. They have three children under 6: Rose, Milly and Atticus, and live in the Yarra Valley. That seems to have something to do with Whitlock getting stabbed in the head by a local: Continue reading “Terminus Hotel, Alison Whyte, Fred Whitlock”

Collingwood and Northcote Historical Societies; the history of local pubs

The Collingwood Historical Society now has a website. It is fairly minimalist for the time being, but no doubt it will grow. Their main event from the public’s point of view is the annual history walk, which I lamented missing last year.  I discovered that there is an out of print book published by them, “Hotels of Collingwood”, which I must get a copy of: anyone want to lend me one? Though I must confess I still haven’t exactly read cover to cover J.M. Freeland’s The Australian Pub or Larkins and Muir’s Victorian Country Pubs or Griffin’s John Wren; A Life Reconsidered or Dr Kovesi’s book about the Abbotsford Convent’s Sisters of the Good Shepherd, Pitch Your Tents on Distant Shores.

Then I found the Darebin Historical Society’s website, which has a fair bit of stuff on it, including this little pamphlet on the earliest hotels in Darebin. And the pictured book seems to be in print and for sale for a mere $9.90.

The Collingwood Historical Society has put up 6 historical plaques, including this one on the front of what used to be the tobacconist which was the front for John Wren’s Tote in Johnston St.