I got my hair cut at Dr Follicles today, and had a coffee from Birdman Eating, which I have earlier written about. The Bird Man has got his liquor licence up and running nicely, and has a drinks and tapas thing happening of an evening — though he was kind of distancing himself from the ‘tapas’ concept (despite the menu saying ‘Evening Tapas’) in favour of the small meals to share concept. You can have green beans for $7.50, zucchini and fetta fritters for $8, grilled ox tongue with beetroot, capers and horseradish for $11.50, shanks for $14.50, crispy duck for $16.50 or go the hack with a sliced hunk of steak covered with a piquant salsa for $28.50. This guy’s saucy: I love the attitude associated with ‘Black pudding with eggplant kusundi and leek croquettes.’ I’m going there for drinks one night, because he’s also dishing up Milawa Gold Washed Rind cheese with apple jelly, and hot cinnamon doughnuts with chocolate sauce. My coffee was truly memorably good, which either means Matt Preston, who also gave the Bird Man a great review in today’s Age, was wrong, or the Bird Man has taken the critcism to heart.
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  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.’
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”