The Age’s take on Kent St, the good Smith St Bar, is here. Our Melbourne daily has forgotten that the city side of Smith St is actually in Fitzroy, but who cares? It’s an odd review which does not ring true to the location for me. What is meant by this passage for example?

‘Behind the large roller door (which is a glossily bright shade of Margaret Fulton kitchen green), Kent St unfolds in a marvellously ramshackle fashion. Like Miss Haversham’s formerly grand abode, had Miss Haversham lived in an upstairs-downstairs townhouse near Number 96, the place is like a ’70s dream house gone to seed. You half expect to be greeted by a bunch of dust-covered ladies-who-(didn’t-make-it-to)-lunch in bell-bottomed playsuits clutching stale vodka stingers.’

Whether this is a reference to Miss Havisham (as is suggested by ‘dust-covered ladies’) or Miss Haversham from the BBC series ‘Upstairs Downstairs‘ (as is suggested by the spelling and the alusion to upstairs-downstairs), neither is evocative of Kent St, and how do we segue from either period to the 1970s?

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Birdman Eating and The Royston Reviewed by the The Age

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.

And, just a week ago, Dani Valent reviewed The Royston in The Age, which I have also earlier posted about, and which is also a place I want to go for dinner. If only I had the time.

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White shoed man robs Smith St shop

A 1 metre 83 centimetres tall man with white shoes and an afro stood outside a Smith St clothes shop for 2 hours last night and then went in and demanded cash. The police say “The man forced [two] women into a rear room and made one woman get on the floor. He then grabbed the other woman by the arm and forced her to open the cash register,” which she did. Why this was reported in the Sydney Morning Herald is a mystery.

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Oil slick on Yarra

There’s an oil slick on the Yarra River, from Abbotsford’s Johnston St bridge to Kew’s Fairfield Boat House, about 8 km. No one knows how it got there, but it is thought to result from more than 100 litres of lube oil entering the river. Read The Age here, News.com.au here, ABC here. How a journalist could possibly write with confidence that no wildlife has been injured so far is beyond me. The other report, that there was no evidence of any birds being affected was a much more sensible choice of words.

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Denton Mills business card of James Hobson Turner

jhturner-buisness-card-f.jpg

Simon Turner, James Hobson Turner’s great great grandson, has sent me this scan of James’s business card showing what he describes as “the original factory” of Denton Mills. I’m not sure whether what is depicted is in Abbotsford or in Elizabeth St Melbourne. Simon tells me that:

‘It appears James helped establish his son Henry on a property “Deighton”, in Bengworden near Bairnsdale. Henry’s son William carried on the property, then my father Graeme moved to where we still farm today, in Bindi near Omeo.’

If anyone knows anything about James, let me know, and I will pass it on to Simon.

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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.’

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