Archive for May 15th, 2009

A while back, Bruce and a barman at Fitzroy’s Black Pearl entered into a late night / early morning conversation about creating a cocktail inspired by the Elbow single Grounds For Divorce. It went on to win Best Whisky Cocktail in Australia and will see its creator head to London later in the year to compete for the Best Cocktail in the World title at Diageo’s World Class event.

Said creator and the cocktail have now made it to the pages of the current edition of Beer and Brewer magazine. Hurrah!

Grounds For Divorce1

Could have mentioned Bruce by name...

Now to come up with one for The Flaming Lips’ Talkin’ Bout The Smiling Deathporn Immortality Blues (Everyone Wants To Live Forever)…

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The Tote Hotel was the venue for Bruce and Fran’s first ever gig after moving Down Under: the fantastic Mistletone showcase that introduced them to the likes of the eerily wonderful Kes Band and Beaches’ psychedelic riffs.

They’ve been back many a time since – and never left sober. What’s more, friends have just signed up to the Toters’ footy team and helped them to a huge victory over Old Bar – vengeance for a heavy defeat the year before – in the Renegade Footy League, one by playing, the other by pouring beer.

Dedication to a (lost?) cause

Dedication to a (lost?) cause

Yet, two weeks on from displaying a dedication to the Tote Hotel some might say was beyond the call of duty, the owners announced that as of Monday, one of Melbourne’s most iconic music venues was to close. A licensing issue was at the heart of it, leaving the venue closed from May 6 until today, which resulted in more than 30 bands being cancelled and a loss in takings of several thousand dollars. The cause – some minor paperwork issue involving the hotel’s last change of ownership – had been resolved a fortnight ago but the State Government’s licensing folks hadn’t signed off the approval to reopen, apparently. Hence, as of yesterday, it was closing from Monday, all future gigs had been cancelled and staff were told they would no longer be needed.

This morning everything changed: the Tote is open for business once more and bands are being rebooked.

It means that the owners, staff, bands and patrons of this unique piece of Melbourne’s musical heritage – with its awesome jukebox, the mankiest carpet in town, free bbqs for the inner suburbs’ waifs and wastrels, bands every night of the week and a crap TV in the main bar – survives to fight another day… at least until the current lease is up in November.

Thank God for that. After all, where else is this guy going to find a footy coaching job?


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