When the train of life you choose to follow has no intended destination? You must understand one of two things. You fight everything you don’t like, or you own it and accept whatever the outcome wherever it goes. Well so says me. I am an accepter through and through.
Part reason for writing. I met a gent at a social gathering a couple of years back. I am really not one for social gatherings. Conversation was instigated by him. I am like. Here we go.
Question and answer time. During this brief conversation. He asked me.? So, if you were to write a story? What would you have to write about? I felt in an almost sneery leery kind of way. Immediately not having an answer and slightly miffed I shot back. “Shit loads actually!” At which point he pulled out a business card.
Thrust it into my hand. Said. Send me something and walked off. As things transpired.
That’s been a working title. He was and is a publisher rep. Hence having to change the BLOG name for those that were wondering. Any way moving on.
Another venue. I can’t really tell the story of this one without a notable example of other people on the train.
When you have no destination. They just appear. They are however especially important.
Id been eyeing off an old theatre in oxford street Sydney. Gorgeous space. Huge. Perfect for a live performance space. Never got to develop it due to complications beyond human control as it was owned by a church. If you want a committee to agree on a rent figure.
May it not ever be a religious commitee headed by a lawyer. A christian group full of human kindness. Care and compassion. support to whoever needs it type committee until it comes to real estate and money.
The real-estate agent I was meeting onsite one day. Mentioned to me. Theres another venue guy looking at the property. Wonder who that is? Well coincidently or by grand design. We met that very day. We joined forces.
Via the very same agent moving away from the theatre. We were introduced to yet another 3rd party who was well into a live music venue development on another property in Double bay. He needed help. A lot of help! So along with my new friend we agreed to pitch in with our resources for the time being. Consult and get this space up and under way. It was really a no brainer.
So, this venue story becomes more about the man than venue.
The venue itself. Really contemporary design after we had finished. Seated 120 for a show. Excellent kitchen setup. We could feed that many people at once
Had great sight lines. Stage. Sound & light production. Grand piano on stage. Hammond B3 inhouse. We got from a rubbish dump. Private bar. Booth seating. Was gorgeous.
And the guy that was setting it up. Had a passion for music. (obviously). Owned another venue way out of Sydney. Lived local eastern suburbs and for all intent and purposes wanted to spare no expense to achieve an end result with this venue.
Totally intrigued by the gent that hired us. With limited information to date. I inquired.
“Whats your story?” The man. Happy to tell it. Looked and with similar mannerisms akin to Woody Allen filled me in. The one thing I knew. He came from the medical profession.
He’d sold his medical business some years back with enough in the bank to do what he wanted. Didn’t much care for working budgets.
Unlike myself. Id never ever been able to build anything without constantly monitoring expenditure. He would spend money on anything he wanted and hold up paying a minuscule invoice because it didn’t have the words TAX INVOICE printed on the top.
I quickly learned not to mention anything we may need until I was satisfied, we really needed it. It would just turn up. Boxes would get delivered.
Like myself and 1000’s of others. He was an immigrant to Australia. Arriving mid 70’s from Russia via Italy with his parents. Whom I believe were in the rag trade. He was given the opportunity for a free university education. Not knowing what he wanted to study. Decided to consult the yellow business pages phone book and look for the most popular business listings?
Which as it was at the time. A doctor.
So he proceeded to begin and complete a medical degree. Leaving uni. Living in the eastern suburbs of Sydney. After doing his compulsory medical practice in hospital. Then set up a medical practice. then another. then bought the properties, then fell into pathology with multiple outlets for gathering blood. He was literally a small framed Jewish Russian vampire.
All along the way. Not enjoying medicine at all. But building wealth as he went. Selling the whole shebang for a great deal of money early 2000’s I believe.
And somehow or other though our life paths couldn’t possibly be further removed. Here we are. ! While telling me his story. His phone rang. It was a port or jetty master of some sort.
Phoning to tell him his boat had sunk on its mooring in a recent storm. He simply brushed the guy with a “ill call you back “ I inquired. So, you have a boat? He explained. Yes, but I’ve never used it. I only bought the boat because I bought the mooring for an investment.
I didn’t even know you could do that. But yes you could. It was a thing.
And in Rose Bay eastern suburbs of Sydney. Not easy to procure. You had to be in the ballot system to get one. I was quickly learning how the other half lived.
Turned out though. If you bought the mooring, you had to own a boat to tie up to it. Or you lose it. So not to be out done on a good investment. A rubber ball attached to an anchor in the water for $250k . He had bought a boat to secure it.
Whether that said boat was floating or sitting on the ocean floor. Mattered not to our friend here. His obligations to the mooring as far as he was concerned were satisfied. Any other boat owner on hearing their boat had sunk would be out the door like a Jack Russell after a rabbit . Freaking out!
Some time after this. He eventually dragged the boat off the ocean floor and carted it out to his other venue and stored it in the garage under the venue.
Which leads us into another the part of the story or the man.
He had set up this other food and music joint in a suburb way south west of the city. It was his first foray into the music live band food business.
However, he wasn’t satisfied with the design aspects. So he asked me to consult and make some changes to it. Id never been there. We motored out one day. Had a good look over. I came back with some design ideas. He agreed. Tossed me the keys and said. “ go for it”. Second day in of me onsite working. I arrive early in the morning. Open the door and smell smoke.
Bare in mind the venue is still operating at night. Im working inbetween normal operations.
Still? this was not cooking smoke off the grill or as it was the waffle irons. I discovered on entering. The venue had been firebombed, however looked as though it had burned itself out during the night without igniting the fire alarm system.
So I phoned the owner. He phoned the cops and the insurance company? All inquiries were made.
2 weeks passed. And low and behold it happened again. Another fire. This time leveling the place. Except the boat stored in the garage between 2 concrete floors miraculously survived.!
I was informed later on someone apparently one day. Driven in. Hooked the boat & trailer up to their towbar and drove off with it.
Anyway we carried on with our double bay music venue project.
The insurance company apparently paid out on the fire ravaged 1st one.
He continued to keep us supplied with funny life stories and daily anecdotes regarding whatever decisions wed be making and is actually to this day the oddest, funniest fucker music venue owner I’ve ever come across.
A total dichotomy of a man that looked like Woody Allen. Softly spoken. Appeared honest as the day was long.