Monday, December 09, 2013

Pianist History

Of friends, we have few. Of acquaintances we have many, or we used to. Pat was one of them.

If you look at my header photo, just to right of the spire of Christ Church at the Punt and Toorak Road corner is a medium rise apartment block. It is not easy to see, but it is a white framed brown brick building with a very desirable Toorak Road West address. (it is even harder to see with my new 'leaves on trees' header. Thanks to Fen who fitted it all together) There lived one Pat Murphy and we were his dinner guests one evening. He was a good host but his apartment was chaotic and not the cleanest place either.

Pat was one of the heirs to the Crittendans chain of supermarkets. I can't remember where they all were now, but the Woolworths in Hawksburn was one. I don't know if Pat ever really worked a normal job but he honed his piano skills in his early life.

He played at various gay and straight venues around town, probably best known as a pianist at Pokeys at the Prince of Wales in St Kilda, but also Jocks, later known as Gay Trade Bar in Collingwood. Jocks was formerly a well known up market restaurant called Clichy, opened  by Iain Hewitson and Sigmund Jorgenson in 1977.

I came across this scan of a poster posted to the Face Book group Lesbian and Gay Archives. I never knew Pokey's was originally held at the Koala Motor Inn. I wonder if Pat played there? The late Dame M once told me she went to a party there before it was converted into own your own flats. A friend bought one about a decade ago, but he didn't like living there and soon sold. The flats are really only bedsits. His flat was on the tenth floor, which was quite high in the building, so I am thinking the 14th floor may have been at the top and probably where the party was attended by Dame M. The top was turned into a large penthouse.


10 comments:

  1. It was my pleasure to be able to help out.
    Interesting name - Pokeys! I liked the little Woolies in Hawksburn, though the Coles on Chapel had a very friendly gay guy that all my clients looooved.

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    1. Fen, Pokeys was such an institution. I know who you mean at Coles. He even calls straight guys 'darls',but being Prahran, they don't care. I did see him turn nasty on a fellow staff member one day who wasn't doing their job. I used to know his name, but I forget now.

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    2. oh no, my reply got eated up!
      His name is Mark. He's always a lovely shade of orange. He quit a few months ago because he said the staff were getting treated horribly. The customers kicked up a stink and they asked him to come back. It just wasn't the same without his cheery face there.

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    3. That's right. I saw him walking to work last week, so he is certainly back there. Haha at lovely shade of orange. I wonder if the changed staff demographics have anything to do with his issues? I can't really see it though.

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    4. no, according to one of my elderly clients, who knows someone else who works there, the lady who runs HR is a complete bitch and makes everyone's life a misery. She back stabs everyone and has created quite the negative culture.

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  2. oh! Critties is now a Woolworths? Used to shop there decades ago.
    oh!2 The Koala Motor Inn is now bedsits?
    oh!3 Clichy has closed? I really must get around more. I am just enjoying reading a Stephanie Alexander memoir which is full of Melbourne restaurant history.
    x x

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    1. Em Stacks, it is swamped with black 4wds from dawn to dusk.

      I am sure you known about the Koala Motor Inn and Clichy. Is the memoir new? I have heard her in media a bit lately, so she must be pushing something.

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  3. I used to want to learn to play piano. You can all be thankful that I didn't. Not a musical bone in this entire body.

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    1. River, I had a great Uncle who at 87 took up learning the violin. He never succeeded in playing it but he enjoyed his lessons.

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  4. The Pokey's poster made me smile Andrew, but I know not about the Melbourne 'scene' so will enjoy others comments instead :)

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