Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Some Commercial Road snaps

Sydney's Oxford Street used to be referred to as the Gay Mile. Melbourne's Commercial Road in South Yarra and Prahran used to be called the Gay Metre. It is barely even that now, perhaps a gay centimetre but hey, every centimetre counts.

As far as I know, the only gay thing about Commercial Road now is the Beat Bookshop, formerly located in Greville Street.

Well, there is a bit of the gay still in Izett Street, off Commercial Road. 'Mummy, why is that man touching the other man's bottom?' 'He likes him in a very special way.'


Onesie? I have heard of these things. In fact I have seen people wear them in public. Is that a web address? It is unlike any I have seen.


 They are appalling and make track suit pants with tee shirts look like haute couture.


T'was the Blue Elephant, then Red Orange, now Carpe Diem. Will the day be seized? I doubt it. In the early or mid nineties I met up with friends for lunch before going to Midsumma Carnival. R would not come. I had just bought my first mobile phone. I asked R to call me while I was at lunch. He did and my phone rang. People looked on in with great interest as I took the call.


Once Freskys and lastly Mojitos, now closed. It was something else before Freskys. Ten points if you know. We've been waiting for almost a year to find out what New Taste is and when it will open. An extra ten points if you know the name of the Chilean born guy with the initials of CR who worked there in its first guise and sometimes performed a number on a table top.


NBHD Neandertahl? Well, I never. It was Priscillas, a bar, and next to it on the left was Cafe 151 where we breakfasted often, in a later incarnation Rae's Basement, then associated with Heaven Now, now a Chinese restaurant.


The Market Hotel, The Market, Checkpoint Charlies, Three Faces....this gay venue has had many names. It has been gutted and only the fa├žade kept. It is no longer gay and has been re-purposed. An acquaintance had too many 'light beers' there and thought he could fly. He jumped from the gallery to the dance floor and fortunately did not land on anyone, but not so fortunate for him, he broke his leg. A Filipino friend in the nineties, who could not speak English very well, won the karaoke competition with his perfect rendition of My Way. He was just brilliant and deserved the win. I can never forget Miss Candy's tribute to Lindy Chamberlain with her number, A Dingo's Got My Baby.  The Emerson seems to have opened. Watch it go broke and then sold on to another sucker.  Further along the street was The Exchange, another gay hotel. We may have been there once or twice. One may have even attended the venue in drag after a ball at the Carlton Crest Hotel in Queens Road. I fell off my heels and dropped my drink. R kindly helped me up with a brutal yank on my arm and then said to friends, 'time to take this drunken slag home'. The Exchange became D&M but I recently noticed the name D&M has been removed.


Small ugly shops were demolished to become this. Well, I am not sure what this is yet. Commercial Road is becoming a canyon of tall buildings. A little to the right is Porter Street, but we won't go there with reminisces.


I remember when Market Plaza was under construction. I rather wish it had not been constructed. Some buildings in the background built many decades before have stood the test of time.


I am surprised Moot closed. I supported them for years by buying sunglasses there, until they changed to only designer sunglasses made in China and in glass display cases. Maybe not a good business decision.


Oh, the Asian grocer has closed. Where will I buy the lap cheong for my fried rice? Right, the supermarket now. It was cheaper at the Asian grocer. Maybe that it why it has closed.


Bang, in Cato Street. No, not gunshots. It was the name of a gay clothing shop. I think the owner was called Dean White. He was a stunner. He moved to Sydney and left the shop under local management. It quickly failed once he left.


Lastly, as named. I may well have been pierced in places at this place when I was younger and adventurous. Counting up, four. But my ears were pierced at a chemist.


I suppose it is no surprise that The Piercing Urge does body piercing.


The next two photos exhibit a perfect business model. I have two tattoos, on my upper arms. I rather like them. No intention of having them removed. My tatts are nice. Covering your body or worse face and neck with tattoos is not nice.


The photo shop in the background is very good and has nice owners. I used to use the gay friendly chemist also in the background. Once while getting a couple of prescriptions filled, one went missing. The staff woman accused me of taking it. Why I would steal my own medication, I do not know. She eventually found it down among the jelly beans and other rubbish they push at you laid out on a bench below the counter. I was furious and immediately changed from being a customer to a non customer of Commercial Road Pharmacy. This was several years ago and it may have changed hands and that Greek heritage cow is no longer there.


Oh, while our original inhabitants in Australia practised it, it is a bit much for me. I was not sure what the display would show next. I shut down the camera and peered up the street for a tram or bus to take me home.


25 comments:

  1. Love the outing. And agree with you, about a thousand per cent conservatively speaking, about Onesies. They are truly ugly on anyone who has graduated from nappies.

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    1. EC, I consider some modern fashion quite ugly, but I can see why there may some appeal. Not so onesies.

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  2. Onesies are not good on anyone who can walk.
    Wish I had seen that 'drunken slag' in those high heels.
    Scarification looks groovy but not the getting of it (I love actress Amanda Redmond for showing her burns scars onscreen). Thanks for the tour HR and your captions illustrate how risky business is these days. X X

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    1. Ann, the slag was ever so attractive and carried herself well all night but she just became a little tired and emotional by the end of the evening. Agree about Amanda.

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  3. An interesting walk around town with you and your memories. I wonder why businesses change so often? So often we go to buy something from a specialist shop and when we arrive at the location the business has changed to something else.

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    1. Diane, that is annoying, I know. It is high rents that cause the businesses to close. It was a low rent area, then gay businesses opened, the rents went up, the gay businesses left and now it is kind of strange street, only saved by having the Prahran Market there.

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  4. Onesies
    Designed by the devil

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    1. John, I thought you might quite like them for lounging around.

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  5. Think I went to the Exchange once or twice as well! It was 'pots of Vic' for me in those days!

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    1. I liked it as a venue Ian. We always had a good time.

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  6. When my children were under 2, babygrows were just the thing. You could leave the top half of the outfit on and just pull the legs out to change nappies. But I agree with Elephant and Ann... no self respecting kindergarten toddler would be caught dead in a babygrow.

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    1. Hels, I usually know an iota about most things, but I know nothing of baby grows.

      I have your post on Piaf open and I savouring it as a cat does a mouse, teasing myself with the first line. I adore Piaf. Off to read it now.

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    2. Oops the Americans call them onesies.

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  7. I want to see photos of your tattoos.
    Onesies are deplorable and shouldn't be worn by anyone over 18 months old. Maybe two and three year olds as pyjamas, most certainly not by anyone as street wear.

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    1. River, you want me to take a selfie of my arms? Someone might recognise me by my tattoos! Ok, I am a bit too old to care now. I will do it, just not tomorrow.

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  8. While I was at Uni, I used to work at 'Mohitos' but back then it was called 'Spargos' . On Sunday mornings Miss Candee would come stumbling in straight from the clubs, wig lopsided, make up smeared, and she'd try to stuff money into our aprons. Nowadays I see her sans drag on the tram, dressed in a suit on her way to her job at Henry Bucks.

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    1. Well done Evol. That was the name and I could not remember it. There was one in Richmond too. Ah, still is. I don't know how Candee is still alive. We used to often see her at Lambs near The Market early in the morning, still in drag and being very loud. Funnily the waiter who danced on the table top at Spargos also worked with Candee at Dairmaru.

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    2. Hahaha I've just re-read your post and now I recall the Chilean guy you're referring to. Occasionally he would do a drag performance for customers. He was a real character!

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  9. I used to go to Mojitos every second Thursday, with a client. The guy who ran it was the most miserable git, I'm not surprised it didn't last. He hated the Mexican Music Man who plays songs for the children on Thursdays. Ha ha.

    The Piercing Urge is fantastic, one of the best piercing places in Melbourne. I highly recommend it.

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    1. The bearded guy Fen? There was something hot about him. I assume that was his mother who played the role of Mama San. They were both hard nuts to crack, but we did eventually.

      In my memory, Piercing Urge is very professional, which is probably why it has lasted so long.

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    2. Yeah, his name is Danny. He liked me, but hated everyone else. We never worked out if the woman was his Mother or a relative.

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    3. Danny? A good Lebo name, or are they Greek?. Of course he liked you. Why wouldn't he. I am pretty sure it was his mother.

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  10. Great review - many memories from my late teens... Any idea where exactly Ramjet's was? I remember some pretty wild nights with mates there after Three Faces but I've not been able to find anything about it anywhere.

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    1. Hi. Is interesting to re-read this post and how dated it now is. I think Ramjets was between 3 Faces and the railway line. Prahran Market Clinic was on the corner and it was one or two shops along from there.

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