Royal Standard Hotel, 333 William St, West Melbourne. Phone: 9328 2295
Before Consider The Sauce – before the domain name had been bought, before I’d begun to get to grips with the wordpress blogging platform and the whole blogging deal – one of the ideas I had was to combine on my site food AND music.
Wisely, I think, the food prevailed – though regular readers well know that my musical passions pop up every now and then in cameo appearances.
And that was that, I thought.
After a lifetime of writing about and broadcasting music – and chasing the groove both locally and in the US – my love of music had become a private deal.
And I’m mostly comfortable with that.
But a year or so ago, I noticed good pal and former colleague Lee was contributing to a Facebook group based around music and mateship.
I read with interest.
The I started offering up the odd interjection.
Then I joined.
It’s been great.
I don’t fire up in terms of extolling what I’m digging nearly as much as some – generally speaking, about once month I let loose with a rambling rave about my current faves in terms of funky old soul or country or jazz or cajun or swamp pop or whatever.
(The recently amassed pile of vintage stuff from Cuba, Soweto, Haiti, Columbia, Peru, Ghana, Congo, Ethiopia, Benin, Nigeria awaits raving!)
I confess to feeling somewhat out of step with the group’s general leanings – too many white blokes with guitars and a whole lotta rock of the kind with which I don’t generally roll.
But here’s the thing – as with my previous online musical communions (Blue Note Bulletin Board, All About Jazz, Jazz Corner, Organissimo – all but the last now gone to the internet graveyard), and locally at the late, lamented Hound Dog’s Bop Shop, specifics of individual tastes matter not.
Because what I really enjoy is not mostly the music being discussed but the passion with which the group members address it and the (often tall) stories that accompany.
Something I’ve always been adamant about when running CTS is that when the opportunity arises, hitherto digital relationships should be put on a real-time face-to-face basis – and we’ve had some wonderful folks come into our lives through doing so.
So it is that with a good heart that I bowl up to the Royal Standard in West Melbourne to meet many of the denizens of Music4Mates for the first time.
We have a fine time over beers and tucker.
So for the company, the generous spirit, the stories and the bullshit, I say thank you to Lee, Warren, Saskia, Andrew, Brett, Baz, Steve, Diane and Johanna.
The Royal Standard is a very much old-school inner city boozer – no pokies, live music, metaphorical sticky carpet and a heap of different beers.
The food (see menu below) is suitably old-school, too, and priced accordingly.
I don’t keep track of what everyone is eating …
… but I note that Steve’s (Aussie) burger ($20) looks very much the goods.
With beetroot, of course!
Extra points for crawfish shirt grooviness.
My own bangers and mash ($19) are fine, with the snags being of better quality than I’d normally expect and the mash and onion gravy also good.
Could’ve lived without the salady bits, though.
As ever when confronted by such a menu line-up, I’d cast around for the specials board, on which – in this pub today – silverside has been listed as the roast of the day.
Whatever … turns out that Brett snagged the last serve of the day – and I’m envious.
How good does that look?