Dancing Dog Diary No.6

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It’s auction day!

Bennie and I find ourselves in the rather melancholy position of heading for the big day via a funeral in Werribee.

Our pal Viki is crook so we pick up her son, Bennie’s ace mate Che, on the way through so at least she’ll be with us in spirit!

We arrive about half an hour before the auction.




There’s already a lot of people about and there’s more and more as the minutes tick by.

There’s a lot of media types in attendance, too.

Though these days, with the internet and all, it’s impossible to tell the print folks from the TV folks.




Many of my friends and colleagues from #letsbuythedog are on hand.

Then it’s on!

Given our own valuation had put the estimated value of the building to developers at about $3 million, I am surprised that’s precisely where the bidding starts.




Auctioneer Tristan Tomasino fields a couple of bids from one gent standing away from the crowd, but then it comes down to competing bids from two blokes standing right in front of him.

The property is passed in at $1,575,000 and we eventually find out it has been sold to the highest bidder at an undisclosed price.

Even better – the buyer is an investor who intends to keep the existing tenants, leases and uses of building as is.


Oh yes!

There is a fine account of what unfolded in the story at Domain – read it here.




Apparently, in the end there were factors mitigating against developer interest so we ended up with three investor bidders.

Just how much the #letsbuysthedog campaign has been a factor in all this is hard to quantify.

The campaign fell well short of reaching its $1.5 million pledge target.

But getting to almost $60,000 in just a few weeks is an amazing result.

In every other way, it seems to me, the campaign has been an outstanding success.




The harnessing of so much robust community spirit and the generation of so much media coverage has been wonderful.

As well, the project has connected many dozens of like-minded people, groups and businesses in a gratifying and profound way.

These friendships are a fine outcome all on their own – but who knows where some of them may lead?

Do I hope to fraternise and even work with any or all of my new friends on similar or other projects in the future?

For sure!

Stay tuned for future announcements.

It’s fair to say, though, that CTS Dancing Dog Diary entries will be thinner on the ground than they have been in recent weeks!

Dancing Dog Diary No.5

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Let’s Buy The Dancing Dog Pozible campaign – click here.

Let’s Buy The Dancing Dog Facebook group – click here.

Let’s Buy The Dancing Dog website – click here.

Real estate listing – click here.



Another meeting and more new faces.

This time we’re at the Dancing Dog itself.




There’s a nice social vibe going with drinkies downstairs before we troop upstairs to discuss the campaign.

Many people – by no means are all of them in attendance tonight – have done a great deal of work in the past few weeks.

The progress is summed up in relatively brisk fashion.

Truth is, a lot of the angles and leads that have been followed have ended in a sort of no-man’s land because of the tight timeframe – even if the goodwill that has greeted the team’s inquiries and feelers has been near universal.




For the first time, I hear the suggestion that, in fact, the building may go to a residential buyer.

“Plan B” options are discussed.

What do we do if the property is passed in?

Is there a life or a purpose beyond this auction, this building for this group of people who have come together so magnificently?

I think: Yes.




Then it’s down to plans for the auction itself.

We’re all hoping for a strong community turnout to show our collective affection for the Dancing Dog Building.

But … much more of a warm celebration than a demonstration.




Dancing Dog Diary No.4

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Let’s Buy The Dancing Dog Pozible campaign – click here.

Let’s Buy The Dancing Dog Facebook group – click here.

Let’s Buy The Dancing Dog website – click here.

Real estate listing – click here.


Consider The Sauce is unusually late in getting moving this Sunday – time to go!

Besides, the great and extensive work some of my #letsbuythedog colleagues and friends are doing is making me feel like a bit of a malingerer.




First stop is Officeworks to get some flyers run off.

They’re pricier than I expect so cut back on the number I hoped to buy.




First order of business is to get my wheels suitably adorned – then it’s off to Footscray.

The only firm idea I have is to tape flyers to the lamp posts in the neighbourhood surrounding the Dancing Dog building itself.




But first – of course – lunch: pretty good Somalian meat ‘n’ rice from Jazeera Cafe in Paisley Street.




Back at the Dancing Dog Cafe itself, things take a heartening turn that seems emblematic of so much that is happening with this campaign in terms of support, friendship and community bonhomie.

Jo, one of two Dancing Dog staff members on hand, makes me a brilliant cafe latte.

She grabs a handful of flyers to put in the nearby university and at Footscray City Primary, where her kids go to school.




Then two of my #letsbuythedog compatriots – Viki and Chela – arrive.

Viki, too, grabs a bunch of flyers.

They’re here for the regular Sunday Westword poetry bash – so I leave a bunch of flyers for the gathered poets, too!




It’s clear my supply of flyers will be gone in the next day easily just through the normal course of living and working in the inner west.

How cool is that?



Dancing Dog Diary No.3

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Let’s Buy The Dancing Dog Pozible campaign – click here.

Let’s Buy The Dancing Dog Facebook group – click here.

Let’s Buy The Dancing Dog website – click here.

Real estate listing – click here.


Meeting No.3 and the second of which I have attended.

Familiars faces and new faces.

The Pozible campaign – link above – is tootling along but it seems clearer than ever we’ll not be reaching our target unless unless philanthropy of some sort comes into play.

But everyone is united that this project is worthwhile no matter what for a variety of reasons.

Other group beliefs are re-iterated:

The is a not-for-profit community group.

It is NOT anti-development.

It IS about retaining the Dancing Dog building as a community asset and space.

Many, many ideas and suggestions are discussed.

They include allies, a plan B, a heritage listing with more clout than the current one, promotions, media, an “angel developer”, and what to do on auction day.

But time is running out, so we must stick to the, um, “pozible”.




Our plan of attack – to spread the campaign as widely as possible online and offline.

You never know what could happen.

We might just make our target or a “white knight” might step in.

Or we might just scare off developers who have no regard for what we love about the building and encourage those who are keen to do something community minded and inspired.

What we do know, is the more support we can show for this campaign, the more likelihood there is of a good outcome of some sort.

One thing that struck as I drove to Seddon for meeting …

If the building should fall into the hands of developer with no sympathy for widespread community regard for the building, the result could be not just townhouses/apartments the likes of which have been built in the surrounding neighbourhoods.

It could be worse as the site is so prominent, standing as it does on a corner.

And as it is what greets motorists and pedestrians when they enter the Foostcray CBD from the Albert Street overpass, it could even be argued that the building is something of a gateway to Footscray.

Not, perhaps, to the same degree as Footscray Road or Dynon Road/Hopkins Street river bridges … but still.



Dancing Dog Diary No.2

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The Let’s Buy The Dancing Dog Pozible campaign went live last Thursday morning.

By early evening, it had accrued just over $1000 in pledges.

“OK – cool!” thought I.

A mere 12 hours later that figure had swelled to more than $30,000.


How did that happen?

Easter has slowed things down, unsurprisingly.

But as of this writing – early evening on Easter Sunday – the pledge amount stand at more than $37,000.


Maybe we can really do this!

In the meantime, the campaign’s Facebook page has been filled with enthusiasm and all sorts of exciting and inspiring link and stories.

Even to the most ardent optimist, however, it may still seem like a preposterous long shot.

So is there a point to all this if we fail to reach the required amount?

Oh yes there is!

As Katerina said in an email gee-up to supporters:

“Already, these meetings have brought people together and brought out all sorts of wonderful stories. Even if the campaign doesn’t win, it’s been worth it just for these moments. Come and enjoy the inspirational community spirit. And remember, even if we don’t get the money we need to buy the building, the better this campaign does, the more we are putting developers on notice that they will have a fight on their hands if they do anything really inappropriate.”

Personally, I am already enjoying the community goodwill and spirit being displayed by all and sundry.

And given the networks of connections and relationships that are being utilised, it’s unsurprising that some things are becoming nicely personal.

The best friend of my son, Bennie, is a lovely lad named Che.

When they first became pals, they were both attending the same Sunshine primary school and Che lived with his mum, Viki, and sister, Chela, in North Sunshine.

A few years back, they moved to Yarraville – and just a few blocks from us.

The boys’ friendship has deepened since then and yours truly is slowly, bit by bit, getting to know his mum and the family in general.

One thing I have learned through conversation and Facebook is that Viki is a really, really good singer.

What I did not know until #letsbuythedog is that she has a rich and intense history with the Dancing Dog.

Here’s what she posted for the Let’s Buys The Dancing Dog Facebook group:

“I love this place – I’ve spent many a Sunday afternoon here with the Westword poets. My kids love the cookies they serve. Our band has played gigs there and we made one of our video clips there. I hope this place can remain as a space where people make music/poetry/art/socialise as before. I don’t know if this helps in any way, but here’s a video clip we did, much of which was filmed at the Dancing Dog, the fact of which epitomises what it means to me and many others. The people at the Dancing Dog were very supportive when we made this.”



And here, just as a matter of record, is the Biggin & Scott video spruiking the building:



Remember: The auction is scheduled for Saturday, April 18, at 1pm!

Dancing Dog Diary No.1




Katerina Gaita and a few pals set the ball rolling to attempt saving the Dancing Dog building as a community space/asset little more than a week before the mid-week meeting I attend but the campaign is already gaining momentum.

I filled in the contact form – “How can I help?” – form on the new group’s website and have been duly contacted.

I proffer my services, suggesting that maybe – just maybe – I can offer some help by way of media savvy.

The truth is, though, I feel a bit redundant …




… because the sale of the property at 42 Albert Street and the campaign to keep it “in the community” has already scored the front page splashes of BOTH local newspapers.

That’s impressive!

Katerina assures me, however, that this is because the story has captured the community’s imagination and not necessarily because of any top-rate media hustle by herself or anyone else.

Still …

You can read the Star Weekly story here and the Leader story here.

As well, The Age has also been busy in the form of story in its Domain section, which you can read here.

But time is short as the auction is scheduled for 1pm on Saturday, April 18.




I am one of 13 people who attend the meeting in Seddon and one of only three blokes on hand.

I feel even more out of my depth when the complexities and work involved in setting up such a project – administrative, legal, financial, crowdfunding and more – are grappled with.

Luckily, we have among us a number of what I suspect are very capable community activists and it is all addressed, and roles and aims allocated and decided, within a couple of hours with a minimum of fuss.

There is wine and Easter eggs on hand to grease the wheels.

Everyone is on board but all those present, without exception, have busy lives and a gazillion other things to deal with.

My offer of putting Consider The Sauce at the campaign’s disposal is readily accepted.

So while #letsbuythedog has a Facebook group (see here) and a website (see here), CTS will work as a sort of clearing house – on a needs basis – for news, links to media coverage, stories, comments, conversations and notification of events, happenings and meetings.

Hopefully, we can all have some fun while we’re at it!

So why have I chosen to become in this when so many other similar campaigns have passed me by?

I’m not really sure, to tell you the truth.

I’ve certainly never been a regular habitue of the Dancing Dog.

I think it comes down to a comment left by regular CTS comment-leaver Jane on the Footscray eats goss post I put up a week or so ago:

“It’s going to kinda suck when Footscray is just another Yarraville…”

The group as whole, however, is determined that the campaign be promoted as community-positive rather than anti-development.

Check out the real estate listing for the property here.

Stay tuned!