marcus westbury

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Buy John Wardle a Beer Day (Oct 26th in NSW)

October 20th, 2010 by marcus

Buy this man a beer.

Musicians, live music lovers, people of NSW, and general folks who think small scale culture should be given a chance to survive and thrive: on October 26th this year and every year i need you to do me a small favour. Should you see this man in the street, pass him in a pub, or stand behind him in a line at the supermarket i ask you to do one small thing. Buy him a beer. Seriously, you owe him one.

October 26th in NSW is buy John Wardle a beer day.

I have no idea who has the power to officially declare a public holiday in NSW but as far as i’m concerned  i’m just calling it.

I am a cynical prick. Very little impresses me. Yet every now and then something happens that truly inspires me. Occasionally someone pulls off something that i had every reason to dismiss as truly impossible. John Wardle’s  immense efforts (and by that i mean years, and years of relentless research, lobbying cajoling, organising and generally just fucking persisting when most sane folks would have thrown in the towel) he put into reforming NSW’s dreaded Place of Public Entertainment (PoPE) laws falls into that category.

Put simply, until the stupid laws were finally done away with on 26th of October last year you could do pretty much everything in a NSW pub, cafe or gallery without tonnes of red tape except play live music or perform anything live.

As John himself put it:

PoPEs really said a lot about us – that if you told a story or sang a song you were regulated out of existence but if you watched sport or gambled you were exempt.

On October 26th last year the NSW Government finally changed the laws after much effort from John and no doubt much assistance from his friends and colleagues. You can read about the changes here but in practical terms it means that performing live music in NSW is relatively simple where it was once impossibly hard. Already in NSW a lot more venues have a lot more live music because the rules changed so they were suddenly legally allowed to.

John himself has compiled a list of about 50 new places that have become live venues since the laws the have changed – no doubt there are plenty more. It’s a small crack of light that has turned back the forces of darkness and poker machines and a reminder that the stupid and unjustifiable is always untenable in the long run.

Mostly these kinds of efforts, these kinds of changes go unnoticed. Many people, many, many people benefit from them but few realise what effort it took to make it happen. Even i only have the slightest inkling for how far and how hard they needed to push. Indeed the only person in the NSW parliament’s public gallery that night was John:

Its funny – the night the amendments passed to the Planning Act was just like the night the associated changes to the Liquor Act went through.. I was the only person in the gallery, and was called upon to assist… there was no-one around. I walked out later into the Sydney night myself..

Frankly, there should have been a bloody parade.

John Wardle, Sir, i doff my metaphorical hat to you, and this coming tuesday i will raise my actual glass.  On account of the fact i will be in another state on the actual day you can take a raincheck on that beer from me any time you like. The rest of you, you all owe him big time.

You can follow John on twitter or message him on Facebook if you need to try and work out the logistics of delivering that beer.

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8 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Nick Oct 21, 2010 at 8:20 am

    Where’s John’s list?

  • 2 John Wardle Oct 25, 2010 at 10:15 am

    – In response to ‘Nicks’ rather abrupt request, here’s just a few of the businesses that have given jobs to musicians since PoPE laws were abolished…

    Happy Days indeed –

    505 – 280 Cleveland St
    Albion Place Hotel
    Anahita Persian Basement; 7/54 Burns Bay Rd, Lane Cove
    Bald Rock Hotel 15-17 Mansfield St Rozelle NSW 2039
    Berkelouw Wine Bar / Book Store, Leichhardt
    Buckland Hotel, Alexandria
    Cafe C 281 King St, Newtown NSW 2042, (02) 9550 6621
    Cafe Lounge Surry Hills
    Cafe Newtown 329 King St Sydney, 2042
    Cauliflower Hotel Alexandria
    Central Cafe and Bar 2 Lee St, Sydney (near Railway Square)
    Charing Cross Hotel Bondi Junction
    Clarendon Hotel Surry Hills 156 Devonshire St, Surry Hills NSW 2010
    Emmylou Bar
    Funky Cafe, Newtown
    Gaelic Bar upstairs at the Gaelic club
    Harlequin Inn -152-156 Harris Street Pyrmont, 2009
    Hot Lips Bar
    In Situ 1/18 Sydney Rd,Manly NSW 2095‎
    Key Largo Bar – 98 Bayswater road Rushcutter’s Bay
    Kirk on Harris, Utimo
    Kurrajong Hotel Erskineville
    Low Bar Surry Hills
    Macquarie Hotel Central ( Now late music as PoPE early closing restrictions no longer apply)
    Marrickville Golf Club
    Moose Espresso Cafe (02) 9557 0072 530 King St Newtown, 2042. Nelson Hotel Bondi Junction
    Number One Restaurant / Wine Bar. Circular Quay, at 1 Alfred Street, Sydney.
    Oscars Lounge Bar & Restaurant. 84 Union Street, Pyrmont NSW 2009
    Otis Bar – 226 Crown Street Wollongong, Australia 2500
    Park Hyatt – The Rocks
    Pyrmont Bridge Hotel (PBH) 96 Union St Pyrmont.
    Red Rattler – Marrickville (new entertainment on-premises liquor licence)
    Richmond Records – Cnr Windsor Street and East Richmond Street, Richmond NSW
    Robin Hood Hotel Bondi Junction
    Ruby’s Place Performance Cafe Bondi, Australia
    Sole Expresso on King St Newtown (sundays)
    Stella Blu cafe in Dee Why
    Sum Bar – Wine Bar and Tapas,
    The Commons East Sydney
    The Coopers Hotel Newtown 221 King Street, Newtown, 2042
    The Great Northern Hotel – 89 Scott St, Corner of Watt St. Newcastle. Live Music 6 nights a week
    The Green Room
    The Hampshire Hotel, Parramatta Rd Camperdown
    The Hive Bar – 93 Erskineville Rd Erskineville NSW 2043
    The Taverners Hill Hotel
    The Vault – Windsor
    The Vault Restaurant – 429 Peel St Tamworth. Live Music Thurs and Sat nights
    The Village Hotel – 234 Palmer St Darlinghurst, Australia
    Town Hall Hotel Newtown
    Tudor Hall Hotel 90 Pitt St, REDFERN, NSW, 2016
    Woolwich Pier Hotel – Saturday Jazz 3-6:30


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  • 4 Jeff Feb 9, 2011 at 4:32 am

    Thanks for sharing the list, John.

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  • 6 andrew Sep 24, 2011 at 2:53 pm

    what a stupid nasty law it was, it killed live music and creativity in general, yes i would buy him a drink, no problems

  • 7 pierre luniere Mar 27, 2012 at 3:14 pm

    I can only agree whole-heartedly with your sentiments, Marcus! I doff my cap, I tug my forelock & solemnly swear by everything I hold dear to Buy John A Beer on HIS DAY! – 26/10 from now until I fall down! pierre0 xx

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