Kent St

Kent St

In light of the recent smokin’-in-yo-face ban, I probably should’ve visited a nicotine-stained lung for this week’s Bar Fly to see what it was like to, er, see a venue that is usually otherwise cloaked in a thick fog of floating cancer. Instead, I forgot, and was reminded only by a tiny, handwritten sign taped to the front door of Kent St, one of Smith Street’s (confused yet?) most appealing drinking destinations, advising patrons they must now take their fags outside. Such modest charms are typical of this delightful bar and cafe.

Behind the large roller door (which is a glossily bright shade of Margaret Fulton kitchen green), Kent St unfolds in a marvellously ramshackle fashion. Like Miss Haversham’s formerly grand abode, had Miss Haversham lived in an upstairs-downstairs townhouse near Number 96, the place is like a ’70s dream house gone to seed. You half expect to be greeted by a bunch of dust-covered ladies-who-(didn’t-make-it-to)-lunch in bell-bottomed playsuits clutching stale vodka stingers.

Hanging plants luxuriate at head height, while creepers spill out of a birdcage that was long ago vacated. A fabulous mishmash of vintage furniture and fittings is thrown about in a jumble, from Doris Day-esque dressers used as coffee tables, to modular lounges that were once the height of foam-filled chic. Walls full of small framed prints provide colour and movement among the various velvety shades of (peeling) paint.

You can even sit in the box windows like a living piece of visual merchandising and confuse fussy passers-by who fail to to explore Kent St’s shambolic wonders.

The bar itself is perched at the top of a diminutive flight of stairs, looking down upon the action. A wide and characterful range of beers is available, as well as carefully chosen spirits and wine (and the usual softies, including the glorious San Pellegrino blood orange, truly the thinking person’s fizzy drink). The coffees (and hot chocs) are great, as are the accompaniments – a heavenly (and very CWA-ish in its generous proportions) coconut-and-raspberry slice will set you back only $2, meaning Kent St’s prices are pleasingly retro, too.

Featuring semi-regular events such as a Tetris championship (on this Sunday for dedicated fans of the world’s most beloved Russian computer game), an eclectic drinking soundtrack and low-lit surrounds, Kent St is a fine place to park yourself for an afternoon coffee that turns into an evening drink. Too shabby-chic to attract the "Sunday drinker" crowd, and not so self-consciously retro/vintage that it’s unbearable for everyone else, Kent St is a perfectly pitched medium, and the ideal place to while away the hours, mentally concocting the great Australian novel/feature film/rock masterpiece/Tetris game over a strong macchiato. Just don’t stay so long that you end up looking like one of the fittings.


Posted by Yen Chin on 2009-11-20 08:52:44

Tagged: , Kent , St; , collingwood; , bar; , coffee; , cafe , latte; , fitzroy; , smith




The first sounds to enter Jane’s ears as she awoke, were those of the waves crashing against the shoreline of neatly peppered rocks to her left. Bleary eyelids fluttered and fought with the seductive forces of gravity as a stream of light brought her rapidly to a state of consciousness, and with it a painful sensation that crept up her body like mutant ivy strands twisting and wrapping themselves around her very sinews. Somewhat disorientated and perturbed at being pulled forcibly from the pleasures of a dream that involved falling down a dark shaft directly into the arms of none other than George Clooney, suitably attired in a white tux with distinguished speckled grey hair and a charming grin, and a vice like grip that brought both reassurance and a strange sensation in her loins, slowly Jane realized that the aforementioned was merely a dream and that reality was about to slap her in the face like a wet halibut to warm flesh.

Adrenalin kicked in and she felt the pace and beat of her heart increasing as the pain seared with menace and relentless brutality through her limbs. It was all she could do to stop herself screaming, but she knew it would give him such sweet delight to hear her do so and she was not about to give in to his vindictive whims. In her mind she saw that Jackal and Hyde face, so indelibly etched upon her memory. How could one forget such charming characteristics, which had swept her willingly off her feet yet which belied such a blackened heart devoid of compassion or love.

It was obvious that her right ankle was broken, perhaps a rib or two as well as with her right hand, she slowly traced the contours of her body, noticing the numbness in places and the agony that rippled through her side as her fingers delicate caressed her upper right thigh downwards. Eyes still scrabbling for clarity of detail, she fumbled in the soft granules of sand beside her until her fingers fell upon the contours of her spectacles which she held up to the light against the cloudy skyscape high above her prone body. The glasses seemed still to be intact, with the left glass shattered like a starfish shape and the right arm wildly bent in a jaunty angle downwards from it’s true position. Dusting off the residue sand that had clung like limpets to the metallic form, she placed the glasses onto the bridge of her nose, pushing them into position with her right index finger and attempting to squint through the broken glass piece which gave the world a curiously odd perspective. Now she could make out the detail in the rock face directly overhead, from where she had been so unceremoniously dumped by callous hands and mind filled with evil intent.

Pain residing somewhat as the endorphins soothed and bathed her brain, now her thoughts turned to concern, perhaps fear as she realized that he was somewhere in close proximity, possibly watching her every move, maybe making his way down the rock face to finish her off via a less circuitous route than the option she was given no choice but to take. Jane pushed her head back into the sand until her forehead was level with the horizon directly behind her, eyes able to stare up and beyond ascertaining that he had not yet arrived from his descent. Pushing herself up onto her elbows, she felt the pulsing pain in her skull, eyes scrunching up in a tight ball as she yelped. Thoughts of dragging herself outwards to the open shoreline and screaming for help, just like the end of a chapter from "Black heart" that she had read recently on the recommendations of a girl friend, soon evaporated as she recalled that the charcater in the story had also been shot and died alone and pitifully where he lay! She let out an audible gasp as her eyes opened reticently upon the full impact of her injuries. A shock wave raced through her body and she instantly felt an ice cold sensation grip her throat and forehead, a desire to vomit as her eyes picked out the details in the bone fragments peeking from her right ankle like the bones of a fallen desert creature picked clean by scavenging buzzards. The right ankle was no more. Ripped and torn, smashed into fragments with blood pooled beside her body like some colourful mosaic in the golden sands. If it were a motion blockbuster from Hollywoods precotious producers, she would marvel at the computer generated graphics of her crushed bones and mangled flesh, but this was the real deal and not a cause in any way for delirium or applause.

In her mind, Jane relived the memories of the events leading to her unfortunate situation, how she had reported him to the local Police and their futile attempts to place restraining orders upon a violent psychopath. That fateful meeting at Laura’s twenty first birthday bash in Joey’s bar and grill, and the excitement that entered her life as a tall dark stranger made her acquaintance and offered a world of possibilities on happy horizons. It was almost funny now, she felt, pondering how desperation, loneliness and a hundrum existence enlightened only briefly by the company of musty first editions and two demonstrative felines have the capacity to blind an impressionable girl to the false promise of love that a stranger on the scene can offer the weak of heart and mind. But Jane wasn’t laughing now as she realized the hopelessness of her predicament.

From behind she could hear the sound of bramble being pushed aside from the descending footpath behind and to her right at the side of the cliff face. Perhaps a passing resident out for a stroll with their beloved pooch, a jogger perhaps, an early morning photographer looking to set up his equipment to catch those early morning hues from the golden hour around sunrise. Jane used all of her strength to pull her smashed ankle slowly to her right, pushing on her buttocks and swivelling all the while in agony, tears streaming down her pale cheeks until she was up against the rock face, back arched and eyes facing forwards into the clearing with the sea out in front of her. Seated in her own blood, flesh pressing down on tiny splinters of shattered bone distributed in the fall, she swallowed hard and fought the pain with determination and grit. She was about to summon her strength and call for help, when he came into view from the left of the rock face.

Eyes darting about, Jane scooped up a large rock to her right, and a pointed piece of driftwood that was long enough perhaps to defend herself. Those eyes pierced her soul, dark and menacing as he came a few steps closer and smiled with a sickening mischief that filled Jane with fear and loathing. Why had the Police been so powerless in her defence, offering nothing more than cups of luke warm tea and words of hollow comfort? Why had she been so stubborn in refusing to give in to the inevitable and move back in with her parents down in Dorset? It all seemed so crystal clear now to her, as she watched his footsteps growing ever closer, the memory of his breath in her ear as he had held her by the throat and blamed her for the mess he was in just before pushing her so ruthlessly from the top of the cliff. She even remembered the curious weightlessness of the fall before blacking out upon impact. Now she was alone and defenceless, powerless to defeat her foe as he grinned like the cat who got the cream, ever closer, ever more menacing through her broken spectacles.

Just a few feet from her battered limbs, he stopped and reached into his jacket pocket, right hand revealing the blade of a knife which glistened beneath the sunlight, like the harbinger of her demise it promised to be. An ironic smile formed upon Jane’s lips as she dropped the rock and piece of hopeful driftwood, submitting to the inevitability of the final assault which perhaps would free her once and for all from the turmoil and mayhem that had become her life. How life could change in an instant. Unable to defend herself, Jane at that moment felt strangely unafraid of her persuer, for the first time in tese last traumatic months. With nowhere left to hide and a distinct inabilty to run, she was defiant in her acceptance of fate and determined to give no satisfaction to him as he terminated her life. He moved in fast, dropping to his knees and grabbing her hair in his left hand, pulling her face up towards his own as his mouth formed into an angry snarl and he hurled abuse at her as the knife raised into the air. The pain was intense as strands of hairs were wrenched from her scalp, her eyes all the while studying the form of the vicious blade that reflected her features in the morning light. Adrenalin coursing through her veins with one last burst, her left hand grabbed the piece of pointed driftwood, and screaming at the top of her lungs, "Don’t you know in all the best Hollywood films, the bespectacled heroine always defeats her foe!", she thrust the wood directly into his throat, the jagged tip emerging through the back of his neck as he fell sideways, dropping the blade and clutching his throat as a river of rich ruby life force ebbed and flowed from his fatal wound. He flailed and kicked for a short while, eyes glazing over as he drew his last breath before his mouth settled in the sand and he breathed no longer.

Jane propped herself against the rock face once more, eyes looking out towards the horizon where the the waves rolled and crashed. Perhaps as the morning light came, she would be found and saved by a passer by, perhaps the returning tide would sweep her out to her demise. Perhaps this had all been one long and terrible dream from which she would suddenly awake. If this had been a Hollywood blockbuster, how the audience would have cheered and applauded at the conclusion…….


Written December 11th 2010
Photograph taken on October 28th at Botany Bay in Broadstairs, Kent, England at sunrise.

Nikon D700 14mm 1/25ths f/11.0 iso200
Nikkor AF-S 14-24mm f/2.8 G ED IF.

Posted by DESPITE STRAIGHT LINES on 2011-12-30 12:36:16

Tagged: , horror , abduction , terror , violence , stalker , attacker , heroine , girl , injured , injury , pain , salvation , ‘botany bay’ , broadstairs , kent , england , victim , nikon , D700 , seaside , rocks , cliffs , story , ‘#ilobsterit’