The Loud Hailers.Hollywood Hotel, Surry Hills, NSWThursday, August 14, 2023
Photos: Nick Bleszynski
Sydney was once a dangerous place.
As a teenager from the bush, I had read about live music venues like French’s and The Southern Cross Hotel; actually being there was a baptism of fire.
It was the music that attracted me to the inner city in – particular, Surry Hills. It was the heart of a city where there was a pub with music on every corner, and where you could see your first band at 8pm and move from one venue to the next. You could still be watching a band at 3am in Kings Cross – even on a week night.
It was dangerous yet romantic, a place of beauty with a view of its Harbour but one with a dark undercurrent of lawlessness, corruption and gangs that went back to the Rum Rebellion.