Vegetarian Restaurant/Venue 1975-1981
5 1/4 Brown Street, Chatswood, Sydney, NSW, Australia
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Kirk Lorange

   
   
The And Now For Something Completely Different was just that: unique. I had never seen anything quite like it before I started gigging there, nor have I since. It was the quintessential 'hippy' restaurant: low tables, tie-died cushions, bamboo curtains, the smell of mung beans, tofu, soy sauce and hashish wafting.

What made it so different was the address -- Five and a quarter Brown Street; the combination of restaurant and music venue; the fact that there was no indication from the street that there was anything open; the rooftop outlook; the six long flights of stairs (seemed like 20) you had to climb to get in. I remember how pleased I was after the first time of lugging my guitars and amplifier up those stairs to learn that there was freight lift in the back of the room.

I seem to remember that I often played Friday nights. I was pretty new to Australia back then, I had just finished doing a touring/recording stint with Richard Clapton -- the Goodbye Tiger Album era -- and it was left up to me what kind of show I'd put on. If I needed money to pay bills, I'd do it solo; if I was a bit more flush, I'd invite friends along, usually Greg Lyon, and split the money. More often than not, other players would just turn up and sit in.

As I remember it, two dollars per customer were added to the food bill for the entertainment, which meant that I'd never know how much I'd earn for the night.

 

Often, on a cold rainy winter's night, it was a pittance, but I remember one night I decided to play solo when over 200 people paid their 2 bucks, which meant over $400 for me. Back in the late 70's that was enough to pay a month's rent and have some left over for a half bag of weed.

But no matter how many people came, it was always a good time. Simon, the boss, became a good friend. We were always puffing away on some mind altering substance together. Jay was also one of the regulars who always seemed to have a different job there. Paul was the sound man/entertainer, an enigma.

Alex, who went on to become the frontman for Moving pictures, was a waiter who would doff his apron from time to time and belt out a rock n roll song, standing on a speaker cabinet, making all the right moves. One special guest was an American called Gove Scrivenor who had come out for a tour. He had a Kenny Rogers kind of voice and was a masterful guitarist and autoharpist. He became a good friend during his visit. But, looking back from here, it's the beautiful women that worked there that I remember best.

One particular memory that stands out: In November 1980 (I just Googled this) there was an alignment of Saturn, Venus, Jupiter and the moon. A few of us went out onto the roof to check it out and to scoff at the idea that there would be devastating earthquakes as a consequence. I can still see them all clustered together in the evening sky. I guess it was shortly after that it closed down. It was indeed Something Completely Different. I have very fond memories of it and all the people I met there. 
Kirk. 15/9/09

   
   


In the late 70's Kirk Lorange was one of Australia's top session guitarists and he was quite a regular at the restaurant with his amazing slide blues guitar and great Canadian vocal style. He was Richard Clapton's guitarist for many years and now has a successful guitar tuition business as well.


Kirk thinks this is an actual photo from a gig at the restaurant.

Kirk's album
No Apostrophe
is available
on iTunes.

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Stories: Simon I Sally I Jay I Paul I Kirk I Vivienne I Staff I Customers
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Vegetarian Restaurant/Venue 1975-1981

5 1/4 Brown Street, Chatswood, Sydney, NSW, Australia

jay@AndNowForSomethingCompletelyDifferent.com.au