20 December 2010

Rethinking Dickson Tradies - the Austen Tayshus monologue

| Furry Jesus
Join the conversation

I discovered last week that Austen Tayshus was appearing at the Dickson Tradies last Friday, so I decided to get a ticket. A friend did some publicity work for him in Adelaide recently and raved to me about him, and I saw him on tv recently on a banal reality show about aspiring standup comedians in which he reduced one of them to tears, so I thought this has to be worth a look, even in that dive. I haven’t been there since my only visit in 1995, when I had the worst meal of my entire life, with a ham steak that appeared to be a mass of barely ham-flavoured pieces of string glued together, and vegetables that had long ago lost their will to live in that bain-marie. I still shudder…

I couldn’t book online, so I had to go there to get my ticket. Imagine my surprise to find that the whole place is being renovated, and is actually looking quite modern, with more light than the interior has seen since it first opened. There’s even a new chef running the bistro, although its new name (Essence by Livio) sounds more like a skin cream than a place to eat.

I was also surprised to find out that they were offering a ‘two for the price of one’ deal on the tickets, which immediately alerted me to the fact that tickets weren’t moving well. As the man himself had publcily threatened to knife my friend when only 20 people turned up to one of the shows he did in SA, I thought that the prospect of blood on the floor was getting better and made a mental note to sit up the back when we got there.

Sadly, as they used to say in merry old England, you can’t make a silk purse out of a cow’s ear. The food at Livio’s wasn’t too bad, although the fact that the ‘legendary’ Tradies schnitzels are still on the menu was an ominous sign. At least the salad in the salad bar looked fresh and edible, unlike the sad offerings I found last time I was at the Southern Cross Club at Woden. The choice of wines was woeful for this town and this day and age, although the bar is a small temporary one and stuck in a corner. This may improve when the new and much larger bar area is finished.

The inadequate publicity, and I assume the lingering reputation of the Tradies, meant that only 8 tickets were sold, and the club management attempted to pad the audience with a number of Tradies staff and regulars being offered free admission. It was obvious that Tayshus was pretty pissed off from the start, so the smattering of drunks and patrons with questionable mental health histories who attempted to heckle gave the rest of us a good view of the man’s capacity for savage mockery. Why the management had staff sitting there was a mystery, particularly when he kept segueing into caustic diatribes about what a god-forsaken place the Tradies is. The two young guys I saw him talking to before the show started, who looked like junior management, were not enjoying themselves, that’s for sure, although the other young floor staff were having a great time watching them squirm.

The new look might win them some accolades, but they have a hell of a long way to go in turning the Tradies around, and making it a place that will attract new members. Still, can you have a better time than watching a drunk tip over the table he’s sitting on and end up on the floor drenched in the beer from all the glasses that fell off with him?

Join the conversation

All Comments
  • All Comments
  • Website Comments

Austen Tayshus is an angry man. He has a chip on his shoulder about the fact that his family had to sell their posh house a generation ago, and he can’t afford to buy it back … that was the story in a profile he had volunteered for in one of the glossies a few years back. And isn’t he related to Renee Geyer or something?

Poor Cousin Syndrome.

colourful sydney racing identity4:11 pm 21 Dec 10

haven’t been there for years – have they really taken the trams away? 🙁

I used to work at the Tradies back in the days of wooden decor and maroon & pink swirly carpet (1996 – 1999ish)…it was the best place for a poor student to work. Not only did I work and earn money but I also got to socialise with all the regulars at the same time…and I’m talking ‘every sinlge night’ regulars.
The old codgers sat by the side of the bar, fondly known as ‘Side Show Alley’. The bike museum still existed and the ‘bike man’ (along with all those trams) totally fascinated the children. The snooker room was upstairs away from any security. There were 2 teams who ran the bistro on a ‘month on, month off’ basis and blind freddy could see which team brought in the hungriest diners! Those schnitzels were known world over.
The club was open 24 hours…Roscoes Midnight Munchies would open up just in time to grab a late snack to soak up all the alcamahol that had been consumed and for those who managed to stay all night (and not spend all their money on one of the gazillion poker machines)…well they would be entertained by the Black Mountain Jazz Band on weekend mornings…smooth!
Oh and you’d take your life in your hands if you happened to get caught in one of the corridors when the bingo bats stampeded out on a short break. Lordy Lord…where’s my dabber?!!!!
Tickets to the biggest meat raffles ever were sold by the sexiest chick you’ve ever seen in a short black skirt (hehe…let me just brush those tickets off myself…and remind myself that I was young and thin back then…hehe)
And every now and then, one of the regular bands playing would let this little black duck hop up on stage and have a sing.
What an awesome place to work. It’s nowhere near the same now…it has lost all it’s dodgy character that made it special and unique.

Echo the sentiments about the loss of charm at the Tradies. The kids & I still go there, but only to see Joe the barber (a good barber and a good bloke) … no hanging around for lunch/exploring any more. Shame someone felt the need to genericise the place.

As for Austen Tayshus … meh.

Sad to hear about the decline of the Tradies. When I lived in Braddon I used to there from time to time and it was always enjoyable. The bloke who ran it (can’t remember his name) was very public-spirited and donated to a lot of worthy causes including the local schools. I assume he’s left and, with him, the vision and character that the Tradies had.

He’s a “toxic personality.” Marginally worse than that other derro, Rodney Rude.

“Paying” to sit down and be a target of constant abuse isn’t on my agenda. I hope he dries up and blows away in the wind, because honestly, it would be No Great Loss to Australia to see the back of that useless turd.

I remember seeing Austen Tayshus upstairs at the Bin many years ago when they did their Wednesday comedy nights. He was funny for ten minutes and then began to berate the audience for living in Canberra. By the end of his set the audience was silent. Needless to say he didn’t get any applause.

Hells_Bells747:32 pm 20 Dec 10

Oh where did my comment go? Third time this has happened, I usually take it as a sign and don’t bother reposting it. But today I shall.

Agree with you there sepi, I had my 18th in a tram, just so I could join immediately. Loved the place like a second home for many years. It’s a shame, it was better when it was a big wooden dive full of wonderments.

Remember when the food was generally only special every other month, as per their catering arrangements. Must’ve been the bad mob that stayed on the longest.

I have spent many hours at the Tradies, starting in 1985 when we used to go in for a Pepsi after riding on the BMX track next door. Its charms were always dubious, but you can’t beat having a meal in a Tram for ambience. And a club with a bike museum, good stuff.

I went back in about 2006 and unfortunately many of the trams were gone. What a loss! Canberra needs less identi-clubs, not more.

Polishing a turd, once again. They spend a fortune club-ifying what was an adequate club, while they miss the main point: Food. Good, cheap club food. Everyone loved the schnitzels, why did they change that?

When they dispensed with good food and began serving inedible rubbish, they lost their market. Whoever was responsible for that stupidity should be outed and abused.

Noone goes to the Tradies for modernity of decor and cutting edge food.

In trying to gain that market they have just lost all their original customers, and haven’t picked up any of the young trendies.

Bring back the trams and the pennyfarthing!

No publicity? Facebook was showing me an ad for this gig all last week… Scary what being a fan of Sweet and Sour and Raiders Lime can do…

georgesgenitals3:55 pm 20 Dec 10

The Tradies is about as interesting and inviting as an office toilet.

And he was only funny because he had Billy Birmingham’s material…

Mr Intercourse2:36 pm 20 Dec 10

Austen Tayshus recently “performed” at the Canberra Casino recently as well. Must have been poor ticket sales there as well because they were giving away free tickets

Kerryhemsley2:35 pm 20 Dec 10

The inadequate publicity, and I assume the lingering reputation of the Tradies, meant that only 8 tickets were sold,

Austen Tayshus should stop lingering. No amount of publicity will help the one trick pony from the early 80s.

As someone who was a tradies member for many years after the day of my 18th birthday I just couldn’t be arsed renewing a couple of years ago.

Constant refits scraping away all of the character until nothing is left but an unstatisfactory replica of an airport departure lounge.

shadow boxer2:10 pm 20 Dec 10

yeh, agreed, my kids used to love going to “the train club”, poke around the bike museum for a while, have a schnitzel in the tram, wander over to macca’s for a 30c soft serve.

We don’t bother anymore, just another sterile bistro now.

The damage has already been done. God forbid we have at least one interesting place in this town.

Austen Tayshus was hilarious!

About 30 years ago….

i hope you hung around til gum left… d’oh.

As for the food, its a club, not Alto. You pay for what you get & their schnitzels are far better than say at the Chisholm Club on Tuesdays, go there & tell me the Tradies is bad…..

As for Austentayshus, you should have youtubed, you defintatly would have saved your money then. He was only funny onece

Felix the Cat12:36 pm 20 Dec 10

You are right about no publicity, only eight paying customers! I would of gone if I’d heard about it, not that I’m a fan of the Tradies club bistro either.

Daily Digest

Want the best Canberra news delivered daily? Every day we package the most popular Riotact stories and send them straight to your inbox. Sign-up now for trusted local news that will never be behind a paywall.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.