• TAGG No. 1 - THE CRYSTAL REVIEWED By Patrick Miles

      0 Not allowed! Not allowed!

      The George Hotel, Fitzroy Street St Kilda, past home
      of the Crystal ballroom.

      By Patrick Miles - June 14th, 1979

      A variety of senses motivate people to see a rock’n’roll band. It is impossible to cater to everybody’s whims and invariably someone is thoroughly peeved with the conditions in which they hear a band.
      Animal involvement, casual observance and uninterrupted study swirl together in differing levels of audience participation and someone’s night is a painful one.

      I have yet to visit all of Melbourne’s venues however the Crystal Ballroom in St. Kilda, due mainly to its size and layout, provides a roomy cage for healthy co-habitation of different kinds of people.
      The grandiose décor of the Crystal Ballroom initially seems incongruous with some of the human remnants that patronise the place.

      Eric Gradman man and Machine

      I saw Man and Machine one night and Rose Tattoo another and all types attended.

      There was perhaps, a predominance of people heavily drugged by something and wearing heavily-badged raincoats, but there was always exceptions which made things a little more interesting for the bored indifferent..

      The entrance seems royal- the glass door is opened from the inside and the foyer provides a gentle buffer between the street and the maelstrom of the room.

      One may hover in the foyer and browse through a selection of records on
      a counter (not every night), play the decrepit pinball machine, or just rub badges with the punky-reggae-rich kids.
      If you are in the animal involvement class, then the dancing area is adequate.

      For the casual observer, unless the place is really crowded, there is room to stand at the side and wander back and forth from the bar to the raised carpeted area at the back.

      If you’re heavily into uninterrupted study you can stand in this elevated area and watch the band in relative comfort and certainly hear well.

      The stage is a good size, not too high, and if you like to stroke Eric Gradman’s leg, as some girls do, you can.

      The décor is that of an old theatre with opaque windows adorned by Roman soldiers astride rearing horses. (Is this Symbolic?- Ed.)
      The chandeliers, normally associated with opulence, give a furniture showroom effect.

      The latrines are quite satisfactory. There was a complaint, thought, about lack of paper in the women’s lavatories.

      A point in the Ballroom’s favour is the availability of refuges if the band is lousy or if the volume has become anus-clenching.
      Wandering up and down the stairs is popular, as I mentioned before and on some nights there is another complete room downstairs where a different band plays.

      Of course as at any gig, it pays to keep all senses at maximum alertness for projectiles, flailing arms and legs and lighted cigarettes searing past the face in the grip of some disembodied hand.

      In conclusion, the Crystal Ballroom is a comfortable place to see a band, whatever you’re involvement. The sound was good the times I went but if you’re a roadie lifting equipment in and out it’s worth double the money!
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