The John Curtin Hotel, Carlton: "A Calm, Neighbourhood Clientele"

Gentrification seems to be becoming a central obsession of this blog, but is it any wonder? It is unfolding in Melbourne like never before. With the population expanding like a bullfrog's croaker there is increasingly less space for the proles in hip and cool inner-city dwellings. So it is with The John Curtin.

Named after the Labor prime minister, the Curtin was once a drinking den for trade unionist and true believers of the labour movement. Situated in the working-class heartlands of Carlton this was where blue collar blokes could drink in a pub named after one the heroes of the movement they created (that the hero in question died of alcoholism is a moot point, almost as incongruous as the Harold Holt Swim Centre).

Now though Carlton is a prestige suburb, and there's no time for the heroes of yesterday. The Visit Victoria website boasts (alongside a picture of a martini I might add) that the Curtin, "once a drinking spot for union workers, now entertains a calm, neighbourhood clientele. Its warm, cosy setting invites quiet front bar drinks." Note the 'calm' and 'quiet'. Not like those oikish union thugs eh? A rowdy & noisy bunch THEY are. This might be because you don't win and protect workplace rights by being quiet. Curtin himself could not have become Australia's greatest prime minister, inspiring a country on the brink of aggressive invasion by remaining quiet. But hey, what does any of this matter to a creative industry professional on the hunt for background chill-out grooves and a dry martini?

Thankfully, while the Curtin is being colonised the nearby Comrades Bar hold true to the cause. As long as the ETU retains ownership there ought to be no room for techno-bourgeois posturing there, and the day the ETU sells it to a consortium of advertising yuppies looking for an investment enterprise... well then we're all fucked.