Tonight saw some of Sydney’s most interesting people, including media types, returning to the scene of many a crime from the original Underbelly 1920’s and 30’s – The Tradesman’s (these days known as The East Village Hotel.)
We celebrated the DVD launch of ‘Underbelly Razor’. It was not about "Glorifying crime", but rather remembering some of Sydney’s history, rich with bad girls, good boys, and plenty of bad boys.
A bit of ‘Underbelly’ blurb that we got hold of (thanks Larry Writer – author of Razor) reads…Back in the day the East Village was called ‘The Tradesman’s Arms’, a bloodhouse with sawdust on the floor to soak up the spit and vomit, hard stools at the bar and a dozen cheap wooden tables with chairs scattered around".
The Tradesman’s was a staple meeting place for members of Sydney’s underworld throughout the years. Tonight there was an extra jump, thump and cheers mate in the air around the old pub (now The East Village Hotel).
The cast of Underbelly Razor and special guests partied into the night celebrating the Underbelly Razor Uncut DVD release at the very same place that crime queens Tilly Devine, Nellie Cameron, along with Guido Caletti frequented back in their heyday.
Strutting the blood red carpet was all of the Razor cast, including Danielle Cormack, better known now as our vice queen Kate Leigh, Anna McGahan who played Nellie Cameron, Jeremy Lindsay Taylor (Norman Bruhn), John Batchelor, better recognised as the Wally Tomlinson, Felix Williamson, aka the suave Phil ‘the Jew’ Jeffs and Jack Campbell, who we know as Big Jim Devine.
Larry Writer tells us of the former glory days of ‘The Arms’, recounted from the many interviews he conducted, compiling the book, Razor. "The air was thick with coarse language, raucous laughter and the cigarette smoke pumped out by the Arms’s clientele — the factory workers and bakers from the nearby Sergeants pie factory, prostitutes, pimps, pickpockets, muggers, con men, SP (starting price) bookies and drug dealers." says Writer.
The red carpet event brought out the inner gangster in a few of us with Anna McGahan stating she would consider more ‘Underbelly Razor’ type roles under the right circumstances, Lincoln Lewis telling us to watch out for his uncut and fight scenes, and Matt Boesenberg saying he was a "fashionable gangster".
‘Razor’ is for the most part, entertaining (yet often violent), and documents true crime stories from Sydney’s 20s and 30s. There’s something for history buffs and well as those who don’t mind a bit of blood and guts on the box in the privacy of their own home.
It was a top night and no, nobody got killed, with both media and VIP’s on good behaviour, all well aware of some of the bad luck that occurred in the hotel’s colourful history.
Underbelly (Channel Nine)
The East Village Hotel
Eva Rinaldi Photography Flickr
Eva Rinaldi Photography
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