Q&A with Gem: Eat, Drink & Stagger

Pub Diaries Q&A again travels to Australia for the lowdown from Melbourne blogger, poet and viola de gamba player (we beer drinkers have many talents), Gem Mahadeo. Gem is a contributor at Eat, Drink and Stagger, a blog that should not be read if thirsty or hungry.

Source: Tristan Kenney

What’s most likely to be heard down the pub or when writing?

At a pub… lots of good cheer and the sound of folks enjoying a drink or two with good mates over some good pub grub. When writing… the clatter of keys on what is my apparently very loud laptop keyboard, music on in the background with me occasionally ejaculating the odd expletive due to my own writing-related idiocy.

Favourite place to enjoy a beer?

I can’t really narrow it down locally but here’s a few places I really love to visit for some of the good amber (and its brethren) ale – Biero Bar in Melbourne’s CBD, The Local Taphouse in St Kilda and The Terminus in Clifton Hill.

Further afield, one of my favourite breweries to visit would be Red Hill Brewery in the Mornington Peninsula – I love Karen who’s extremely social media savvy and loves to chat to patrons on and offline and it’s the first place I went to that really made me fall in love with craft beer. It’s relaxed and the food and beer are both worth the travel and hoping to get down there really soon.

If I weren’t writing i’d be…

…still very miserable about writing poetry and cajoling the few friends I know who could put up with it to read them, knowing all the while that they would only really be reading out of the kindness of their non-poet-wanker hearts. I don’t know many folks who really love to read poetry, let alone write it so it’s not conducive to writing more. Blogging about food and beer has been different – a lot more folks can identify with having to eat, or wanting to enjoy a good drop, and so read willingly, which encourages me to write more about it.

I also wouldn’t be learning as much about beer and food as I am now, though of course have still so damn much to learn. Blogging has put me in touch with a lot of others who help me learn more through their own writing or their comments on the blog posts.

The perfect pub?

Ooh, possibly contentious, but I think a perfect pub still has to have some of the brews on tap that I won’t necessarily drink (by which I mean the macros). At least one or two local microbrews on tap, a sizeable bottled beer and cider selection and some great food – the pub staples like a parma, risotto, good gourmet pizza or steak but higher end dishes on offer too. Ideally to have the noise balance where it’s not deathly quiet but noisy enough and still be able to hear your companion when you’re having a conversation. Lots of tables and chairs so that when you enter, you can still get a table. Comfy couches and armchairs an absolute bonus! It’s also got to be dim enough so you can’t see how haggard the day’s made me.

Beer / Pub hell?

Still running into it – usually having to interact with a man who isn’t at all open to the possibility that I might actually know stuff about beer and then will talk over the top of me forcing me to be tight-lipped, looking for an exit. I don’t generally volunteer information when conversing with folks about beer unless they are good friends of mine (read: epic beer wankers I know and love) so I kind of hate it when guys try to ‘educate’ me and won’t let me get a word in about what little I do know, or discount it altogether due to my having boobs. The irony being that most of the ‘educators’ are the ones who don’t know anywhere near as much as they think they do…it’s like the universe’s idea of a joke!

What was the last thing you got excited about – beer or otherwise?

Good Beer Week in Melbourne. It worked. So many people came, saw, conquered, got conquered. Had a terrific time attending all the events I went to and it got me all excited not just about the state of beer and its acceptance as a beverage of fine enjoyment as opposed to one you binge drink on and regret the next day but I also just found it personally inspiring; writing up nearly every event I went to and posted about it on the blog.

Unrelated, I am also excited about poetry again. I’ve been writing a lot of poetry this year as a lot of the blog writing’s enjoyment is starting to fuel that and am very slowly starting to have poems accepted in publications.

What’s happening?

Again, a lot of the blog and the enthusiasm I feel for it is starting to fuel other things. While ideally, I’d love blogging lead to some related paid writing but that might not end up happening as writing means visiting and visiting means spending and I’ve taken the year off work due to some long-term health issues, so yeah, that’s going to be a very long-term dream…

So oddly enough, I’ve decided to hit up my backburner goals which include trying to get more poetry published and start taking my musical instrument, the viola da gamba, seriously. With the gamba, I’d love to get to the stage again where I can be considered a professional consort player (read: perpetual second violin, figuratively speaking) and while I’m getting well, that leaves me with lots of time to practise and play.

Obviously, I do hope to keep drinking more ace beer and eating as much ace food as my budget will allow – that is totally a given!

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