Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Beginnings

Frank's Cafe was a leather co-operative with shops in Challis Avenue, Kings Cross, and at the Kings Cross Market; later at Liverpool Street near Oxford Street, and at The Argyle Arts Centre at The Rocks. Frank's Cafe grew out of The Royal George and a leather shop started by two Americans, called The Peg & Awl, which was on Oxford Street in the old Mandala theatre block. Various freak-outs caused the owners to go MIA and out of the aftermath Frank's Cafe arose, with hippy leather workers who had supplied the Peg & Awl, led by English Paul, migrating the business. There was a workshop in Woolloomoolo for a while. The first Frank's Cafe premises (though I don't think it was called "Frank's Cafe" yet) opened in a part of the laundrette opposite the Peg & Awl on the West Street Corner of Oxford Street. Then the workshop shifted to Glenmore Road and the Challis Avenue, Kings Cross, shop was opened.

I suspect that the name "Frank's Cafe" owed something to Arlo Guthrie's "Alice's Restaurant" which was popular among this group at that time. Then there was Frank Hammond, junkie dogman (he used to work stoned out of his brain as a dogman on cranes swinging on loads twelve stories up) who became a leather worker at the start and was known as "Frank of Frank's Cafe."

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