Brian Raven at The George
Across the other side of the Public Bar, near the doors, a whole group of perhaps twenty blokes suddenly, as one, leapt on each other and started punching, swinging, grappling, head-locking, throttling, kneeing, gouging and generally brawling. It was such an abrupt transition: from cheery alcohol-fuelled chatting to intense fist-swinging, wrestling, stool-throwing, crashing, out-the-doors-and-into-the-street instantaneous full-on donnybrooking, as if a switch had been thrown or a signal given that all had reponded to on the instant.
The bouncers and barmen began to re-establish the rule of law as the fight tumbled onto Sussex Street. We onlookers toddled across, beers in hands, and peered out at the finale. I remember a chap called Brian Raven astride a wharfie, Brian with his hands around the wharfie's throat and attempting to throttle him. I think the wharfie was called Les - he regularly wore a baseball-type cap.
Here memory fails: I think that the main players were bundled into a Black Maria (there always seemed to be one nearby The George), but I couldn't swear to that. The image of Instant bar Brawl has stayed with me ever since.
Brian Raven. My recollection is that he was reputed to be some kind of Nazi leader or storm-trooper or some such. This I never verified, and quite frankly I wouldn't have a clue about the truth: but it was certainly the image held by many at the time. But I came across a reference to his alleged right-wing tendencies via Google on this Indymedia site, in a discussion on Brian's interest in the Ivan Milat Belanglo serial killer case. The main interest of the discussion for me is as a survey or catalogue of some of the identities that frequented The George:
Brian Raven and 'The Push'
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 2006/07/03 - 5:11pm.
Oh, what a wild crowd they made, when will their glory fade? ... You wanted a good drinking session? then find Bob Cumming, Nestor Grivas, Bunny Britton, Ron Opie, Ian Parker, Rod Streeter, John Pentony, Peter Roblin ... Or with the folk singers like Ayrton, Earls, Brian Mooney, Terry Driscoll ... For a board game, The Horse, Molnar, Maze, Ivo, John Meggitt, Lyn Speedy ... the long line of people come up from Melbourne, Lee Tonkin, Patty Dixon, Heli, Jan Miller, Marilyn Little, Ken Cobb, John Fogarty ... Medical observers and/or advisers, Ross Byrne, Rocky, Ram, gambling John, young John ... The early Argentine Ant Squad with Ashleigh Sellars, Roger Cox, Appleton, Smilde ... The later exploits of Flash Ash and Neil Shard ... the Shadforth Army of Retreat with Michael Baldwin, Chairman Gunter, Parker, Morag, Peter the Peddler, Diana Kemp ... The military man of a different colour, the Good Soldier Pattenden ... That fine anglican Churchman, Archbishop Gough, whom Libertarians would have been pleased to invent if he had not existed, who denounced Sydney academics for advocating Communism and free love, and amusingly in the resulting hubbub not only Anderson, but someone as unlikely as the University politician W.M. O'Neil, got some of the blame. Later the Archbishop sooled the police on to capture Baldwin for blasphemy, owing to his story "God in the Marijuana Patch", but the police, feeling sure that the name "Michael Baldwin" would be a pseudonym, did not look too hard in The Push pub ... the expert performer who well knew how to liven up a Push cricket match, John Cardensana ... The Bulgarian Anarchists come to Sydney, including notably Jack the Anarchist ... The eye-catching trio of Witch Girls, Kay Hancox, Lyn Gain, and Robyn Robb ... The poets like Hooton, Appleton, Lex Banning, Chester, Geoffrey Lehman, Peter Newton... the writers and literary people like Geoff Mill, Sylvia Lawson, Frank Moorhouse, Edna Wilson, Ken- Quinnell, Michael Thornhill, Michael Wilding ... The right wing drinkers in The Push, Brian Raven, Graham Royce and Cyrus ... The posters produced by the Midnight Activists criticising the police hunt for the prison escapees, Simmonds and Newcombe, and the delight of The Push when the police psychiatrist, Dr McGeorge came out with the verdict: whoever the people are who produced this poster, they are certifiably insane ... The other posters brought out at election times, such as the ones depicting a well dressed pig and bearing the caption, "Whoever you vote for, a politician always gets in; vote informal"...
A Right-Wing Drinker?
Submitted by Anonymøus on Mon, 2006/07/03 - 9:05pm.
No, Brian was no 'right-wing' drinker. He was maybe right of the left but certainly no fascist! Still, his involvement with the Sydney Push is interesting history. The Push was a predominantly left-wing subculture from the 1940s to the early 1970s. They were considered a very shocking bunch of people in their time! They rejected conventional morality and authoritarianism. The pub was their central meeting place.