Jai Pyne on Australia’s inspiring nightlife
We asked Jai Pyne of indie-rock band The Paper Scissors what Aussie nightlife means to him. ‘A night out in Sydney for me is probably not the most thrilling experience compared to others. I could lie and tell you about how much I love Ching a Lings, or Shadey Pines. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad there are some nice bars in Sydney now. But the truth is that I lay pretty low. For me, the best nights happen when food is involved. I think that’s one of the things that keeps me sane and keeps me in touch with Sydney. I often doubt the city and my reasons for living in it, but when I go out and eat, it reminds me of the reasons why I stay and why I begrudgingly love Sydney.’
‘The thing that represents nightlife to me is eating amazing food with friends. My partner and I will often make the trip to Lakemba to eat Lebanese food. Driving down the main street, it’s so far removed from the inner city that it’s refreshing; the smells are different, the faces are different, and the hours people keep are later. You’d be hard pressed to find a shop open in some inner city suburbs after 9, but here you can still buy nuts in bulk or bunches of herbs for a dollar. But the garlic and the mint and the hommous are the things that suck us back. And you don’t always have to venture that far for an awesome dinner. There is Thai food that has blown my mind and chilli rushed my head into oblivion and sleeplessness only a suburb away. Living in Newtown, I am surrounded by Thai restaurants, although a lot of them are very standard – edible but underwhelming. But there are a few places you can go and get flavour that kills these wok rockers.
‘Even with my band The Paper Scissors – we are the least ‘rock n roll’ guys ever – we always try to find the best spots to eat in the different places we pass through. We often take the piss out of ourselves – and deservingly so. One time we ate Gelati between sound check and show, and on a trip to Adelaide for a festival, we went wine tasting. I think my friends all have worked in the hospitality industry to support themselves or maybe sadistically for the joy of it, but I think it helps when going out. These people know where to eat, how to eat, to share dishes, to tip enough, and to drink well.
‘I spend all my money on food. I always wonder where it all went, but then I remember all the nice meals I’ve had and the fun I’ve had with friends. I think the term ‘foodie’ evokes pictures of Matt Preston or some wanker who reads Good Living religiously, but most of the people I love and value in life love food and the best memories of Sydney involve food.’
[Track by The Paper Scissors]