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The story behind Sydney's most beloved dancehall, Goodgod Small Club, is layered with limbo parties, scratchy rock 'n' roll and utilitarian dancewear. It all began when founders Hana Shimada and Jim Singline tagged the name 'Goodgod' to some of their creative projects. This jumble of sporadic art, music and misc events (which once included a lecture on 'the merits of pro wrestling') eventually turned into a monthly members-only club night held out the back of an unfrequented Spanish taverna. Soon enough, the members-only thing turned into a free-for-all 'Danceteria' and its name was Goodgod Small Club. When the taverna went under, Hana and Jimmy took over the whole place. For just over a year, Goodgod has been where Sydneysiders go to party, see new bands and eat good food (at awesome in-club diner The Dip). Jim explains how it all came together, and how it could only happen in Sydney. - NADIA SACCARDO

• For those who haven't been—describe an average week at The Club. We're open Wednesday to Saturday evening. Early on, the front usually fills up with people eating 12-hour smoked pulled pork rolls and Lev's Dawg hot dogs. DJs start around then too; Long John Saliva often does love song dedications and there's some pretty ridiculous trivia on Wednesdays. At 8pm the Danceteria opens out the back with live music earlier in the week, and dance floor club nights on the weekends. The one thing that links all Goodgod club nights is that they're not really 'clubbing' nights. There are a bunch of different sounds on rotation that vary from Jingle Jangle (old '50s rockabilly and exotica), Siberia Nights (Dan Stricker from Midnight Juggernauts' kraut-style), the Cutters' parties (with Cut Copy making their own disco), Player Hater's Ball (a prom-style rap ball that once featured an R. Kelly cover band!) and Rollerball (a post-punk, proto-electro kind of thing). These nights roll on through till 5am. Goodgod sees all types through!

• Can you imagine The Club working outside of Sydney? I can't imagine Goodgod outside of Sydney just because it feels so tailored by the people that make it the place that it is. • What do you and Hana do week to week to keep Goodgod going? Even though we're only open four days, Hana and I work six to seven. There are all the regular jobs that come with running a late-night bar (stocktaking, ordering, rostering, dealing with neighbours, police and council) but then there's all the fun stuff that we get carried away with (booking the venue, putting on nights, doing artwork for the posters, doing the website). It goes on and on.

• What's been the best, most rewarding thing about starting Goodgod? Without a doubt the most rewarding thing about hosting an actual space is that amazing people come to us! Just when we're overtired we see an incredible new band or meet someone with a really refreshing take on things. As long as the space keeps attracting unique people I think we'll be rewarded. • On the same note, what's been the most challenging thing? Realizing that this is a much bigger project than we ever imagined. We were definitely a bit naive when we committed! I can't see the crazy learning curves stopping anytime soon. • The Club aside, what keeps you both in Sydney? I think we both enjoy being committed to a city. I think it takes a certain amount of years to begin to understand the intricacies of a city and how it works. Sydney can be pretty brash on first meet, but it's got lots of rough edges and when you burrow under them, that's when the fun begins.

• What about life before Goodgod? What were you both doing? I was running an import record store called Jimmy Sing's Record Stand, and DJing. Hana was illustrating record covers, T-shirts and exhibitions. • If you could have anyone in the whole world play the club, who would it be? There are the "larger-than-life" Australian characters that we want to have play: Warren Ellis from Dirty Three and Nick Cave. But Lil Wayne, Grace Jones or Mavado would suffice. • Now to the city—what makes Sydney different to other places that you've lived? Sun and water. • What do you like about Sydneysiders? They are always ready to dance. It's not too much of a chin-stroking city. • What's the best thing about living in the city? There's an awesome DIY scene. Because it's an expensive city, with stupid real estate prices, I think people do get creative in how to carve out their own space. • What's not so great? When someone comes up with a good idea in Sydney, so many people copy it! You see it through food, music and fashion all of the time. Hey actually, talking of fashion, Sydney is so fashion obsessed! That can be not so great sometimes. People on the whole get so much more excited about going to big clothing brand parties rather than fun DIY things. • How do you throw a good party in Sydney? You have to aim to throw a party rather than a niche, über-strict genre-specific night. A fun poster sets the tone, dressing up the space is a help, eclectic music... but perhaps all in all at the moment it seems not setting people's expectations too high is the way to kick off a good party. • If Sydney had a slogan or motto, what would it be? It's a feeling.

To Eat

To Drink

  • Nippon Club
    229 Macquarie St, Sydney
    61 2 9232 2688
  • Hotel Hollywood
    2 Foster St, Surry Hills
    61 2 9281 2765
  • The Hero of Waterloo
    81 Lower Fort St, Millers Point
    61 9252 4553
  • Freda's
    Rear 109 Regent St, Chippendale
    61 2 8971 7336

To Dance

  • Goodgod Small Club
    55 Liverpool St, Sydney
    61 2 8084 0587
  • Halfway Crooks
    (Hip hop!)
    Various locations
    Check the Facebook group for the next party.
  • Mad Racket
    Marrickville Bowling Club
    91 Sydenham Rd, Marrickville
    61 2 9557 1185
    Check the website for the next event:
  • Ding Dong Dang
    7 Randle St, Surry Hills
    61 2 9281 9000
  • Taxi Club
    (All welcome!)
    40-42 Flinders St, Darlinghurst
    61 2 9331 4256

To Swim

  • Parsley Bay
    Parsley Rd, Vaucluse
  • Redleaf Pool
    New South Head Rd, Double Bay
  • Forty Baskets Beach
    N Harbour Walk, Balgowlah
  • Camp Cove Beach
    Cove St, Watsons Bay
  • Milk Beach
    Off Vaucluse Rd, Vaucluse

To See / Visit

  • Mitchell Road Auctions
    76 Mitchell Rd, Alexandria
    61 2 9698 0907
  • P.A.M. Store
    20 Burton St, Darlinghurst
    61 2 9360 5488
  • Cabramatta
    (The whole suburb!)
    South West Sydney
    *Urban says: home of (arguably) the country's best Vietnamese food

To Day Trip

To Eat

  • Ms G's
    (Crazy ass Asian-inspired eating)
    155 Victoria St, Potts Point
    61 2 8313 1000
  • Youeni Provides
    (Delicious sangas–sandwiches–and salads)
    379B South Dowling St, Darlinghurst
    61 2 9368 0220
  • Porteño
    (Upmarket Argentinean grill)
    358 Cleveland St, Surry Hills
    61 2 8399 1440
  • Miss Chu
    (Sydney's queen of rice paper rolls)
    Darlinghurst Tuckshop
    150 Bourke St, Darlinghurst
    61 2 8356 9988

To Coffee

To Drink

  • Dry Land Bar & Diner
    92 Redfern St, Redfern
    61 2 9699 3869
  • The Norfolk
    305 Cleveland St, Surry Hills
    61 2 9699 3177
  • Eau De Vie
    229 Darlinghurst Rd, Darlinghurst
    61 2 422 263 226

To Shop

  • Somedays
    (Top Swedish and Australian stuff)
    72B Fitzroy St, Surry Hills
    61 2 9331 6637
  • Incu
    (Carefully chosen local and international smart-casual labels)
    256 Oxford St, Paddington
    61 2 9331 6070
  • Via Alley
    (Amazing objects for Japanophiles and high-end streetwear)
    Shop 3, 285A Crown St, Surry Hills
    61 2 8354 0077
  • Pretty Dog
    (Good gal stuff, impressive Aussie selection)
    5 Brown St, Newtown
    61 2 9519 7839
  • The Corner Shop
    (Lovely local and international lady things)
    43 William St, Paddington
    61 2 9380 9828
  • Meanwhile
    (Gentleman's outfitter)
    Shop 3, 31-33 Elizabeth Bay Rd, Elizabeth Bay
    61 2 9351 3071
  • Footage
    (Men's and women's streetwear and sneakers. Say 'hi' to Phil!)
    13C Burton St, Darlinghurst
    61 2 9332 1337
  • Tokyo Bike
    (Beautiful things on two wheels)
    1 Marys Pl, Surry Hills
    61 2 9357 1223
  • Kinokuniya
    (Books and more from Australia, Japan and the world)
    The Galeries, Level 2,
    500 George St, Sydney
    61 2 9262 7996

To See (Art)

City Guides