Rocky River resident Jann Karp has just released her fifth book, and this time the free-flowing stories are intoxicating.
In At the Pub readers meet a group of Sydney pub patrons who have drunk together for over thirty years.
"This book is an easy read which introduces friends who have been sharing schooners as they have lived busy working lives," Ms Karp said.
"Redfern and Rozelle, inner-city life is revealed as celebrations, wakes and crime continue today."
One patron (a long time member of the communist party) talks about working on the coal ships in the 1960s in The Rocks area of Sydney Harbour, another describes the pub community at her local as a family and the venue her living room.
Jann Karp was born in Parkes in 1958 and has studied and recorded the stories of working Australians since 1996. In 2008 she published her first non-fiction book, Corruption and Crisis Control: The Nature of the Game, about police corruption and the NSW police response to the Wood Royal Commission.
"I joined the NSW police in 1983 and worked in the inner city of Sydney where I met my interviewees in the early 1990s," she said.
"I lived in the Thurles Castle Hotel Chippendale ( which is featured in this book) for twelve months while I worked in the Police Commissioners Policy Unit at Police Headquarters that was then in College Street, Sydney."
Ms Karp moved to the local area in 2012 when she coordinated the first-year criminology unit for the University of New England criminology department.
"I had spent the previous twelve months on the road with interstate truck drivers collecting their stories for my book Life Behind the Wheel.
"Fortunately, as I write about Australian people in a creative non-fiction genre I gain expertise and so At the Pub was a shorter write which only took about twelve months.
"The six months of journalism work I did at the Armidale Express during 2019 helped refine my approach to storytelling."
Ms Karp says her objective with most of her books is to record how we are living our contemporary working lives.
"These books will hold our history," she said.
"Always the process of writing involves similar stages: excitement at meeting people; listening intently to very interesting lives lived by others; and then the work of writing in a true sense what they want to say to their readers as well as my impressions.
"I send a copy of all me books to the NSW State Library where they are held as references in the archives."
While finding interviewees for the book was easy, the process of writing At the Pub was sometimes challenging according to Ms Karp.
"Listening to people's emotions, emotions and more emotions relating to how we are all interdependent when it comes to experiencing and sharing, happiness, sadness and death could be tough," she said.
"Fortunately I had two close connections in the two groups I interviewed, so the attitude was 'come one come all' and they were terrific."
Publicity photographs for the book were taken at Ms Karp's local - the St.Kilda in Armidale - where she says she doesn't mind dropping into for the cheap lunch but she won't be drawn to give an opinion on whether she believes pub culture is dying out.
"Colleen the local long-time employee at the pub is always super friendly which you need to be," Ms Karp said.
"The future of pub culture and communities is discussed by the patrons in my book so I think I will leave it to them to tell the reader what they think."
There appears to be a never-ending supply of everyday stories for Ms Karp to collect and she has no intention of slowing down.
"I still find that I find purpose in believing that I am contributing to our history as readers pick up the books in the future," she said.
"Demolition Derby: an Australian Sport is the next book. It contains the experiences of a driver caught in a fire up at the Guyra Show. Also included are past Armidale, Inverell, Uralla and Walcha demolition derby events.
An excerpt from At the Pub
The Red Lion on Darling Street in Rozelle, Sydney.
This hotel is owned by the Laundy family. Shannon is not only a hotel manager. She is a character within her hotel. She is sitting in The Red Lion Hotel, her storyset against the story of her patrons. She sees their dramas; she feels and cares about them. She checks that people get home and that their birthdays are remembered. She does not complain about her hours, or her role in the pub, she steps up to the good and the bad. She is important, but not the centre of all that is important for her - that is the patrons.
Shannon Tucker is 47 years of age; she has been employed in the hotel industry for nearly 25 years. Shannon is connected to her patrons as the manager of the hotel where I am recording my interviews. I begin to interview her, for this book, she wanted to take part, but I know she does not feel comfortable. Her answers seem short, formal and reserved.
Shannon explained that she is committed to her changing role as the hotel's economic circumstances change. The business model will dominate over the former personal connection with patronsthat used to be the major focus of doing business.
I think some people stick to one pub, but then other people don't want to stay at a local and they move around, drinking in different pubs. Locals are the type of people that stick to one pub to drink in. They've needed to live in the area to stay in the one hotel. It's diverse here. We've got bankers, tradies, people from the housing commission flats. We've got everything. You name it, we've got it.
Our clientele mostly is the same clientele all the time. They drink in the groups that they come from and they also will drink in the different groups.
Different places I've worked, it's been different things. It's the same people, the same people all the time, but not here. Everyone knows each other here. I love them all.
I think I am a good manager. I like them all, there's different horses for different courses but everyone here is pretty much the same, no one judges, no one does anything out of the ordinary, people go off and do their work, come back, everyone talks, everyone mingles.
We've got maybe three or four bankers here. They come in when ... after work. Some come in late, some come in early, everything depends on what work they do, some work in a trade that goes from six in the morning to ... it depends what country they're working from ... given today's banking technology and what currencies they're doing. They're bankers, not stockbrokers.
I just think it's their personalities more than their job that contributes to the diversity in the hotel. There are a few people you can set your time by ... some of the regulars are retirees. ......(she continues)
The locals would help if I got into trouble. Hundred percent, but I wouldn't get myself into trouble. But everyone's got your back ... everywhere I've worked that's been the case. You'll find most pubs are the same, when it comes to the local pubs, they're all the same.
Making friends is what most people go for; it's what you go to the pub for. It's somewhere to go because someone's going to talk to you. Well, if someone doesn't want to talk to you, they won't talk to you. Some people come to read the paper, some come to watch the sport, some of them come to have a chat. It all depends on what they want. And if someone's reading the paper you leave them alone.