Local lady Elly May Barnes is a veteran of the Surry Hills music and fashion scenes. She met me for a coffee on Crown Street after dropping her son Dylan off at pre-school. “Dylan – like Bob Dylan, but a child,” she laughs as she sits down.
What have you been up to lately?
I just finished touring with Joan Jett and my father (Jimmy Barnes) last Sunday. It was incredible – Joan is so cool. Great hair.
What’s the best thing about your job?
I love that my whole family is in my Dad’s band pretty much. My brother and brother-in-law play and I sing with my mum and sisters.
What’s the worst thing about your job?
I guess because I have cerebral palsy it can be a little demanding. And travelling away from my son for extended periods of time.
What’s your connection to Surry Hills?
I’ve lived around here for years, same with most of my friends. I only moved out when I had the little guy. I used to play at Low 302 quite a lot, they’ve just redone their stage actually. And I recently did my first cabaret show at Claire’s Kitchen – I opened with a Bowie song and finished with ABBA. It was a weird show.
“I like skulls and that aesthetic but I’m really the least punk person you’ll meet.”
Where’s your favourite place to eat in the neighbourhood?
‘Maybe Frank’ does the best pizza and really yummy cocktails. They do a pizza with truffle pecorino on it that I’m all about.
Where’s your favourite place to shop in the neighbourhood?
Since Wheels and Dollbaby shut down I’ve been having a really tough time. I’ve joined a secret online community of girls who sell their old Wheels and Dollbaby – I’m like, “does anyone have anything with a skull on it?” Desperate times. But I do go to Route 66 to search for cowboy boots all the time.
What does your ideal day look like?
Reading a book and moving as little as humanly possible.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
Watch where you’re walking! I trip over a lot. I stacked it yesterday, actually. I’ve got really grazed knees.
Any other words of advice for our readers?
I’m the wrong person to ask! I guess just be a nice person. Not enough people are friendly.
Elly May’s tips:
For live music: Low 302
For pizza and cocktails: Maybe Frank
For an eccentric evening: Claire’s Kitchen
For vintage: Route 66
You can catch Ellie May Barnes at Low302 on Wednesday 29th May
Buy your tickets here
This article originally appeared in Urban Village Autumn 2019 Edition