There are people you meet in life that will always be remembered and Robert Ian Bonnick a Sydney club promoter turned Café owner is just one of those people.
I remember vividly the day I met Rob, it was 4 years ago on the 30th of September 2010 at the Argyle relaunch party. A tall and trendy man, with a friendly and kind presence was introduced to me, he instantly made me feel comfortable the moment I shook his hand.
The next time I met Rob was at a renowned nightspot he promoted, the Zeta Bar in the Sydney Hilton Hotel. On a busy Saturday night waiting with friends in a long queue to enter the club, I observed from a distance watching Rob tirelessly greet every person by name that entered the club.
Eventually we made it to the front of the line, to my surprise he remembered my name: “Raaaa nui!!” with much emphasis in the Ra, which is the accurate Maori pronunciation and part of the conversation we had at the Argyle launch party. He was extremely happy to see me like I was a long lost friend. So from that day onward, whenever I was in town on a Saturday night, I would make the effort to go past and say hello to Rob and get some Rob lovin!
Since the Zeta Bar days, Rob opened a café with his gorgeous girlfriend Marina in Redfern called the Social Laneway, a fitting name for a man of his character. Rob invited me to take some photos for his birthday at the cafe when it just opened, which I was more than happy to oblige.
On the day, I decided to try to capture genuine moments of Rob interacting with his friends and hopefully tell a story about him and his brand new Café. Yet again I observed from a distance, but this time through a lens.
One would have thought Rob the ex club promoter was only sociable with certain echelons of society, as I do recall at an event even the famous Napoleon Peridis an Australian cosmetic tycoon and the then Vogue editor Kirstie Clements knew who Rob was.
But far from it, he greeted every person in Redfern from all walks of life by their name, with the most genuine care and kindness just like the Zeta Bar days, Rob was just being Rob.
Which reminds me, I have to go to the Social Laneway to get some Rob lovin soon!