Friday, 11 March 2011


If I had a dollar for every time I or one of my staff had to answer the question: so why is the cafe called number9dream?, then it'd probably work out that I didn't get paid for anything else for almost six years! Ok, slight exaggeration, but only slight. 

"The owner and his brother and his brother's daughter and their aunt and two of their uncles are all born on the 9th. And number9dream is the name of a John Lennon song. And a David Mitchell book..."

The 9 was first. Something with a 9. Cloud 9? 9th Nervous Breakdown (yes, I know it's 19th...) would've been prophetic but not particularly inviting. Love Potion Number 9? 9ine? 9nine9? Party Like It's...? Then one day I spied my copy of Number 9 Dream on my bookshelf and the decision virtually made itself. Most people were either indifferent or positive. Except my mum... She said it was a - and I quote - "pussy name". Truly! I never asked just what that meant, instead let it quietly slip through to the keeper...

The name didn't really take off with the customers who called it every variation you could possibly imagine. Eventually it was referred to by everyone - including us - as #9. Simple. Pity its street number was 44. Oh well. Understanding (and incredibly friendly and efficient - rain, hail or shine) postie.

I sent out about a dozen different fonts asking for feedback: understandably no one was quite as interested as I was and my questioning soon wore thin. Eventually I settled on one whose name I can't even recall. With that decided I asked creative friend and one-time colleague Lara Cameron ( to design me some business cards and menu covers. My brief was so expansive and thorough: umm...a eucalypt leaf and the green of Gippsland forests. Remember that I was living in Darwin while I was doing this - I was missing Gippsland and those two elements were evocative of that place for me. This is what she came up with:

Clever, isn't she? Look at that leaf detail. And the best bit? She swapped me for a meal! Sensibly she didn't redeem her bit of that deal until sometime late in 2006, by which time we'd actually worked out what we were doing...

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