Sydney Mardi Gras 2018

It was the 40th Anniversary and so amazing. The numerous dance venues created a mini city and it was as buzzy and packed as the peak 1990s era.

Was privileged to be sitting next to a 78er, Peter McEwan from Melbourne, while waiting for Cher’s performance. He’d visited Sydney in 1978 for a national homosexual conference at Paddington Town Hall, and was involved in the protests. “The agenda back then used to include fighting in solidarity for everyone — access to abortion, refugees, women’s rights. I wish that solidarity was still around today. Other issues are important too.” He prefers the term “Queer” to “Gay”, as it’s more gender fluid.

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Eurovision 2017 slumber party!


Went to a Eurovision slumber party with scavenger hunt and bingo at Louise’s place. Started on Saturday night, watching the second semi-final, while Louise cooked delicious Ukrainian dishes – borscht soup and Chicken Kiev – to honour this year’s host nation.

It was lucky for us ABBA fans that Ukraine’s flag has the same colours as Sweden, so there were plenty of blue and yellow streamers strung around!

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Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence visit Taronga Zoo

Went with the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence on their 24th annual Taronga Park Zoo sistersvisitation. We’re told to wear sensible shoes, a hat, and that the event will go ahead in all weathers. The first highlight is the amazing ferry trip across Sydney Harbour, with a view of the Opera House, Harbour Bridge and the visiting Queen Mary cruise ship.

Mostly international Mardi Gras visitors attend this excursion so they can appreciate our local fauna, and the Sisters, led by Mother Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation, provide a hilarious commentary of poems dedicated to each animal and – to the shock of attendees – early colonial recipes for eating them! Kangaroo tail is to be made like oxtail soup, and black swans should be cooked in a moderate oven for two hours. There were also tips on how to make a delicious Galah Pie and Roast Wombat!

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ABBA picnic in Camperdown Park

Held an ABBA picnic to play a new ABBA trivia board game I’d put together and have a sing-a-along.picnic

I staked a perfect spot under a tree and sent out an SOS as there were picnickers everywhere in Camperdown Park, and I urgently needed more blankets to claim our turf.

A word re: Aussie ABBA fans: we’re hugely tolerant and will put up with retro discos where only hip hop is played, endure ABBA tribute bands that don’t know the words, and pay ridiculous amounts for smoked salmon on Ryvita at Scandi restaurants. But nobody messes with an ABBA picnic, and fans scurried back to their cars to bring extra blankets.

First on the scene was G, who’d just walked the length of uber-hipster King Street while wearing his Voulez-Vous badge – woe betide anyone who would dare make fun of it, and a few paid tribute by singing “A-ha!”. “It’s not just a badge, it’s a way of life,” G said, with his proudest expression.

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My favourite AA Gill quotes and columns

“It’s not my job to come round and tell you what’s wrong with your restaurant. It’s my job to sell newspapers and to entertain and perhaps inform my readers: The last person who should be reading a restaurant review is the person that it’s about — they should already know.” – AA Gill

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AA Gill highlights

AA Gill 026

A.A. Gill and me at a book-signing, Sydney.

This is my fave youtube vid of him chatting about the highs and lows of his career and life.

AA Gill chatting to students


13:30: his audience.

14:31: Answer to where’s the best place to get a meal in London?

“What you eat should never be as important as who you’re eating with.”

“Nothing is as good as being a regular customer.”

“Is it the greatest Italian restaurant in the world – well, it is for me.”

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Asylum Seekers Centre community speakers program

Am one of the community speakers. Have done one speech so far, to about 60 people.


We have a network of over 25 community speakers, who come from a wide range of professional and cultural backgrounds. Our speakers are an important link between our Centre and the community. They have been specially recruited and trained with the skills and knowledge required to talk to the community about people seeking asylum and the work of the Centre.

Our presentations

Our presentations are free and suitable for a wide variety of audiences such as:
Community groups and clubs
Schools and higher education organisations
Churches and other religious groups
Professional associations and organisations
Health organisations
Multicultural groups

Presentations are typically 30 minutes in duration, which includes Q&A time. Presentations can, however, be tailored to meet the specific needs of your audience.

How to book a Community Speaker

We recommend booking a speaker at least one month prior to your event. To make a speaker booking click here.

Our Community Speakers Program currently runs across Sydney only. If you are from regional or rural NSW and are interested in our program we would like to hear from you, as we will be looking at ways to extend our community reach to areas outside of Sydney in the near future.

How can I find out more?

To find out more about the ASC Community Speakers Program please send us an an email
To find out more about other ways that you can support the work of the ASC click here.

Like us on Facebook for up to date news posts, ASC and other community activities.

Our Community Speakers Program is supported by the City of Sydney and the Pratt Foundation.