Went to ACON’s Bondi Badlands Historical Violence Walking Tour today. Author/journalist Greg Callaghan filled us in on each victim’s life story and pointed out the general vicinity of where they had been murdered by juvenile homophobic gangs. It was organised by ACON project manager for safety, inclusion and historical justice, the lovely Michael Atkinson.
The walk, around the clifftop from Bondi Icebergs to Tamarama, started off sunny, but was soon totally freezing with biting wind and rain and we were huddled together with heads bowed like those penguins during winter in Antartica. Luckily, we found shelter at the public toilets in Marks Park — a popular beat where many post-Mardi Gras parties and celebrations had been held. It was also, unfortunately, the scene of many murderous homophobic crimes. But happily, it will also be where a memorial will be placed to remember those we lost.
I used to live in Bondi during 1991-1994, and the clifftop walk was a renowned danger spot at night, as there were no railings, no lighting, and gangs of drunk youths used to hang around there, do drugs and bash people.
Made a short vid about our visit to Maynard’s Madd Club held at Red Bar, Glebe.
Renowned gay columnist Lance chose the first hour of songs, then we enjoyed Maynard’s picks. Vids played in the background, some featuring long-gone friends from GLBTIQ events held since the early 2000s.
Six of us went round to David’s for a fun games night — Scrabble, the TV Week Trivia board game and Cards Against Humanity.
Was totally shocked at the unbridled cheating from some gameplayers, with pieces and cards being swapped when noone was looking.
The TV Week Trivia board game was incredible — it had been sealed intact since 2005, so this was the first time it was opened. The drawback was that many of the questions were very dated, but we still managed to guess a Who Am I? (Kylie Minogue) and several Gold Logie winners from back in the day. A highlight was the six Logie-shaped playing pieces!
Scrabble was ferociously contested, with constant requests to check which 2-letter words were acceptable. There were begging pleas to “open up the board” as some players strategically didn’t want to easily give away a triple word score. L made several heroic efforts to get rid of her letter “Q”.
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.
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!
Went with the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence on their 24th annual Taronga Park Zoo visitation. 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!
Held an ABBA picnic to play a new ABBA trivia board game I’d put together and have a sing-a-along.
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.