Friday, May 28, 2010

Sorry to Be a Poof.

The Human Race.
The latest scandal here in Sydney is about a fat old politician, family-man and media savant, who just got exposed on TV news coming out of a GAY bath-house, made to confess that he’s been a secret homosexual living a double life for 25 years. He’s an example of how homophobia is ingrained in the ruling ethos, you can’t seek powerful, responsible, important jobs if you are homosexual, because the PEOPLE don’t like or trust them. (Or at least only the exceptionally brave and honest can, like the leader of the Greens, Bob Brown, but let’s face it, he’ll never be PM.) 

The Transport Minister is getting some sympathy for his unraveling because us out-front Queers have fought for fifty years for the right to exist, otherwise he’d be in much direr straights, like possible incarceration and loss of pension.
(I don’t feel sorry for the gronk, he’s let us carry the load of open antipathy while he’s been stuffing his seven chins at the public trough. Because I came out at 17 in 1967 I’ve been refused jobs, accommodation, respect, my potential curtailed, my health ruined and, worst of all, never able find love in a relaxed manner with a supportive lifestyle, (like marriage.) 

Imagine, a life without LOVE, the love that Hets prize so mightily as one of the great joys in a harsh world. He’s been on TV for years because he is incompetent in his transport portfolio and he should’ve known the Media are a pack of hyenas always sniffing for useless scandal. He’s damaged his political party which was already in trouble with the polls and we’ll get the uptight conservatives at the next election, really bad for “gays”. And he’s made his family more miserable as his wife is dying from cancer. He could’ve given his desires a rest for a year till the bigger issues ran their course, (yeah, I know, DESIRE doesn't work that way.) No argument, politics attracts only the smartest, duhhhhhh, he deserves his million dollar payout, while I starve!)

Thinking about the long hard road we queers have travailed upon I was reading the Sydney Gay press and I noticed the complaints of many ‘78ers, i.e. the old poofs and dykes who protested in 1978 demanding “homosexual” rights and got the shit kicked out of them by the cops. They were irate at the frivolous mind-fluff the Gay Mardi Gras Parade had devolved into, commercialized, plasticized and heterosexualised. They think it should return to its’ original sentiment of protest and fury over the worldwide relegating of homos to third-class citizens, and I agree, we should riot outside Parliament House, foreign embassies, right-wing media and multi-national corporations, always shaking up the status quo.

I was a ’78er and I’m still totally pissed off with the 2010 New Mardi Gras because I was nearly punched out by a security guard for trying to take a peep at “my” parade near the elite enclave at Moore Park. I have contributed much to my community over the years, getting arrested on important issues, writing, painting, filmmaking, on and on, rarely getting paid for anything, and that Saturday night of the Parade I was so broke I didn’t even have money for a cup of coffee much less a ticket to the elite compound or the after-party. Oh the ignominy of being a broken-arsed old codger and not a pretty, fashionable young thing with silicone in my chest, lips and brains!

I was born in 1949 and grew up a gay boy in the 1950s and ‘60s, getting bashed daily by neighbors, strangers, school-kids, teachers, even my father and brother, for being a squealing sissy, and as such told I had no future, was a deviant of such filthy monstrosity I should be executed or incarcerated in psyche bins to have my soul fried into imbecility. It was so tough it’s fucking amazing I not only stayed alive, kept my sanity and some optimism, but that I got strong, defiant and surfed the tsunami of hate thrown at me. I wonder if the young today maybe can’t relate to what a struggle it was for queers to be considered as human beings with rights and hopes, I was disenfranchised and disaffected, continually fucked over, raped even, and my potential limited to almost nil, it’s hard to “get over”, that’s why I’m half twisted, bitter, cynical, anarchic and punked out!

Read my stories in the anthologies “Edge City” and “Being Different”, see my films “My Survival as a Deviant”, “Darling it Hurtz”, “The Thief of Sydney” and “Virgin Beasts” and it can be glimpsed what my potential was, and why I’m pissed off at my starving ignominy while watching the vacuous ‘designer’ gays pout from their pedestals in the transient limelight. From ’77 to ’87 I got arrested protesting/trespassing/offending on many issues, the anti-uranium riots, abortion on demand, indigenous Australian rights, squatting/public housing, prisoners’ rights, queer existence, you name it I’d get arrested over it, then to pay the fines of my fellow shit-stirrers and myself I organized benefit gigs with me as one of the lunatic fringe performers. I designed, printed and pasted up the posters and handed out the flyers, all of it part of “the act”, my ART, the wild young artist who can’t be contained or co-opted, an enfant so terrible a cone of silence descended over me and my work and I was ignored and killed off.

But that’s how I wanted it. Fuck the “Art-world”, I operated outside it, from the Underground, with my community, eventually turning to photo-copiers for their accessibility, leaving no high and mighty original “master-piece” that the “high-art” vultures can get a hold of when I’m dead and iniquitously flog for a fortune.

A few weeks ago THEY had an art-show on ABC television called “Artscape” where THEY lionized the latest happening young larrikin lad, pushing him as the wild man of Aussie art and an enfant terrible because he drank a few beers as a teenager, yahooed about in fast cars and painted portraits of himself “out of it”: in the placid minds of the ABC aunties this made him a really dangerous fellow. His paintings are huge lumps of paint piled up like rainbow cow-patties and streaked about to look minimally like a melted face or a wrecked car, supposedly shaking our staid view of the world and hopefully selling for $50,000 a pop. I think he’s a tame act, a good normal boy with a wife and child to support, safe as money in the bank, his work could hang in any corporate lobby and not raise an eyebrow. No anarchist beatnik pagan punk zippie poofs need apply!

The State dictates what comprises Art, even wild anarchic Art, and names the bankable rebel to fit accordingly. The expertise is all just so much bullshit, High Art vs. low art, Art as a career, Art as an investment, all of it oxymoronic, ART is an old whore every hustler in the world has fucked and pimped. Those ABC biddies wouldn’t know an enfant terrible if he sat on their aesthetic faces, he’d always be out of their reach, like Zorro. Twenty years ago I disrupted a march of reactionary, anti-Gay right-to-lifers by having a kiss-in with a young stranger who had been protesting alongside me and it got on ABC television and shown every time the Station mentioned the fight for “Gay Rights”: anonymous is the only way this terrible child will ever get on State sponsored ABC TV. 

Recently my mural in Wooloomooloo has disappeared, probably destroyed, and it was a beauty, heavily satirical of uranium mining, the war industries and Govt/corporate marriage. If an artist is really subversive he/she won’t get lionized by the Establishment, that’s obvious.

I read that Justice Kirby thinks the Federal Govt. should also make a formal apology to homosexuals and lesbians, like THEY did to the Indigenous Australians, for the terrible treatment we’ve received from society over many generations, he wants a kind of “National Sorry Day for Gays”. I don’t know if “Sorry!” will do it for me, the damage has been done. Maybe a million dollars compensation would solve a few problems, like that gronk politician got when he stupidly fell off his bicycle in the parliament-house grounds, but there’s no such justice for us lumpen folk in this world.

Enough “sorrys” have been said, bureaucrats love symbolism, pulling the wool over our eyes with bullshit instead of action, I think THEY are still screwing the Aussie Indigenous peoples with THEIR paternalistic Intervention policies instigated in the Northern Territory, for all that THEY said “Sorry”. I want ACTION, like real equality in the hearts, minds and law-books of Society, or a few big riots to shake THEM up. “Sorry” to me is that I’m sorry I had to grow up a poof in a world that worshiped insane power, obscene money, vacuous celebrity, vapid youth, runaway productivity, the sanctity of the heterosexual family and a non-existent father God.

A few months ago some gay mates of mine went to a big ‘Folk Festival’ in Canberra that attracted 50,000 fans, many of them unsophisticated yokels from the countryside come in their cork hats and Sunday best to hear traditional Aussie music and sing along to “Kumbayah”. The “good folk” camped cheek to jowl in family groups and my mates squeezed their tent into the throng’s midst and proceeded to openly pash from one end of the festival to the other. They kissed and tongued and slobbered on each other, as Hets usually do without thinking, only two grown men in jeans and flannel shirts doing it was abominable exhibitionism and they were insulted, spat upon and ostracized for the five days they were there.

I thought they were very brave to be themselves in the face of a snarling mob, in fact they performed a revolutionary act, simply kissing to blow the uptight Collective Mind. All us homos should be pushing the envelope thus, out there in Society, letting THEM know we’re here, we survived, we’re partying on top of it, and we’re not going to GO into the shadows quietly. I’m sorry to be a poof in a fucked-up world but not so sorry it made me strong and a warrior for equal rights for everyone.

If you enjoyed this story please go to the WEB address above and consider buying my book of tales about growing up anarcho-queer, rock and roll punter and mystic adventurer in Australia and India of the 1950s, ‘60s and ‘70s.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

The Mean Backstreets of Lismore.

Tribal Dancing at Sunset on Byron Beach Carpark.

Nimbin Mardi Grass High Jinx 2010.

House Mural in Lismore - Goddess of Space/Time 1997.

I needed to de-stress from city-living and so went up to the Nimbin Mardi Grass festival, always good for a laid-back chill-out time, and that's what I got. But I had to make it thru the mean backstreets of Lismore first, that cow-poke town in deep New South Wales where I stayed most of the time with my old girlfriend Sylvia. I will one day dedicate a whole story to Sylvia, the Wood Nymph, our adventures together have been many and wild, I met her in 1978 at a punk venue, the Grand Hotel, when she was 18, and it's been a lot of madness ever since, and I arrived to hear yet another horror story.

Please excuse that a lot of my stories are neo-Gothic, with our sappy sapient species I'm afraid that's how things pan out, (he knows that he knows that everyone else knows he's a bastard), but don't worry, I also find light in the darkness. Sylvia was in a restrained hysteria because only a few months earlier she'd had a frightening experience. Going downstairs late one night to fiddle with her 1001 second-hand dresses, suddenly from out of the shadows stepped a young man, naked except for boots and black balaclava disguising his face, he was masturbating his huge phallus in her direction to which she screamed and screamed the whole street down.

The pervert ran off, dressing himself as he went, she reported it to the Police and related to me in breathless whispers how they particularly asked her to describe the length of the guy's shlong. They caught the guy a few days later but not till after he'd terrorised the north coast on a rampage of rape and slaughter. Sylvia went to his court-hearing to check out what the guy looked like without his balaclava and hear all the nasty facts. Before he'd gone to her house he'd raped a young woman in Casino, and after he'd run from Sylvia's alarmed screaming he'd gone into town and hung about the Lismore Cineplex. When one of the teenage usherettes left work after midnight he followed her home and attacked her in her bedroom. She fought him off but he had a knife and slashed her up so bad she had to be hospitalised. He had a history of attacks against woman since he was 14, terrorising the whole of Byron Bay's hinterland for many years and now after this last heinous crime spree he's thankfully put in a cage for many years.

At the courthouse Sylvia was warned by a cop not to look at the perp because he was as ugly as "the elephant man" but when dragged before the magistrate she saw that he merely had a cleft-palate and broken nose, ugly features that perversely attracted her and she regretted that he didn't just approach her socially and ask for a fuck, she's constantly horny and as a 50 year old woman finds men don't see her as attractive anymore, for all the come-ons she gives off. (This is not black humour, just sad commentary on my civilization, if only these maniacs were sensible and put an add in the paper, "Male masseur available, women only, magic hands!" He'd make money as well as get his rocks off, but rationalism doesn't come into it, it's because he's mentally ill and not monitored by any health service that this terror trip went down.)

What grabbed my soul was the newspaper article about the whole affair, Sylvia being the star of the drama, the headline being something like "Woman Screams at Wanker". After detailing all the nasty acts, at the heart of the story she goes on to explain, "I'm afraid the mural painted onto the front of my house attracted the guy, it's of a naked cosmic goddess and it probably excited him and gave him the wrong idea!" I was flabbergasted, I'd painted that mural in 1997, (see pic above), and here it was held up as the reason a nutcase went on a sexual rampage, my art has achieved much over the years but this really was the pits!

The hot-griddle streets of Lismore took on a creepy edge, when I went to the cinema I looked at the usherettes with fond regret, I'll never take them for granted again. Everything shuts up by 10 at night, there's no food available except for the petrol station by the highway, when I went out for snacks at midnight I had to walk a gravel road thru dark parks where I kept seeing hare-lipped perverts behind every tree. At the gas station I found a gang of teenage Aboriginal boys ransacking the shelves, the security guard shitting himself and looking the other way. Every aisle I went down I found a black guy stuffing goodies down his pants, I was wearing a black jacket with arm tags, I looked like a security guard at first glance, they jumped, rushed about and ran out of the shop en masse and regrouped there. The last of them was with me at the cashier and watched me take my wallet from my pocket then, using me as cover, he also ran from the place clutching some snack, the cashier behind his glass wall saying, "It's got nothing to do with me!" That mob would burn the station down if any cop-types fucked with them.

I toddled out into the shadows munching on my Gaytime ice-cream and into the dark car-park, the teenage gang prowled around me in a wide circle making catcalls to each other, the noose on their prey tightening, me the queer white stranger challenging their territory. I've been in this situation a thousand times and I'm too old to play it out to see what happens, instead I walked backwards into the light of the gas station and then went in the opposite direction, the long way round. I heard their catcalls echoing amongst the gum trees as if they were chasing me, like a kangaroo I hopped it, up the silent backstreets, making it back to Sylvia's house just before I heard the gang rumble past, as a deadbeat old streetie I might've been Ok but I wasn't pushing my luck.

We made it up to Nimbin past the police blockade and had a great time at the Mardi Grass festival, like what's not to like? Great food from around the world plus wholesome home-made yummies that has us eating, eating, munching-out till our guts slumped and we lay like beached dugongs on a rug under a marquee at the back of the school-ground where band after electrified band played music to us, each musician better than the one that went before him/her, and all of it for free, it was wonderfully de-stressing for me. To take a break from the rock'n'roll we wandered into town to Daisy's dress shop where she played loud techno music from amplifiers in her doorway and we danced with the crowd in the middle of Nimbin main street.

We decided against going to the 'Doof' party under Nimbin Rocks because you had to pay to get in, and a good thing too, we got different reports about it, some said it was cool, with a high new age vibe, the 2000 crowd dancing till 9.30 in the morning. Others told us the vibe was hard and dangerous, they arrived to see a guy get hit on the head with a bottle, later on a Lebanese guy pulled out a huge knife and waved it about, it was taken from him and he was stabbed repeatedly with it, told the hard way, "Don't fuck around in Nimbin!" And then some poor 52 year old guy staggering away from the party, got run down by a car and killed up on the Kyogle Road, in Nimbin we were all saddened by it, it kind of brought the whole ambience down and reminded the organisers that they have to "Take Care!" But it involved alcohol, ironic for a "Pot Festival", and it could've happened anywhere, booze being the biggest killer of them all.

Sylvia Saliva.
Lismore Markets.
I was glad we stayed in town and missed the bloodshed, my modus operandi of staying in one spot and letting the whole parade pass by paid off, we had such a good, care-free time, even the cops were friendly, possibly told to smile and keep their hands off as the Festival attracted a lot of tourists who dropped several million dollars into the local economy. All the usual events took place, bhong throwing competitions etc, but the numbers were down this year, it doesn't have the frisson it used to, punters don't like the police presence. Half the crowd were from Brisbane on a day-trip to gawk at the freaks and the other half were international backpackers, other Aussies not giving much of a shit for Marihuana Reform, they've heard all the scare stories about psychosis, paranoia and lung cancer, that dam poisonous "Skunk weed" encouraged the flip-outs and demotivated zombies and has the Conservatives cheering in vindication.

What the hell? I just wanted release, relief, relaxation, I danced about like an old fool in the hot-spot of main-street Nimbin, I can't not move to that Beat. An old guy who looked like he'd been thru the Vietnam War as well as the Drug Wars leaned over and said, "Here, this will calm you down", handing me half a pill, it looked like Panadeine Forte so I swallowed it, stupidly. "What was it?" "It's an exotic psychotropic called Seroquel (?!). It's for shell-shock, some people have an adverse reaction to it but you'll be fine, I'm sure it'll suit you perfectly." "Great, I hope so," I replied hesitantly. I continued to dance jubilantly for another 2 hours feeling the psychedelic slowly course thru my nervous system and lighting up my inner space.

Then I felt the heebie-jeebies coming on and tried to lie down on a wooden verandah in the cold but the jitters set in, I twitched and shuddered, all my nerves on fire, especially my sciatic nerve, like electrified wire down to my tippie-toes that had me jumping and contorting, for 7 hours I had what might be likened to a kaleidoscopic epileptic fit, eventually sinking into fleuro-oblivion for a few hours, but kind of tripping for the next two days, it really zonked me, what the hell was it and why did I take it, am I getting more devil-may-care as I get older?

The party was soon over and we had to shred our plastic green garlands, Sylvie and I split to Byron Bay beach where we camped out and danced with the tribal-types to their bongos and guitars in the car-park at sunset. What sweet, grass-roots funkiness to shake the body in the golden twilight, and right in the middle of yuppie-wonderland too. Byron Bay is worth a longer visit, the beaches so splendid, I'd gladly stay there for weeks camping in the bushes with all the Ferals, only I bet there's a dark undercurrent here in Paradise, of despair and dissatisfaction, desire and frustration, the streets are mean everywhere when you have no money, no beauty, no fame, no sanity. Still there's the sunshine on the beach when the nightmare is over, and the beaming out of compassion from the green heart Chakra, that's something to warm up with.

If you enjoyed this story please go to the WEB address above and consider buying my book of tales about growing up anarcho-queer, rock and roll punter and mystic adventurer in Australia and India of the 1950s, ‘60s and ‘70s.