Saturday, May 10, 2014

54) On the Beat, Not Beaten.


How pathetic were the lives of homosexuals in Australia before their decriminalization in 1983, sub-humans relegated to an underworld of dirt and derangement, denied human rights, you wouldn’t wish it on a dog. Thus Arthur had grown up twisted, he had more than a chip on his shoulder, it was a raging forest fire, and he fervently wished for some kind of revolution that would knock down the smug, Heterosexual World Order that oppressed him. But most of his revolutionary antics and artistic accomplishments got blown away between the legs of his nemesis, SEX, for Arthur had been a life-long addict of his own orgasm, that split second of Nirvanic bliss that drives the whole human race crazy.

From puberty onwards he went sex-mad with a compulsive hunger that never relented; rare was the day when he didn’t yearn to fondle a penis in deranged adoration of phallic beauty. Accordingly he spent more time in chasing The Horned One than he did in undermining The Beast of the System and if it wasn’t for the fact that drawing subversive cartoons made him exuberantly high, he might not have done much art at all. While he got a big buzz from all the situationist pranks and show business stunts, nothing elicited a vicarious thrill quite like cruising the dank underground of Sydney’s sexual-outlaw beats. The salaciousness, the danger, the thrill of the unexpected, like thrusting one’s hand into a lucky dip full of scorpions, the ultimate prize could be a hot, voracious male worth all the hours of waiting and wandering. There wasn’t a park, office building, church or town hall that didn’t have its resident beat and the entire world was a hunting ground for illicit pleasure and, secretive and obvious, mens toilets had of old been the major pick-up spots, hallowed sanctuaries of sequestered men who had no one but each other for solace.

Arthur actually had long resented having sometimes  to meet his potential lovers in toilets; the filth, the atrocious odors, the disgusting noise of men letting their bowels go, and the hurried, harried groping of faceless men limbo-dancing, kneeling under the dividing-walls to be blown, jammed in dodgy cubicles, soft-cocks looking for some kind of firm consolation. For Arthur it was all a big turn off and he could rarely get an erection in the midst of such sleaze. Others reveled in the grotty milieu; it was part and parcel of their sexual fetishism. After yet another frustrated liaison in the dirty dunnies with a gorgeous, masculine blond guy who worked for the railways, in reply to Arthur’s whingeing about the muck, he beamed “I love the smell of a bog on a hot summer’s day. To me it reeks of raw, unlimited sex, like a seething fleshpot, men boiling in their own juices.” 

As the sewerage outlet in the underbelly of the city, it didn’t eroticize Arthur, though its illicitness provided an exciting edge to otherwise mundane shopping excursions. For generations perilous homo-sports had fumbled and raged in every public convenience right underfoot of the regular comings and goings of an endless stream of men. No god knows what all the ordinary dads and fair-dinkum blokes thought of the vast mob of desperadoes waiting for relief outside the cubicles, or rolling about on the floor with no pants on.

All the world was a cruising ground, not much was out of bounds or sacred except the acquisition and glorification of the penis itself. Arthur had found himself in the weirdest of situations while hunting cock, for beats carried on with the action regardless of what else was supposed to be happening. Football matches, rock’n’roll shows, agricultural fairs, exhibitions of life-saving at the beach, whatever the gathering, there were always a few poofs lurking in the background ready to make love, not war, with any wayward guy also on the prowl. 

Poofs loved to hang out in natural environments like parks for hours on end, invigorated by the fresh air and the exercise of walking around repetitively in huge circles. They cultivated patience for endless waiting, the peace of ambling alone in the jungle was a meditation, the stars and one’s heart reflected upon, until a stranger’s shadow loomed up and broke the solitude. Like all parks, Glebe Park at night was a very jolly hunting ground for pagan penis lovers, and even when the Circus parked its hairy butt there once a year Arthur continued to chase the guys no matter where they led. Behind the billowing, dark empty tents, around the spitting camels, between the legs of restless elephants, he ducked and crawled wherever he had to if it meant devouring male splendor with abandon, the lions roaring in frustration as background music.

Where crowds of men passed through, there homosexuality thrived. In a time when such acts were illegal, the meeting places had to be innocuous and obvious, secretive and common, and toilets had long played the strange attractor to the frustrated collective male libido. Bogs, beats, tea-rooms, cottages: the homo underworld had its own sub-culture and language centered on toilets, where their type had been relegated by a society that didn’t want to know about such monstrosities. 

Before AIDS and Sex Clubs hit ‘the scene’ in the mid-eighties, erotic free-for-alls erupted like kundalini volcanoes, all the shit-houses were jumping. Railway station bogs were always at the vanguard of homosexualizing the general male populace, anonymous, fast, convenient, discreet, an army of men marched through on their way to home or work, chasing the dragon of clandestine orgasm. Central Railway toilets, known as Perfume Alley, were the most frolicsome set of cubicles in the whole city, a member of the army of underground lovers could always count on meeting at least one randy guy there if he loitered long enough. It was such a notorious, deviant hotspot some outraged homophobe bombed it in the early 'Nineties, long after it had been deserted for the saunas and sex shops, so that now it is haunted and only instills fear when visited for a legitimate body evacuation.

What THEY do with Gays in Iran.
Many monstrous characters lived their lives out in the underworld of the public toilets, like trolls lurking in their caverns, relentless days spent dawdling at the urinals, as if they had no other lives. They ogled the harried rush of commuters and slowly shuffled up next to the chosen object of their desire, their eyes cast sidewards and down, down, to catch delirious sight of the precious penis, pretending to piss while hovering in mid-air like Peter Pan, for hours if need be, their compulsions defying gravity, warping time. 

One such troll went by the name of Russian John, an immigrant who’d come to the free world to spy and spread the word of Stalinism, he succumbed to the liberation of his own carnal desires, trawling the public bog system night and day, all the while preaching the wonders of the Soviet Worker’s State to any hapless moron he picked up. He was grossly overweight, had piggy little eyes behind coke-bottle glasses, greasy black crinkled hair swept back on his troll’s noggin, he squeezed his huge sack of lard body into dirty black pin-striped suits and looked like a typical KGB apparatchik, only long disowned by the Party, thrown out on his arse as a westernized deviant. Arthur couldn’t bare the sight of him, he filled every bog doorway like some alien, black blob, reaching out from every crevice, groping at your ankles from under the cubicle walls.

Late one night at Town Hall Station, as he was going down the stairs outside Woolworths, Arthur was confronted by the oafish Stalinist blocking his way. He was accompanied by two skinny bog-toughs he must have just picked up at the loo downstairs and, trying to act the street hero in front of them, had the nerve to call Arthur a decadent capitalist queen who would be shot against the wall back in Russia. In return Arthur called him a fat bag of Communist shit causing the fool to stride forward a few steps in bravado, thrusting his balloon-like gut out only two steps below Arthur, the thuggish street-waifs hesitating below. It was too inviting, Arthur stepped back and full-power gave the Iron Curtain dummy a hard kick to his bloated belly so that he soared backwards, wailing in grief, arms flapping like a shot dodo bird, crashing into his frustrated paramours. While they struggled in a heap, trying not to tumble further down the stairs, Arthur ran off laughing, his demon-side overlooking the hatred of his fellow fucked-up gays he’d thus evinced, as if he hated that dark part of himself.

Another iniquitous reprobate who was the bane of Arthur’s underworld erotic sojourns was a toilet attendant at a major railway station who virtually lived in the cleaner’s booth built into one end of the bog. A rather handsome old European with a huge uncut shlong, he was able to scour the passing talent tweny-four hours a day and, whenever he saw anyone he fancied enter a cubicle, he would barricade that whole section off, as if the joint was up for a major spring-clean. Knowing most of the punters were desperately lonely and horny and will take on anyone, he would offer himself under the wall and then whisk them into the cleaner’s booth for uninterrupted pleasure. Much of the time nobody could get into the joint, or halfway through a shit or masturbation, the old gronk would bang on all the doors demanding everyone leave instantly as a good scrubbing of the floors was about to commence. Eventually the railway authorities caught on to the mysterious, eternal mop-ups and shifted the old scrubber to platform duties upstairs, the dump becoming a level playing field for all the deviants once again.

Then there was the South Bondi cliffs, a notorious beat Arthur had first discovered at the age of sixteen when he’d hitched up from Melbourne on school holidays. Gay men of all persuasions lay like lazy seals upon every rock lining the footpath between Bondi and Tamarama Beaches, and a young Arthur could have his pick of any one of them. An older Arthur was not so popular, for all the hours he spent staring out into the Pacific Ocean, over-tanned deviants skulked about him like tight-arsed window-shoppers with little money to spend. Lucky for Arthur he gave up on the Bondi beach track, as in the future it was discovered that for many years a gang of vicious homophobes had been bashing and murdering lone poofs there, tossing them off the cliffs to smash upon the rocks below. Otherwise upright, respected citizens had turned into serial killers with the very specific M.O. of pulverizing poofs, they operated undetected for a decade; no one knows how many poor men were thus annihilated as no one worries overly much about missing homosexuals.

Arthur often wondered if the need for same-sex succor was hardwired into the homo sapiens species, as if it were part of the evolutionary survival strategy, maybe from men rubbing up against each other too much out on the African plains. Perhaps they bond so desperately because they fear masculinity itself is under attack and they need to bolster its homo quotient by much massaging and caressing. He was not stupid enough to consider all men were secretly gay, for he knew from experience that Heterosexuals rule, and most men would always chase ‘pussy’. It could be that the upright penis is so precious, so likely to fall at any moment, that even a contingent of men, along with most women, have to participate in the upholding of it. He long mused upon a scientific explanation as he was stumped by the enormity of the ‘phallic worship’ that he had encountered in the world, and that’s not including the new wave of male-bonding clubs like football matches and Iron John retreats.

The Man He hunted, night and day.
The Y chromosome has shrunk equivalent to its X partner over the aeons and the genes for maleness are squeezed precariously up onto just one tip of the Y. The male embryo must first follow the body pattern of the female before it undergoes the many tricky steps to manhood, each transformation vulnerable to malformation and miscarriage. Men grow up with externalized genitalia that can be lopped off at the merciless blink of an eye making them ever afraid for that ruling signifier of their gender; and they have less endurance than women and die younger. Because of the pollution of modern living, the environment is flooded with, among many debilitating chemicals, estragens, feminizing the males of all species, penises growing smaller and sperm counts less. A boy only has to grow his hair long and put on a dress and nobody would know the difference, machismo walks a tightrope of fear that it may suddenly collapse and a girl revealed waiting under all those muscles, as if men are actually freak versions of women created through random genetic mutation. The science of cloning may do away with the need for males in fertilization, just the female egg and her cellular DNA as nucleus; with all XX chromosomes, the future could be female indeed.

(Hopefully it’s not going to happen as most women love their menfolk: sons, brothers, fathers. And they especially love their male partners’ cocks and being fucked; they also need to have the “Other” as contrast and to be the better half of  and, men being hopeless at nesting, need to have women wear the pants.)
Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.
As Arthur wandered the wilderness of beats he had the time to ponder much philosophy and science, imagining that Homosexuality might be the last bastion of maleness as it’s the only field left that girls can’t participate in without it becoming something else. Perhaps the prostate gland is living proof of the long-term existence of homosexuality as a specialized imperative, only males have it and it is a highly sensitive erogenous zone just inside the anus, actually exuding a sweet fluid when excited. If girls participated in its evolution, the massaging ostensibly mutual, why don’t they have one themselves? Possibly because in the main, only men did it for each other, a deep bonding arse massage, for relief and in compensation for no access to women, in hunting parties, armies and prisons. The prostate is necessary for sperm production and penile erection and thus homo practices plug right into heterosexual fertility requirements. No matter the religious and political proscriptions, Homosexuality always was and will be. (And in behavior experiments, when too many rats were made to live in a limited environment, they turned homosexual to keep their numbers down!)

Considering the Ninetie’s ‘metrosexual’, Arthur’s kind were ahead of their times, as they were not only eager to embrace their feminine side, the metro train system was their major site for sexual hi-jinx. No matter what the excursion, shopping, touring, dancing, even when traveling to the most far-flung of outposts, if there was a bog skulking in the background Arthur couldn’t resist a quick visit, just to voyeur the illicit, homo-erotic action in that part of the world. Not just an Australian aberration, he discovered for himself that from Holland, France, Portugal, Spain, Greece, Turkey, half-way to India, the “pissoir” was ever the hallowed site of same-sex contact. He also read about such hallowed sites in Jean Genet’s “Thief’s Journal”, (France and Spain); John Rechy’s “Sexual Outlaw” and Edmund White's "The Farewell Symphony", (America); Alan Holinghurst’s “Swimming Pool Library”, (Britain); and  Reinoldo Arenas’ “Before Night Falls”, (Cuba), revealing all the world was in the ‘mens club’. 

Homo beats, like refuges, were ubiquitous, as if they were necessary to every community, and they were well patronized, alive with transgressive behavior, from men of all types. Ninety per cent of the men were drabs, ugly, senile, sleazy, hopeless, desperately looking for love or at least to be caressed as no one was caring enough to touch them. Arthur, as one of them, rarely achieved a satisfactory liaison, trawling of the beats just something to do while his non-career as an artist stalled. He perversely enjoyed reading the graffiti scratched laboriously across the walls that told the sordid history of the locals’ sex-habits, the best stories arousing his passion with their explicit, pornographic descriptions, as if it was high art literature.

Countless debacles had imploded at his feet over the years, all part of the scene’s frisson that kept him addicted, and he relished the danger, like going on a scientific expedition into primeval, cannibal wildernesses. He'd been chased by cops, gangs, deviants and shrinks, had a knife held to his throat, his teeth knocked out, his shirt torn from his back. Once, when he was taking a legitimate piss at a tiny bog in a distant country town, the door to the one cubicle burst open and out bounded this wiry, bearded fellow who pounced on Arthur at the urinal, screaming furiously, “Why did you do it, you bastard? Come on, tell me! Why did you fucking do it?” 

Arthur had met the guy some years previously in a dark park nearby, who had tried to sodomize him with a pencil-dick covered in tattoos, but he’d creeped Arthur out and he refused his advances, shunning him the few times their paths had crossed. “You did it, you know you did it, you fucking cunt! Why did you fucking do it?” The rabid hippie-biker slathered on and on and no protestations of Arthur’s ignorance would mollify him. “Look, you arsehole, I don’t even know you. I don’t even live in this hick town, I’m just an occasional tourist, I don’t know what the fuck you’re talking about!”

He thrust his fungal mug into Arthur’s face and spat, “You wrote that shit about me, come on, admit it, it was you who wrote that crap!” Arthur could only wail, “Wrote what crap, you fucking idiot?” The irate bumpkin then dragged a loath Arthur into the cubicle and swung the door almost shut and pointed to a tiny piece of grafitti scrawled on the back of it. Nonplussed, Arthur read, “Fox is a Bog Hog.” He turned to the dried-up biker and snapped, “Now how the fuck did I know your name was Fox? This was written by some local lad who knows your habits well, because you are a fucking bog hog! I bet you’ve been sitting there for hours today already. Like, why don’t you get a life?”

The poor guy gaped crestfallen as Arthur shoved him out the way and hurriedly left, wondering why it was his luck to have every uptight sub-citizen’s ire crash down upon him. Months later he heard the guy had committed suicide from all the bad love and loathing, leaving behind a grieving teenage son he’d been single parenting. Arthur felt a tinge of remorse for the hounded fag, and sorrow for all fags everywhere, and he promised himself he’d get a better life, more fulfilling, beyond the army of the underground lovers, though he’d always carry the sex revolution in his heart. For after liberation he might even chase marriage and commitment and give up this beat shit.

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.