16 November, 2005
RuPaul’s “Back to My Roots”** came on my Ipod this morning and reminded me of where I grew up. Perth is a medium sized city, with a population of about 1.5 million in the ‘metropolitan’ area. It is also often said to be the most remote major city on Earth.
I really felt this sense of isolation when I was growing up. I used to trawl through the UK based music and fashion magazines like ‘NME’ or ‘The Face’ and wonder at these stories about London and the people who inhabited these places that seemed to be in the very middle of the world, whilst I was sitting out on the edges. I longed to leave.
This sense of isolation, however, brings with it some weird and wonderful personalities. I was introduced to club culture at about 16, and soon was going to the ONLY gay club in Perth practically every night of the week.
Because Connections was the only gay club in the city, there was a huge variety of people who went there. The gays, the lezzas, the trannies (most of them tragic, as all the best are), old, young, leather queens, fetishists – they all turned up at the club on any given night. And all seemed to co-exist quite nicely.
My friends and I went, as I said before, practically every single night to Connections; mostly for fear of missing out on something.
None of us would leave before the club closed on any given night, for the same reason (i.e. Mindy the obese drag queen being so drunk she fell off the podium half way through Whitney Houston’s “Every Woman” or the aboriginal cross dresser tripping out so much that she pretended to push an imaginary shopping trolley across the dance floor).
At times, I miss the quirkiness of Perth. In London, you get all types of people and everything seems ‘normal’ to a degree, simply because of the amount of diversity.
In Perth, outsiders revel in their differences, and celebrate them together; albeit in isolation.
** RuPaul was a firm favourite amongst the Perth drag queens in the early nineties