After living, or perhaps more accurately, merely existing for the last 5 months in the giant steam room that is Queensland in the summertime, escaping to Melbourne, Victoria, for the weekend really did feel like a cool breath of fresh air for my soul. A really sexy, yummy, breath of crisp, clean air, like that first gulp of slippery oxygen sliding across freshly brushed teeth in the morning: cool, minty, and wildly refreshing, awaking all of my senses…
And to think, I was worried!! I was terribly worried that Melbourne wouldn’t stand up to its reputation. Ever since I arrived in Australia, everyone has been saying, “Melbourne is amazing, but it is way too cold.” “Melbourne is beeeautiful, but the weather is crap”. “Melbourne is definitely my favourite city… I would live there if it wasn’t so cold.” “Melbourne is the prettiest city in the world, but the weather sucks, it’s like four seasons in a day.” and “Melbourne is where all of the art and culture of Australia begins, and lives, and strives, (but the weather sucks, like really sucks)”
I was worried I would be disappointed. So many voices, creating a ladder to awesome, I thought for sure it must be a hoax. I wasn’t really worried about the weather, honestly how cold can Melbourne be compared to Canada? But I was worried, it wouldn’t be nearly as beautiful and exciting and artsy as everyone described.
But honestly, Melbourne really is a sexy beast of a city.
It would be impossible to describe to you every single sight, smell, taste, and moment that captured my heart in Melbourne over the last four days. I could spend hours pouring details over pages and pages, but still you wouldn’t really be able to taste the exquisite, mouth watering delicacies I tasted of Japanese, Indian, Thai, and Italian cuisines; you wouldn’t really feel the tingle in your feet and ears, hairs standing up, coming alive with each note: the worldly music of buskers on every street corner… You couldn’t even begin to imagine the breath-taking, soul quenching sunset over the yarra river that I witnessed while the frisky evening wind whipped my hair and nibbled at my earlobes, and I sipped an iced cold Bulmers cider on the deck of a cruise ship filled with really attractive pirate lesbians…
So I won’t. I won’t go there… besides, it would just make you all, very… jealous.
I will replay the highlights though, and the lowlights, because I don’t want to come across as unrealistic.
My weekend was like a giant rainbow cupcake, with seven layers of sweet, fluffy deliciousnous and lots of thick chocolate icing and rainbow sprinkles on top. And gelato, of course gelato, lots of rich creamy Italian coconut, vanilla, and chocolate gelato. Even you straight folks would have gobbled it all up. My big gay weekend was creamy, sweet, freshly stirred, home-made. Only the best of the best, from Melbourne 😉
There were a few chunks of unwanted, uncooked, bitterness, though. A couple of homophobic comments and attitudes, and sexist songs that clung to the roof of my mouth, and squirmed into my ears, nose, mouth, threatening to choke me and put an end to all of my happy, sparkly gay/queer/pansexual pride.
The best midsumma festival event I went to was the spoken word event held on Thursday night at Bar Nancy, a cute and cozy bar #61 on High Street in Northcote. (If you go there, make sure you try the sangria because it was delicious!) The event was called The Invisibles. The host of the event was the funniest, most adorable comedian I have ever had the pleasure of staring at and listening to live, you must all look her up, Lisa Skye. I plan to attend her solo show in a few weeks because every word that came out of her mouth was not only hilarious, but informative and politically progressive, on MY side of the spectrum if you know what I mean ;-)… But the sole reason the event was so great was because of the writers, the performers. They were all so unique and captivating, and brave, to share their own stories and struggles of queer invisibility, fat visibility, ethnic visibility and invisibility, and other queer minority subjectivities. It was truly inspiring!
This event will happen again next Jan/Feb in the Midsumma Festival, so if you are in the area check it out! Also, I’ve been told that Melbourne has a great variety of poets, and spoken word artists, and slams, readings and events happen frequently- yay another point for the sexy beast!
The shittiest moment of the weekend came when our crabby old lady roommate started yelling at my girlfriend and I for cuddling and watching a movie together in the same bed. Kind of ironic right? We are in Melbourne for the gay pride parade and this woman sharing our room in the hostel FREAKS out because we are cuddling. TWO GIRLS cuddling = HORRIBLE, disgusting, wrong… apparently. The worst part was that another girl in the room had a boy in her bunk and they were cuddling at the same time as us and watching a movie on their laptop, but this did not seem to be a problem to our homophobic roommate. Instead the angry unnamed woman started yelling saying things like, “this is supposed to be a female only- single-female only dorm” (which we asked reception about the next day and there was no where that it said you had to be single, just female) She screamed “you can’t be having sex in here!!!!” We replied to her very politely that, no, we were not having sex with our clothes on and earbuds in and a movie playing on the laptop, nor were we going to be having sex while 6 other people were sharing the same room, and again, we were simply watching a movie. Anger trickled out of her pours and she warned us, “you better not be sleeping in the same bed,” wagging her finger at me, but referring to me in third person she spat out, “SHE better be sleeping up top.” So I did. I let her win because I was afraid she might do something scary/evil/violent if she saw anymore same-sex cuddling. But the last night we were in the hostel we went to sleep before she got back to the room and we slept in the same bed- and it gets better, we were in our underwear! MWAHAHA!
It was late on Sunday night and we wandered the streets looking for the perfect late-night dinner after our afternoon nap had crept on a little too long. Everywhere seemed to be closed. Bars, yes, but food, no. When we were just about to give up hope and call it a night we saw a little Indian restaurant with the lights still on. The home of the best Indian food I’ve ever tried, Le Taj. They served us take-away even though they were supposed to be closed and the chef had already cleaned the entire kitchen and was ready to go. And let me tell you, I thought I’d tried butter chicken lots of times, but really, all of those other times I thought I was eating butter chicken, they were imposters, they were fakes, because this, this butter chicken was the real thing. The freaking king of all butter chicken everywhere. Nothing could compare. And the seven vegetable curry medley was an orgasm in my mouth.
After the parade hundreds of queers and allies gathered in St. Kilda by the beach to celebrate, dance, drink, eat, watch drag and listen to music. There were a couple of drag performances which I adored, one particularly awesome one about hair…but that’s not the point, the point is a trio came on made up of two self identified “straight bitches” and a femme guy- they did some lip sinking, some dancing, and some rapping. There raps started out okay, mildly offensive, but then continued to get worse and worse, until I was so appalled I had to get up and leave. Thankfully I wasn’t the only one and other people began to shake their heads at the sexist, degrading lyrics as well. One song kept repeating “bitch, you’re not bi-curious” and went on to describe how girls who identify as bicurious are liars and really just haven’t had proper sex or something along those lines, obviously stated in a much more explicit and problematic manner! In a space where we are supposed to be celebrating diversity in labels and identities I was deeply saddened to hear this group repeating the degrading biphobic stereotypes and shaming bisexuals and other questioning sexual identities. The sexism in their lyrics was unbearable, referring over and over to women as sexualized objects as “bitches” to be used, fucked, and tossed away, feeding into the disgusting rape-culture that so much of the other mainstream Hollywood hip hop does as well, that I despise.
All in all though, my big gay weekend in Melbourne was effing fantastic!
In fact, I loved it so much I’m moving to Melbourne in 10 days.
XOXO Rainbow Love,
Heidi J. Loos