Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Waddle Back

And so the penguin slides back from his home iceberg. Interesting trip. The beachside frolics and mandatory drunken/trashy dancin' round the handbag to the Kylie megamix at Mars Bar were particularly funsome.

I feel a sadness about Adelaide. I know at heart it's a wonderful city with fabulous people (I mean after all, I came from there) but there's very definitely a "mature" vibe about it. The kids (ie people under 30) are leaving and the baby-boomers are staying, and soon it will be the retirement capital of Australia. The only city fun park has been demolished and no-one's in a mad rush to provide the kids with new water slides and dodgem cars. There's plenty of great cafes and restaurants but very few genuinely good night clubs. Migrants don't seem keen to go there and unless something - je ne sais quoi - changes drastically the place will go into declining population and truly earn the title of "ghost town" (which it probably already and unfairly has from lots of east coast folk).

I was also sad to read about this cowardly attack on the queer space at Adelaide University. When I was at AU in 1923 (it feels like that sometimes), the Rainbow Room (as it was then known) was my home on campus. By the end of my first week at uni I was staffing the Pride table and forming my uni social network around its membership list. The progression into student politics was therefore not so unexpected, but what made the room so pleasant was that if the gnashing and flesh-eating of student pollies downstairs (or the wanky tutorials on masculinist readings of contemporary Australian film) got too much, I could race upstairs to the RR for a safe haven from study, politics and life in general.

The RR was located above the union cinema, and at one point our weekly meetings coincided with those of the campus' Evangelical Union - baby Pop Stars for Jesus in training - group, who had a disturbingly large number of lost lambs attending to the shepherd for a good flocking, and to praise the Lord and feel his hard, throbbing Love.

Jesus is inside me! JESUS IS INSIDE ME!!!

I remember one year, the EU printing off its T-Shirts with the slogan "I Agree with John", John being the 1IC preacher at the time. I guess John could have been saying anything - stab abortion doctors to death with knitting needles, burn lesbian witches at the stake etc - and he could rest assured he had a legion of agreers on hand desperate to show the world just how much they agreed with him. If nothing else, the T-Shirts were a useful type of branding, of identifying the fundoes amidst the godless heathens (Christian fundamentalists are like serial killers: they look just like everyone else).

What was also disturbing, however, was that in my four years at AU and involvement with Pride, while the numbers for our group's meetings and activities was at best steady, at worst decreasing, more and more bums were parking themselves in the Jesus conformist cinema to hear from John and agree with him. As one army was growing, another was depleted.

And that's why (I'm choosing my words here very carefully to avoid potential defamation proceedings), were there to be speculation that perhaps, possibly, maybe the EU might, even in the wildest of dreams, be responsible for the attack on the queer space, I for one would not be disinclined to believe it.

My trip finished on a low note upon finding out that the HIV of one of my closest friends was dangerously nearer to blowing out into AIDS than was first anticipated (considering he's a guy in his 20s, we assumed we wouldn't have to worry about this for at least another decade). Realising someone I love might be dead in 2 years certainly put my lame "problems" into perspective.


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