I was hoping I would never have to write an article again on this topic after saying goodbye to my grandmother following her unsuccessful fight with the terrible cancer monster.
Last Friday night, we lost a drag sister, Bust Op, to that same evil monster. Consumed by the loss, we can only remember this great person with the fondest memories.
I was lucky enough to work with Bust Op numerous times at the Goldfish Bowl in Kings Cross. Although it seems the most unlikely place for a drag show, it was one of the best to perform.
The audience was primarily made up of backpackers, who just ached for drag in all forms, screaming with excitement as soon as the intro CD was played.
Anyone who saw Bust Op perform knows she could do a mean Tina Turner -“ no, actually a fierce Tina Turner. Which she didn’t mind doing, once or twice.
Well, the backpackers weren’t happy with just once or twice, they wanted it every time she walked on stage. Penny was egging them on a little and with promises that maybe Tina would be appearing, we would escape downstairs to the laundry/dressing room to try to convince Busty to do one more performance.
Most of the time, after many declarations of this is the last time or just fuck off, she would be talked around and go upstairs and kick arse. All of us knew she really loved it just as much if not more than we did watching her own the stage.
With a smile that could be seen from across the room, Bust Op was always up for a good time and never scared to tell you the honest truth. (This got more frequent in recent times.)
Many times at the Goldfish Bowl, Penny or I would be modelling a brand new dress and be met with, You going to put a corset on under that?
We’d reply, Do you think it needs it?
Oh, if you think it doesn’t, then it’s fine. This was said with the Bust Op trademark grin that seemed to make it all right. Then for the next few moments there would be a mad dash to try to squeeze into a corset before your number started.
One of the last times I met with Bust Op, she said, Who are you? What have you done with Maxi? I don’t recognize you. For fuck sake put some weight on! She would say this with a cheeky grin and another sip of her drink.
As her final curtain comes down, we say goodbye not only to a fabulous performer but a great mate and a good man. I know I’m not going to be the only one who will miss Bust Op’s smile from the other side of the room.