Palms Could Palms be the happiest place on earth? It certainly seems to be every Friday and Saturday night, when the underground Oxford Street bar is packed to the rafters with smiling gays of every description enjoying the retro camp pop songs. Songs like 9 To 5, Chain Reaction, Like A Prayer, Oops I Did It Again -“ yes, Palms is daggy disco at its best, and that’s why the crowd loves it. Sure, they play the same songs almost every night but that’s part of the venue’s charm, as is the early-80s d?r which is somewhat reminiscent of the Blue Oyster Bar from Police Academy. But the best thing about Palms is the lack of attitude. It’s one of the few gay bars in Sydney where patrons know they won’t be judged on their body shape, outfit, haircut or bad dancing and can truly be themselves, let their hair down and just enjoy the fun music. No wonder queues to get into this place sometimes stretch halfway down the street.

Prisoner What would our lives have been like without Vinegar Tits, the Freak, Frankie, Lizzie and Queen Bea? Prisoner first burst onto screens in 1979, and never had there been so much woman-on-woman action on TV. Inmates not only pashed but also bashed each other with regular abandon, and it was not only the inmates who were getting the action, it was also the guards and the wardens. Joan Ferguson was even allowed a girlfriend for one season, while the notorious Chrissie Latham was always offering to have it off with either Ferguson or the very moustached Mr Fletcher. For seven years, Prisoner offered equal amounts of dark drama and hilarity, sometimes reducing life in a prison to something resembling a denim-clad group visiting an RSL, while other times tackling a range of taboo TV issues like lesbianism, rape, abortion and drug abuse. A young Jane Turner even played a blind ex-prostitute. While Prisoner finished its first run on our TV screens 20 years ago, it is the most re-run Australian TV series of all time, and with a new DVD collection due for release, it is going to be with us for quite a while yet -“ just as Joan Ferguson used to love telling inmates when she locked them inside their cells for the first time.

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