Oh no! Where have all our venues gone?
The Flinders Hotel has been sold, with its GLBT future now in disarray. Then around the same time came news that upstairs at the Shift is being refurbed into a leather bar — a world away from the dynamic, throbbing clubland for which it’s internationally renowned.
Places like the Shift, the Albury, and the Exchange hold some awesome memories. In fact, I spent the night before my three-unit HSC music exam at the Shift. I somehow still managed to smash it, much to the delight of my animated music teacher — a portly, rosy-cheeked man who harboured a secret crush on the few boys in the class, me included.
But I’ll never forget my first timid steps into those venues. It was like I’d stumbled into some glamorous parallel universe — a flamboyant, secret world where the men looked like they’d made the quantum leap from the porn under my bed, and most of the women weren’t.
These were the places that forged a path to my destiny in the Emerald City. Camp, shimmering refuges where I beamed with joie de vivre and was free to be me — homespun jean-shorts and all.
Our venues need our support. As do the artists who provide entertainment. We can’t expect them to operate at a loss, rarely step foot in the joint and then bemoan their demise. They’re businesses. And they give back to the community.
What’s more, these places often become stomping grounds for punters to meet like-minded peeps, helping them to find their footing amid queer culture — Gen Y, tweens, and social butterflies alike.
With the closure of the Newtown, the inner west was also left almost entirely without its beloved pink pubs. Don’t even get me started on the Imperial! Although rumour has it Caesar’s is making a return — hurrah!
But please stop the bellyaching, get off Gaydar or dial-a-dick, and get involved. You never know, instead of loitering in chat rooms or browsing Avatars, you may even strike up a real conversation.
Stranger things have happened. And your disco needs you.

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