I wasn’t the only one who received the shocking news about the fabulous DJ Mandy Rollins last week. It seems a lot is unconfirmed but we all know one thing — she is in all our hearts.

What drove the terrible news home was that I walked past her on Oxford St just a week or so ago. We exchanged our usual greetings — me, girlie and silly, Mandy shooting a boyish smirk.

I remember meeting Mandy vividly. It was around 1996. I had just started working at the very gay Café 191, the place where the boys and girls were so beautiful you didn’t worry about waiting 30 minutes for your coffee. Needless to say, they put me behind the coffee machine, not on the main floor.

Mandy fancied one of the girls who worked behind the bar and came in for coffee quite regularly, quietly sitting by the bar, stealing the odd conversation with the girl, always polite, but every now and then you would catch that cheeky grin.

We were all standing around the bar when she received the news she would be playing at 1997 Sleaze Ball. We jumped around like silly girls, except Mandy who was always calm and collected.

She asked me if I wanted her to play something at the party for me. I rattled off a handful of girlie tracks that had Mandy raise her eyebrow.

“That’s really not the style I play. How about I play You’re a Queen,” she said. I agreed and then skipped off forgetting the whole conversation.

Fast forward to Sleaze. It was my first party in drag so I was appropriately partied up as I gingerly manoeuvred through the sea of empty water bottles to check out the dark room with a handful of other drag queens.

I got halfway across the room when I heard You’re a Queen. I dropped the person’s hand I was holding and screeched for the world to hear, “This is my song, it’s my song”.

I shot to the DJ box. Looking up I caught Mandy’s gaze. “See, I did remember,” she mouthed from way up in the air. I danced around like a fool for a moment or two then was engulfed by the crowd.

I am going to miss the cheeky smirks I would get on the street from the gorgeous DJ.

On the outside it’s hard to read people sometimes, and if you feel sad, know there are people who will help you. It seems our community needs to embrace depression a little more than it has.

info: Visit www.beyondblue.org.au and www.twenty10.org.au

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