In Sydney, such parties take place every few months or so with the biggest one being Mardi Gras. As for Sleaze, which has been taking place during the Labour Day long weekend since 1982, the 6000 – 7000 tickets were completely sold out this year. We got discounted ones at $115 a pop. The event was held at the Hordern Pavilion at Fox Studios, a place where big rock concerts and exhibitions were held.
We had a relaxing day earlier and tried taking a nap before the event so that we could stay up late. I knew something was wrong right from the start as I did not feel any excitement prior to it. But still, I have not attended a gay dance party of this scale so I had to see it with my own eyes (the closest one I "attended" was the very last Nation Party in Singapore only to see it banned right after purchasing the tickets!).
We made our way to the rendezvous point and the 5 of us (3 of which were Ision's friends) started walking towards the venue (it took about 45 minutes) and the clock struck midnight soon after. During the walk, I kept hoping that I would slowly get higher and more psyched for the event but the elusive climax never saw the light of day. We entered the party grounds via the long (quiet) way and were a little worried that we might be on the wrong track.
The first thing that greeted us was not hunky gay men but pudgy female police officers inspecting our bags. There was a tiny sign at the gate listing the prohibited items (which they said had been posted on the website so we should have known beforehand) and one of the items was liquids. Well, there was a bottle of moisturizing mist in Ision’s bag and he was so furious that that was not allowed in because he felt that there was no way anyone would have known that liquids were banned (a new rule) prior to the event. An argument between Ision and the officers ensued. To diffuse the tense situation, I quickly ran to a nearby shrub with the bottle and hid it safely and got on with the night – I get very affected by awkward situations and the foul moods of people around me. So essentially, the already-dead partying spirit in me just got buried under another layer of dirt.
The theme of the party was “Villain’s Lair” so to dress to it, one is supposed to either be a superhero or a superbaddie. What we saw mostly were people in leather, something which Ision has not seen so much of before, not even at leather-themed parties! I gathered that leather was the closest to the theme and was something many already had at home so it was a simple get-up. It made complete sense – imagine how difficult and cumbersome it would be to dress in an elaborate costume during a crowded dance party only to take it all off on the dance floor right? (by the way there is no other way to dance in a party other than being topless – at least for me).
We adjourned to the centre of the dance floor only to discover that there was terrible live singing (occasionally out of tune) going on and not-so-attractive people all around us. This was supposed to be a major event graced by the A-Gays of Sydney but all around us were
The minutes and seconds ticked laboriously away into the night and my hope of better music started to wear thin and my lower back (as there was no space to stand in any way other than totally upright) and neck (as I was shorter than most of the people around me dancing in my face, I had to constantly look up) started to ache. I had to take a rest and so we went to take a seat at the designated resting area. One thing I discovered was that if you want to see cute hunky guys, stay at the perimeter of the dance floor and not go in. I don’t exactly know why but that was just so.
And so one of the most happening events in gay Sydney degenerated into an exhausting night of people-watching, which was not all that bad because there were some pretty amazingly- (and weirdly-) costumed people around. I guess the night not only served the purpose of dance but also of giving people the chance to break free of their everyday shackles and be who they really are. But what was left for people like us (people who are themselves all the time) to do when only such un-fabulous “music” was puking out of the sound system? So slumped in a chair our bodies continued. I was so glad at that point that I did not spend a single cent on getting a good leather costume for the party (the perfect outfit would have cost me $350)!
One of Ision’s friends (as well as many others on the dance floor) found a good way to stay high despite the lows ie. chemically. Prior to the event, this friend stocked up loads of these laboratory wonders so that they could unleash their mind-altering powers on a night like this. One of my undying principles is never to take mood-enhancers (including poppers). First they are expensive and I feel that I do not need any assistance to help me enjoy myself. If something is not enjoyable, it shall remain so because that is just how it is. Of course there are also the obvious health reasons. But this time around, I started thinking along the lines of if-I-were-to-ever-break-this-principle-of-mine-it-would-be-this-party because all stars seemed to be aligned, ready for me to let go of it. In addition to that, I have always been curious too – what does the word “high” really mean? And when all these elements got jumbled up along with a persistent friend who kept pushing the “little piece of chewable pleasure” to me, I guess there was nothing else I could do but to give it a go (only if Ision agreed to go halves with me). In case you are wondering what this $45 item in question is, I will drop a hint here: “anti-natural log of 1”.
And this was how one of the historical events took place in my life. Mind you, it was only half and so nothing was really expected but different people react differently and first-timers need to play it safe because you never know…
An hour or so passed and still there was no sign of music-improvement and it was already 5 in the morning. That was the last straw and we decided to leave – I wanted to experience a major gay dance party and I did. And just when we were about to leave, the magical effects of the pharmaceutical started kicking in. Everything seemed so clear as if my eyesight has improved beyond perfect vision. Also, all the fatigue I have been dragging along with my feet throughout the night seemed to disappear into thin air. I really felt that I could stay up for many more hours (the number was actually 5). It made me wonder – what if I had taken more than half of it... But still I had no reason to stay when the music continued to suck that hard (my ability to enjoy myself at dance parties depends SOLELY on the music) and so we began walking home. I was also looking forward to eating at the end of the event as I was so very hungry. Ision's friend later regaled us with how the music went from bad to fab right after we left (urgh).
So we walked hand-in-hand away from the claustrophobic ball of noise and sweat as the night sky peeled off along with all the party superficialities and slowly turned to light. I guess the night was not totally uneventful after all. Some people continue to skip, hop and jump (not to mention jerk, blow and screw) in the scene well after they have settled down but Ision and I are different and I got to fully confirm that over those 6 miserable hours. The name of my blog says it all – I have SO moved on to the next phase of my life and partying just does not fit in any more. I am not saying this from a moral high-horse perspective as there is absolutely nothing wrong about partying (heck, I love dancing topless if the music is right), this is just how my personal journey is playing out. Perhaps I am really getting old (and not just whining about it).
Whatever the reason might be, I am glad that I attended this year’s Sleaze Ball because not only had I broken new grounds, my beliefs got boosted with affirmation.