I’m sure my mum would have been horrified by what I wore to the New Years Eve Party at the Lismore Showground tonight. It wasn’t outrageous in any way, shape and form: it’s just that it wasn’t new.
In my family at least there was always a custom to have new outfit for the Lismore Show. That, of course, was back in the days when the Lismore Show was a big thing around town. I think it’s still reasonably popular on the annual social calendar, though nothing like it was in the 50s, 60s and 70s, when the Lismore Show demanded a new outfit.
Instead tonight I wore shorts, a polo-shirt and thongs, as we’ve returned to a more normal summer weather pattern in Lismore – warm and slightly humid – after last week’s colder, rainy weather pattern and flooding.
It’s been years and years since I’ve spent New Years Eve in Lismore, and, on a whim, a few months ago, I bought a ticket to Tropical Fruits, the annual gay and lesbian party at the Lismore Showground. As you might imagine, it was quite a contrast from the days of dodgem cars and dagwood dogs.
In the whole crowd I recognised just two people. I saw Mark Trevorrow, who had performed a Bob Downe Show earlier that night at The Star Court, and an ex-boyfriend from twenty years ago, who I note still has absolutely no sense of rhythm (possibly the world’s most unco-ordinated dancer).
But I still had a load of fun. It’s ten years since I’ve been to a dance party, so I really can’t compare this to anything I’ve been to in recent history. About the time I stopped going to dance parties was the time when they began to become seriously druggy, and where the music stopped having words.
Although the two main dance halls played what I consider to be the most dull, souless dance music possible, I found a haven of fun, popular, accessible, yet slightly funky music. It was then I realised my musical tastes are probably more in tune with funky young lesbians than forty year old gay men doing a two-step to music they don’t appear to enjoy – by the look on their faces – without chemical enhancement. “The Vault” was, in my view, the coolest place to be tonight. Hey, they even played a remix of “One Night In Bangkok”.
I also really enjoyed the cabaret lounge where they featured everything from lip-synching drag queens, to erotic lesbian poll dancers, a woman in a clam, and “professional circus artists from Brisbane”. Although I did find myself briefly channeling Joan Rivers – “if you’re gonna call yourself a professional circus artist, at least wash your feet before you come on stage” – I really enjoyed the experience of seeing something DIFFERENT in a gay and lesbian celebration. Oh, and there was an art exhibition too.
My drink for the tonight? Bundy, of course.
As it got closer to midnight, another memory came flashing back: a memory of Cyril Went, aka Peter Crawford. Peter was the Breakfast presenter on 2LM, the commercial radio station in Lismore when I was a child. When he wasn’t on the radio, one of Peter’s other jobs was to call the speedway, and to provide the commentary for fireworks at the Lismore Show. “What a pretty blue”, he’d say.
The memory of Peter’s excellent commentary came flooding back to me at about five to twelve. Realising I had no one to kiss at the strike of twelve, I decided it was best to find a good spot for the fireworks.
Fireworks never disappoint…