As I sat and waited to meet Sandra and Robert ahead of the Valborg celebration last night in Stockholm, I picked up a copy of the Swedish gay newspaper, QX. It’s a magazine I read from time to time, as it usually has a fair bit of Swedish music news. For example, this month’s edition features a track by track review of the new album by ABBA’s Agnetha Fältskog. But what excited me most was noticing the big article on Newtown. Yes, Newtown in Sydney. Sydney, Australia to be absolutely clear.
Magazines, of course, do regular features on different countries and different cities on a regular basis. Occasionally you might even see a feature on somewhere smaller like Bondi or Byron Bay. But Newtown? Wow, what’s that about.
The article goes on to explain Newtown is a little alternative, a little hippie, and that if you’re visiting Sydney, and you want to “go gay”, you should head off to Oxford Street. The article explains, though, that gays are welcome in Newtown, and that many gays prefer it over Oxford Street.
The article mentions a number of people who have chosen to call Newtown home, including a bloke called Mark Reid who used to live in Canberra, and a couple Nick Roth (and his girlfriend) who operate “Claire’s Crepes”. I’d never heard of “Claire’s Crepes” (to be honest), but I’ll be sure to look them up when I return to Sydney. In particular, I’ll be interested to see if young Swede, Jonatan Duregård is still working there, though the article does note… “Jonatan är hetero…”
One of the people interviewed, Aaron Petriddi describes Newtown as the “new” Gay Sydney, with more and more couples moving to the area for the simple life. “It’s a good mixture of people and business”, he says.
…”det nya gay-Sydney” – allt ﬂer par ﬂyttar hit tack vare den ”sköna livsstilen” i området. – Det är en bra mix av människor och affärsverksamheter. Det känns som att allas blickar är på Newtown nu, alla man pratar med kan tänka sig att ﬂytta hit…
The article paints such a glowing image of Newtown that I find myself thinking “Why am I in Stockholm? I should be in Sydney instead”. The other man’s grass is always greener, I guess.
P.S. Swedes are welcome in Surry Hills too.