More what was I up to in September 2000?

See also 29 July.

These entries via the Web Archive. Some names have been edited to conform with my later practice.

Sunday September 10

Sunday afternoon at the Beauchamp and the Albury. PK, became a little distant as time went on, testimony to the difficulty he is having right now. Tom from Houston Texas was there and told this wonderful if offensive joke: What do you have if you have a room full of people from Arkansas? Ans: a full set of teeth.

Sirdan joined us and he and I talked on the theme of exile, which he feels quite deeply. Ian Smith was also there, sparkling as ever. Ian has yet to issue the imperial summons to M; perhaps tonight? We speculated as to the effect of the public Yum Cha announcement above–minimal I suspect, but it is nice to speculate that all these strangers might turn up.
Good dinner at Una’s in Darlinghurst with Sirdan. M and I used to go here often; it has grown, but the food is just as good as ten years ago. We the went to D’s place where I ran through my website and a few points about chat and ICQ. I’m a computer guru already! :-0

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I also ran into Cameron, a man I had known at the Britannia Hotel (the first gay bar I ventured into –in 1985!). He was a psychotherapist in those days. I literally had not seen him since about 1988. Since 1991 he has been living in Queensland, currently on an island, and he is no longer a psychotherapist.

Tuesday, September 19: International Day of Peace

Quite a good haul from the local Library yesterday. First as a browsing book, Cult TV by Jon E Lewis and Penny Stempel: does anyone other than me remember The Adventures of Sir Lancelot, who rescued “kidnapped queens” in towers on a daily basis? Second, a clutch of mystery stories: an interesting genre these days. Can a male American of apparently Indian extraction, K J A Wishnia, write feminist PI tales? There is one for the more puritanical politically correct to grapple with, particularly when the PI is Hispanic and an environmentalist with a baby! The answer is, “Yes he can–and rather well.

Don’t let me put you off: Soft Money (Dutton, 1999) is actually worth the effort.

Lest we get too blase about the positive need for a balanced “political correctness” in this world (see also the Politics section of my General Interest Page) I found this in another Library borrowing, The Play Goes On, a memoir by Neil Simon (Simon and Schuster 1999), speaking of the background to Biloxi Blues:

“Having grown up in the safe confines of Washington Heights in upper Manhattan, I never noticed the word ‘bigotry’ used, not even the act of bigotry, certainly not in the ugly way we’ve come to know it the last few decades…At least until I came face to face with it when I was thrown together with a kind of people I never knew existed before I hit the Army…

“The ‘colored boys’ were separated and the word ‘nigger’ was still quite popular in this region [Mississippi]. At eighteen, some boys hardly shaved, and the smoother your skin was, the more likely you’d be called ‘faggot’ with an invitation to come into the latrine and ‘have some of this’. I was so naive that the more my eyes were opened to a world I barely knew existed, the more my mouth was closed for fear of getting my teeth knocked out behind the barracks by an angry cook who hated anyone who could spell a word with more than five letters in it.”

Yes, I know you can’t legislate morality, and I know this sort of thing still goes on, and not only in Mississippi. But at least the so-called “politically correct” have, for all their excesses, brought into our society codes and practices that make clear this sort of thing is just not OK: that has to be an advance. Treasure it.

To continue with Neil Simon:

“It was this story I wanted to tell in Biloxi Blues, not to open the minds of audiences in the 1980s, who knew it only too well, but to make the generation of eighteen-year-olds aware that we must always be on guard.”

7.30 pm: Peter the Dutchman did rather well tonight [Sydney Olympics]: I could gaze on him with a free conscience, but I promise to avert my eyes whenever he is up against Ian Thorpe.

Thursday, September 21

… A bit of excitement in my street: this morning a young gentleman of Middle Eastern appearance (looking rather dazed when I saw him) drove his car through the window of the local cheap barber shop. Despite the draught the barber resumed haircuts shortly afterwards.

For a BIG birthday a few years back JM, an old friend, gave me one of his treasures: he was moving to smaller accommodation and was divesting himself. The present, a carved Chinese wooden screen (smallish), had been bought years ago in London. He was not sure of its age, and neither MP nor his friends were sure about it either. I was intrigued today when Master F., a very well-informed young Chinese gentleman, told me he suspected it was no later than the Ming Dynasty–or a very clever replica. So maybe 300 years old? Wow!

It’s now at M’s place.

Friday, September 22

An interesting day really, even if I am a little tipsy right now (9.15 pm), having had a few ales with PK, Ian Smith, Clive, and several others including Fox, the young man I referred to on September 8. Sirdan was also there but otherwise engaged 😉

I am still coming to terms with a few things Master F. told me yesterday; amazing as they were I cannot publicise them here: maybe one day. Suffice to say I was somewhat awestruck! M and he rattled away to each other in Mandarin: God knows what M said to him! 😉

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George, me, M – c. 1993

Saturday. September 23

Again as usual I was tutoring in Chinatown today. On the way back at 4.30 pm I never saw such crowds in that part of Sydney: the whole precint from Darling Harbour, through Paddy’s Market, Chinatown, Belmore Park and Central Station was packed. I saw members of the Japanese track and field team, the Radio Beijing Cheering Squad (!), and people, people, people. The carpet in Belmore Park was virtually invisible, as a capacity crowd (some shirtless ;-P) cheered on the Australian Men’s Medley Relay Team to Silver (USA gold, Germany bronze) on the big screen set up in the park. Swimmers look good on a giant screen. I shouldn’t be surprised if the crowds passing through Central were record-setting themselves today.

PK had some time ago a lovely idea–to have a “Gifting Tree” this Advent/Christmas season through which gifts may be given to people living with HIV-AIDS. With the help of Sirdan, PK worked out a proposal and had a fine logo designed. And there it stayed for some time; but last Wednesday it began to move in earnest, as South Sydney Council and the Luncheon Club/Larder (an AIDS support service some of our friends are involved in) have taken to the idea. It really looks set to happen. PK is very excited about it–it couldn’t have happened at a better time for him 🙂

Thursday, September 28: Birthday of Kong Fu-Tze (Confucius) and Holy Night of Ragaib (thanks Atakan).

Different entry today: some items of news. First check the progress of Johnny Wu’s semi-autobiographical movie Twisted. Well worth a visit. Second, the weirdest gay hate crime has recently occurred in the US. Guy named Gay did it. Read all about it courtesy of Planet Out.

Wet start to the Olympics again this morning, and it does seem more set in: yesterday on the other hand turned out brilliantly!

As it has this afternoon at 3.30 pm! Meantime the Tibetan monks have gone back home 😉 and the image on this page is in honour of the Olympics.

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Nicholas Jose has a new novel, The Red Thread, to be launched next Thursday, October 5. He’s a good Australian writer and a long-time friend of M, all the way back to China.

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