YouTube and then (once I have shared) my Facebook page keep taking me back to the years c.1987 — 31 October 2007. That last is a very specific date because that was the day the Albury Hotel closed. The particular item on YouTube this time was an excellent video in terms of quality of one of the famous Albury drag shows, even if I rarely saw one right through as I usually went earlier, perhaps around 4 pm for the “cocktail hour” when I would chat with whatever friends were also there — PK, The Empress, Clive, Sirdan, Crane-driver Tony, ex-soldier Lloyd, Nurse Paul, Nurse Brown — lots of nurses as St Vincents Hospital was virtually next door. And many more over the years. Especially in late 1988 through to early 1990 I was living over the other side of Oxford Street in Rose Terrace, could hear the shows without leaving home! The Albury was like an alternative lounge room.
Or if I went at night it was generally to the Piano Bar, about which Sailor Andy (yes there were also a few of those) recalled on my Facebook post: “I loved the piano bar. Used to sit there listening to and chatting with Hugh Monroe” — or Hugh LaRue as he was then, a very talented singer/pianist who knew the complete works of Tom Lehrer I suspect.
There were other performers in the Piano Bar too, such as Sylvana:
Paul Van Hauen, a FB friend who I “met” just recently, though our real world paths must have crossed said “I was sad when the piano bar closed.” So I posted that partly for him. I also mentioned that I met Michael Xu in that Piano Bar in July 1990!
The drag shows took place here in the main bar:
Which brings me to what I saw just the other day on YouTube, about which I said:
Looking back on it, they were rather amazing! 1991! 30 years on! The Albury! I didn’t see this particular show: what a shame! It’s brilliant!
I rarely actually sat through the shows, because either I was in the piano bar (which I preferred) or had left before the shows started. I mostly enjoyed talking to friends, I’m afraid.
But if only I could make out faces in the audience I am sure I would see some I knew back in the day.