Blogging the 2010s — 24 — March 2011

This was a memorable month! And I haven’t smoked since!

Old friends



M and Sirdan – just on one year ago. M is off to the USA for a holiday soon.

Photo taken in the much missed Chinese Whisper on Crown Street Surry Hills.

Where I am right now…


Wollongong Hospital after a small heart attack… I’ll be here a little while yet.

Next morning–waiting for breakfast

Still here and needing a shave, but this pic from Baby Toshiba’s webcam looks a bit less like a death mask! Smile  Baby Toshiba is in hospital too now, Thanks, Sirdan, for coming down yesterday and fetching some things for me!


That’s the portable heart monitor.

From the cardiac social club…

Two fellow-members. Very good company both.


What I experienced yesterday

… in a room like this.

Where they did this, except with mine they entered through the wrist.

Return to The Bates Motel



Blogging the 2010s — 19 — February 2016

For the 78ers

Who are the 78ers?

See The 78’ers:

“You could hear them in Darlinghurst police station being beaten up and crying out from pain. The night had gone from nerve-wracking to exhilarating to traumatic all in the space of a few hours. The police attack made us more determined to run Mardi Gras the next year.”

See also SBS.

What has just happened?

1. The Sydney Morning Herald apologises to Mardi Gras founders the 78ers

On June 24, 1978, more than 500 activists took to Taylor Square in Darlinghurst in support and celebration of New York’s Stonewall movement and to call for an end to criminalisation of homosexual acts and discrimination against homosexuals. The peaceful movement ended in violence, mass arrests and public shaming at the hands of the police, government and media.

Three days after the melee, Fairfax Media newspapers including the Herald publicly outed 53 people involved in the pro-equality march, publishing their names, addresses and occupations in the newspaper. Subsequent editions published the details of more protesters, including the names of 104 people facing charges resulting from a homosexual rights march the previous weekend in Sydney…

Apologising to the 78ers, Darren Goodsir, editor-in-chief of The Sydney Morning Herald, said: “In 1978, The Sydney Morning Herald reported the names, addresses and professions of people arrested during public protests to advance gay rights. The paper at the time was following the custom and practice of the day.

“We acknowledge and apologise for the hurt and suffering that reporting caused. It would never happen today.”

He said Fairfax Media has made contact with representatives of the 78ers so that an apology can also be made in person….

(From left) Melissa Gibson with 78ers Julie McCrossin and Ron Austin at the Sydney Mardi Gras in 2013.

(From left) Melissa Gibson with 78ers Julie McCrossin and Ron Austin at the Sydney Mardi Gras in 2013.

Melissa and Julie I know from South Sydney Uniting Church

2. NSW Parliament apologises to the 78ers who began the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras

A brightly sequinned hat, tie-dye t-shirts and rainbow flags in the packed viewing gallery did nothing to distract from the gravity of the historical moment in NSW Parliament on Thursday morning when, after nearly 38 years, the 78ers received a formal apology from the state over the discrimination they suffered at Sydney’s first Mardi Gras in 1978.

“For the mistreatment you suffered that evening, I apologise and I say sorry,” said Bruce Notley Smith, the member for Coogee, as he moved the motion of apology in the NSW Legislative Assembly.

“As a member of the parliament which dragged its feet in the decriminalisation of homosexual acts, I apologise and say sorry. And as a proud gay man and member of this parliament offering this apology, I say thank you.”

“The actions you took on June 24, 1978, have been vindicated.”

The bipartisan apology, unanimously passed in both houses of parliament, drew emotional and at times highly personal reflections from MPs, including the Attorney-General Gabrielle Upton and the Treasurer Gladys Berejiklian. Mr Notley-Smith recounted the pain of growing up as a gay teenager in Sydney at the time of the melee…

I was working at Sydney University in 1978 and for part of that year living in Glebe Point. Perhaps around mid-year, when that first Mardi Gras occurred, I had moved back to reside in North Wollongong, commuting to Sydney. I honestly don’t recall reading the infamous SMH stories. I was not at that time involved in the gay community.

Now posts of my own.

Back in the day… Oxford Street memories

Posted on March 9, 2014 by Neil

rather amazing picture appeared recently on Lost Gay Sydney, a Facebook group.


That is Martin Place June 24 , 1978, according to the original post on Facebook, and there in the centre carrying a triangle flag is Ian Smith.

Requiem for a Dowager Empress

Posted on December 27, 2010 by Neil

The shocking news I alluded to earlier is that Ian Smith, aka The Dowager Empress of Hong Kong, died about a week ago.

He was a 78-er, that is a participant in the first Sydney Mardi Gras…

At Lord Malcolm’s funeral in 2007 Ian read this:

Death Is Nothing At All
Henry Scott Holland

Death is nothing at all
I have only slipped away into the next room
I am I and you are you
whatever we were to each other
that we still are
call me by my old familiar name
speak to me in the easy way
which you always used
put no difference in your tone
wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow
laugh as we always laughed
at the little jokes we enjoyed together
pray smile, think of me, pray for me
Let my name be ever the household word
that it always was
Let it be spoken without effort
without the trace of a shadow in it
Life means all that it ever meant
it is the same as it ever was
there is unbroken continuity
why should I be out of mind
because I am out of sight?
I am waiting for you
somewhere very near
just around the corner
All is well

I have known him for 22 years. We’ve had our ups and downs — most did with Ian, but he could also be wise and brilliant. A complex man. Rest, brother.

See also World AIDS Day and my circle… (2011), Pancake Day or Mardi Gras or Shrove Tuesday (2013), Thirty years on: my coming out, among other things (2014).

… and Mardi Gras recycles: 2008.

Some January 2010 pics

Selected from my photo blog of ten years ago.

I have been like most of us meditating this new year on what the Noughties have been like. Today I post some personal images.

Me, 2002 and 2009

neilplay xmas

My place, 2002 and 2009 – yesterday in fact



Aside from the fact it wasn’t quite as sunny yesterday, you’ll see the undergrowth has overgrown.

The gray half-tones of daybreak are not the gray half-tones of the day’s close, though the degree of their shade may be the same. In the twilight of the morning light seems active, darkness passive; in the twilight of evening it is the darkness which is active and crescent, and the light which is the drowsy reverse. — Thomas Hardy, Tess of the D’Urbervilles Chapter 21.The city from Elizabeth Street Surry Hills 6 am

Tram, Shakespeare and a pause in the bushfires

So yesterday I took the train to Sydney to have lunch with M in Surry Hills — and to ride the tram. I took with me for sentimental reasons this:


The last time I rode a tram through Surry Hills/Moore Park I may well have had that with me! Now, about the new tram — and here I am on board:


It is a tad slow, but that is probably better than running over people or crashing into cars. Indeed at one point yesterday a car came through an intersection as if the moving tram wasn’t there. The tram driver sounded his horn — not a bell, notice. However, while well aware of the costs that have been involved in the build, I give the tram the thumbs up! It isn’t the line to nowhere after all. Yesterday it delivered quite a few to the cricket — sorry about that, Kiwis! Then it has two well-placed stops for Randwick Race Course, ditto for the University of New South Wales, and the Randwick line ends right in the midst of the medical offices, cafes etc., that are part of the Prince of Wales Hospital precint. I can see a lot of use for the line as time goes on.

Mind you, it is true the bus is faster… But not as comfortable.

Then back to Surry Hills, and the glorious old Shakey — the Shakespeare Hotel of such happy memory. There I met M, who was in fine form. And the food was excellent — I had the Shakey Pie, a beef and vegetable job in a real home-made pie shell, not a lump of premade pastry on top of a ramekin. M had a steak; he said it was excellent. And price? Much the same as City Diggers in Wollongong — under $20 each dish. You could have had a chicken schnitzel special for $10! The drinks are on the dear side, but not outrageous.


And the Surry Hills tram stop is ideally placed for visiting the Shakey.


Picture by James O’Brien

Travelling in cooler weather yesterday to and from Sydney I closely observed the bush as we passed through. Tell you what, toss a match in there and all hell would break loose. Wollongong and the Royal National Park have truly been lucky so far — but there is very possibly two months to go. The heat returns at the end of this week. And as soon as I write that I know some are going to mutter “hazard reduction” and others will start muttering “Greens!” Yes, there are arguments worth having around all that, but to quote one expert: “It’s simply conspiracy stuff. It’s an obvious attempt to deflect the conversation away from climate change.”

On Sunday night I phoned my last remaining aunt, in Sutherland — she’s 82 — knowing that my cousins from Bundanoon were sheltering there, having evacuated. I spoke to one of those cousins. It seems that their Bundanoon house is safe, though covered in ash. That at least was all she knew on Sunday. We talked for some time. We haven’t talked for a very long time, in fact, using Facebook to keep tabs instead. We found ourselves on exactly the same page about climate change being the deep cause behind all the proximate causes (such as fuel loads) of this present fire season.

The things I posted on in 2004!

This is a few months before my last revisit. BTW, The Salt Mine = SBHS.

Entry 127: Miserable git writes entry.

2 June 2004: A short one today — possibly a relief to my readers after the past couple.

I still feel like death, a bit of a contrast to last Wednesday, eh! It’s ironic that this cold (flu?) came on the very day I was meant to be having a flu shot at the Salt Mine, but even I knew it is foolish to have a flu shot when you are already fighting off an infection. Madam cheered me up no end by telling me that Jerry had a flu shot and was dead two weeks later…

I may give in and go to the doctor today. So far I have only missed one day at the Salt Mine, as Monday I don’t work anyway and today there is a strike. We’ll see if I am up to going tomorrow, but I certainly won’t go coaching this afternoon.

At least one consolation is that the broken tooth (it fell apart during Sunday’s lunch with the Empress and Sirdan) is not hurting, but I can’t do anything about that anyway until I am over this present episode.

Delenio greeted me via ICQ last night — first time for ages. Sent get well greetings, as he apparently still reads this diary. He is deep in some essay on historiography and finding “poor historians” (both Keith Windschuttle and his haters) very frustrating. Last time Delenio and I talked about this he was rather taken with Sir Geoffrey Elton on this subject.

Elton’s view of the nature of history and its study had a very simple starting point: in the past there were people like us, reasoning people with thoughts, feelings, ambitions, concerns and problems. These people lived and made choices and what they did produced the events, effects, creations and results which is history. When people acted in the past, exercised their will and made choices they made their futures and created our present. History for Elton was explicable, but the varieties, complexities and vagaries of human reasoning and thinking in diverse situations made it unpredictable.

… Elton was above all concerned to assert the responsibility of those who study the past to acknowledge its humanity: ‘The recognition that at every moment in the past the future was essentially unpredictable and subject to human choice lies at the heart of a study which respects the past and allows it a life of its own. If men (and women) are treated as devoid of choice, their reason is demolished; the product is a history which dehumanises mankind’.

… In Elton’s concept of history as a story of human existence and activity there was little place for those large-scale forces, trends, structures, and patterns beloved by social scientists. Everything in history–the events of the past–happens to and through people. Sociological categories may be useful descriptive shorthands of movements and outcomes over the long-run, but they remained abstractions unable to explain specific actions and events–the details and particularities of past happenings created by real people doing something. ‘History deals with the activities of men, not abstractions’, Elton wrote.

Conservative but sensible, I would have thought.

Well, that’s it again. Told you it would be shorter. See you tomorrow if I am still vertical 😉

(Wonder how this would look written in the International Phonetic Alphabet?)


Doctor Banquo tells me 1) I’ll live and 2) to go to bed for the next couple of days. Well, I’ll do that, kind of…

Entry 128: Miserable git recovering…

Con-Dopey.Ch 3 June: I am still vertical after all, even if still feeling a bit as if hit by a truck. The Salt Mine is doing without me today, though I guess given what I said last week about the peculiarity of my Wednesday/Thursday arrangements I could be said to be still on strike… Tomorrow we shall see. The Rabbit gave me a call last night to see how I was, and I was I hope articulate: very happy to have had the call, Mister R 🙂

Speaking of being hit by a truck or car, there was chaos in Cleveland Street (just around the corner from here) this morning as a power pole was almost snapped in two by an early morning collision. As of 10am they are still doing the final touches on the replacement pole. Power lines on main roads should be underground, don’t you think?