Thursday, February 25, 2010

a Tom of Finland invasion

Tom on the Golden Mile
        The excitement on Oxford Street-the Golden Mile is palpable. Just 10 days to go to the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras. The dog collar wearing Lord Mayor Clover Moore has bedecked the streets of the city with huge pink flags bearing a heavy leather dude.
        The Mardi Gras has come some way since that fateful day in 1978 when a few hundred gays marched up Oxford Street to Kings Cross and ended up in an all out brawl with the same number of coppers. Now the boys in blue march in the parade. Along with Federal police, customs and immigration officers. Politicians from all parties send their best wishes.

        One of the original Living National Treasures of gaydom, Ken (Kandy) Johnson has launched his autobiography-Kandy what a drag !
       Ken opened one of the first gay pubs in Sydney and went on to run the legendary Purple Onion, a cavernous drag cabaret bar in suburban Kensington that was packed to the rafters and with every visiting celebrity putting in a appearance. Sir Robert Helpmann, Judy Garland. Rudolf Nureyev and Sammy Davis Jr were all spotted there taking in the extravagant drag spectaculars.
          Kandy sold the Onion and opened the first gay sauna-Kens Karate Klub and then launched his travelling drag troupe-Femmes and Feathers. He hired a girl to masquerade as a man masquerading as a woman masquerading as a man ( I think that's right !). They fell in love, married and had a son (an heir to the Kandy $$millions). It's a rollicking read and no holds barred look at the life of a gay icon including a stint in jail where he became the most popular jailbird for his nightly performances for the inmates.
      Ken's retired now and divides his time between a Sydney mansion and houses in Noosa and Turkey. Get his book here.

Andrew Neil, Peter Costello, Oscar Humphries in Sydney (c)
Meanwhile another drag star has a son who is going from success to success. Barry Humpries' son Oscar is now editing the British arts magazine Apollo.

Oscar Humphries already edits the Australian Spectator from London.
Regular Shuttlers will recall Oscar arrived in Sydney from the UK where he was brought up, about 5 years ago and seemed set to take the town by storm as a 'new face' on the scene. Then the social media got stuck into him. We can't remember the reason why-probably none at all. He fled after 2 years.
   One however recalls his father Barry's words over dinner about 10 years ago when he was discussing the amazing success he had in the UK which has been finally repeated in the USA.

Barry said every time he was about to leave Melbourne in the old days to travel to the UK the Oz media would say words to the effect-"what's the problem Mr Humphries, aren't we good enough for you ?"
   When he arrived back after a successful season in the West End he would be greeted with the words-"so what's the problem Mr Humphries. couldn't make it overseas then ?" .
You can see why the reptile bitches thrive so well on the British tabloids when they travel there to further their experience.
 How timely for cricketer Shane Warne to launch his range of men's underwear in a venue not too far from the Golden Mile.      

The only other time the Social Shuttle encountered Warne was at the Commonwealth Day lunch in 1996 when Princess Diana attended her very last charity function before retiring.

tSS was the only media permitted inside the venue for the lunch much to the chagrin of a few hundred Fleet Street hacks who stood outside the building.
   We sat with Warne at the table next to Diana-not knowing who he was. Upon enquiry Shane informed us he was a cricketer of some note.

 "Oh does Diana follow cricket then ?" we asked.
"Don't know" said Warne,"but I think she likes rough trade !". Diana smiled sweetly in his direction.

Meanwhile, noses pressed to the windows outside, the assembled reptiles glowered towards us.