Have I ever told you about my fascination with Australia? I am in love with the Land Down Under. First, let’s get out all the shallow details: I have this fantasy that every man strolling along the beaches of Sydney will look like they just walked off the set of an Aussie Bum photo shoot: waves crashing in the background as they show off their rippling thighs and abs. Then, one of them will approach me and start speaking to me in that delicious accent of theirs. He will say many words to me with ‘a’ sounds in them because I am particularity fond of the way the Aussies pronounce the letter ‘a’. He will let me touch his rippling thighs and abs. Then we’ll stroll along the beach together, wind in our hair, our coppertone tans the envy of the crowd. Well, at this point, you can probably guess where this fantasy will end up: that’s right, it proudly goes straight into the gutter.
But, Aussie Bum fantasy aside, my romance with this country started at a very early age; mostly in a musical sort of way. Before I even knew the significance of the words ‘Diva’, ‘Gay’ or ‘Icon’, I developed quite a thing for Ms. Olivia Newton John. That should have been one of many clues to myself (and to my parents) that I wasn’t going to turn out like most other boys. But shockingly, it was not. I had many of her 45s, and when she would sing ‘let me hear your body talk’ I would swing my hips around and make ’em talk! In fact, I was so in love with Ms. Newton John that my sister and I had dance contests to her songs. Actually, we were trying to create our own music videos, but that level of sophistication was beyond us. That said, I do remember putting on quite a show to ‘Landslide‘ and ‘Physical‘. My moves were fierce; I channeled the power of the Solid Gold dancers and I was unstoppable. Of course, being the older sibling, my sister pretended to not be impressed, but I really know it was just jealousy.
A couple years after my love affair with Olivia Newton John had ended, Australia re-entered my life in an unexpected way. In the early 80s, Duran Duran released an album titled ‘Seven and the Ragged Tiger’. It was the last record the original fab-five would record together until 2004. Now, the Duran boys are British as you know, Tiffany. But, this record, which features my all-time favorite Duran Duran song, ‘The Reflex‘ was recorded in Sydney. This, after the band had scrapped other songs from recording sessions in various locations around the world. The poor sods, paid by a record company to tour the world eating caviar and drinking champagne and they couldn’t even finish the record. In fact, ‘Seven and the Ragged Tiger’ is the ultimate symbol of 80s excesses, sex, drugs and fame. It cost millions of dollars to make, but launched Duran Duran’s already soaring career into the stratosphere securing their position as the number one heart throbs for young girls and gay boys everywhere.
Tiffany, do you remember the Australian band Midnight Oil? They were all about burning beds, saying fair is fair and paying rent. I had a brief love affair with them in the late 80s. Somehow they just seemed so cool to me. While everyone else was listening to REM and the B-52s, I was listening to Midnight Oil and thinking I was somehow more deep, sophisticated and special than the REM crowd. Of course, it didn’t hurt that my best friend at the time really loved REM, so I pretty much had to be different. Besides, they were so much better than that other Aussie band, Men at Work. I mean, even my parents liked Men at Work and when your parents start liking a band, you know things are seriously, seriously wrong.
The music of Australia has struck me again, quite recently. I have been listening to an electro-pop band from Melbourne called Parralox quite a bit lately. Parralox just released a new song called Supermagic which is pretty cool. Warning: there is a gratuitous foot shot at the end of the video (I am not much of a feet person. The thought of a person putting a foot in their mouth makes me throw up in my mouth a little), but beyond that, it is a great disco track with a pulsing bass line – how could a good gay guy not like that? Besides, I like lead singer Amii’s style and it’s pretty clear that she has taken Olivia’s place on the throne as my new Australian diva – eat your heart out Kylie Minogue, you’ll always be sloppy seconds in my eyes!
Lastly, on a political note, I noticed today that Tasmania is now recognizing same-sex marriage. It’s great to see Australia on the forefront of the gay rights movement. Will I ever get to Australia to celebrate this victory and hear them say lots of ‘a’ words? I don’t know, but I certainly wouldn’t mind trying.