Life’s Rich Tapestry

Despite the rain it was a rather busy night out and about in Sydney. Oxford Street was absolutely packed with people who had spent the day at Good Vibrations. As it was Oxford Street, none of them, of course, were actually in the clubs. They were all either looking for a late night meal, or were in queues trying to get into clubs.

Crossing Oxford and Crown streets
Crossing Oxford and Crown streets

We, on the other hand, had been to a Swedish movie, saw some Gen Y gay comedians, and even managed a visit to the “heavily-transexual” (?) Taxi Club. The movie was, Allt Flytter (The Swimsuit Issue) was part of the European Film Festival at Dendy Opera Quays.

As it was directed by Måns Herngren, the film came with a good pedigree which included a couple of films I’ve seen previously, Livet är en schlager and Varannan Vecka.

There were shades of The Full Monty in the film’s premise, about a group of middle-aged men who try something adventurous and new. In this instance, they formed a team to compete at the world synchronised swimming championships. In the background, the film also explores the relationships between the lead, Frederic, his daughter, his ex-wife, and his friend Charles. The film has a “feel good” vibe about it, though, as Graeme noted is often the case with Swedish comedies, it’s not all light and bright. I really enjoyed the film, as it travelled along at a good pace, and with the right balance between comedy and drama. There was also part of the film that was filmed at Stockholm Pride which had a curiosity value for me, since I’m assuming it was filmed in 2008 when I attended Stockholm Pride.

Graeme and James
Graeme and James

It was also nice to go to a cinema where there were so many people were speaking in Swedish. And reasonably simple Swedish too. “How did you hear about this film?”, I heard one person ask another in Swedish easy enough for me to understand, with the reply being that she had received a message through Facebook.

Although it would have been fun to have hung around for a little while after the film, and to eavesdrop further on the Swedish speakers, we needed to leave quickly to get into a taxi quick smart to get to Fox Studios. We had tickets for Mardi Ha-Ha, a night of standup comedy as part of Mardi Gras. Four comedians were featured, none of whom I’ve seen live before.

Hannah Gadsby – Darling of the international comedy festivals, and all round comedy award magnet. “Deliciously awkward” – The Age.

Anthony Menchetti – This regular writer for DNA magazine and Comedy Channel presenter survived Gay Conversion School and went on to win Triple J’s RAW Comedy competition. “Masterfully silly… Menchetti is hands down funny” – The Scotsman.

Tom Ballard – This unstoppably funny 19yr old host of Triple J breakfast was the youngest ever winner of Melbourne Intl Comedy Festival’s ‘Best Newcomer’ award 2009. “Watch this boy: He’s going places” – The Age.

Rhys Nicholson – Triple J RAW Comedy finalist 2009. A filthy, forked tongued angel, Rhys makes a welcome return to The Comedy Store with his own brand of smut.

We both agreed, they were all pretty funny.

In particular, I enjoyed Anthony who peppered his act with short comic songs, whereas Graeme’s favourite was Hannah whose act revolved around her body image and growing up in Tasmania…. “Launceston… or Inceston, as call it…”

As we walked toward Oxford Street, we had the intention of calling into a pub where we know the two guys managing the place. They had both previously worked at the pub where we have Wednesday night drinks. Unfortunately, the pub was closed oddly early for a Saturday night.

And so we called in, and had a beer at The Taxi Club, one of Sydney’s truly unique venues with its combination of taxi drivers, gays, transvestites and transexuals. I don’t know how long it is since I’ve been there, but it must be several years. Located on three levels of a rather thin building on Flinders Street, we went straight to the middle level. As we walked up to the bar, I was almost affronted at how friendly the staff were. Unlike the sneering attitude of many Oxford Street bars – the ones where they hand you the change back on a plate – the staff genuinely seemed to be happy to serve us a couple of beers.

Taxi Club
Taxi Club

Over in the corner, there was a DJ playing a bunch of sing-a-long favourites, including Dolly Parton’s 9-5 and Spandau Ballet’s Gold who was having the time of his life. And so was the crowd which was a reasonably broad cross-section of the aforementioned taxi drivers, gays, transvestites and transexuals, along with a bunch of assorted others, all of whom were having a great time.

From time to time we noted the odd person here and there furtively making their way into the club for their first “walk on the wild side”. There was a 30-something bloke with reddish blonde hair, for example, who Graeme quickly decided was “definitely looking for a tranny” who came in, had a drink, and left in an instant. I guess the Taxi Club isn’t for everyone. And as we finished our second drink, and as I asked Graeme if he would like another, his reply was short and simple. “I’d like another drink, but can we go to a more conventional gay bar?” Ah, life’s rich tapestry.

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