Laughter & Tears

“I love some good old-fashioned drag”, I whispered in the ear of my friend, Michaela, one of the friends I attended the First Nations Supreme Drag Queen Event at Carriageworks last night, as part of World Pride.

One of the drag queens had just lip-synched to the awesome Whitney Houston song, “I Have Nothing” from “The Bodyguard”. Another lip-synched to Donna Summer’s “Macarthur Park”. In the midst of the more modern tunes, it was great to hear some old-school drag as well.

There was such joy in the room last night, as people sang along, laughed and thoroughly enjoyed the performances.

“One of the best nights of my life”, a friend messaged me today.

Michaela, who co-produced the “Blak Divaz” documentary about the very first “Miss First Nations” event noted how far they have come since the early days of 2017.

First Nation Supreme Queen
First Nation Supreme Queen
First Nation Supreme Queen
First Nation Supreme Queen

It was such a great night and a welcome diversion from the commemoration of the anniversary of the catastrophic flood in Lismore 12 months ago.

Though I’ve written a fair bit (maybe too much?) about the flood, I’d highly recommend this piece written by an ABC colleague, Leah White who is from Lismore, and who experienced the flood both from a professional and personal perspective.

I was terrified I might not have a mum at the end of the day, terrified of being on the other end of the phone — unable to help — as she slowly drowned in flood water.

I didn’t think I would become emotional about the first anniversary. but by mid-afternoon, after seeing, reading and hearing so many reports in the media throughout the day, I shed a few tears.

Leah’s piece has articulated so beautifully the same anguish I felt on the night, being a long way away, talking to my family, and desperately being on the phone to police / SES for someone to come and save them. I also felt the pain of knowing they could have drowned. Even when they were rescued, I was terrified, as they stood on the Ballina Street bridge it would wash away. And then an hour or so later, I got a message from the son of our next-door neighbour asking “Do you know where mum is”? and, at the time, we didn’t.

The image of Pat, with nephew Sam in the background,being rescued was one of the most “iconic” of the flood, appearing on the front page of “The Australian” and in countless other newspapers. LISMORE – Residents and Pets get rescued by Lismore locals and SES crew, on the edge of Lismore CBD at Ballina Road, Bruxner Highway 28 February 2022 ©MEDIA-MODE.COM

One Reply to “Laughter & Tears”

  1. Our neighbours son and I had further text contact this week, as his mum has died. Though she was older, I have no doubt the events of the last year have contributed. I can see it in my family also, everyone has aged significantly.

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