Before all this lockdown nonsense I finally got to meet a Queer Melbourne Icon at the Daylesford chill out festival. This man used to be a Conductor on Melbournes light rail network. Melbourne is well know for its trams around Australia and for it’s excellent public transport compared to other cities in Australia.
He’s an old gay tram Conductor who used to work on the Melbourne trams. He loves the old tradition and wants to keep the spirit of the tram conductors alive. So he goes to Queer events wearing his old uniform and holds out a big red button and makes ppl push it. He then announces very loudly how gay people are, gives people a ticket that was used on the trams in 1968 when he retired, and usually a penny change as well.
Last weekend I went with a couple of mates up to Daylesford for the annual Chillout Festival. Daylesford is a regional town about 90 minutes from Melbourne that has a vibrant Gay community. Every year since 1997 (except for 2007) the town hosts the Chillout cultural Festival which has grown to become Australia’s largest Queer country Pride Festival. The festival has rich history which you can explore by clicking here.
The festival itself runs over four days and the calendar is full of fun things to do like winery tours, bush walking, Drag shows, the worlds largest human rainbow and large selection of parties. This is followed with a celebration on the fifth day for the volunteers who work so hard to host the event. As a cultural event Chillout Festival has become one of the must attend events on the Aussie Queer Calendar. Many people people who attend Mardi Gras Festival like to recover at Chillout.
Since my plan to attend Mardi Gras this year didn’t pan out I was looking forward to Chillout as a nice way to end the party season and nicely bookend what has been a very enjoyable summer. It was only a short trip arriving in time for the Parade and then to attend the Carnival and finish with a drink, dance, drag and souvlaki at the Yard Party at the Daylesford Hotel. There are a few dance parties but I convinced my companions that we could party at any time in Melbourne and that we should try to capture a bit of the Daylesford flavour by hitting the local pub. The Yard Party is great for those of you who want mix locally and hit the dance floor with a beer in one had and a souvlaki in the other. The only thing to sour the day was the obvious profiteering by the hotel which has advertised a $5.00 door charge but which insisted on charging $10.00 on the day, even though adverting in the venue said $5.00, also and the bakery that charged me $12.50 for a salad sandwich that was advertised for $8.40… dodgey bastards.
The Parade was a lot of fun and full of community spirit as it would its way through the main street of the town. It’s a short route and the parade does a few laps to make sure that everyone gets a go and to let the marchers really soak up the adoration of the crowd. The community spirit at these events is invigorating. I will admit I was in a foul mood after sleeping on a hard floor the night before and crazy length of time it took my companions to organise themselves over the previous 24 hours to actually get to Daylesford, but those feelings evaporated quickly amongst the colour and sprit of the day.
Having attended quite a few Mardi Gras festivals and Pride events in the past years I have to say that I’m feeling much more connection to my community at these smaller events rather that the large party in Sydney. Melbourne Pride and Chillout here have both had a real spirit rooted in the community and it’s been a refreshing change from the corporatisation of Mardi Gras. I’ve also enjoy the more relaxed atmosphere of these events without the hyper-sexualisation that the larger Queer festivals and Circuit Parties seem to use as a draw card.
Well done to the Chillout team for putting together great day, next year I’ll try to be better organised so that I can do more of the fun things that are on offer.
You can check out the pictures of the Parade below.
On Saturday I went down to Sunnyside nude beach with a few friends.
I’m not normally fan of nude beaches, mainly because of baggage I picked up in my communal high school showers, but also because I have a real fetish for speedos and underwear. I just don’t find a guy completely naked as exciting as someone wearing a sexy pair of swimmers, underwear or sports kit. It’s the fantasy that attracts me and when it’s all just hanging out there there’s nothing to reveal.
Many nudists I know will say that it’s not about the sex. Nudism is about getting back to nature and enjoying the sense of freedom that being naked brings, but the few Gay nude beaches I have been to have all had a hyper sexual tension about them. It’s because we are sexual creatures not because of the nudity but the nudity certainly seems to give some guys permission to treat the beach like a beat. I’ve seen fucking in bushes, guys walking down the beach with hardon’s and even one guy with a 10 inch dildo shoved down the front of his bike pants. I don’t have a problem with cruising, I’ve had my fair share of outdoor encounters but let’s not be coy about it, Gay nude beaches are about sex and you’ll have to work hard to convince me otherwise.
So how did I end up at the nude beach in the first place? Well I actually didn’t realise we were going to a nude beach until we were in the car headed down. I thought we were headed to a nice coastal beach with rolling surf and white sand, instead I ended up hiking my way over a rock beach trying to stare at the ground and not make eye contact with any of the other beach goers.
I guess I just don’t feel very comfortable naked and that discomfort made the day a bit tense for me. The sexual energy in the air was obvious and a little bit too much for me. I’m no stranger to sexualising Gay events, places and culture, I’m probably one of the worst offenders, and I’ve had to think carefully about the fact that I could just be projecting my discomfort on to a bunch of guys who were just enjoying themselves in the sun and I wouldn’t want them to stop on my behalf.
What do you think? Have you had similar experiences at gay beaches?
One of the things that I love the most about my home city is the street art, but also the Architecture and the was the two often blend together. Here are some images of my home city and some of the places I love.
I’m not Christian or even religious but I do like the way the city gets done up for the holidays. Christmas in London was magical too, but I was never quite able to get past the cold. Christmas to me is always hot and marked by games of cricket, mountains of cold ham, BBQ and salad.