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“I Will Preface This By Saying I’d Had A Few Drinks…” (with DJ Dan Murphy)

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Having been an in-demand DJ for the better part of the last 20 years there were a lot of queer spaces that I could have talked about with DJ Dan Murphy,  but we decided to go with the venue that gave him his big start all those years ago… 

And so we’re headed back to the early 2000s to talk about Arq, the legendary superclub at the tip of Sydney’s queer district of Oxford Street. 

At this time in his life he had just returned from living in London, where he sold t-shirts and lollipops at Heaven nightclub, and moved to Sydney from his native Brisbane for adventure and purpose. 

We talk all about making queer friends as an adult, Dan remembers a time when you could go out clubbing every night of the week, and I get to use the Australian phrase ‘dud root’, which excited me no end but didn’t seem to impress Dan that much… 

Follow Dan on Twitter and Instagram.

Dan Murphy  0:00 

I mean, the whole idea of being a DJ is that you get to play all the songs that you like, right?

K Anderson  0:05 

i am k anderson and you are listening to lost spaces, the podcast that mourns the death of queer nightlife. every episode i talk to a different person about a venue from their past, the memories they created there, and the people that they used to know.

Having been an in-demand DJ for the better part of the last 20 years there were a lot of queer spaces that I could have talked about with DJ Dan Murphy,  but we decided to go with the venue that gave him his big start all those years ago…

And so we’re headed back to the early 2000s to talk about Arq, the legendary superclub at the tip of Sydney’s queer district of Oxford Street.

At this time in his life he had just returned from living in London, where he sold t-shirts and lollipops at Heaven nightclub, and moved to Sydney from his native Brisbane for adventure and purpose.

We talk all about making queer friends as an adult, Dan remembers a time when you could go out clubbing every night of the week, and I get to use the Australian phrase ‘dud root’, which excited me no end but didn’t seem to impress Dan that much…

Let’s have a listen.

What was it like settling into Sydney? Like, did you have friends there? Or were you starting from scratch?

Dan Murphy  1:56 

Pretty much starting from scratch, my sister lives here. So Sydney is really funny with the north side of the harbour and the south side of the harbour, in that everyone on the north side stays there, even though it’s a 15 minute drive without traffic, and everyone on the south side stays in our area. So my sister lives on the north side. And

K Anderson  2:18 

so you haven’t seen her since 2003

Dan Murphy  2:21 

Practically. I think she’s still over there. I see you’re on Facebook. So I assume so. We would catch up quite a bit. But we were kind of separated by the hub. I drove down with a friend of mine who also wanted to move to Sydney. And so we kind of he was in professional mode at the time. So and I was going out all the time. So we’d catch up quite a bit. But other than that kind of pretty much started fresh down here and made some of my best friends who I’m still friends with now, at the first queer nation party that I went to down at home nightclub. And yeah, met them on the dance floor, went back to their house after the party. And then funnily enough, we all went to Ark after that. And that

K Anderson  3:11 

was that was how easy it was. Yes, yeah. Can we quickly talk about like how hard it is to make friends when you’re older?

Dan Murphy  3:19 

Yeah, what tell me your experience. And I’ll see if I, I can reflect on that.

K Anderson  3:24 

I mean, I guess the whole thing is kind of marred by the pandemic, and not having any recent experience of doing this. And I should also say that I’ve never been particularly good at making friends. But at least in the past, there were those types of situations where people were like, well, we’re all going back to this person’s house. And even though you’re a random stranger, why don’t you come? And then you get that opportunity to like, talk to people and stuff. But I think as people get older, they’re a bit like, Well, why would we invite some random stranger? Yeah, like, why would I talk to you? I’ve got my friends here. Why would I bother? And so you just don’t have those like, little kind of opportunities for adventures with strangers, and for that kind of magical thing to happen? Because everyone’s like, No, I’ve got washing to do in the morning. And I really, really want to get home to bed. And I think there’s a TV show that I want to watch before I fall asleep. And so yeah, it’s just all of these obstacles now.

Dan Murphy  4:22 

Yeah, it’s definitely true in my 20s, and gosh, even into my 30s that houses that I would end up at randomly, before or after clubbing. And most of the times it was good, but sometimes you’d walk into a house and think, Oh, this is a crime scene. This is either been a crime scene or is about to be a crime scene, and you’d have to kind of if you’re with a friend, you’d kind of give each other the I have. We’re getting out of here. And I haven’t done that for a long time. Yeah, I don’t know if I want to do it again, though. I liked it at the time. I don’t want to

K Anderson  4:57 

do it. Did you were you ever better For those things, because I always wonder about the mindset of a person that’s like, yeah, sure everyone come back to mind. Yeah,

Dan Murphy  5:07 

one day at medical again, the after hours club. It was, I think I’d finished DJing. We’re dancing around on the dance floor for a couple of hours until about lunchtime on a Monday. And because it was Monday afternoon, there was nothing else open. I’d kind of befriended every single person in the nightclub. And I’d told a few of them. I’ll come back two hours, we’re just across the road. Cut to about an hour later, and the entire club was in our house. We had about 40 to 50 people in our house.

K Anderson  5:40 

And it was a two bed, three bed,

Dan Murphy  5:43 

two bedroom house. And not not a spacious two bedroom house. Okay, okay. And my flatmate and I we did that we gave each other the eye he’s like, Don’t you have to get rid of all these people. But there were people that we wanted to stay like we wanted out about four of our friends to stay. But we had to get rid of this other 40 people, so we just literally went out there. And my flatmate at the time was quite blunt. And it’s like, right, all over time to go, oh, gotta go everybody out. And everyone’s like, okay, and left. And then our friends kind of milled about pretending to put their shoes on slowly and ended up staying with us.

K Anderson  6:27 

Yeah, did you do the thing beforehand? Like we’re about to tell everyone to leave? Yeah. We don’t mean you. You can stay

Dan Murphy  6:34 

focused. So yeah, I think the mindset is, shall we say, not 100%? Clear.

K Anderson  6:42 

So not not thinking too far into the future? I think I’d be too afraid to tell everyone to leave in case someone got violent. So I just feel like oh, just yeah, just stay busy. Like, I’m one of these terrible people who is bad at leaving places as well. Because I feel like I’m going to, like create some kind of like situation by doing so by saying like, well, it’s time to go. So I’m probably just not the right person to ever throw my doors open. And

Dan Murphy  7:11 

if that’s your personality, that end up staying for three days, you’d end up cooking for them.

K Anderson  7:16 

Oh, gosh, that’d be awful. It’d be awful. But the extra layer on all of this is people who invite a bunch of strangers to their house and then go to bed.

Dan Murphy  7:27 

Oh, okay. I haven’t experienced that before.

K Anderson  7:30 

Well, what kind of person must you be

Dan Murphy  7:33 

yet to just hit leave everybody in your house while you go off to sleep? It’s just so far

K Anderson  7:38 

beyond my realm of understanding. I just can’t empathise you get behind those people?

Dan Murphy  7:44 

No, me neither. I’m too much of a control freak. I’d need to see what everybody was touching in my house. I couldn’t go to bed.

K Anderson  7:53 

Exactly, exactly. What was the question? We were talking about? We I remember making friends? Yes.

Dan Murphy  8:03 

Yeah, yeah. And the difference in making friends when you’re older? Do you think it is when you’re in your 20s? You are, especially moving to a new city, you’re prepared to be friends with anybody that crosses? Anyone? Please like me?

K Anderson  8:21 

Your standards is so low. Oh, so you think that you just become more discerning as you get older?

Dan Murphy  8:27 

Yeah, I think so I definitely have less patience for strangers that I meet in a club for sure. I’d make up my mind a lot faster now. If that makes sense. So it’s like if someone comes up and I’m not vibing them, it’s Yep. See you later. Whereas in the past, I would give them the benefit of the rest of the night. And then probably a couple of years before going oh, no, I don’t like that person. Even though the red flag was there. When I first met them.

K Anderson  8:55 

Yeah, we’d be just about to exchange vows and be like, Oh, hang on, actually. You know, like, I miss me. So now we’re going I’m just taking us all the way back to school. You know how many times when you were at school, you would hate someone when you first met them and that you just could not stand them. And then like three months later, your best friends? Yeah, whatever. All of these people in the clubs that you’re just like, now I know. You’re annoying, are actually you’re like future best friends. They’re gonna be you’re denying them that opportunity. Wow.

Dan Murphy  9:31 

I feel like I’ve got enough friends that if I’m missing out on that particular friend, it’s not leaving a gaping hole.

K Anderson  9:43 

Maybe Maybe you’ve stumbled onto something there maybe like we are just more and more closed off as we get older. And that’s why it’s harder to make friends. Because we’re not willing to put up with that bullshit.

Dan Murphy  9:54 

Yeah, there are definitely people that I will meet out and about. I click with straightaway and think, oh yeah, I want you in my life more you are really, really fun or funny, or there’s just something about them. But I think in my 20s I thought everybody was that but now in my 40s I realised No Not everybody is that there are certain special people that are that

K Anderson  10:21 

and to what’s changed like you’re less desperate or I’m more

Dan Murphy  10:32 

I guess when you’ve got a circle of friends around you already the although needs that each of those friends fulfil is already fulfilled. So anybody that comes along now is a bonus. Whereas when you move to a city and don’t know anyone, you’re trying to gather that

K Anderson  10:49 

it’s not that neat, like, so you’ve got a friend that meets every single one of your needs. So we’re gonna say, Yeah, I

Dan Murphy  10:55 

don’t like through all my friends is not. I’m not sitting here going, Oh, I wish I had a friend that was x y Zed. I don’t know. I’ve got someone to call or someone to talk to. If I have a problem or a question, or I want to have fun or want to hang out, like I did something missing, if that makes sense.

K Anderson  11:16 

So who’s your friend to watch? The voice with?

Dan Murphy  11:22 

Ah, who would I watch the voice with? Gosh,

K Anderson  11:27 

see, I don’t think you do have this. poked a hole in my theory. I don’t. Oh, you’re gonna need to get out there again. I need to make some new friends.

Dan Murphy  11:43 

Now. When the pandemic is over again, I’m just gonna have a T shirt that says I need someone to watch the toys. So I maybe I haven’t explained it very well. I’m definitely open to new friends. But I don’t feel there’s something lacking amongst my friend group that I do have. I’ve got quite a diverse group of friends that that takes a lot of boxes. Okay, but okay, yeah, definitely open to new people. Definitely still desperate.

K Anderson  12:15 

But just not quite at the levels that you were in the 20s.

Dan Murphy  12:19 

Yeah, it’s tempered a little.

K Anderson  12:23 

Okay, all right. We need to spend some time in Ark. So in your 20s You were like gathering friends in Sydney. You were going out a lot. And one of the places that you were going out to a lot was Ark. Are there any interesting stories that you have about ark that you want to share?

Dan Murphy  12:41 

Oh, gosh, it was the club was Sydney’s and the country’s arguably biggest gay club. To me. It felt like Australia’s version of Heaven nightclub. And I just remember I’ve met so many great people there. I’ve had so many fun nights there. I’ve got to work there and have so many satisfying.

K Anderson  13:08 

Okay, okay, okay. Okay, but who did you snog there?

Dan Murphy  13:14 

Snog. Um, okay. This is an interesting story. The midnight shift used to do a yearly staff drag show, and all the bar staff and DJs and stuff would dress up in drag and do a number and I think it was a charity night. I’m not 100% sure on that. But we were definitely charity drag queens, we would not great. Then we’d all total up the road Arq afterwards and spend all night dancing there. And the guys that I would attract in drag, were very different to the guys that I would attract. Not drag. And there was I will preface this by I’d had a few drinks. So my memory is a little bit hazy. But it was also hazy on the night. I funnily enough was in the smoking alley, having a gossip and chatting away with my friends. And this guy took a shine to me. And he was a bit weird, like, red flags all over him.

K Anderson  14:18 

But like, what kind of like why?

Dan Murphy  14:22 

He was strange. There was something off about him. You know, when someone comes up and starts talking to you, and you just can’t quite understand what they’re saying. You know, they’re trying to communicate with you, but you’re not sure what they’re trying to communicate to you.

K Anderson  14:40 

And to just to be clear, this is a story about someone who’s no good. And you had no idea where he was going. Yeah,

Dan Murphy  14:46 

well, look, I liked the attention. I was desperate. So I came off to the toilet. Were enjoying ourselves in the bathrooms and he is he he kept saying to me I’m not gay. I was like, Oh, me neither dolls was just guys that go after drag queens sometimes can be a bit kooky like that, where they, they don’t think they’re gay, but they want to have that

K Anderson  15:13 

experience. It’s such a weird thing to tell someone over and over when you’re having, right.

Dan Murphy  15:21 

He was, I don’t know how to put this politely going to town and my downstairs department. I’d lifted up my skirt so he could get in there. And then he could just kept looking up to me go, I’m not going I’m not gay. And I was like, kind of looks like you are right. Okay, keep going.

K Anderson  15:40 

Maybe it was his version of roleplay. Maybe there’s something.

Dan Murphy  15:43 

It was very strange. But all I kept thinking, I think this was the thing with the red flags as well. When he came up to me and like showed an interest. I thought, this is going to make a good story. Let’s go through with this.

K Anderson  15:56 

Oh, I’ve been there myself when it’s late. So everything about this is wrong. I should not do this. But I’m gonna do it anyway. Maybe I’ll get

Dan Murphy  16:06 

Yeah, and we actually got through it. I’ve been thrown out of the toilets there quite a lot of times, and we were thrown out. Well, I was in heels and a giant wig. So my giant wig was poking over the toilet door. Security threw us out. And there was another time. There were a couple of us in the bathroom together and pretty much naked at this stage. And the manager who is he’s a straight guy. He’s super calm, super chilled. Super, like nothing fazes him. He’s always really calm. He bangs on the door. Guys. Come on, guys. Get out of there. And I’m like, Oh my god. Sorry. Sorry. Sorry. It goes. I was at you, Dan. Oh, yeah. He goes, Oh, no, you can finish up. No. I’m embarrassing. Went out. apologise.

K Anderson  16:58 

But you finished up, right? Yeah, we

Dan Murphy  17:00 

kind of kind of spoiled the moment. Oh, I’m sorry. I was very apologetic, went outside and apologise profusely. And he’s like, Oh, I don’t want

K Anderson  17:11 

I am. I’ve never had sex in the cubicle. Like, this is something I need to remedy. Is it something that you’ve wanted to do? It’s not something I’ve not wanted to do. I just never, I don’t know. Why have I not? So what

Dan Murphy  17:27 

happens if you’re on the dance floor? Or if you’re in a venue? How do you meet someone and hook up with them?

K Anderson  17:34 

Well, yeah, it’s been so long. I guess ever be like, you know, the eye contact thing. And then, if it’s on the dance floor, it’s on the dance floor, although that’s not my preference. And I’m really, I’m really awful at talking in clubs.

Dan Murphy  17:51 

So that would make it hard to say, Oh,

K Anderson  17:55 

I’ve got to go to the loo Do you want? And I said, Well, you would say,

Dan Murphy  18:00 

Well, this is kind of ancient history as well. So I’ve got to go back through my memory banks. But yeah, it would always be on the dance floor meeting somebody on the dance floor. I contact a smile and a wink. If there’s extended eye contact, then you can do a wink. It’s so cheesy. But yeah, then a bit of chit chat. And if it’s going well then come into my office.

K Anderson  18:31 

But then, but Okay, so there’s the other thing about like, after you’ve come, your outlook on life is quite different. Oh, yeah. But does it not ruin your evening? Because you’re like, Oh, now I want to go and have a nap. Oh,

Dan Murphy  18:47 

no, I would never feel like a nap. It’s always like, okay, that box is ticked. See you later. If they’re fun, hang out with them for the rest of the night. If then, Oh, okay. Yeah, on the dance floor, find your friends and keep going.

K Anderson  19:00 

And then repeat it and buy if they’re not fun. Do you mean if if they’re a dud route?

Dan Murphy  19:05 

Well, if they’re, you know how you can be attracted to Red Flag people. If it’s a red flag person, if they’re boring or weird, or something’s a bit off, but the sexual chemistry is there, then you can get that side over and done with and then go. Actually, I don’t actually want to relate to you.

K Anderson  19:29 

one on ones again, that we’ve ever spoken to each other. Yeah, please don’t ever speak to me again. And then avoiding eye contact for the rest of the night. And then having to

Dan Murphy  19:37 

move like making all your friends go down stairs and dance on that dance floor. Avoid them.

Unknown Speaker  19:44 

Oh my God,

Dan Murphy  19:45 

my 20s was so much fun.

K Anderson  19:48 

sounds magical. So setting up your DJ career. What did that entail? Like what were the first steps were we doing the first

Dan Murphy  19:57 

steps were So this is back in the days of CD. This is 2003. Back in the days of demo CDs burnt on those. Do you remember those golden TDK CDs that used to burn music onto? No, they weren’t. They were like the CD de jure over here. Everyone had these CDs, put my demo on there. I had a funky house demo. And then I had like, a club remix demo as well and just went around every single bar every single club dropped off my CD and just handed them cold emailed. If I saw them in person, I bailed them up and asked for a job.

K Anderson  20:47 

So you really proactive what who was the first person to offer your job?

Dan Murphy  20:52 

The first one to say yes was aarC. Funnily enough? One of the owners there, we kind of clicked really well. When I was in London, I was working at heaven, as I said, for the two years and I said this in my emails and on the phone. And so he gave me a trial gig one Monday morning, from the Monday morning set, if I remember correctly, started around five or 6am, and went for two or three hours on a Monday after Sunday nights, which were really big at UK. And I did my trial set. And I was absolutely petrified. I’ve played for four hours, I’d written out the songs that I wanted to play. And I written out about two hours worth of songs and the order that they were going to be played so. And I literally looked up at the audience two times in that four hours. The first time was to check that they were still there. And then the second time again, was to check that there was still people there. I was so scared every time I’d mix a song, I turn around and I’d take calming breaths, almost like Lamaze I’d be calm, pick the next song. It’s okay. Wow,

K Anderson  22:17 

say Okay, help me understand. Now, if you were DJing likes to talk me through the process, because I would assume that you should be paying more attention to the audio. Yeah,

Dan Murphy  22:30 

that’s kind of the job description. Yeah, the DJ booth that downstairs arc was, it’s kind of a little box with a window. That’s about a major high. And it’s a long window that looks out onto the dance floor. And you’re kind of removed from the dance floor, even though it’s right in front of you. So it’s COVID safe. Yeah, very COVID safe. If they ever opened again, it’ll be they won’t need to change anything for COVID. The audience is there, right there. But you can do your thing and kind of be very separate from them.

K Anderson  23:07 

And that’s also good, because then people can’t like bully you to play a song that they want. Yeah, you can’t hear them. Yeah. So tell me more about DJing? Because I’m one of those ignorant people who’s like, well, what is that you just like, put a record on and then spin it and then put another record on. And tell me more about the art of it.

Dan Murphy  23:27 

It’s so weird, because you’re literally the majority of time playing other people’s songs. It’s almost like, I’d say it’s most like being a stand up comedian. You’ve got your set, you’ve got your jokes. But you test the water with your first few jokes in the first five minutes, and see what the crowds responding to and you go, Oh, okay, they like the dirty jokes. Oh, no, they like the more cerebral jokes, and you plan your the rest of your night, the rest of your set in that direction. And that’s what it’s like for DJ and you kind of can watch the DJ who’s playing before you and see which particular songs are working. And then keep heading in that direction and try and steer the dance floor in the direction that you want to go. But you can play the exact same set exactly the same club on two different Saturdays, and it will have completely different response.

K Anderson  24:29 

Ah, so do you plan your set now? Or is it all just I’m just gonna vibe with the room. Yeah, just fine with

Dan Murphy  24:38 

the room. And now that everything’s on USB, the way it’s set up, is you can have almost like iTunes where you have multiple playlists of different types of music. So I’ll have a folder for all the new music I’ve gotten that week. And then I’ll have folders for if I’m doing a background music set, just like chilled out House and then big room bangers and funky house and heavy music and you can just kind of dip into each folder depending on which night it is you’re playing at.

K Anderson  25:12 

And how often does it happen where you’re like, I want to play this song, but I can’t remember what it’s called.

Dan Murphy  25:21 

I don’t know if I’ve had that happen, but I have had that happen with people coming up to ask for that song. As in. Can you play that song that goes dirted? Do you know what it’s called? No. Do you know who sings it? No. Is it a man or woman? I don’t know. Okay. I just normally say yes. And then they come up half an hour later and give me the thumbs up and I’m like, Okay, that was the song.

K Anderson  25:47 

See, that’s like one of my favourite things to do when people can’t remember what the song’s called. And I have to try and figure it out with them. That’s like the best puzzle. I feel like that should like replace the Joker in the newspaper.

Dan Murphy  25:58 

Yeah, almost like true crime except for mystery songs.

K Anderson  26:04 

But that whole thing where it’s like, so is it a man or woman? Like, how much attention are you paying?

Dan Murphy  26:11 

And then it’s exacerbated if their eyes are rolling back in their heads as well that it becomes an added challenge.

K Anderson  26:19 

Yeah, like Yo, you came to me like this, remember this.

Dan Murphy  26:23 

This is a request not mine.

K Anderson  26:27 

You so you did your first set. And it was four hours with a two hour setlist somehow got through it. What what happened from there, we booked in blessed from then on, or

Dan Murphy  26:42 

the owner of Ark or the co owner of Ark at the time, we took a real shine to each other and got on really, really well. And he could tell I was a new DJ and was encouraging me. So I got quite a few gigs at ARC. But about a month into working there. We were having a conversation and he started talking about my time heaven and what sort of music I was playing there and what type of nights I was DJing at there. And that’s when I realised when I told him that I was working at heaven. He thought I was DJing there, but I was working in the t shirt shop selling T shirts and CDs and chop shops and gum. And I didn’t correct him. But I didn’t also lie and say that I was DJing. But I was just very evasive. And when

K Anderson  27:36 

so how do you evade a question? Like what kind of nights were you playing at?

Dan Murphy  27:40 

The? Do you know what it’s so long ago? I can’t remember. Can I use that as an answer? It was very, I just tried to steer the conversation into what was happening at ark and the music that was going on there and what was working and what wasn’t. So

K Anderson  28:04 

you blacked your way in?

Dan Murphy  28:05 

I yeah, I blacked my way in accidentally not on purpose. But when I found out what had happened just rolled with it.

K Anderson  28:13 

That’s a good plan. Good. Good strategy. Yeah.

Dan Murphy  28:16 

And then other venues flowed on from there. I think Stonewall was next. Then manacle, which was after hours across the road from arc, and then midnight shift and yeah, just kind of muscled my way in from side rooms doing like an opening set in a side room or a closing set in a side room and then over the years working my way up.

K Anderson  28:46 

And so what was special about DJing

Dan Murphy  28:49 

oh, gosh, there’s something about the sound system there. It’s really loud, but it’s a gentle sound, if that makes sense. No. So we know when you go to a club, and they’ve got like a tinny speaker and it’s up way too loud. And just it’s really grating whatever that is, it’s the opposite of that. It’s like a warm hug. Like you

K Anderson  29:16 

can feel it in your bones and it’s this vibration of music.

Dan Murphy  29:20 

Yeah, yeah. And there’s a there are certain spots downstairs as well. But particularly Upstairs there are certain a couple of sweet spots where you just stand and it’s just the perfect spot for the music to surround you. And if you’ve had a couple of drinks and your favourite song comes on it’s it’s heaven.

K Anderson  29:41 

But not having the nightclub you’re not having the nightclub.

Dan Murphy  29:46 

Having with the pearly gates.

K Anderson  29:48 

I’m okay, we’ve got enough. What else did we have to talk about?

Dan Murphy  29:53 

I do remember when we first when I first moved to Sydney and we were going out we’d spend so long Knock, it would stay open for 24 hours a day on the weekend, and oh my goodness dance upstairs, and then they would push all everybody upstairs, clean downstairs and then push everybody downstairs, clean upstairs and then reopen upstairs. So the nightclub just stayed open the whole time. And he just kept on dancing. Luckily, I lived across the road so we could go home and shower and change freshen up. But you’d see people there in the same outfit on the Monday that they were wearing on the Friday. And it’s like,

K Anderson  30:35 

wow,

Dan Murphy  30:37 

might be tired.

K Anderson  30:38 

Have you ever done that? Just being in a club that loan?

Dan Murphy  30:40 

No. In the 2000s I used to DJ everywhere. So it’d be like a Friday night, Saturday morning, Saturday night, Saturday morning, Sunday morning, Sunday afternoon, Sunday night. So I’d kind of be in all these clubs. But in between, I’d go home and get two or three hours sleep, have a shower change and then go back to The Club. So yeah, it was not possible for me to spend that long, consecutively. Yeah.

K Anderson  31:13 

That’s like incredible. Yeah. And then those people would go to work, right? Yeah.

Dan Murphy  31:18 

Monday morning, straight out of Ark. I, myself, I called in sick from the foyer dock. On Monday morning. When I first moved to Sydney, I worked at Australia Post in the complaints department. And there are a lot of complaints. So there were coming through. And I Australia Post wasn’t a career goal for me. So I was not that dedicated to the job. Yeah, I’d call in sick on Monday mornings from the foyer, even though in the background, you could hear the music pumping, I always say, Gastro, and the dance floor, but so many people would do that. Run out onto the street call in sick and then back on the dance floor again.

K Anderson  32:05 

Oh, wow. So Ark is closed very, very recently. Yeah. Tell me a bit about it. It closed

Dan Murphy  32:13 

down with a pandemic, like all the venues. And when everything opened at Easter time, it was going to be renovated and open. But then we had another lockdown that lasted four or five months. And then it was put up for sale quite publicly as well. And there was community outcry thinking, Oh, no, this club that we’ve had for over 20 years is going to be turned into apartments, which is what everything else in Sydney has been turned into.

K Anderson  32:45 

But there’s still some kind of mystery around art Cray, like there’s not been any official statement.

Dan Murphy  32:50 

Yeah, it was put up for sale. There was interest, and then we don’t know anything. After that. We know is there hasn’t been any announcement that it’s been sold. So we don’t know if it’s still in negotiations or if it’s not being sold or, or what’s happening.

K Anderson  33:11 

Okay, so. So what was your reaction then when you found out that it was that this was happening? It’s weird.

Dan Murphy  33:19 

It’s a nightclub, but it holds. It’s a safe space for all of us. And it has been a safe space for decades and holds so many memories and so many treasured memories, I would say for so many people that it and it is so rare as well. So to feel like we’re losing that. After losing all these other clubs and bars, it was just like, oh God, are we going to have anything left? Or are we just is the gay thing going to shrivel up and die? Is it going to disappear?

K Anderson  33:54 

But so what was your personnel response?

Dan Murphy  33:57 

I was shocked and didn’t believe it was funny because the rumour that it was being sold came out. It was unsubstantiated. And then the venue actually knocked it back and said no, we’re not selling and then a few months later, it was announced that it was up for sale. So it’s yeah, it’s this weird feeling of feeling like you’re going to lose this big part of your history and it’s more than just a venue to me it’s really special, magical place that has made for me dreams come true, but also make great friends. They’re great relationships and and I’m just one person of 10s of 1000s of people that would have that same feeling about this bar. I think Sydney is a bit like London where a lot of people from regional areas flocked to see because that’s where we find our tribe and our people. And we’re here we all flocked to Ark because it’s, it’s the beacon.

K Anderson  35:09 

And so what did that venue teach you about yourself?

Dan Murphy  35:14 

What did it teach me about myself? I guess that work wise and DJ wise it taught me everything I know about DJing, I would say so how to how to go from DJing in a box with a pre planned set and look up at the audience two times in four hours to now being able to walk into the DJ box and feel at home and feel like this is going to be a magical night and we’re going to have so much fun together.

K Anderson  35:49 

Do you have any memories of Arq, or clubbing from your own queer scene that you want to share? Well, if you have please get in touch – I want to create the biggest online record of people’s memories and stories – go to http://www.lostspacespodcast.com and find the section ‘Share a Lost Space’ and tell me what you got up to! Bonus points for embarrassing photos!

You can also find me on Facebook (www.facebook.com/lostspacespod), Instagram (www.instagram.com/lostspacespod) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/lostspacespod)

Follow Dan on Twitter (https://twitter.com/DJDanMurphy) and Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/DJDanMurphy/)

Lost Spaces is not only a podcast, but a concept record as well. I’ve been writing songs about queer venues and the people who used to live their lives there and will be releasing songs over the next year. You can hear the first single, Well Groomed Boys, which is also playing underneath my talking right now, on all streaming platforms.

If you liked this episode I’d really appreciate if you subscribe, leave a review on your podcast platform, or just tell people that you think might be interested!

I am K Anderson, and you’ve been listening to Lost Spaces