Growing up in Melbourne’s outer suburbs he still remembers the long train ride he’d take to journey in to the city and explore queer nightlife…
The place that’s left the strongest impression on him is The Greyhound Hotel (or, as it came to be known, The GH), which was in the seaside area of St Kilda, and which was closed in 2017 to make way for luxury apartments.
We talk all about taking your straight female friends out dancing, seeing drag for the first time, and we even have a little lesson in Aussie slang.
For more on The Greyhound check out my conversation with Dean Arcuri.
Reese Williams 0:00
We kind of ended up next to this group of guys on the dance floor. And then I think they might have accidentally bumped into us and then one of them turned around and said, ‘Oh my god, I love your dress. That is such a cute dress, you look so great. Like well done, girl! You look amazing’ And she just going, she just turns me and goes, ‘I love this place!’
K Anderson 0:17
Hello, 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. My guest this week is Rhys Williams, who is the host of the not another drag race podcast. If you follow me on social media, you’ll have seen this week that I was the guest on his show, spouting my ill informed opinions about last week’s episode of drag race UK, and now it’s time to return the favour. Rhys grew up in Melbourne’s outer suburbs and still remembers the long train ride that he would take to come into the city and explore queer nightlife. The place that’s left the strongest impression on him is the Greyhound hotel, or as it came to be known that GH, which was in the seaside area of St Kilda, and which was closed in 2017. To make way for Yeah, you guessed it, luxury apartments brilliant, just what the world needs. We took all about taking your straight female friends out dancing, seeing drag for the first time, and we even have a little lesson in Ozzy slang. Oh, and before we get into the episode, thank you to everyone who responded to let me know what your favourite musical was, and especially to Allen, who reminded me of the South Park movie. But at the same time, Allen, I have to say that I’ve had Blame Canada stuck in my head for the last few days. And that’s kind of annoying. So this week’s question for people who are listening on Spotify is a very simple one. Who is your favourite drag queen? You can answer that question on the episode description within your app. And if you’re not on Spotify, just get in touch with me on social media and let me know there. My profile is lost spaces pod. And I’m on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Right? Let’s get into the episode.
K Anderson 3:04
So I have known people in the past who have lived like really far away from wherever the scene is, and who have like caught the train in and then planned it so that they would hook up with someone and then get to stay at their house. And that that’s the like the mission that they’ve had that entire evening. Like they have to find someone to hook up with to then go home with because yeah, the train the trains won’t be running by the time that they finished. Have you ever done that?
Reese Williams 3:35
I honestly no. I am very weird. I’m like this today. If I do hook up with someone at their place. I never stay there. I’d much rather at the end of
K Anderson 3:48
Oh, that’s, that’s totally sensible. Like, how do you sleep? Like, how can anyone do that? It’s so weird.
Reese Williams 3:57
I know. It’s I feel like it would have been though I shouldn’t have been like that. When I was younger, because Because yeah, it would have helped would have helped with my commutes it would have helped with maybe getting more sexual experience as well, because there are some things you can do in a bed that you just can’t do in a cubicle at the peel. Yeah, I mean, I couldn’t shake it. It’s just who I was. I was definitely. And I feel like this might be the case today just in a different way. But I mean, I’m 30 years old now. But when I was 2021, even though I was always the outgoing kid, and I always was the one that people just, I never had a filter. I never even though deep down I did care what people thought of me. Somehow I couldn’t relay that to my physical being and I just would end up just being myself and I couldn’t help it to a point where I thought it was a detriment. But there was there’s just always been However, despite all that one part of me that was just, there are just some things that were too uncomfortable for me And that was going out alone that was talking to guys in bars and flirting with them that was going to their place to hook up with them. And so much so that that I think maybe when I was 2324, and I had a few more years under my belt, being in the queer community, and still living in the suburbs, living with my dad, I would find myself instead of hooking up with guys in bars, I would go to cruising venues or sex on premises venues and just hang out there for a few hours to get my to get my what’s the what’s the expression?
K Anderson 5:39
Reese Williams 5:42
Probably will go with that to get my head scratched. No, now I wanted to get my fill
K Anderson 5:46
to get your fill. Yeah, I see what you did there. So then, have you gotten better at flirting? I’m always up for like flirting tips, if you want to give me advice.
Reese Williams 5:57
I yes or no, I’m really happy when I meet new people. If I feel there is an attraction there. I never assume they’re attracted to me. So I don’t necessarily flirt. And I don’t necessarily suggest, let’s keep talking because I might go home with you. I’m just I’m just a free wheel or in a deal. I like I just if the conversation is good, let’s keep talking. And if we’re having a good time, why stop? I never assume anything, when I’m meeting guys out. And I can honestly tell you it’s been a while since that’s happened, because this pandemic has really messed with my my ability to just go out and meet people.
K Anderson 6:38
Have you found your social skills are reverting?
Reese Williams 6:43
no, I, the honest to God, truth is it’s me. It’s not my, it’s not my social skills that are writing, it’s my
K Anderson 6:51
mic, everything about you.
Reese Williams 6:53
It’s everything about me, I’m just, I’m a lost cause forget about me, I’m just gonna stay home for the rest of my life. No, I don’t think my social skills are any different or in any way worse. It’s just that I don’t feel the desire to make it happen at the moment. And long story short, we only just got out in Melbourne from very serious lockdown early three weeks ago, or maybe four weeks ago now. So and you know, restrictions are very slowly getting it easy. So West, we’re still not back to normal. If we go out to a bar, we can’t dance yet. We have to book a table and tables are very separate and capacity limits exist. But honestly, even in a few weeks time when we can dance again. And things are we don’t have to wear masks inside anymore. I’m I’m very happy for all of us that we’re going to be able to get back to that because we’re all vaccinated now. But personally, I’m not really happy with where I’m at, in terms of myself as a person meant mentally and physically. And my confidence is a little eroded more than anything. I think my social skills are probably like they always have been because like I said, I’ve always been an outgoing, no filter, can’t control myself, no matter what kind of guy. But it’s the fact that I don’t want to put myself in that position anytime soon. And I think that’s the thing that’s tripping me up the most. And that’s the thing I need to get over.
K Anderson 8:24
So you feel like more vulnerable?
Reese Williams 8:27
I would say so yeah, I definitely feel more vulnerable. I know. I probably I’m probably overthinking most of it, to be honest with you. Because when you’re locked down in your own home and you live alone, for as long as we have in Melbourne, which has been the most lockdown city in the world. Yeah, yeah, those kinds of thoughts can creep in you overthink things you might not. Yeah, just in general, you might not be the person you were before, before the pandemic and I think I think that’s okay, it’s just we need to be, I would like people to respect that it is going to be a lot harder for some people to readjust. And so I’m hoping that’s the case. But I don’t exactly have a lot of confidence that that is going to be the case for me because a lot of people in my life are very, like, let’s go out again, we’re doing mimosas at Molly’s on Sundays, and then we’ve got drag happening after that. And then we can go down to circuit for more drag shows. And I’ve got friends who are like, let’s go out to dinner on this night. Let’s catch up. And I’m just like, honest to God, I don’t really want to be around people right now. And that goes also for being around men and meeting up with men, not just in bars, but on dating apps and stuff. I’m just not in that place at the moment. I even had someone messaged me who I actually know who was like, like I think your heart I think you’ll get some was very complimentary. And I was like, Thank you for saying that. That’s very nice of you. However, I can’t muster it up right now. I’m definitely sexual. I can have a wink. I can get the engine, the engine running
K Anderson 9:58
just in case anyone was not sure
Reese Williams 10:01
Yeah, I need everyone to be 100% aware, because I don’t want anyone to assume the worst. but honest to god, it’s just the idea of being with another person right now in all situations, not just socially, but intimately. I’m just not in that place right now. And honestly, honestly, I don’t know when it’s going to happen. I don’t want to rush things. But I think it’s just a matter of having to feel confident again. And yeah, I just hope people, there are a lot of people in my position, I just hoped were respectful of that, really. And I really hope that we don’t, we don’t necessarily judge or hold people accountable, because they’re doing things different to the way people before us might have been doing them. As long as honestly, as long as people are doing things that aren’t detrimental to their life. Just let them do it. Like we’re all trying to get through this this whole life thing and for the past few years, it’s been really difficult for literally all of us like there’s not a single person in this world who was not been impacted unless you’re super right all of this and oh, yeah, if you can still manage to fly to any other country you want on a private jet and live in New McMansion and have your stuff not even come within six feet of yours. Socially distanced, anyway.
K Anderson 11:19
Yeah, your grand, and you probably made a fuck tonne of money as well. Oh,
Reese Williams 11:26
yeah, there’s that.
K Anderson 11:27
Sorry. I didn’t know why I took us to this dark place. No, you’re asking about we were talking about drag queens. We were talking about having sex in a toilet cubicle at The Peel.
Reese Williams 11:40
Yeah, plenty of those stories.
K Anderson 11:43
Oh, well, I mean, keeping it on theme. Were there any sex in cubicle stories at The Greyhound?
Reese Williams 11:51
Um, I don’t think so. Not at the Greyhound No. There are plenty of making out with boys on the dance floor stories. There are plenty of boys making out with you and then offering you poppers. I did remember one time that I was there. I was there for my birthday. And I think I did the VIP booth thing. And my friends were watching me make out with the guy. And when I turned around to go back to them, because that’s what you do when you’re out with your friends. They’re all just like squealing and looking at me and I’m like, can you not applaud me for being sexual? Like, you do realise I’d be fucking like, you don’t know, I’ve probably slept with more people than all of you put together. This is weird. But that’s just
K Anderson 12:37
me. So before before that response? Isn’t it weird making out knowing that your friends can see you?
Reese Williams 12:43
Um, at that point, I didn’t really care because a cute boy wanted to make out with me because he heard it was my birthday. So like, whatever.
K Anderson 12:50
That’s not that’s not the reason he wanted to make out with you
Reese Williams 12:54
know, he was already like, like flirting. But then my friend mentioned it was my birthday. And then he was like, oh my god, I must must make out with you for a birthday present. But I mean, I would have I would have preferred some head. But
K Anderson 13:09
I mean, did you ask?
Reese Williams 13:13
The toilets at okay, fine. I’ll concede that point. But the toilets at the GH were not as easy to hook up in as other venues like The Peel which is the trashy, long standing queer venue in Melbourne. I shouldn’t say queer venue. I’ll just say gay male venue because they really don’t like you unless you are a gay male. So it’s a little easier to get a gobby at The Peel then. Ah,
K Anderson 13:38
ah, gobby! Ah, are there any other Australian slang terms for sex that I need to learn?
Reese Williams 13:45
Honestly, I don’t even use the word gobby. It’s just something that like trashy Gen Z’ders say. So. No, honestly, that’s the only one I know. Other. What are some other sex? I’m sure there are some but I’m I’m not the suburban trash that I was when I was 21. I’m a I’m a refined city living.
K Anderson 14:03
You can take the man out of the suburbs, but you can’t take the suburbs out of the man. Yeah, I’m scared. That’s gonna be true. So I’m looking at up Australian English sexual terms. Right, bugger. I mean that’s, you know, that’s not that interesting.
Reese Williams 14:18
Oh, yeah. Like I’m gonna I’m gonna bugger you. Yeah.
K Anderson 14:21
Crack. Oh, here’s one crack a fat.
Reese Williams 14:25
I’m pretty sure that is get an erection. Is that not?
K Anderson 14:28
Yes, yes. Oh, well, let’s turn this into a quiz. All right. Okay, so the next one. Franger, Franger. Oh, not generally used in Melbourne. So you wouldn’t know what this is? It’s condom.
Reese Williams 14:43
Okay, because Franger is the nickname for a town in Victoria.
K Anderson 14:48
Oh, I should have I should have read it. Yes. All right. Okay, so gobby, you’ve already said that one. Oh, in the nuddy.
Reese Williams 14:55
Oh, isn’t that just being in the nude?
K Anderson 14:59
Yeah. Pash, that’s My favourite.
Reese Williams 15:01
Easy that’s just a good solid makeout Yeah, there was actually a song by an Aussie artist who I don’t think is even alive. I don’t even know she’s alive anymore. She
K Anderson 15:11
she is alive just like oh she she’s not famous. She must be dead. Yeah,
Reese Williams 15:16
last I saw of her she was on the Masked Singer.
K Anderson 15:19
Right. So this one a poly waffle.
Reese Williams 15:26
That’s awkward. A poly waffle is the name of a like a candy but yeah,
K Anderson 15:30
but it’s also apparently
Reese Williams 15:34
people putting candy bars up there cooches?
K Anderson 15:36
know apparently Polly waffle is the term for a brothel.
Reese Williams 15:40
Oh pulleys that’s that’s honestly that sounds more British to me because you guys over there love to do that thing where you make rhyming things? Like sub subsequent names for other things.
K Anderson 15:52
Yeah, but poly waffle doesn’t rhyme with brothel. Oh, yeah, it does. Okay. But we don’t have poly waffles here. Poly waffles are disgusting. Anyway, so let’s do this. Just two more in this quiz. You’ll get this one very easily root.
Oh, yeah. Have a fuck.
Yeah. Cool. And if dear listener, you want to ever say that something is fucked from things like that. Something’s over. Something’s done. You say it’s rooted. Oh, that’s rooted rooted. And then finally, Sprog
Reese Williams 16:30
honest to God. I have no idea.
K Anderson 16:33
You know what Sprog is
Reese Williams 16:35
it sounds like a term that would be used by like people in like the fucking country. I don’t not that I’m talking down people from the country. I family from the country. Sprog what’s Sprog
K Anderson 16:49
Sprog is semen. But you would also like talk about your children as though they were your Sprog. So you know, your child is just an extension of your semen. Like who cares about the egg grey? Yeah.
Reese Williams 17:05
Have you ever heard that honey? Honey, we just call it cum. No,
K Anderson 17:10
who never heard? Ah,
Reese Williams 17:12
no, we just call it Counter Strike. Oh, come on. If we do a nonsexual version of slang terms, I’m pretty sure I could wipe the floor with you as
K Anderson 17:24
well. You just like you didn’t do very well on this quiz. I have to say,
Reese Williams 17:28
Oh, what do I need to do to prove that I’m Australian? shove a jar Vegemite up my arse?
K Anderson 17:34
Well, I mean, you could.. I’m up for that.
Reese Williams 17:40
Yeah, you can check out my OnlyFans
K Anderson 17:43
ah, oh, okay. Just like this isn’t part of the quiz. But I just saw piss fart around. That’s a very Australian term.
Reese Williams 17:52
Oh, yeah. Piss fart around. Like you’re just you’re just going around wasting time.
K Anderson 17:57
procrastinating. Yeah. What were we talking about? Oh, I wanted to go back a little bit and talk about you at 18 Going out with your mates not being gay not being out. Was that going to those, like, I’m gonna sound very judgmental here was that going to those like horrible straight bars full of like, girls in short dresses with fake tans and men who were kind of outmacho-ing each other.
Reese Williams 18:31
First of all, you do not sound horrible for saying that you sound correct. That is exactly what it is. That’s what it always has been. I mean, yeah, I grew up in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne, going out on a Friday or Saturday night was going out to Orange Whip or going out to even just your local hotel who do clubs in the hotels that are only there just because they have the space. And they’re like, let’s turn this into a club. So they put up a few strobe lights. And they build a bar and they just say people will come here and they do. Because people out there no offence to my fellow brethren who live back where I grew up. But that’s where you go. Because you don’t feel the need to go any further out. You don’t feel the need to go into the city to have a good time. It might be a nuisance if you want to drink and you can’t drive in there. So what you have to get public transport or you have to get an Uber, which costs some money. And yeah, I think it’s perfectly fine if people want to hang out where they live, and you can have a good night out with your friends and maybe some good music. And of course, every single pub venue in Australia has a house band. That’ll do all the hits. Like every Bon Jovi song you can think of and even Smash Mouth.
K Anderson 19:45
But even Smash Mouth. Yeah,
Reese Williams 19:49
yeah, for me that just wasn’t it from 1819 My friends who I was friends with in high school, we’d meet up we’d catch up and we would have some pre’s at home and just go out to the Local and honest to god, I never really enjoyed it. I never enjoyed spending a lot of energy spending a lot of money, and drinking a lot to be around people that don’t make me feel comfortable. And that’s exactly what it was kind of like, I didn’t have anyone in my life who was LGBTQI. And I feel like I’m acting as though I grew up in the frickin 30s. But no, this was only like 2009 to 2012 when I was becoming an adult and going through all that stuff.
K Anderson 20:34
And so at this point, were you like, Hey, I’m heterosexual, or did you know you were gay?
Reese Williams 20:41
I definitely knew I was into men. I was for a while I was figuring out if I did like women. And so I would still hook up with girls. I would. I wouldn’t. I’ve never had sex with a woman. But I have definitely hooked up with a few girls just because of my comms just seeing where things are going. And for a while there, I thought well, maybe I am bisexual. Because I genuinely thought this is how long how undeveloped my brain was. I shouldn’t say underdeveloped How? How a complete lack of understanding of how a person is LGBTQI I thought we were just naturally wired to be that way. And if you eventually find out that you don’t like the opposite sex. Good, that’s fine. I understood what being what being gay meant. I just genuinely thought I had to be someone who liked women. And looking back that sounds ridiculous. Because no, I don’t know. I do not. I absolutely do not. But
K Anderson 21:39
so it wasn’t like a shame thing. Like it wasn’t like, oh, no, I can’t be gay. It was just like, well, of course, I’m gonna be heterosexual.
Reese Williams 21:47
Oh, yeah. No, yeah, it was it was there was definitely a lot of shame in it. Because I had no reason to believe it was okay to be a man who likes men, despite my early exposure to a Being Will and Grace, which I still maintain is one of the best shows of all time, not just because of what it did for the queer community. But just because it’s a great show. That was literally my only exposure to anything, not heterosexual. And growing up, I really did. It was pretty clear that people thought I was. And so every single time someone accused me of it, part of me had to be like, Well, I have to defend myself and say, I’m not because apparently being gay, which means you’re different means automatically, it’s a bad thing. There’s a negative connotation to it. And I had absolutely no reason, no reason at all to believe that it could be a positive thing. So if I did like men, eventually I’d had to find my way to accepting that. But I still wanted to like women. But that only that ain’t happening hasn’t been happening for a while.
K Anderson 22:52
Yeah. So in this, like, first going out onto the queer scene, like had you come out at this point? Or was it like a secretive thing? Like I’m just gonna go and investigate?
Reese Williams 23:04
A little bit? I think I was maybe add to some friends. But I didn’t come out to my dad until the night of my 21st birthday party.
K Anderson 23:12
So was that because you were very drunk? Or was it because you were like, it’s my birthday. And you have to be nice to me.
Reese Williams 23:20
I mean, I don’t think I was thinking about that at the time, but it is, it is a good time to come out. People have to be nice to you on your birthday. No, honestly, um, I had some gay friends actually come to my birthday party that night. And okay, even on the way home, my dad was talking about how friendly they were. And he knew that did he
K Anderson 23:37
do it in inverted commas? Like, oh, they’re very friendly.
Reese Williams 23:43
No, honestly, he might have made that connection. I’m not even sure. But I just said that my friends from Twitter, and back then he had no idea what that meant, at all. Sorry. I mean, I had friends from all over the place that he never met friends from university friends from high school friends from just around. So yeah, it wasn’t that much of a leap to have friends who were gay, who were at my birthday party. But no, I came out that night because I don’t know. I just something happened in me where I was like, Wait, my gay friends did come to my birthday. People seem to enjoy them. They got along with my dad. My dad was very complimentary. I don’t know, I just at the end of the night, I was just sitting at home and he was tidying up and I just sat down and I was a bit emotional. And he wanted to ask what was wrong, but and then I just said, Alright, fine, fuck it. I’ll just do this thing where I tell him that I’m gay. And he was extremely accepting. And I think he acted maybe more shocked than he was. But I also don’t think he thought about it that much. I think he just knew me as meeting. And I think that a lot of parents, I’ve heard a lot of stories about parents having that weird relationship with their children where they’re just like, Oh, if I think about it, yeah, they probably are. queer LGBTQI maybe that is maybe that that, but they don’t really think about it because they just know that children to be who they are. So, yeah, I don’t think he might have been a little shocked, because he hadn’t had to really think about it. But yeah, I mean, he gave me a big hug. And that was kind of it. I didn’t really have a big coming out anyone else in my life? I don’t think I even came out to my friends. I think they just knew. And eventually when I started inviting them to gay bars, that was probably the demo and they thought, oh, yeah, definitely.
K Anderson 25:32
And so we’ve completely derailed the question I was asking was about like, the first time going out onto the scene. Was that like a secretive? Ooh, yes. Ah, so what was the first like, do you remember the first time you went somewhere?
Reese Williams 25:46
I remember. The first time I actually stepped foot into a gay bar might have been it might not have been the GH actually it might have been circuit, which is a club that still exists on Smith Street Collingwood that I actually live, very decent walking distance from nowadays. So we’ve come full circle. But I was actually hosting a gig at the bar next door called Yayas. I was hosting a gig because I was doing music at at uni. So that night, I think everyone that I was in class with had left the night was kind of wrapping up, it wasn’t really the show anymore, it was back to normal Yayas. And I just was like, fuck it. I just walked into the gay bar. And I had a few guys talk to me. And that was weird. Because I was like, Okay, what do they want? Which I understand at the time is understandable for someone so inexperienced. But no, it’s probably just meant that they wanted to say hi. Or they thought you were cute, and they wanted to fuck. Either way. It’s not a bad thing. That yeah, that was pretty much my I think that was my first time. It’s just that it wasn’t anything because I don’t really remember doing much other than having a drink and talking to some guys, but I wasn’t there for very long at all. But the first time I went to the GH was definitely a bit more secretive. I was actually kind of shocked at how great a venue it was. Because remember, this was post renovation. It was very large. It had a lot of chill areas with lounges like you go upstairs and there’s lounges everywhere and seats and an upstairs cocktail bar and a VIP section that that overlooks the main dance floor and the big stage where they did all the drag shows. And I just, I’d never seen drag queens before. And I didn’t even expect for that to be a thing if that makes total any sense whatsoever. I didn’t think gay clubs would necessarily focus on that, to be honest with you, which is stupid.
K Anderson 27:41
But you knew what a drag queen was?
Reese Williams 27:44
Yes, I knew what a drag queen was. And I knew that there was a show that all my gay friends were obsessed with called RuPaul’s Drag Race. They were the ones who were like, oh my god, drag race this drag race that and because I was even though I was gay, I wasn’t limp wrist gay. I thought I was better because I didn’t watch that show. What a fool. I was thinking that I was any way better than any other person in general. But then I could be a better gay man for not watching RuPaul drag race. The greatest show of all time.
K Anderson 28:13
Isn’t that interesting? Because they were you were talking about Will and Grace before I remember when Will and Grace came out. I was a bit like, Jack is just such a stereotype. I just don’t like I just can’t get on. And so I’ve never watched Will and Grace. Really? Yeah.
Reese Williams 28:29
That’s interesting. Have you had many people say, when you say that, Oh, you should check it out because of this or this or this. Like if people tried to convince you
K Anderson 28:38
know, I think people recognise how stubborn I am.
Reese Williams 28:44
Okay, moving on then.
K Anderson 28:46
Because I think the other thing like it wasn’t just like because Jack was so like, stereotypically gay. I think it was because I have this perception that Will was sexless. And that actually, both of them were sexless. And I was a bit like, well, what the fuck is the point?
Reese Williams 29:00
Oh, I can I can understand that. I think I’m considering it was a half hour sitcom. There wasn’t a lot of sex. In general, like even Grace, when she had a sex life, he didn’t really see much of it. I think you did a little bit I remember one relationship in particular was pretty sex based but um, like with with Jack and and Will, Jack would always joke about the many men he slept with and the many boyfriends he had. And Will was more of a relationship guy like the show started when he was getting out of it like a 10 year relationship or something. And he was definitely more the straight gay man. So I do understand why some people might be like, there’s not a lot of value in it. But I think just the fact that there was such an extremely successful popular show like that, that did feature a gay man who was the more cliche homosexual that people kind of characters caricature eyes Is that even a word? I’m going to make it a word and the gay character that is gay But isn’t quote in your face about it that’s not a quote I would use that’s a quote dumb people would use. So I understand that some people might be a little I don’t know I there’s there’s a lot of hesitation I think about the way it represents gay men. But for me, it really did make me like hearing my parents laugh hysterically, at things that Jack was doing, or even gay jokes actually gave me for the first time thought that oh my god, could this could this whole being gay thing not be an absolute disaster? Am I gonna actually be able to live a life without being condemned to hell? And live with Satan? Because my mother was a religious moron? No, like, maybe maybe there is hope. And that Honest, honest to God, that show really was the first time I was able to experience anything queer, and have it have it be the main kind of the main thing of the show, but eventually be such a sub plotline, like people watch the show, because it was funny, not because there were gay characters on it. And that’s what made the show so successful. And so many episodes I could think of the whole subject of sexuality wasn’t even brought up. Because these characters were just being whole areas. And that as well, I was also a huge friends fan. And I think most people in the world are so having a show that’s kind of like friends, but also have that sub storyline of diversity, which is a word I don’t even I don’t even think I knew that word. When I was younger, watching willing grace, but um, yeah, it’s, it’s, it was such a great comfort for me, it was that’s what it was, it was a comfort show, while also being wildly hilarious. So I do recommend giving it a go. But I’m not going to force anyone to watch anything, because I’ve been one of those people. I am one of those people who constantly have people saying, I can’t believe you’ve never seen Breaking Bad or Game of Thrones. And I’m like, Bitch, I don’t want to
K Anderson 32:02
the whole thing about TV discovery and music discovery and all that it’s so interesting, that we like there are some people that you’ll listen to the recommendations from this some people that you won’t, there’s this kind of weird thing where you’re like, I want to discover things on my own. And so like, if someone suggests something to you, or like, No, I’m just not interested. Like they just put you off something rather than encourages you to watch it. 100% And then like 15 years after something’s big, big suddenly you’ll discover it and it will be like, Ah, I didn’t anyone tell me about this. And then all your friends are like, credited?
Reese Williams 32:39
Yep, very much.
K Anderson 32:41
So anyway, so drag queens, this was your first time seeing a drag queen. So what was Yeah, their response?
Reese Williams 32:49
Honestly, I mean, I really did like it I was entertained. And that’s the whole reason drag queens exists, it’s to entertain you and and do so without adhering to traditional entertainments structures. It’s to do so by by shocking you by introducing camp by introducing a whole other realm of ways to entertain people that you kind of aren’t supposed to get away with. But nowadays you kind of do because drag is so popular now. Probably thanks to a show like ripples drag race, and honestly, I just remember being entertained and being so like, this is great. I didn’t think I didn’t think I would love it as much as I do today. But back then going to a gay bar and seeing a drag queen became the exciting thing to do. It became something I was excited to show my friends. Like my girlfriends who live in the suburb I remember the first night I asked them Do you want to go to GH it’s this it’s this club that I love and I think you’d have a good time they were down to go into the city I was just like let’s go instead of going to fucking Crown which is where all the suburban people go when they want to go into the city
K Anderson 34:00
or which is the casino we need to say
Reese Williams 34:03
yes, the big casino owned by James Packer who’s that recently got into a lot of trouble for breaking a lot of laws there’s that but if we want to you know spread our wings a little bit try something different I’d love to take you to G H and you guys can see what a gay club is like and see a show because they do shows and that was exciting because no bar that they went to ever did shows if what the only shows they saw were the fucking cover band doing Bon Jovi. So
K Anderson 34:31
and smash mouth
Reese Williams 34:35
But I remember that the moment I was waiting for them to get ready and they were just like, alright, we’ll go and I’m like yes. And not kidding you. As soon as we walked in there were a little miffed about the fact that it’s back entry. GH were a little annoying with the fact that you have to pay I think $20 entry
K Anderson 34:50
Reese Williams 34:53
Yes, that was the big of going there. But I remember distinctly my One of my friends wore like a really great dress that she bought for her sister’s birthday. She was like, I want to wear this out because it’s a great dress. And we got our drinks, went straight to the dance floor, it was still kind of earlier. She wasn’t packed, it ended up getting a lot busier. But we kind of ended up next to this group of guys on the dance floor. And then I think they might have accidentally bumped into us. And then one of them turned around and said, Oh my god, I love your dress. That is such a cute, you look so great. Like well done, girl. You look amazing. And she just going, she just turns me and goes,
K Anderson 35:34
I love this. I was able to Derek, and I’m
Reese Williams 35:40
like, Yeah, this is this is one of those places. That’s literally all. They had a drink in their hand and they got a massive compliment. That’s all they needed. And then they stuck around and we watch the shows, we watch the drag queens, we watched the Boylesque. And that was really something that I had never experienced before either. And I just felt so I just felt relieved that my first time I went to this place with my my friends who knew me when I was 15. And probably clearly homosexual but wasn’t allowed to say anything. Because we went to a Christian school, there’s an added caveat that they were enjoying themselves. And it was it was just so refreshing. And so like, I could exhale a little bit.
K Anderson 36:18
Mm hmm. And do you remember hearing about the Greyhound closing?
Reese Williams 36:23
I do. Honestly, it wasn’t surprising in the slightest, because the events that led to it were really disappointing. The club that I experienced for many years in my early 20s Wasn’t the club that it was anymore. It did change ownership and that ownership to my knowledge, what not LGBTQI persons. They just they saw it as a business transaction. And that kind of bled into the life of the club. They had removed the DJ who had been there for many, many, many years, every Friday night, and usually on Saturdays as well. They had completely changed the entertainment. Also, the entertainment itself had changed hands. And the show, the show wasn’t what it used to be. They it was there was no drag queens a part of it, which was disappointing, because the GH was a great opportunity for drag artists to to gain some experience. They had a smaller room at the front, which when the club was opened was an r&b room and that was sick. But on other nights during the week, it would be bingo or it would be the other shit that drag queens. The other games that dragon is there. I just love seeing that that great talent on stage at the GH it was such a huge stage as well. And it just was a great place to get to know your local queens and to have that removed so that a bunch of boys in scantily clad outfits could do some more dance routines. And at one point even I remember I think it might have been one of the last times I went to the GH some friends of mine went because we usually do and for some reason the boiler show turned into a an acoustic number. One of the guys played a guitar another guy sat on stage in shirtless but with a tie on. And they just did an acoustic rendition of a David Guetta song. I think it was Titanium. And I just was like, what exactly is this? Good for you for trying new things. It’s been a few years you want to refresh your show? Who am I to say you can’t refresh and change things up and try things and see what the audience thinks. Of course, you should do that. But you’re ignoring the very community that kept that club strong, even with a $20 entry fee. Even with it being pretty we’re not far out from the City, St Kilda is pretty close to the city but not as close as other queer clubs in the city that people would go to purpose they would go to that area of Melbourne to go to the G H. It really was disappointing to see so many changes. And to see it pretty clearly in the in the crowd. It wasn’t as busy as it used to be. And when the news came that it was closing down and it was it was sold to a developer who ended up putting up a bunch of apartments. To this day. I don’t think I’ve gone to that intersection. In St Kilda where the GH was I think the apartments have been done for a while but I’ve never seen them. I don’t have no business going to St Kilda because I live north of the river. I it just it wasn’t surprising at all. And it was so disappointing that that was the end of that iconic venue not just an iconic venue for the community of Melbourne like an iconic Club. It was used in music videos, it was used like it was using a Killing Heidi music video. It was used for a lot of television, it’s just that was one thing. But the queer community really found itself in that venue and a lot of queer people found themselves in that venue, and I’m one of those people. And it was just really disappointing that that’s how that story had to end. And we eventually found our way elsewhere and went to north of the river to Smith Street. And that’s where so many of the iconic clubs exists now. And I, I’m sure there are plenty of young gay people in the city who never even heard of the, of the GH, the Greyhound, and don’t understand how incredible it was. But unfortunately, that’s just the way life goes. And these spaces apparently can’t last forever.
K Anderson 40:59
So, to round up, to round up to close up to end the conversation. If you could give one piece of advice to that 20 year old race that was going through the front door of a Greyhound, what would you tell him?
Reese Williams 41:21
Honestly, I would tell him, I would tell him to enjoy the people he’s around, I would tell him not to worry too much about the people he’s around. I think part of me might have thoughts. Because as I mentioned earlier, I wasn’t confident enough to just meet people and maybe flirt with guys and go home with them. I would probably just tell him, this isn’t as scary as you think it is like these are. You’re not just here with friends that you met from Twitter, or just around who are who are like you, more people are like you than you think. And you should probably stop thinking so much about what it means for you. But how there are other people in the same situation as you who you could probably relate to, and might have good experiences and good relationships with as outgoing as I was, I was also a bit closed off. And I didn’t open myself up to new types of people very often. And my friend groups that I established were kind of the ones I stuck with. And I think yeah, if I if I could tell 20 year old race, anything it would be just don’t be afraid to spread your wings a bit more, because you’re already doing it. You went to a queer venue and you want to go to more of them. And you want to go out on Thursday nights and you want to make the travel into the fucking city to do it. Which takes so long. But if you’re doing it fucking go ham. Do it just go harder. It’s not going to be the end of the world if you hook up with someone and then he says Actually, no, by, it’s not going to be the end of the world. If a friend of yours does something when they’re drunk that pisses you off and you leave home feeling dramatic, like a character on the hills. It’s always back to these things happen. This is life and it’s always back to the hills. This is This is life and you should just You shouldn’t be so reserved, which is weird to say, but it’s genuinely how I feel. Even though I have always been an outgoing person. I’ve always been reserved. And I think if I was Yeah, if I was 20 Again, I wouldn’t I would I would try harder to really embrace the people I was around and just just commit to to living a life that isn’t filled with questions and worry and is this okay? Yeah, it’s okay, just fucking go just fucking do it. That should just be my new motto. Just fuck it. Just go for it.
K Anderson 44:08
Do you have any memories of the Greyhound or clubbing from your own queer scene that you want to share? Well, if you do, please get in touch. I want to create the biggest online record of people’s memories and stories. Go to La spaces podcast.com and find the section share a lost space and tell me all about what you got up to. You can also find me on facebook instagram and twitter as lost spaces pod. Whilst you’re there follow Rhys on Instagram as either not another drag race pod or receipt boy and that’s a double E s i e b Oh, I love spaces is not only a podcast, but a concept record as well. I have have been writing songs about queer venues and the people who used to live their lives there and we’ll be releasing songs over the coming year. You can hear the first single which is called well groomed boys and is playing underneath my talking right now on all good streaming platforms. If you like this episode I would really appreciate if you subscribe, leave a review on your podcast platform or just told people who you think might be interested in giving it a little listen to I am K Anderson and you have been listening to lost spaces