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“Lean Into My Transness” (with Simona Castricum)

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Simona Castricum is a musician, DJ and producer based in Melbourne, Australia.
 
We caught up to talk about Hugs and Kisses, a night that ran in the 2010s and took advantage of the looser licensing laws that applied to the venue it was based in, which created this wonderful, hedonistic atmosphere reminiscent of the early rave scene.
 
We talked a lot about being safe on the scene and how to create that culture, becoming yourself, and drinking in the street.
 
Oh, and I need to let you know that Simona is probably THE most Australian person that I’ve ever spoken to, and uses a whole heap of colloquial language, so you may want to familiarise yourself with the terms cooked, hoon, sick, goon and pingers before you listen to the episode! But, then again, it’s kind of fun guessing as you go along so I’ll leave that decision up to you.
 
Find out more about Simona at her website, and on Instagram.
 
Oh, and check out her latest single, ‘Grateful for the Heartache’. 

Simona Castricum  00:00

Like the essence of transness is that we don’t live in a binary world. You know, like the essence of transness is fluidity of thought, is liminal space, it is the capacity to change our minds, it is the capacity to transform to change ourselves, to have to to, like evolve new ways of thinking and new ways of being. So like, we can apply black and white ways of thinking, but also like to, you know, love and respect the multiplicity that exists in in human beings and that we’re all fucking human beings.

K Anderson  00:32

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 are created there, and the people that they used to know. My guests on this week’s show is Simona Castricum is a musician, DJ and producer based in Melbourne. And we could have to talk about Hugs and Kisses, a night that ran in the 2010s and took advantage of the looser licencing laws, shall we say, that applied to the venue that it was based in. And this created a wonderful hedonistic atmosphere, reminiscent of the early rave scene. We talked a lot about being safe on the scene and how to create a safe culture, becoming yourself and drinking in the street. Because why not? Oh, and I need to let you know that Simona is probably the most Australian person that I have ever spoken to, and uses a whole heap of colloquial language. So you may want to familiarise yourself with the terms cooked, hoon, sick, goon and pingers before you listen to the episode, but you know, then again, it’s kind of fun guessing as you go along. So I’ll leave that decision up to you.

Simona Castricum  02:20

Yeah, I think when I finally moved to Melbourne, I was kind of like, okay, like, I’m going to really lean into my transness. But I didn’t really have the language at the time, to be perfectly honest. You know, it was the 90s. And so like, all the language that we have to understand gender identity, and gender nonconformity, you know, is completely different, like back then it’s, it was, yeah, you know, like I said, I went through conversion therapy in, in 94. Oh, wow. So that took a while for me to unpack. That took a while

K Anderson  02:56

was that because your parents wanted that for you, or…?

Simona Castricum  03:00

I just sort of ended up there through my child psychologist. Oh, she was sort of, you know, so was sort of, like, sent there in my sort of late teens. And yeah, I ended up on the, on the wrong side of that. And, yeah, I ended up with the DSM, weaponised against me, which is what they do. And so I was basically given the wrong language, and the wrong diagnosis to understand myself, which meant that when I finally came, you know, sort of, like, four or five years later to wanting to figure that stuff out, I just didn’t really, really know how to actually do that. But I was still it didn’t stop me from from trying, you know, so it was just for me, it was just like, a whole series of times where I was trying to come out, but because it was just so dangerous, I ended up having to go back in but at least like for this time, you know, like I was, you know, presenting as genderqueer and you know, sort of like moving you know, about my life as you know, pretty much as as genderqueer or gender non conforming, you know, I just stopped caring about what people really thought of me in that sense. And so I just really sort of made those spaces as safe as I possibly could, but it was still pretty frightening. Yes, we’re talking like 9899 that’s pretty, pretty scary to walk the streets. Yeah.

K Anderson  04:33

And like and you say that you stopped caring about what people said about you and then and then took up that extra space, but that’s easier on some days than it is on others. Correct. How did you like maintain that kind of energy or maintain that spirit?

Simona Castricum  04:52

Yeah, you know, I one of my favourite songs is Laura Branigan self control, because it’s sort of like the video and the song kind of tells the story of You know, the night is my world you know city like painted girls in the day, nothing matters. It’s the nighttime that

K Anderson  05:06

flatters and you’re not you’re not going to sing that for us. Oh, wait, why did you not sing? I thought I thought you were gonna say no.

Simona Castricum  05:19

So I was I considered myself a creature of the night. And so by the time basically it got a knock off time on Thursday afternoon from uni, or whatever I was doing it was sort of like, right, let’s get some pre drinks happening. Let’s get dressed up. Let’s put on some makeup. Let’s put on a thing. And let’s let’s do this for the next four days. Yeah, I was really immersed, I guess in this world where, you know, I’d found like a pretty small community, but still back in those days like gender nonconformity. So it still wasn’t safe. Like even a venue like you on a daily like, it’s it’s still like I would be you know, queuing up in the line or I would be in there and I would have like, I’d be getting hassled by turfs I’d be getting hassled by like radical lesbians like, yeah, you know, like causing harm, causing, like, serious harm, like assaulting me, like verbally me like all of this stuff. So growing up in the 90s, was incredibly difficult, particularly for trans women. Because we just weren’t welcome in dark spaces. Absolutely not. Like we were considered, you know, just like really poor impersonations of femininity, we were considered, you know, like, an affront to the rights of women, you know, over for things. So, you know, those anxieties get taken out on us in queer space, in direct space in gay space in in a whole lot of spaces. Like it wasn’t safe to be trans in gay and lesbian spaces in the 90s. So here I am trying to come out. And those those problems presented very acutely for me through that time, so much so that I ended up going back in to the closet so to speak, because it just wasn’t safe.

K Anderson  07:07

Oh, gosh, that’s a really tricky minefield, isn’t it? Like the compromise that you have to make? Either way? Yeah,

Simona Castricum  07:16

everything’s coming at you from every angle, and you think that you’ve found now the little spot on the horizon where you feel as if you’re going to be accepted in you. You’re just excluded. And yeah, and when things happen to you, no one’s there. No one’s listening to you, and no one’s gonna believe you. So when stuff was happening to me, no one, no one was there to believe me. So I was sort of like out on my own a little bit. And I sort of had to go back to presenting as masculine and trying to fake it again.

K Anderson  07:48

How long did you do that?

Simona Castricum  07:50

Oh, I did that for another, another 12 years. Okay. Wow. But but but, you know, but everyone that knew me closely knew that you knew of my femininity, you know, and I was pretty upfront with people that were close to me, but I kept it pretty pretty, like under wraps, you know, at the same time, so my sister rough time coming out is that, you know, and being out is it’s definitely a risk, but it’s it’s also on the other side of that it’s somewhat of a privilege to because, you know, there’s a lot of people that just don’t have the capacity to be out. Yeah, and because of the dangers that being out presents, this is so much to lose. And yeah, for trans people, it’s no and also for gay, lesbian, and bi people, it was always our safety, our personal safety. But there just wasn’t the critical mass in Melbourne at that time for me to be able to, you know, have that sense of safety to have that sense of belonging, and certainly, like the trans rights movement wasn’t anywhere close to where it is now. So this sense that any rights that I could have been afforded, were going to be permanent, you know, just saying, like it out there idea. So that’s why it wasn’t until the cusp of the 2010s that all of a sudden, the sort of the social and political conditions existed where perhaps I had an opportunity to finally you know, realise myself for myself. But otherwise, I was just living in hiding from my unsafe here,

K Anderson  09:35

but like shit performing your agenda for 12 years in that way. That must have been exhausting.

Simona Castricum  09:39

More performing my agenda for 37 years.

K Anderson  09:43

Wow. Okay. Yeah. But after having had that experience of coming out as it were, because I can’t think of a better term and being yourself and then having to pull back a bit on that that must have been horrible.

Simona Castricum  09:57

Well, yeah, I mean, you know, I’m in trends. Transition isn’t a linear process for you, I think that’s the thing. That’s the experience, particularly I think for, for middle aged and older trans people, like, you know, transition is, you know, has a very different temporality to it. To that I think of, you know, Millennials or, or Gen Zed. And then yeah, we just have to sort of I’ve had, I’ve had to go in and out of hiding but, but through that I kind of I formulated my own tactics of survival. I formulated my own tactics of how to find community, I formulated my own tactics of, I guess, how to build a cognitive map of a trans city as well in my own trans city and but also that’s that time that you’re spending, thinking and dreaming of a better world has informed my music has informed my architecture does inform my creative practice. It also informs I guess, like, my own political ideas as well, and how they’re deeply embedded in my creative methodologies. So there’s still gold amongst this, but yeah, 37 was a late age to finally you know, get to to do it. Yeah. Which is annoying. Because there’s a lot of time lost. But, you know, I’ve also got some great things as well, you know, so

K Anderson  11:18

yeah, and everyone, you know, everyone’s journey is their own journey.

Simona Castricum  11:21

I’m not, no, I’m not trying to be like toxic positivity about it. But, you know, like, most of it is trauma, but I’m not, I’m not gonna turn turn it into Simona’s Trauma Corner,

K Anderson  11:32

or someone. You’ve said that before, haven’t you? You knew that it rhymed. No,

Simona Castricum  11:37

I haven’t. But I am a songwriter. So it’s not unusual that rhyming shits gonna come out of my mouth. But, you know,

K Anderson  11:44

mine is trauma corner. I’m like, you could have a Kids TV show called

Simona Castricum  11:48

No, no, no, no, no, no, it’s a very good friend of mine once once we have my own YouTube, or my own podcast that is called in the 90s with Simona.

K Anderson  12:01

Is that an oft used phrase?

Simona Castricum  12:03

lots of my sentences start with ‘in the 90s’ and everyone just goes everyone just sort of like sinks back in their chair and goes on on one.

K Anderson  12:19

You I don’t know how to say this without sounding like an idiot. Sorry. But like you can

Simona Castricum  12:25

have a conversation. There’s any new anyone out there wants to cancel you for sounding like an idiot. I said to someone the other day like if you haven’t been cancelled, are you even living?

K Anderson  12:37

No, I’m not worried about being cancelled. I’m just worried about sounding being overly like poetic or like flowery.

Simona Castricum  12:44

Oh, come on. Come on. Come on, like lay on the chain is lay on the chain.

K Anderson  12:54

Okay, so when you jumped back on the unicorn of your transness and galloped into the evening, oh gee… Yeah. See, I can’t do this. Oh, I

Simona Castricum  13:01

love this. No, I love this. Okay.

K Anderson  13:07

Yeah, so you started. You went, you went back? What am I still? Yeah, so in the early 2010s. And one of the clubs that you went to… see I’m bringing it and bringing it to this subject of today’s episode is Hugs and Kisses

Simona Castricum

hugs Long live hugs.

K Anderson

Oh, so if I was in the know, and I was cool, I’d call it hugs.

Simona Castricum  13:27

Yeah, yeah. It’d be like hugs tonight.

K Anderson  13:30

Okay, so from here on out. That’s what I’m going to call it hugs. Do you remember like the first time you ever went there?

Simona Castricum  13:38

Yeah, so I first went to hugs and kisses when it was called the buffalo club. And it sort of wasn’t really that different except the lighting was different. It was a bit of a mix of live bands and club but it was it was still a bit of a free for all it was sort of like on one of these 24 hour liquor licences because it was an RSL and I don’t you know, yeah, no one’s gonna know people outside of Australia like the RSL is the return services League, which is, you know, basically like a place where retired soldiers go and, you know, drink beer and hang out. But there was a sort of licence, which was like an RSL licence, but this was a, basically a club of x. It used to be the Royal antediluvian order of buffaloes, it was a man,

K Anderson  14:33

that name I fucking love. And I had to look at diluvian and it means before the biblical flood, like what the hell like what the hell?

Simona Castricum  14:43

Yeah, so it’s, it’s uncultured, basically. But so basically, the top floor was was where they had it was sort of like a little bit of a ballroom. And I guess it is a sort of in the 50s you know, that was the heyday. And, and essentially, like it was just part of old Melbourne CBD that was just really derelict. And so like, you know, in 2010, like it became the Buffalo Club. And so like, the first time I went there, I went and saw Melbourne band HTRK, who are, like one of my favourite bands. And it was it was the first time I was started to come out again. So this was would have been, I guess, like, 200- sorry, 2012. And, yeah, I kind of like went in there and I was really, really nervous because it was a pretty, like cis-het Melbourne cool kind of crowd. And, you know, I was I sort of, like cut my teeth in the, in the rubber and the fetish scene in Melbourne, in the, in the, in the 20- in the 2000s. So I was like, really into I guess, like leather and rubber and all that sort of stuff. And, and so I sort of like, you know, rocked up, you know, in that kind of vibe. And you know, I’m a bit tall. And my friend, you know, worked at Eagle Leather at the time and took me and, you know, was sort of like my safe person. You know, he was like, really, like looking after me that night. He was like, come with me, like, I’m gonna look after you. And I’m just like, Oh, yes, I love you, babe. Like, you’re just so great. And his name is Brent. And Brent was like, Come on, let’s go out the front. Let’s go out the front. And when I’m a bit scared, you know, if I stand up the front, like, everyone’s gonna see me and go like, oh, like, well, Simone has got a new look on tonight. So I was like, shitting myself, because I didn’t want the same response that I’d gotten, you know, like, so many years before. And it was. And like, Brent just turns around to me. And just goes, I just want to say that I’m, I’m so proud of you. And there’s no one else I would rather be standing next to tonight and I just went on, you just are the most beautiful man. Like, that just makes me feel so fucking safe. Right? Here’s a person that knew what to do that knew what to say. And it was like the first person in my life who actually like just made me feel safe in public, and made me feel good and safe about my trans notes. And then I had this sick time watching HTRK. And so like that, I guess just like really started I think my personal connection with with Buffalo Club eventually became Hugs. But also like, this was like, I’m ready to do this fucking Melbourne. Simona’s like, is he finally you know? So I guess that was my first your first connection with with the venue.

K Anderson  17:51

So pretty magical first first night then.

Simona Castricum  17:55

Yeah, I couldn’t say a fucking thing. Because because HTRK just piling in dry ice and, you know in smoke, which I love, you know and Aspen say bloody thing. But Tom, so I shouldn’t have been so worried that people are able to see me But yeah, no, it was it was great.

K Anderson  18:10

So so you still hate rock? And then you started going back to the venue? What was it about the place that made you want to go back?

Simona Castricum  18:19

It just booked really edgy stuff. Like, you know, it just had really good bands and it had no good DJs and it was just when I guess like the Melbourne music scene was starting to transition. I think back you know, it was it was 2010s were very much like a band saying that was like pretty straight on queerness was really sort of like under the radar. And you know, the club scene was pretty, pretty awesome. But it was like all the awesome clubs were closing down. So like Honky Tonks was another amazing, amazing club in the 2010s. And that had closed down at a turned into like a couple of different things. And then so Melbourne was just being gentrified. You know, really significantly, we were losing out not only our clubs, but we were losing these 24 hour licences. And so this is going back to the licence. So the significance of this licence was that it didn’t have to have a lot of security and only needed to have one security guard there the whole night. Whereas like every other club, had to have like one security guard per 80 people or whatever. So places were just like crawling with security and those security guards like weren’t safe for queer people let alone for trans people. And it was really difficult to run queer nights because we had these turkeys on the door who were just like, like literally telling people like don’t come in here. It’s gay night. I ran a party at this club. And that was what they were telling people on the door don’t come in here it’s gay night. And I was just like, Fuck that.

K Anderson  19:55

You know what said not even like, Oh, just so you know, this is a gay guy. They would actually like turning people away, or just

Simona Castricum  20:02

teachers, convincing people not to turn up, you know, because I’d have like my people on the door, and they’d come down and be like, hey, just so you know, like old mate upstairs, it’s just like, sent away like 10 people who wanted to come in. Yeah, I mean, maybe they didn’t want to come in because it was gay night, but also like, maybe don’t have that conversation is why is that even relevant? Maybe like, yeah, then check, come downstairs and like, have a good time, because we’re buying good music, and we’re all sick people, you know, like, we’re having a great time. So you know, it was like,

K Anderson  20:36

that instance is a good thing, right? Yeah, yes, it

Simona Castricum  20:40

counts, you know, like, yeah. So like, so that would be sort of like, I guess the climate that was sort of around the sort of 2012 2013 I think, and buffalo club turned into hogs around about, you know, this, this time, and hugs became this little haven. And it just so happened, that queer and trans people were emerging, as these creators of club spaces, have, you know, of dance music, where DJs were bands that took over this largely sort of sis hat band, saying that it preceded them in the 2010s. And it was our time. And so places like hugs and kisses became, you know, a paste away of we did feel safe, where we did feel like we belonged, and where we did feel that like the management and the security, were going to back us. So like, it was in the context of clubbing, like a relatively safe place, it wasn’t completely safe, because no places safe, you know, it wasn’t accessible, in terms of it was like two for two flights upstairs, you know, so like, you know, an accessible space. It was a very makeshift, you know, like infill loft, you know, architectural typology, if you like, all sort of club club space, in that sense. Yeah, but it had, like, this lounge that we just smoked in all time, you know, and you weren’t allowed to smoke in clubs. So we just got away with anything we wanted, you know, it was just really loose.

K Anderson  22:37

Can we talk more about then what, like, facilitated that change in the same?

Simona Castricum  22:44

Well, I think there just became a critical mass of transgender diverse people that were emerging into their 20s into their 30s. And we just wanted a place to go and that and this was, you know, we, you know, we were having really great house parties, like it was just a really like a haven community, you know, 20 year olds, 18 year olds, you know, and people in their 30s, who, you know, I guess, like, you know, millennials, that were creating their own spaces that weren’t connected to that, and they wanted something of their own. And so like, when I was running this party, shocker, the new and then some of these people started to turn up, and I was like, Oh, this is cool. You know, and so then I ran some of these parties at places like gasometer, or at Liberty social. And, yeah, it’s like, there was like, the last party that I did at Liberty social was like hazing. And you know, it was like, I was like, yeah, this is this is great. I’m running a really awesome like, transgender diverse club here. And I’m playing like, awesome techno. And, but we weren’t selling any money at the bar, because everyone was in the laneway. Drinking goon on pingers and, and so,

K Anderson  24:01

Okay, wait, wait, wait, wait, goon and pangers… explain. Yeah.

Simona Castricum  24:07

Okay. Really cheap shit cask wine. And, and so you just like rip it, rip it out of the cardboard box and just put it in your bag and you just like, you just fill up your bottle with it. And you just drink it outside in the gutter, and smoke and paint or pingers just you know, runs on pills. Oh, I came. So you know, you didn’t even have to pay the entry fee. You could just sit in the gutter or not. I think God is like the third spy. Like Melbourne has dyslexic laneway culture. But what it means extensively is like if you’re at a club, it means you don’t actually have to go into the club. You can just like spend the whole fucking night by the bins. Or like in the Gada like, and the whole night is like there’s at least 60 people out there the whole night and the only time anyone moves is when the garbage truck comes or when the cops come. So that would happen. But it meant that like, sometimes, like pubs were like, sorry, like, we’re gonna have to close because we’re not selling enough beer and we’re just like, Fuck, you know, like everyone’s having a sequin. So hogs ended up wearing that hugs didn’t care hugs, like Hugo didn’t give a shit how much money he was making on the bar, all he wanted to do was like, be awesome. And we did too. And so like the business model of it didn’t have to operate in the same way that like lounge or bony or anything else had to because it didn’t have to pay like a fuck tonne of security guards for start. But also like, you know, it was it was a free. Yeah, so we and we love that we love that. That freedom. And it’s, it’s, it’s just suited us but also, you know, they were like when when sis people came in and fucked up in there. They weren’t allowed back in. And sis people did come in and fuck up. And they did take liberties and they did take up space, and they did abuse privileges, and they did assault people and they did stuff that they would have got away with in the 2000s that they could they cannot get away with anymore. And so it almost just kind of like, made those people like, yeah, take it back, say, which was really good. Because I’d been existing in Melbourne in club spaces, you know, basically like having to put up with these people, you know, and I couldn’t be out at these places, like, I’d be trying to, and trying to come out at places like john or, you know, or at trough, you know, and people coming up to me and saying, like, really cook shit to me, like, Oh, you probably shouldn’t come out as trans because like, if being fat being feminine, it’d just take away from your art. And I’m just kind of like, excuse me, or like, say shit to me, like, you actually look better as a man than you do as a woman. And I’m just like, ah, like, honestly, like, this is the kind of environment that is going to actually like, sustain any trans people, right. So by creating our own, you know, kind of clubs and having our own autonomy within these spaces, we were able to create spaces that other people could come in and, and, and have their own trans awakenings. So like music becomes this site of transient, it becomes this site of trans spatial production in that sense, where like, people just emerge into the people that they want to be and that really just, it just blossomed like it just exploded. And so and so you had your head hardest. But you know, the alternative was that if we went to places like lounge or we went to places like Barney, we would literally like there would be like 1516 of us. And we’d all wait until we all got to the laneway. And then once we were all in the laneway. And we’re all a little bit caught. And then when we will be like, okay, cool trans takeover, we’re going in, and we’d literally all walk in up the stairs, or all 15 of us at once. And they couldn’t stop us. And we walked straight to the front of the dance floor, and we pushed all of the sets back. And we occupied the front of that dance floor. And we made those clubs go off. Like it was like we made those places memorable until they closed. So they were the most amazing.

K Anderson  28:34

Can we talk quickly about the people who were compromising the space or not respecting the space. And I’m not trying to be pro security guard here. But you know, in other kinds of bars and pubs, if that happened, the security would be able to help How was that managed and facilitated by the people in that space at the time? Ah,

Simona Castricum  28:57

it there’s sort of this irony, I guess, in the fact that there wasn’t many security guards that there was like one security guard and the fact that like things, you know, seemed you know, perhaps a little bit more manageable just with one security guard compared to places that had four or five, but clubs, this became a really big part of, I guess, the discourse. around there, we wanted, we wanted queer and trans people and we want to trans people of colour we wanted like Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and First Nations queers, to feel safe, and we’re meant that meant that we all had to do something about ourselves because we couldn’t rely on the system to do that we couldn’t rely on, you know, the owners and managers to do that, you know, who are you know, sort of like largely, you know, not queer, largely white, largely sis. So we had to sort of like figure that stuff out ourselves. And you know, so there was there were like, safer space policies that were sort of Like part of Facebook groups, there are phone numbers that people could ring their, you know, like party angels and all that sort of stuff. And what

K Anderson  30:07

What does a party Angel do?

Simona Castricum  30:08

Ah, like a party angel is like someone who’s like, you can call this number if you’re in trouble, you know, and now come and find you in the club. And you know, and just and do some help. I don’t know. I mean, that was sort of like one alternative, you know, for a club that used to exist as well. But but but specifically talking about hugs and kisses, they were a little bit sort of like our we don’t want to have rules here. And we were a bit yeah, a bit like this stuff happening, that we don’t want to have happen. And they like, we’ll deal with it. And they did deal with it. You know, I like, like, they did deal with it. Like, there was something that happened to me, and that got dealt with. So, you know, I guess there was a certain amount of trust that they built. But yeah, it was it, but it was often compromised as well, like, there was it like, there was stuff that went down. But that was sort of like, or there’s going to be an accountability process on Monday morning, you know, and like I said, you know, if before like, without cancelled culture thing, you know, so, you know, it was it certainly, like had its issues like trying to tie them in line, I guess.

K Anderson  31:24

I see. I quite like rules. Like, I like the idea of lawlessness over there. Like, anything goes here. There are no rules. But then like in practice, it just gets a bit difficult, doesn’t it?

Simona Castricum  31:38

Well, there’s common courtesy, you know, it’s kind of like common courtesy isn’t sort of like rules per se. You know, like, people need to be reminded. Yeah, and so I guess, like, like, there were a few that like, the incidents that happened early on in the pace, I think set that tone that were like, if you’re gonna do stuff like this, you’re, you’re going to be banned. And so people do get banned, and that got around. And so and it did get around that like this space, prioritises and and so when we’re so when parties were being advertised, like those roles were on the party invites. And it was and like, you know, it was like this pious prioritises, you know, Trans and Queer people. This place, prioritises trans people of colour or this dis party prioritises? You know, transfers of Trans and Queer First Nations people. So, you know, when that’s on the you know, that that’s, you know, what you’re in for? And so that just generally became, you know, the rule of thumb that when you went to hugs and kisses that, that that was that was part of the condition of entry. It was not a bit a decade.

K Anderson  32:48

Yeah. There’s lots of people who don’t think they’re being dickheads. Anything.

Simona Castricum  32:53

Yeah, well, it was a few there was a few people that learned the hard way, I can tell you that right now. I but I think that like, you know, we like I wasn’t going to the way that I there were ways that I was treated for tips, say, for instance, at the builders arms in 97, that I wasn’t going to be treated like that again, in 2015. Right, so I wasn’t going to have some sis guy reach out and grab my tits, because they were like, wow, you know, I wasn’t gonna have, you know, like, a whole lot of other things happen, and neither were anyone else, you know. And I think that that has, you know, bought forward into like a, you know, just a bit more of a respectful environment around the ways that people party. And the way that particularly trans and gender diverse bodies are, you know, like, respected. And that’s been really important.

K Anderson  33:51

Yeah, hugely important. And so correct me if I’m wrong, the building was sold. And so the writing was on the wall for the club night. At some point I’m like six months before actually closed. Do you remember hearing about that?

Simona Castricum  34:12

Yeah. So I think like we knew about six months before I was doing a residency over Christmas or New Year like a four week residency once a week. And you know, I think that’s around about the time when I found out I think, and so we all just like poured in there. But we couldn’t believe what was true. But like, it wasn’t before we had, you know, we had like a good you know, between 2014 and 2018. Like we had a pretty solid four years of we gave their place a good home. I you know, we they probably Yeah, like yeah, we so by the time we got to that last six months, I guess there was so many people were there was just I trying to get in and like all different kinds of parties like we are really big, like 24 hour, you know, day and a half parties, like all weekend kind of parties and stuff. So we were just trying to, I guess, like use that. Use that licence

K Anderson  35:24

while we had it. Bring back value out of it. Yeah.

Simona Castricum  35:28

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah. Because we knew that we were about to lose Lounge at the same time you say? So we were like, Oh, shit, we’re gonna lose kiss. We’re gonna lose hogs and we’re gonna lose lounge. I’m like, What then? Wha? Well, I Oh my god, you know, we just lost lost merch across, you know, wish that that turned into a you know, that’s now to now an apartment building surprise him. So just it was sort of like, the best of the last four years of all the last eight years of hugs and kisses just got booked in advance. And, you know, we just went to every single bit of it that we possibly could, and I was just stoked to be able to DJ at some of those final parties. Just say yes, like, this is Yeah, this is I’m so lucky. This is what I’ve, you know, this was Yeah, when I was staring at the at the horizon, you know, from Geelong and Mount Eliza all those years ago as a kid I that was the little twinkle on the you know, on the skyline that that I was looking for, to be honest. You know, it was it was a little dark and dirty recess, like pies like hogs, you know,

K Anderson  36:38

a dank little corner tickle your own. So do you remember them the very, very final night? Yes.

Simona Castricum  36:47

Final morning and I didn’t want to leave. I had separation anxiety. last person, one of the last people to walk out like me and my friend Chrissy matriarchy. She was like, babe, we’ve just got to go. And I went, yeah, guess, waist waist kickoffs. And it’s like, you’ve missed kick ons, because everyone else has gone to kick ons. And you know, oh my god, okay, I should just go home really. So it was amazing. And I remember the very last set female wizard played. And it was the most amazing thing I’d ever seen. In terms of like, a DJ set that I saw were in Melbourne, like it was the pace, just, you know, I mean, I don’t know how many times hugs and kisses went sideways. But that place just went sideways, backwards and forwards for at least like an hour and a half. And, you know, like mid set, female wizard decides to, you know, jump up on the DJ console and go go dance to their own staff, you know, and just like pressed against the ceiling, you know, with if I can just see their trainers and their fingers, you know, I might get half dressed. You know, and just like having having a time to write one of their own tracks. And, you know, and then just like jumping back down and keep going, you know, and the whole place was just going sick. So yeah, incredibly memorable. Incredible sayings, as they say.

K Anderson  38:22

And then 10 now it has been closed for a number of years now. Yeah, and when you think back to the club, and when you think back to the experiences that you had what did that club teach you about yourself?

Simona Castricum  38:37

Um, that I’m glad I lived. That I’m glad I’m so I survived. You know, I just felt every every second that I spent in there. I, um, like sucked in like it was well, you know, not like my last time but uh, but I just, you know, I fought so hard for, you know, because I didn’t think that I’d realised myself as a trans person, let alone as a DJ, let alone as a musician or let alone was I going to be able to find trans community or find a train like a musical community or be able to find that in this city. And I just found a lot of pride I think in the people that made that happen and like a lot of love and yeah, like it’s a place that’s always going to be really, really important to me because yeah, I think I just learned from it that I don’t know like your wildest dreams. can come true.

K Anderson  40:03

Do you have any memories of hugs and kisses or memories from your own cuisine 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 last basis podcast.com and find this section share a lost space and tell me what you got up to. You can also find me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter as last spaces pod. Find out more about Simona at her website Simona Castricum.com. And on Instagram, her handle is Simona Castricum. Lost spaces is not only a podcast, but a concept record as well. I have been writing songs about Korea 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 well groomed boys which is also playing underneath my talking right now on all streaming platforms. If you liked this episode, I would really appreciate if you subscribed, left 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.







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