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The Market, Commercial Road, Melbourne, Australia (with Katie Underwood)

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We caught up to discuss The Market, a club on Commercial Road, Prahan in Melbourne., which closed in 2011. 

Expect to hear about going clubbing with your mum, inspiring young queers to get in to latex, and alternative uses for the disabled toilet (if you know what I mean…)

Follow Katie on Instagram

Katie Underwood  00:00

But it was a fabulous sort of trashy. It was like I’m having such a good time and I don’t care how I look, you know, that was the version of trashy that I liked.

K Anderson  00:11

Hello, I am K Anderson and you are listening to lost spaces, a podcast that mourns the death of Korean 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. Katie Underwood came to fame in the year 2000 following her appearance on the first series of Australian pop stars and his subsequent role in the band that was formed on this series, but think of like a much cooler hearsay. Since that time, she has branched out into dance music and was a mainstay on the clubbing scene in the naughties. We caught up to discuss the market, a club on commercial road in Iran in Melbourne. So, the market Why are you laughing? It’s just

Katie Underwood  01:38

so much happened to me at and around the market. That’s why I’m laughing. I’m bracing myself for all this stuff I’m possibly about to confess. It’s nervous laughter that’s why I’m nervous. But yes, the market. The iconic, gay venue of commercial road previously known as three faces for many, many years. For those older than me, yeah. So

K Anderson  02:04

So I did a little bit of research because I’d never knew the venue as three faces only ever knew as the market. Yeah, right. And it was three phases until about 99. And then it became the market. When was your first time there?

Katie Underwood  02:23

Oh, what? Yeah, look, it must have been late 90s. So I think I was there. During the transition. I think it I just started to go when it was three faces, but most of my time there was was once it was the market. I think the first time I heard of it was actually so my parents moved to Melbourne in 93. And my mother was an ex beautician. So she was always like the iconic blond haired, fag hag. So I remember her telling me that she’d gone to this awesome guy club called three faces. And, and this was the first iPad, but then I started going there, you know, but 10 years later, five years later. Yeah. And it was just, it was the place to go, you know, I always felt much more comfortable. At queer venues, I never went out to get picked up. Generally, it was never my intention, or sometimes that happened. But you know, I wanted to go and just dance and I wanted to hang around people that I felt were my people. And the straight venues were not my people. And this was even before I was, you know, on the front foot with with being queer, or what they would call gender fluid now or whatever you want to call it. pansexual I just knew that, you know, straight venues weren’t for me and, and place like the market that was full of, of lesbians and gay boys and drag queens, and androgynous types and freaky rabid kids. And all of those people were my people. So it was it was my second home.

K Anderson  04:02

And so do you remember that first time of going there and what that felt like?

Katie Underwood  04:06

Look, I don’t and frankly, I by default, I don’t remember a lot of my market. But I remember I was there a lot. So I couldn’t tell you the absolute first time. But I can tell you that many of my longtime friends I met there. I remember one night in particular where I was really I used to be really into astrology. So I’m a Capricorn and a Capricorn born really close to Christmas. So it’s hard to find other people around that date. And I remember that I found seven other Capricorn women who were all celebrating a birthday. I think I was there late December. And I just remember having like, you know, continual vodka shots with this tribe of Capricorn, women at the market, and some of whom I have stayed friends with ever since. But it was like that, you know, you’d make an instant friend over a vodka shot. And then you were friends for life after that. So, yeah, so many stories. It’s hard to know where to start and where to stop, but I’ll be guided by you.

K Anderson  05:15

And so the burning question I have immediately is, did you ever go with your mum?

Katie Underwood  05:22

I don’t think so. No, I took my mother to other venues. She was a very young Mum, and very glamorous show. So she was always a bit of a novelty hit, even before I got famous, but then after I got famous, then I was kind of the novelty for her because she would run around the club, you know, eating off her head and half drunk go up. Okay, I’m doing some other and he got great social currency out of that for years, but she was always It was good company. But no, I don’t think I don’t think we actually went to the market together. She stopped by the time I started going out, you know, she, she sort of started to settle. So that was a good thing.

K Anderson  06:06

So let’s follow the timeline then. So you lived in London in the late 90s. No, I

Katie Underwood  06:11

first visited London. I think my first trip Let me think it was in. I first went over there it was, it was in 99, actually. And I did my first recording that was released under the name terra firma over in 99. So I spent two weeks over there and just I fell in love with it again. I think Melbourne and London are some of the few places in the world where I just felt instantly at home. You know, it didn’t bother me that it was sort of cold and, and, and very built up. I just felt very much at home. But no, so I didn’t leave never lived in London. A lot of people think my sound English because my Adelaide ex sort of morphed into this other thing. And I don’t have the broad. I don’t think I have the broad Australian accent that we’re often known for. So a lot of people go Oh, what I remember flying over from Adelaide to Melbourne once on one of my many trips. My parents moved over to Melbourne three years before I did I said in Adelaide. And someone wants to ask me Oh, whereabouts in England are you from? I’m not I’m 700 Kay’s that way from Adelaide. So that was kind of funny, but

K Anderson  07:26

I’m glad I’m glad you’re saying this because this happens to me all the time. I know my accent is slightly English sounding but Everton, like people never ever clock everyone there’s always just thinks I’m English. And I’m like, No, yeah, cuz I grew up in Adelaide, and that the accent itself? So you get it? Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, yeah. Oh, so I don’t know why then. I thought you lived in London. I don’t know. You were there again. You’ve probably been fooled. Yeah. But not for a long time. Okay. And then two in the year 2000. something quite significant happened in your life. Yes. Back Up,

Katie Underwood  08:05

up and up and moved to Sydney and joined a girl band, which was crazy. Yeah, the pop stars juggernaut began and soon after the bado bomb dropped and yeah, everything exploded. I went from I look in my own defence I will say I was already quite club famous. I was you know, one of those people that would get up on podiums and dance for hours and hours and hours and I was pretty damn good at it too. So I did have you know, I had some sort of notoriety in my own little bubble but yeah, but I blew that right out of the water and I became proper famous and in Australia anyway.

K Anderson  08:49

And New Zealand Yeah. The but the timelines kind of like have three phases becoming the market kind of Yes. Align there.

Katie Underwood  09:03

Yeah, they don’t happen around the same time and I suppose that was the other reason why. Quick anything gave me news became my second home because the popularity of pop stars. I mean, it was massive. We were famous everywhere. But I simply couldn’t go to a regular what I would call it a vanilla club or a strike club. I would just get mobbed like and that’s that’s no exaggeration. I would walk in the door I was highly recognisable, bright red here. You know you couldn’t miss me really. And within seconds I would be surrounded by people wanting to chat to me have a photo all of that and whatever friends I will with would give up after about 10 minutes. And in the end I had to stop going out because this is ridiculous. We walk in the door somewhere and we don’t see you because your your your mob the whole time as compared to going somewhere like The market or many other venues that I enjoy going to in only a couple for status, they’re so dark, you know, you can’t see anybody and that’s the idea nobody wants to be seen. Does it matter whether you’re, you know, famous or otherwise. And the thing I loved about the market is no one was there to be seen. Everyone was there to be not seen and just have a good time, whatever that look like for them, you know, whether that was being a Barfly at the top by you know, sipping cocktails and doing shots or whether you were down in the the dance Marsh floor on the, you know, sub level, everyone was there just to just to get away from the outside world and not to be seen. So I love that, you know, I could walk in there and, and not besotted for hours. And I could relax because no one nowhere else was like that.

K Anderson  10:53

making it sound like it’s a bit of a sex club of dark. And

Katie Underwood  10:58

there was Yeah, look at everything that was the market or the market. To me. It was like a universe in itself. So well, not everybody knew this. But there was a disabled toilet just off the dance floor on the ground level. Okay, and the wall was black, and the door was black. So it was it was one of those things that unless you knew it was there, you’d never know. It was there. And that was the place you would go if you wanted to have sex sewn in bathrooms?

K Anderson  11:30

She says knowingly. Hmm,

Katie Underwood  11:32

yeah. He would go in there. And you know, you wouldn’t have people knocking on the door. Or if they did, you know, you could lock it, whatever. So there was there was that thought we had the ground level and otherwise, you know, just jammed with, with with people dancing. I was generally the mid level that was my favourite. So the mid level had a lot more space, you had easy access to the bar. And then there was that space around the balcony. So I like to room to dance, and then occasionally to peer over and look at, you know, the lights and people. And then there was upstairs, although this sort of. That’s right, then there was a bit that went around. And there were lounges or that was the other place you’d kind of get a bit nitty gritty with people. There was like a side balcony lounge chair. Anyway, there were little zones and property prices. Um, yes, lots of things to do. And then there was the smoking area back when that, you know, was happening away. Hang

K Anderson  12:33

on, where was the smoking area?

Katie Underwood  12:36

Well, they was I think this was later before they shut it. So they built, they built out another area where then you’d go upstairs and they’d cram you onto this little balcony and you’d have to smoke up there. But otherwise, yeah, well, back in the day, you know, we were still allowed to smoke inside. So I think I was anyway. I was only ever a social smoker back then. But yeah, so that was always a little social hub. You know, when all the smokers are put together, everyone’s having a chat and random conversations and all that stuff.

K Anderson  13:11

I’ve actually just had a flashback once Yeah, one time is at the market. And I’d like with with some guy on a couch next to the cloakroom. And yeah, this lady came up to us. I didn’t know him, like we were just talking. And this lady asked us if we would go to a hotel room with her and have sex in front of her. Like, I just completely forgot about that. But yeah,

Katie Underwood  13:39

yeah, yeah, that’s sort of I mean, it was just it was one of those places. I think everyone felt like everybody else was cool, you know, and you were kind of up for up for anything. Wait, how much? It was? Yeah. Yeah. Well, look, one night, it’s a story that a friend of mine were exchanging the other night, and he lived it, like a couple of streets away from the market. So often, I was married at the time, but I was in a flexible relationships. So we would sort of hit the market together. And generally, you know, I wasn’t there to pick up but there was this one night and we kept walking back and forth. we’d walk from the club, back to his place, and then back to the club, and then back to some other dudes place because we wanted to have a joint and then back to the club. And so it was this sort of in our action all night. So we spent a lot of time walking back and forth. Anyway, on one trip between the guy’s house and the club. We’re walking along, and there was already kind of a group of half a dozen of us and then there were these other couple of guys and so we started chatting to them. And I assumed that they were friends. If the pace was passed, we would just that right you just sort of lose track. So we get to chatting and I just assumed they were known anyway, chat chat chat. The night goes on people gradually leave It’s just me, my friend and this other guy. Anyway, then my friend goes to the bathroom and one thing leads to another I start kissing this guy on the on the sofa, he tells me his name. And my response was, I’m never gonna remember that guy did not save a bit further, my friend goes home, I ended up using the disabled toilets with this new friend of mine. And not ends he very, very chivalrous and walks me home. Anyway, the next day, I’m telling my other friend who’d gone. And it turns out this guy was just some random guy that nobody knew. But we all assumed somebody knew. And I’m hanging out with him, like, you know, he’s a known entity and, you know, kind of already been vetoed. No, no, total random. And yeah, and still to this day, totally unknown, but very polite. Yeah. Which I think is what kind of had me going. But that was it was fast. You know, I guess that was the other thing, there was this element of trust that you assumed everyone who was in there was pretty relaxed, pretty cool, pretty friendly. And that was true. It was 100% true, from my experience there and I was there on and off for, you know, 10 years?

K Anderson  16:24

And what do you think it is about a venue that kind of creates that environment or creates the atmosphere?

Katie Underwood  16:33

I think the lack of, you know, drunk, straight men really help. who tend to, you know, veer towards either being really messy and unpredictable, or really angry and unpredictable. And in a gay club, where you know, people are, it’s more of an ecstasy, marijuana vodka shots, this is my friend, the drag queen kind of crowd, everyone’s a lot more relaxed and accepting. And I think when you’re, when you feel like you’re in a cultural minority, and you’re already getting a lot of criticism from the outside world, the last thing you’re going to do is try and pick a fight with someone in your own community. So for me, it was just, it was that feeling that once you walk through the door, you’re in a safe space. And I think everybody felt that way. And that’s why, you know, I got so beyond trashed so many times at the market, but I never ever felt unsafe. And I would never, ever do that in a regular club, you know, for fear of being roofie for fear of being assaulted, for fear of, I don’t know, just getting myself in a dangerous situation. And I never felt unsafe, and I never was, you know, in all of the crazy stories I can tell you from being there. Not once did anything ever untoward happened to me there. So yeah, I think that was that was the magic of it. It was our safe space. Mm hmm.

K Anderson  18:07

And so so we’ve we’re continuing to kind of follow this timeline, but Oh, for you wasn’t, it was like a year, maybe a bit more.

Katie Underwood  18:15

Yes. So it was a year and a half. So I moved to Sydney light 99 bio exploded in 2000. And then I moved back to Melbourne made 2001. But then, you know, even though I kind of thought I was pretty famous, then the year after that are released beautiful. So that was then a massive club hit. So then I became famous all over again, and particularly in the club scene. So now I had a situation where it was it was becoming difficult even to go somewhere like the market because now I really was recognised even more so in the gay scene and the clubbing scene. So I kind of had to pick my times to go there. But there was an understanding that there was a period there where I just, I just had to accept that I would eventually get people come up and go, aren’t you that girl from such and such and, you know, people at 4am in the morning, go Can I have a photo? And I’d go look at this face. Like No, it’s four o’clock. Please bitch like honestly, I love you.

K Anderson  19:21

Could you imagine that? Now they like just relentless camera for Yes.

Katie Underwood  19:26

But they but you know, but people do they understood that, you know if I said look, it’s 2am I’m, I’ve been here for four hours already, you know, please can we not have a photo? And they’re like, Oh, yeah, yeah, of course. Of course. Of course.

K Anderson  19:38

Oh, that’s good. Oh, I was gonna ask what your etiquette is in terms of politely turning people down, but you’re just upfront.

Katie Underwood  19:46

I had no problem with it. Particularly if I’m in a sweaty nightclub, you know, I just think, Okay, I understand, you know, you want the memory but I’m not here to have photos. So, people would get that sometimes I’d say yes. But if I felt like I was too gone. I just wasn’t in the mood. I’d go look, you know, I’m happy to have a hug. But you know, sorry. You know, I’m not this is not a press conference. And and yeah, and then most people the penny would drop now of course, of course, you know. And then that go well, I’ll buy you a drink then I’m like, totally up for that.

K Anderson  20:22

By Me, too. Yeah. Yeah. So that like that new fame and navigating that. And so is that because the target audience for the two? Those two phases were quite different?

Katie Underwood  20:40

Yeah, the Bardo audience was very young. So even in the bado, fame days, I could still go to, you know, my couple of favourite clubs and it wasn’t really an issue. Like you get the occasional Queen rush up and go, Oh, my God, I love you and pop stones that, you know, most people really didn’t give a toss. But then when beautiful became famous, you know, that was the clubbing set, then you were talking about, you know, the early 20s to 30s age group and particularly the gay market because, you know, apparently I was, you know, the gay one in the band. Hi, naturally, woman short hair wears glasses. She must be gay. You know, and they were half right, which was okay, which is why I never minded. But yeah, so that was kind of already my tribe.

K Anderson  21:29

Yeah. Can we talk about that? I’m because I’m really interested in the tension, I suppose that I would imagine that you would have felt being put in that position. And whether there was pressure from the record label to be more feminine, or, you know, traditionally feminine,

Katie Underwood  21:49

yet? Not at all? No, not at all. Look, they knew I was different from the outset. I mean, my sexuality never came up. While I was in bed, oh, not explicitly. But they realised that I was the opposite to the girls. And they encouraged me to enhance that, rather than fall into line. So fortunately, for me, there was never any pressure to do to be less than what I was, in fact, they were like, you know what, just ramp it up, go wild. Go as go as full blown Katy as you want to go. So that’s why a lot of my my outfits was so very different. And so out there compared to, you know, the glamour and the style of the girls, and then I’d be wearing, you know, some freaky spacesuit was blue here.

K Anderson  22:34

And you must have been sweaty in those outfits.

Katie Underwood  22:37

Yeah, yeah. Yeah. latex cat suit under hot lights, two hours in that film clip. I can tell you right now, when I pulled off that cat suit after shooting that clip. A river of water actually came out of my suit not I’m not exaggerating, like actual water came out of the suit when I took it off. So that’s an indication of, yeah, what latex does under hotline Sunder after like six hours. But yeah, so I look, it was it was good for me. And then I suppose the first time it came up in the media, you know, online, I had some fan sites. There were also some hate sites that came up, you know, the typical homophobic, granting, ignorant types that, you know, all lesbians must die or whatever they thought I was. It didn’t really bother me. Because, you know, I was used to that, you know, I’d had my first homophobic slur at 14 when I first cut my hair, even before I realised I was bisexual. And where I was first called a lesbian, just for having short hair, you know, so that was the beginning of it. So it was, it was nothing new for people to to make those assumptions and I didn’t bother to qualified at that point. It wasn’t till years later, when I was having an interview with someone think it was the Herald Sun, and we’re talking about stuff and, and she raised something around, you know, that people thought I was gay or this or that. And I just straight out say, Well, I’m unbiased thought everybody knew that. Because of the way the media or the fans that had referred to me over the years, you know, I just assumed that everyone had kind of figured that out by now. But apparently they didn’t because the newspaper then the next day, ran this headline that went, Katie casually comes out. Well, I was never in, you know, but fine. If you want to call that coming out, though. Feel like yeah, it wasn’t anything I ever traded on. Specifically, I just kind of assumed Well, people will think what they’re gonna think. And I never denied it, but I didn’t exactly you know, run a PR campaign going. I’m gay and I want to sell records because I Yeah, you know, some people do that as well. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but I never wanted to be on the front foot with it as a marketing thing. To me my sexuality was a private thing. So like what I do with my peoples, my business, you know,

K Anderson  25:17

but like, super, really heartening that the record label went like, Oh, we’ve got to kind of appease mothers and fathers of young girls who are your target audience. So you need to play around. That’s really nice to hear.

Katie Underwood  25:31

Yeah, well, I mean, it. I mean, I was only there for the first album, and maybe if I had stuck around for the second one, it would have gotten more obvious. But look, there, there may have been something around not mentioning, not kind of confirming or denying anything, I think far as the labels concerned, you know, mystery was was a good thing. The one thing that they weren’t keen on, or they were happy

K Anderson  25:54

to know that up down dogs, apparently that, oh, we should just sign it on the on the album cover

Katie Underwood  26:04

on the album cover totally real that I have some kinks. But that is not one of them. Yeah, the thing that the record label were not keen on was for us to talk about our partners. So I was I was partnered throughout the borough years, and then in fact, got secretly married. So yeah, they they really didn’t want us to talk about our boyfriends. They want to, you know, go banned. The sex appeal. It only works if if the public think that you’re available, and you’re attainable. So that was the only the only thing that I remember them going, you know what, keep that on the download for the moment. But everything else I don’t think they cared about.

K Anderson  26:47

And have you had anyone get in touch with you over the last decade saying that when they were growing up? It was really good to have you as a role model.

Katie Underwood  26:58

So many, so many. Yeah. So I think that was the other connection for me with particularly with the with the gay community or LGBTQ community, however you want to call it now. queer community, let’s just use that word. And I used to love. So in the early days, I would spot these photo fans who didn’t know yet that they were gay, but I could see so clearly, and it was both boys and girls. You know, baby, baby, this is baby gay boys. And I sort of made the predictions, and then often they would keep in touch with me, you know, via messenger or websites, or whatever it was back then. And then later, tell me, I’ve just come out and thank you for leading the way. You know, I I help them to feel normal. So my alternative dress sense, my alternative presentation, made them feel okay. About about themselves about their fashion choices about their interests about Yeah, I guess just how they felt in their skin. And I think the most clear cut case of this was I did a, I did a pop stars concert was the first time I’d sung poison in 18 years. And this was two years ago, I did just a one off thing in a gay night in Melbourne. And this guy who was fully dressed in latex, probably about I guess, 10 years younger than me. And I’m like, Oh, my God, I love what you’re wearing. He said, Oh, my God. He said, You are totally to blame for this. said when I was a kid, I saw that first film clip said and you in that latex cat suit said I was forever changed. And since then, I you know, he obviously became a full on latex fetishes. He said, I just I feel so good in it, and you made it seem like it was okay. And I’ve been obsessed ever since he said, and that was totally because of you. And I just laughed and we hugged and that was gorgeous. And again, it was just it was just one of those cases that you know, he didn’t even know what he was into until he saw it and went, oh, wow, that’s unusual. That’s different, but I love it. But you know, because it was on CHANNEL SEVEN, so Oh, well, that must be okay. So yeah, many, many, many, many, many, many stories. And I feel very proud to, to have kind of led the way for a lot of people in the community to just feel okay about themselves.

K Anderson  29:32

So the headline I’m taking away from this is Katie Underwood keeps the Australian latex industry alive,

Katie Underwood  29:39

apparently. Well, I think it started a mini storm for a lot of Yeah, maybe wouldn’t have even and then, you know, I’ve been I’ve been a member of the fetish community and one of my good friends is heavily involved in the rubber community specifically like that’s the sub john Or even within the fetish community? Yeah, so I’m sure this young man discovered this other community even beyond the gay community, as well. So there’s all these wonderful subcultures that exist in just dressing up, essentially. You know, it’s fun.

K Anderson  30:17

And do you have any friends that sit on balloons?

Katie Underwood  30:21

Yeah, no, but I’m aware of that. As a fetish, like people can run whole channels, I think and as well. Yeah. And then there’s this I think the modern thing that kind of, that’s kind of fishy, but not too freaky. Is this is that ASMR? Oh, yeah, it’s like people, I don’t know, well, it’s only supposed to affect about, I think 10% of the population that there are particular sounds that will generate a very specific like tingling feeling or euphoric feeling. It’s like a tingle up the spine. And people who are listening to the sounds, get get a jolt of of pleasant feeling, essentially, it’s not necessarily a sexual thing. But just this sort of heightened sensory reaction to certain sounds. When I first saw it, I didn’t get it either. But I think it’s one of those things that, you know, if if you fall under the ASMR brand banner, then that’s like, you know, catnip for you.

K Anderson  31:27

But it’s like a genetic thing. You can’t teach yourself to do it. It’s not like no, so it’s like magic. I like I could just never do magic I.

Katie Underwood  31:35

Yeah, no, you’re either you’re either the kind of person who responds to those sorts of sounds or you’re not. It’s not something you can it’s not like a club, you can just join, go. Die. But

K Anderson  31:44

couldn’t you train yourself?

Katie Underwood  31:47

Like being a golf? You know, you can’t just put on the outfit? Yeah, I’ll just be this. No, it’s a very specific subset from what I’m told. Just. Yeah, I know. Yeah. We’ll have to join some other clubs. The cake sitting club.

K Anderson  32:02

I mean, the cake sitting club, it seems very expensive as a hobby. I mean, it’s not happy here. Sorry. I shouldn’t downgrade it to.

Katie Underwood  32:12

Well, if you’re into biking, maybe it’s easy. You know, you could possibly crank out a cake a day out I think you’d want to be buying them you’re quite right. It would it would become very expensive.

K Anderson  32:23

But I didn’t know see I’m one of these people. I don’t really enjoy cooking because I’m like, it takes me about five minutes to eat the result of like two hours of slaving so I always get a bit. Yeah, that really wasn’t worth it. So sitting on a cake if I spent like, you know, two hours baking it, then icing it adding you know all these like little decorations and then just sat on it in like 10 seconds. Yeah, I don’t know. Yeah. So anyway, I know. It’s not for me. So that’s okay. I’ll move on. to So the market. Do you remember hearing about a closing?

Katie Underwood  33:03

Of course. Yeah. Well, we all went to the final party. I can’t even remember what year it was now. Right. Okay. Yeah, so there were a few, almost final parties. In fact, in 2011, I became apparent so I’m not sure if I got to go to the very, very last one. But I was very, very sad. I mean, at that point, the whole of commercial road which is the strip that the market is in, was known for being the gay street in Qur’an, you know, we had, there was a time we had Priscilla’s I did like a whole jazz thing. on a Wednesday night at a bar called Priscilla’s bar. Every Wednesday night for like three months, it was unheard of to have a jazz residency in the heart of the gay strip in Iran. But we did that there was diva bar next door. There was the market and there was some other club as well. It was a real kind of hive of activity. But around that time, all of that all of those places were being resold and straightened out and corporatised. So it was it was very, very sad. There was no other The only other mega club that kind of match the market was the Greyhound in St. Kilda that was only double level and it was still only half the size. So when the market closed, we thought Oh, well, we’ll we’ll just steer our attention towards the Greyhound. And then a few years later, they they bulldoze the Greyhound, which was again, total loss of an iconic venue and St Kilda and they said they were going to put apartments up but it’s just been an empty block for five years. It’s just been it’s disgusting. It’s disgusting waste. You know, had they had they put something up straight away, you would have gone Oh, well, that’s fine times change. But they knocked down this iconic venue. That house you know, generations Have queer folk and, and this does nothing. It’s just like a fence and a dirty bit of lawn. It’s very sad. At least at least the market didn’t get demolished. I think we thought that it would. And then perversely, quite offensively, it was really opened as a strip club. And I don’t know what upset me more, you know, I think I almost would have preferred there to be apartments there. But then they reopened and they’re still open now as the emison I’ve only been there twice. But it just became very, very pricy very yuppie. Very, you know, I drive them back, and I might own a boat. And here’s some cocaine, you know, big time, that sort of place. Just wasn’t the same. It just it just, it’s just like, they sucked the soul out of it. And, you know, put a gold star on it and went here. We’ve rebranded for the Yeah, it was it was, it was very upsetting. And every time I’d gone there, there was no culture, there was no community there. No, just became another money making venue. I don’t even know if it’s still Well, obviously, it’s not happening. Nothing’s happening at the moment. But yeah, so market 2011. And yes, I look, I frequented it pretty heavily. So let’s see if we go back to the timeline. So I came back to Melbourne, mid 2001 2002, beautiful exploded, I was pretty busy working in the clubs, for the following two years, so I was often away. So it was actually rare for me to get a weekend off where I could go out. But when I could, I did. And I would grab my friend who lived in town and go right, we’re hitting the market, let’s have a night. And we would Yeah, we would indulge ourselves and dance all night and, and have a laugh. And that was it and just kind of hang out until closing, which was usually four or five in the morning. You know, you didn’t walk out, you’ve rolled out and then possibly went to some you know, after the party down the road, then there was a Virgin Mary’s. That’s right. That was the other venue that would open. Let me see what time did Virgin Mary’s Virgin Mary’s didn’t open until 6am on a Sunday morning. So that was

K Anderson  37:23

Yeah, my response. Just gonna go to bed.

Katie Underwood  37:27

Yeah, you’d arrive there at six or seven, you know, having just left the last club or maybe you’d have to do a stopover at a friend’s place for a couple of hours. And then you’d hit virgin Marys, and then stay there until two or three in the afternoon. You know, that was back in my wild days when you know, sleep was just optional.

K Anderson  37:47

And you weren’t worried about having to do your washing for the following week or anything like no, I’m not worried about when you wear latex, you just need to spray it down, right?

Katie Underwood  38:02

In my life. It was more of a private thing. Because anyone know latex? Is anyone who knows after a couple of hours, it’s just all sweat. There’s nothing sexy about it.

K Anderson  38:21

Unless you carry tell

Katie Underwood  38:22

the user that only does so much. Oh, okay. On the few times that I went out actually wearing anything latex, I would last two, maybe three hours and then I’d actually either have to get changed at the club, or just got home. I was having, you know, just a social or fetish night you would just go but if I wanted to dance, you know, it was runners and pads or hot pants and something very, very relaxing and comfortable. Maybe sexy, but generally just sort of comfortable. Yeah. And so that whole commercial

K Anderson  38:55

road, you know, paraone was very, very gay. Yeah, yeah. Is it no longer like that? Or is there any remnants of that?

Katie Underwood  39:07

There’s only one venue now called puffed off, which took up took up the charge. Don’t you just love the name? So not hidden. secret. So poof, just kind of took up the charge. But there was a gap. There was a vacuum of venues for a couple of years. And look the puffed up venue is okay. It’s at the old chases, I think so again, you’ve got a multi level club, lots of little dark spaces, that’s a big dance floors, you know all the stuff you want. In a venue big lies, the lights, drag shows, you know, good DJs that sort of thing. Any discreet

K Anderson  39:45

label toilets,

Katie Underwood  39:47

not for me. I was starting to grow up a little bit and obviously once I had kids, everything changed and I didn’t really go out much after that. But yeah, but the whole But the commercial road set itself just died. You know, I think the only thing that survived was the one gay bookshop pears and hyenas, which was there for many, many years. But I, I’m not even sure if they’re there anymore. I think there was a fire or there’s someone, there was this horrible incident where one of the owners who I think lived and worked at here and hyenas got illegally raided by the police and had his arm broken. And it was this whole case of mistaken identity and police brutality and he lost his case. And I don’t know it was just this. I don’t know. Maybe they had this assumption that oh, well, here’s an hyenas must be a deviant, you know, worthy of a ride at 2am in the morning, it’s just disgusting behaviour. Unfortunately, so, you know, but that was kind of the last the last man standing I think it was the last guy flag to be flying in commercial road. Everything else had been turned into, you know, tanning salons and dentists and doctors and I don’t know what else not much, nothing good. joyless things.

K Anderson  41:08

Yeah, exactly. And so then has the same moved or is the same just dissipated?

Katie Underwood  41:14

I think it got split then. I mean, St. Kilda has always been pretty friendly. But even though I think killed is very much a cultural melting pot. It was never specifically, you know, gay, it’s always been gay friendly. But it didn’t have those same flagship stores. like kissing hyenas or like the, you know, openly gay bars diva bar Priscilla, and certainly not the market. So no, I have not seen a cluster reform anywhere in Victoria. So it was very sad. And I think the loss of the market was, it was the last thing to go. So by 2011 all the other smaller venues had already shut up shop or moved on. So yeah, we were all sad when the market ended not just because the club was shutting it was the it signified the end of an era for a lot of us. It’s like Well, where do we go now? And yeah, there was no sort of one gay hub anymore. There are still places to go Of course, but it’s it’s not the same and I’m not sure it ever will be.

K Anderson  42:23

Okay, so I’m determined not to finish on that sad note. Can what what songs transport you back to the market? Oh, rapture, by IO. Oh my god. You

Katie Underwood  42:43

like that sound? are so many there were some a song called finally there’s been lots of sample finally over the years and I forget who did this one. But it was in the days of you know, the Ministry of sound compilations back when they were good. Even even gatecrash The album’s that may

K Anderson  43:02

sound really old if you like, Well, back when it was.

Katie Underwood  43:10

Yeah, back before electro back when house music was the thing you know, it’s coming back apparently that. So yeah, I think it was that it was it was those big rooms sounds where you had kind of wasn’t quite translate wasn’t quite house, but you had this merging of the two sounds. That’s just the first one that pops into my head. There’d be many more. If I opened up my computer, I could, you know, scroll through and go oh, it was this and it was that. But yeah, rapture by IO and many others. Yeah, it was just it was that that massive room sound where people were just there to, to dance, with the whole dance floor with just a certain sound of a song would come on, and you’d be just transfixed and the laser lights could be going and the whole clump would be screaming. I was really distressed to visit puffed off one night, I’d been to surprise surprise, a fetish dance club prior. And that had wound up about 3am and we’re still you know, keen for a dance with our will drop into puffed off. And I’ve walked in the door of this club. So this was like, I don’t know, maybe two or three years ago now. So not that long ago. And I walked in and I was assaulted by the sight of a full dance floor, which firstly annoyed me because I’m like, Where am I going to dance. But the thing that really got me was every goddamn person on that dance floor had their phone out. I was looking at it and I I could not wrap my head around what had happened. Apparently in the club scene where now it was acceptable not just to have your phone on you, but to have it out and be looking at on the goddamn dance floor and

K Anderson  44:56

person with a feeling themselves having a good time or when They checking their Instagram,

Katie Underwood  45:02

all of it. There was some people that were actively messaging there was some people that might have been trying to take a photo. If it was just people taking photos, I could get it. But Honest to God, everyone was just like checking their socials while they were dancing like on the dance floor, I wanted to grab them and Graeme just go, why are you here? If you want to just scroll through your feed the fuck home and get off my dance floor and let me have a good time. It was really, really, I just, I couldn’t process it, even though I can’t process it. So you know, for me, my memory of being at a dance club was to dance, and everyone was there to have a good time. And if I even had a phone back then it certainly wasn’t in my hand. Probably. Because it was like

K Anderson  45:46

this big.

Katie Underwood  45:49

You know, I’d close it. You know, you’d just sort of cloak your phone. Yeah, get about it. Um, you know, I barely had room to stuff, you know, $50 bills in my bras. I could get a vodka, let alone carry a phone, you know, who could be bothered with any of that? So yeah, I think that’s that’s missing, too. You know, how can you really be immersed in this incredible song that comes on when you’re busy checking your your latest ping on your phone? Yeah, that put me right off, you know, put me right off going back. Which was sad. Yeah, but we don’t want to end up let No,

K Anderson  46:28

no, we don’t want no matter. was gonna say I was gonna say, first of all my pet peeve on dance floors is when everyone is shirtless. Because if they’re really sweaty and gross, and I have to, like rub up against them. I don’t like that very much.

Katie Underwood  46:45

Yeah, that was the reason why I very rarely ever danced on the ground floor level. Because that was where all the shirtless sweaty boys work. And I’m all for it. But like you, I don’t want to be dancing up against, you know, copious amounts of anyone else’s sweat boy or girl. But so that’s why the balcony level the mid level suited me?

K Anderson  47:07

Well, it’s good that the market had a designated sweaty, hot boy section.

Katie Underwood  47:12

Oh, absolutely. It was it was the mosh pit. It was the table. You know, it was just a given. If you go down there, you’re not going to come away dry?

K Anderson  47:26

Oh, oh, no, no, no, what I was gonna say is I have a memory of there being a part of the dance floor that right? Like that was on some kind of engine and it would rise and fall. Did I make that up?

Katie Underwood  47:42

Not necessarily. There were certainly multiple podiums. So on the ground level. I think you’re right. I think there was some adjustable business because they had a drag shows there as well. So yeah, look, I can’t confirm or deny it. But I’m not going to put it out of i think it’s it’s quite possible that there were moveable parts going on there. Certainly multiple podiums, of which I think I danced on almost everyone at some point, often in the same night. Well, yeah, I was that sort of quiet. person. Yeah, partly to get away from all the sweaty boys. But you know, partly because I was a bit of a show off. And I like to do that.

K Anderson  48:30

Well, I mean, like, yeah, if you were on a podium, you do not have to contend with someone bumping into you accidentally. You don’t have to, like navigate down the floor. You can just go for it.

Katie Underwood  48:41

Yeah, yeah. You just have to hope that that like a drunk person that can’t dance doesn’t integrate wisdom decided to get on the podium there with you in that case, you know, yeah, that was always a bit a bit disturbing. I just go You know what, you back when there’s no drunken person on here, but how to disable toilet

K Anderson  49:00

I’m fine. Yeah. I’ll be back in half an hour. So if you were to describe it in five words, what would those five words be? sweaty and vibrant. Welcoming, joyful, and trashy, trashy, USA Good one. Did you ever go to the market? Well, if you did, I would love to hear from you. Tell me your stories and sharing photos or anecdotes through social media. You can find me on most every platform under the user name K Anderson music. You can also find out more about what Katie is up to which includes celebrating the 20 year anniversary of Baidu. on her Instagram, which is Katy Underwood healing. Love 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 we’ll be releasing songs over the coming year. You can hear the first single, which is called 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 subscribed, left a review on Apple podcasts or just told someone who you think might be interested in having a listen to. I am K Anderson, and you’ve been listening to loss spaces







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