Cheryll, Angeleyes of mist, and Kas all won a copy of A Story of Now by Emily O’Beirne. Congratuations!
Check it out! The fabulous author Emily O’Beirne stopped in to celebrate the release of her debut novel, A Story of Now. If you haven’t read it, you really, really should. Because it’s awesome.
And, because Emily is also awesome, she’s giving away three copies of A Story of Now as part of her guest blog. Yeah! That’s like awesome cubed. So, enter the drawing, because you KNOW you want to. Leave a comment in the space below and I’ll draw the winners on this Friday, 8/14.
by Emily O’Beirne
The night to be young and gay in inner northern Melbourne, Australia has and will always be Thursday night.
It all started in a small corner pub in Fitzroy when a queen, an old school punk and a hipster decided they needed to create a queer night that they wanted to go to. They wanted a place that would rail against the stereotypes we gays had somehow set for ourselves. They wanted a night for gay boys who didn’t want their entire social lives to be backed by techno epics and re-mixed Kylie songs, and one for girls who didn’t want to spend their nights in dyke bars listening to the Indigo Girls.
And it turned out a lot of us wanted the same thing. Before they knew it, countless young Melbourne queers measured their social lives in weeks between Thursday nights. To a backdrop of sound that catered to our every musical kink, we drank, we danced, we made eyes at hotties, and we kept coming back, despite the hellish queue to get in.
The crowd was mixed, but that was its charm. We were like some island of misfit queers and we were more than happy to mingle. There were the ubiquitous gay boys in their skinny jeans Bonds tee uniforms and perfected hair. There were the there were the leather dykes who rotated doing security on the door and dominating the pool table. There were the baby dykes with their cropped hair and key chains. There were the ubiquitous indie and hipster kids, and the pouting eyeliner-ed girls in crushed velvet skirts with jet-black hair. There was the one lone drag queen who clutched her handbag to her floral, mumsy dress, and twirled expansively across the small dance floor, ricocheting off anyone who got in her way. And we let her do it because who could begrudge the rapture on her face when the right song was playing?
I discovered this night when I started working behind the bar. It was one of my first jobs. I’d finished high school out in the suburbs and in mere days moved to the city. By day the pub was a typical corner joint where old geezers drank pony glasses of beer and whiled away their days and their pensions. By night it was part-bar part-nightclub where single office workers came to dance around circles of their handbags to ‘It’s Raining Men’.
But one night a week it was ours.
I soon started taking Thursday off. I realised didn’t want to serve the crowds, I wanted to be amongst it. I was eighteen, I was a giant ball of reaction to stimuli, and my world was finally my own. This was adulthood and this was exactly the kind of stimuli I hadn’t known I wanted. Until now.
I learned who I was and who I wasn’t at this place. I learned I was gay, and that it wasn’t a big deal. I didn’t come out. I just started going out on Thursday nights. Then I brought home girlfriends. But I also came to understand that knowing you were gay was half the battle. I hadn’t yet realised that even in this place where diversity wasn’t just accepted but demanded, that figuring out what kind of gay you were was part of it. I learned this the hard way one night in the earliest days when I was having a drink with some of the security girls one night, complaining that girls never noticed me. Esther, the youngest, coolest and toughest of the lot, tossed her scathing response over her leather-clad shoulder. “Yeah, that’s because you dress like a fag hag”. I was too scared to ask what that was, but I knew it was an insult.
After that finding out what the term meant, I looked around at all the girls who I knew for sure were lesbians and I realised I didn’t look like them. But I didn’t know how to be any different, either. I wanted to go out in the dress I found in the bottom of the drama closet back in high school. I wanted to live in bright red lipstick. And even though I knew I couldn’t change, it took a long time to feel like that was okay.
But I also figured out how to make girls notice me: talk to them. Who knew? Over the next few years there was a line of girls, all discovered on Thursday nights. The first was a shy, British indie fan. We hung out for a few weeks in her huge double storied terrace house, with a giant fibreglass tooth on the front porch. We were so damn shy we barely moved past kissing. Then there was the beautiful, androgynous girl with the sleepy eyes and black hair. I finally got up the courage to talk to her one night as the bartenders called last drinks. We would be together for three years, my first love. Then, in the stormy aftermath there was the wild-eyed, beautiful artist who’d just come home from a year’s art scholarship in New York. Over a sweaty summer of Thursday nights we danced through my crush and her slow, heartbreaking descent into mental illness. Later there would be the spoiled little rich girl with the posh accent who made documentaries about people who lived in trailer parks. And there are others I can’t even remember now.
It wasn’t just about the girls I met there, though. I made some friends for life, too. I made them in the interminable queue, on the dance floor, and even in the line for the two women’s toilets. It was a small, vibrant crowd that filled this place every Thursday night, and it is so firmly wrapped into the memories of my first years of being out in the world on my own. I still pass people on the street that I never met but who feel familiar like long-time neighbours after years of spending Thursday nights in the same place.
No matter what happened in our lives, Thursday night was always there, full of potential and possibility. I remember the day I broke up with my first serious girlfriend. I huddled in the living room of the crowded, dilapidated share house I had traded for my shared flat with her. I was sad and raw and in shock, even though I’d asked for it. One of my new housemates, a tiny, hyper young gay who’d also just become single, begged me to go out. We’d just sit at the bar and have a quiet drink, he promised. Commiserate in our suffering. He couldn’t stay away. And I agreed, because even though I was heartbroken, it was Thursday, and what else could we do? So we put on our outfits and traipsed up that hill to the pub where we both knew there’d be enough distraction, at least for one night. And we danced out our misery until last drinks were called.
The pub is long gone now, just another victim to the relentless gentrification of the area. But so many other nights have sprung up in its place on Thursdays. It’s become such a tradition in Melbourne there is one night simply—cheekily— named ‘Thursgay’. I don’t go out so much any more. I blame it on moving further north, getting a little bit older, and quitting drinking. But even while I stay home, all grown up now, I kind of like to know that every single week in Melbourne there are queer kids everywhere gearing up for all the possibilities of a Thursday night.
- Author website: http://emilyobeirne.com/
- Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13543645.Emily_O_Beirne
- Tumblr: http://it-used-to-be-fun.tumblr.com/
- Excerpt of A Story of Now: http://emilyobeirne.com/2015/06/18/excerpt-a-story-of-now/
A Story of Now
Nineteen-year-old Claire Pearson knows she needs a life. And some new friends. But brittle, beautiful, and just a little bit too sassy for her own good sometimes, she no longer makes friends easily. And she has no clue where to start on the whole finding a life front, either. Not after a confidence-shattering year dogged by bad break-ups, friends who have become strangers, and her constant failure to meet her parents sky-high expectations.
When Robbie and Mia walk into Claire’s work they seem the least likely people to help her find a life. But despite Claire’s initial attempts to alienate them, an unexpected new friendship develops.
And it’s the warm, brilliant Mia who seems to get Claire like no one has before. Soon, Claire begins to question her feelings for her new friend.