Hamish Allardice profile

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[00:00:00] This program is brought to you by pride nz.com. [00:00:05] So, I'm Hamish and I live in Wellington now. But I was born in Macedonia 1962. So I'm born in the wild. And live there tell us about 10 with mad family of six children, and a mom and dad, of course. And then when I was 10, we moved up into the manga to innovate box, because when I was kind of, in when I was in Massillon dead was a stock agent. So it was 11 lived in a town, it was a fairly rural upbringing, and I got a great sense of where the food comes from, and how important that all was really youngest of six, as well. And being the youngest is lot of time on my own on the sheet station. So I developed a fascination of theater. And I love the animals and kind of hang out with the dogs and the horses and spent many, many, many hours just exploring the sheep station on on the horse. on my own, it's quite amazing when I reflect back how many Beckley recently a couple of weeks ago and had a look, and it really was an idyllic way to be brought up in that regard. around the home, it was a little bit different. But on the ship station, it was great. [00:01:25] Do you mean around the home? How was it different? [00:01:28] Oh, goodness, what would I say? What would I say that would be appropriately to say, both my parents have passed now so it feels so juicy banter? To not speak about? It's kind of interesting, some develop a whole new filter data spent last year and mom went in 2011 just for the app games, actually. So yeah, I would say it was. It was quite an interesting, it wasn't wasn't a happy household, shall we say. And it was lots of chemicals involved in terms of alcohol, lots of not alcohol involved. And so as a kid, it was, I wouldn't say it was an idyllic environment to be brought happen. And also, when I was at school, I didn't. [00:02:13] I seem to have missed out on the ability to read. And, and right particularly well. So when I was [00:02:23] in school, that later years, it became harder and harder. And then of course, when I found that I was gay, it became even harder. So kind of, I wasn't a very, I was a hard working student, but I didn't really get very good results because I just wasn't very academic. Yeah, I found it really hard at school. Apart from being a fake, I found it really hard. I just, I found out years ago that when I worked for the government, and I hit that I'd never really learned how to read properly and I nearly had a group the words and I wasn't an intelligent, I wasn't dyslexic or anything. That is because I was just trying to stay alive. I didn't really learn how to read and write for me. It's a bit of a mess. And when I go back and look at my school reports, the first year they were just loving me because I was personable and friendly and everything else but then the second year that rubber hit the road because I realized that have no clue what was going on in the classroom. And then they're trying to help me and they don't move to another school. Because I can't break it. Yeah, it didn't work. Me in school. [00:03:34] Yeah. So was the bullying involved in you talking about being called Oh, you know, getting a fake and stuff. [00:03:40] Oh, yeah. Well not not for two primary I was a Paki. I could says I think it was 120 kids and it was 13 Paki I kids so there's lots of bullying involved the reverse racism is alive and well in New Zealand. You know, you get the monarchy was the pie kids and wake up every day will my wife make gets and it was really awful. And then we moved to an estimated elevate high school where I first learned about six because I had no idea what anything was about before that. And debit High School was kind of identified away because I was advocate gay kids and boarding pass and we experimented. And it was kind of a a pleasant experience and lots of ways. Yeah, most ways, shall we say? And then it was because there was lots of kids that were just trying to get off and never disappears. Okay, kids for whatever they wanted. So it wasn't it wasn't so attractive. But anyway, then over to get spun. And it goes in Boys High school it was it was last year, I was assaulted in the rectory and boarding school. And in the kids who had done it. They told everyone at the school that I've created, told to them and tried to go down on them. So I got cold gobbler, and I got cold Mary and I got cold, faggot and all the rest of it. Oh my god, it was horrible. And basically, for the next three years, I just got hustled to on my way to every classroom, it was a nightmare. So my ability to learn was kind of was I found it really difficult to stay alive. I just wanted to stay alive. You know, I just knew that I had to get through. But I found it really, really challenging. [00:05:27] And I didn't learn very well. Yeah. [00:05:31] So how did you cope? [00:05:35] I think I developed an evil tongue. I punched out one of the big brothers. I knew how to defend myself physically. But I knew that if they all had a go, that I wouldn't be able to protect myself physically. And I knew that if I started punching me out, that I'd be done for. And I didn't want them tonight had I was actually terrified of the mall, because I'll miss our terrifying. And because they keep coming at me all the time, every day, every class that if I had to walk down the corridor, every every class, I would be at me, God. And I didn't want them to know that I was terrified. So I had to be not show any feelings or anything and and i would dress them down and give them a pedigree verbally. But there was one guy one day he had me on that I used to wear glasses and he hit me on the ear. And that really, really hurt. So I just waited outside the classroom, his name is Howard. And he was quite a big guy. I wasn't very big. And I was quite Faye and had a smack them on right between the eyes. And he just went straight down. And that kind of said to everyone that I was a little bit psycho and leave me alone physically. So no one really ever touched me physically, which was just great, because I couldn't, I couldn't see how I can protect myself. So I've got a developed an evil tan, which means in didn't really develop healthy ways of talking to people. And I kind of just find out who the scariest person in the room that I went to was and I kind of annihilate them. I just I just go them really I was my first line of defense was a tech. So it made me quite isolated and alone in lots of ways. And the gay kids in the gay kids that were at the school, not that we not that I really identified any of them because I was just trying to stay alive, I really had no idea. I knew that I that everyone said I was gay, but for me. And I kind of knew that I was gay. But in some ways, I didn't really have the choice, I didn't really have the opportunity to make up my mind and have a coming up process or anything else till later on. When I kind of developed the ability to understand what it was all about. I just knew that I ended up having six of guys and I don't really know why. [00:08:01] Strange. [00:08:02] So did you have any, like internal issues with your having sex with guys? I mean, did you feel fine after it? Or did you mean to do with where you have a conflict to buy? [00:08:13] It's a really good question. I think the thing was about that was that I was so it was so mechanical. And because stuff that had happened earlier on in my life. And when I was before us 10 that in terms of our sexual abuse, I kind of had learned to shut down. So I combat midlife, the sexual experience by just shutting down and just kind of not being there. But I knew that it was what people liked from me. And because I was an inherently a people pleaser. I didn't really have many other talents to go by. I was the sexualized and that was kind of it was my only point of reference was it was that guys like to have six of me and I didn't really have any god, it sounds awful. But it was kind of like that's what it was like, you know, I just had, I had no, no other understanding or family. I've had that really difficult to learn. I wasn't very bright. I was good at hosting and being friendly and looking after people and socializing. But as long as I was safe, but in terms of it other stuff, I was hopeless. Yeah. I didn't. I didn't find the sexual experiences very good. [00:09:38] And then I ended up having [00:09:41] I started drinking and I was working, because my dad didn't have very much money. So they after the one year at the boarding school, they when they said could I go private boarding, so in private boarding, but they had made it quite clear that I was costing them a lot of money. So I thought I'd be trying to install on my own. So I got a job working in a catering firm. And [00:10:04] part of a culture of a place was even got trashed, and I started drinking. And I remember waking up one morning, and [00:10:14] my boss, the owner of a place he was having anal sex with me. So it was pretty horrific. So I passed out drunk and it was when I woke up to. So it kind of reiterated the whole experience of you know that I really wasn't anything other than a toy. I remember him saying to me the next morning that he says if you tell anyone about us, and I'm going to cut a child for very long time. [00:10:40] And neither told anyone about it until I'm into rehab. Yeah. [00:10:47] You speak with such honesty and frankness. Is that part of rehab? [00:10:54] It is really yeah, I think and I've been through a process couple of times when I was 26. And I went to rehab. [00:11:04] And [00:11:07] really, really 10 have a head he was he has was diagnosed has been actually positive. So I really was positive. And then john and i have john was his partner john aid. And I've been got artists separately, but on the same day in different places kind of thing. On as he did it in Auckland in those days, but anyway, we did it and we picked it up, I went to the doctor and got it anyway, we went to pick up our results and has came back positive and really was in rehab at the time and mine came back negative. And then when Rudy came home, john went off to rehab and really kind of sent me the galaxy's right, what are you gonna do, you're gonna wait until you get the virus as well, or you can sort it out. Now, he was quite confronting, but it was quite loving as well. [00:11:56] And he sort of said to me, you know, [00:11:59] you can ask what you set out. So I set up after rehab, and it will change my life, you know, saved my life because john and Rudy both died. By 1910. It was 1988, February 1988, I went to rehab, the sort of the end of 87, the crash it happened. And that was when ready was gone to rehab. And in 88, February 22, I went to rehab and got out the 15th of April and 1988. And went home talk, but everyone was unwell. And David was looking at getting into rehab as well, he was still had so much bandwidth, we were kind of living on the edge, and not so wise because we were all [00:12:52] fairly [00:12:54] chip based a lot of the time before we got clean. And [00:12:59] I don't think we had very good skills, love. We just kind of patties and trying to do the best we could with the life we had. But then when I got clean, so it was up to me 11 got very different. So to answer the question, yeah, I did, I kind of have learned that my level of self honesty is imperative to me being able to live with myself, I don't want to, I don't want to end up calling myself about myself, and I don't want to live beyond what I'm capable of. So I've found it useful for me, to be honest. So I had to go back and sort out the demons to unpack the box after rehab, where I started to unpack the demons. And then last year 2014, sort of January 2014, I fell in love someone and, and it was kind of reciprocation, then it wasn't possible for various reasons. And I kind of completely came, I'm done, I hadn't fallen enough for years. And I came undone, and I had to look at everything all over again. It was horrible. So I thought right, so that I took last year, I didn't work very much. And I just kind of took the year to go back. And let's go back and do the bits that I didn't do last time. So I did everything last time. So I guess that's why it's a little bit. It's even more so front of mind, because I've done so much more work on it. [00:14:38] Can you paint a picture for me of what it was like as a, as a young gay man in New Zealand in the early 1980s, late 1970s, early 1980s, as we kind of moved towards when HIV AIDS was was coming onto the scene. [00:14:54] So thinking back into the 80s, so I left school 1979 was in Milan, you're at school, and I'm was 17 and moved to Wellington. And I, I knew that the school experience have been hideous, but I knew that I had to get University insurance. And so I remember saying to my teacher that he tried it on. And he was kind of playing with his butt from talking to me. And I just told him that I was out of there, because I had kind of got enough sense of what it was like in terms of our security to pin someone else's play toy. And I knew what he was up to. And I just said, No, I'm out of here. And it was Friday. And I had to catch the best to go, which took me on a pay to go home to sort out the parents for the weekend and try and cut the hedges and mow the lawns and make everything look all right from the outside because it really was such a harsh, harsh show inside. Anyway, didn't sex form came along. And I was finding this really funny and so difficult. And [00:15:59] I just said to him that I wasn't going to leave school without getting University insurance. And [00:16:07] if I had to come back next year that my life his life was kind of miserable. And it was kind of how I pitched it in terms of blackmailing him. But essentially, I was desperate. And I I just knew that I had to pass University insurance. And I knew that he had the ability to make sure that it would happen. And I didn't have the skills or the ability to pass it myself. So I kind of made it quite clear to him that if I had to come back the next year as life is going to be a nightmare, as mine have been for the last three years. So I was on the back of it that I got University and trends. And I was smoking my first joint. And it was just fabulous. You know, everyone went away. Everyone went away. Alcohol was hard, pretty hideous, because I got drunk so easily. I wasn't very big, and I kind of I just got trashed really fast. And after the experience with my boss, I wasn't keen on doing it too often. Whereas if I got stoned, I felt like I still had a few of my faculties and to try and maybe keep myself safe. Maybe I say how's it going either, but anyway, and so I mean, I'm trying to move to Wellington 17 and I didn't like gay kids here. I didn't know what gay kids did. You're either a hairdresser or a cook. I thought it was. And guess when it was all people I saw the heat races with guy all the cooks. And I thought I didn't want to be a hairdresser. [00:17:45] I didn't really [00:17:49] want to be a traitor. And I thought I could be a cook. [00:17:54] I just really had no idea. I really had no idea as a kid growing up. Anyway, I'm McCain to white and I arrived here on 23rd of February 1980. And I've been working on a ship station I have $300 from working on the ship station, up an hour from Tacoma pay in that and flooding the face to the internet says to the Tilly and Dave who were just fabulous. You know, there was so cold to me. Babe wanted me to move I think she thought I was such a last wife. And I needed someone to look after me. Julie was I think she was a bit terrified because I was so little bit out there. Yeah. Anyways, and they were really good to me. And I started trying to find a job. So I just went door knocking every day I went to the same hotels, there's five hotels, I'd go to and just knock on the door and asked to speak to the executive chef and say that I wanted a job. And every day they kind of faced I said no. And the second day they said [00:19:01] now and on the third day one of them said [00:19:03] hey, or I can come and wash the dishes. And wait until we do some training program or something. I said sure. That's great. I would wash the dishes, I got a job washing the dishes. And then he made me fourth cook salad. And after a few months, and I didn't had a politic and learn how to be [00:19:23] a cook. [00:19:25] But I didn't, I had a love of his terrible eating disorder because of put me off food. And my hands is so dirty, I smelt of food all the time, and I couldn't handle it at all. And once again, I the defect, I didn't know how to love. And I mean, I just got really sick. And I think I got a clap as well. And I got degeneration of my gums and I didn't have to look after myself. And we were going to nightclubs. You know, like I was at 17 and had to be 20 to get into the clubs. But there was a place called the door in society. And the door in society, you had to be a member. And I just turned 18 at that stage 17. And in April, I turned 18. And mean they somehow I got to be a member. I don't think I was supposed to drink. My membership was kind of dependent on me not drinking but I did a net was the guy stuff that was where it all started to go off in terms of me meeting people. And I but I met Bashan before that. And I fell in love and you know, we were together for two weeks or something that was a very long relationship. For me before I kind of ran off because I didn't have a relationship with someone, you know, I was Hello. What I didn't know about me. I wasn't very fond of, you know, anyway, he was good to me, people were good to me long before I was ever good to myself. People try to love me even when I couldn't love myself. So the thing was, was that we don't hang out at the door in society and get shit faced because you get in for $15 or something and $15 was a lot of money. So we're all set faced because we had to, you know, you could you pay the door fee of $15. And then you could drink as much as you wanted to. And I didn't really have an off switch. Not for many things, actually. So, yeah, just got shut fast all the time. And, you know, I found that difficult to love because I was unwell and everything else. So So what was gay life? Gay life was really just about six and alcohol. It wasn't really anything else other than that, for me a nice days. [00:21:53] And can you comment on [00:21:56] the use of kind of alcohol and drugs? Was that kind of widespread in the gay community at that time? Or? I mean, I mean, did you stand out because you were doing all of that? Or was that just kind of normal? [00:22:08] was pretty much normal. It was only either in public toilets and headsets. And I guess it wasn't people standing around drinking me. There was a lot of drunk people there. But it wasn't because straight guys to get trolleys and you know, go to the vaults and get a blow job or whatever it was they were trying to do was shake someone that you wouldn't think I didn't know, but I don't think people picked people up to take them home and have a cup of tea. I mean, it was all around alcohol and drugs. To my mind, we just got shot face the new me check. And I [00:22:50] don't have much recollection of, [00:22:53] of shaking the fat paying off your debts really [00:22:55] is kind of like the two at hand in hand. So and being guided will be kind of, well, to my mind. I mean, this is all it was like for me. And, and but I get a sense that that's what it was like for most people because the door in society was where we were hanging out. And that was the part of the culture. I remember saying that I thought it was a bad thing. Because I thought I was becoming like my mom and dad. But you know, I kind of feel also powerless. And yeah, and I got a straight job working for an insurance company. And that was really cool because I could use what was kind of lifted my brain and it was normal people there who looked out for me [00:23:39] as a woman, Ella, [00:23:40] Ella. Ella full name Ramage, she was amazing. She was such a neat woman [00:23:44] on the Ramage. [00:23:46] She was just wonderful. And she was like a man, you know, she kind of looked out for me, and she told me off of a hangover. [00:23:54] But [00:23:56] then she was kind of worried about me because of all the guys [00:24:02] I'm trying to think and baton took me to the sauna. [00:24:07] So that was another place and I I maybe we doing shit faced when your soul will probably Stein by [00:24:15] we're probably side. When we go to the sort of element Stein. [00:24:21] It was what it was like, we got shit faced, who got laid, and that was kind of what it was. [00:24:27] And, [00:24:28] and the sauna was a different experience as well. Because you go there and you'd have six of guys, and [00:24:37] then [00:24:39] you wouldn't say them again. Yeah, it was kind of it was anonymous, you didn't really know who they were. It wasn't very good. And lots of ways I wasn't very good from establishing myself stating or making me feel better about myself. It was for sure. [00:24:57] What else to be to [00:24:59] ServiceNow of the sooner and debates and in the door in society, there's a place called the Victoria club rule of rich guys when that was nice. I remember going there and thinking it was nice. [00:25:14] But my behavior didn't really photographer. [00:25:19] How is it that wild I think, as a little bit country in so I was in a plane speaking, [00:25:28] fear iterate. And if I had anyone scary in the room other night them? [00:25:34] Yeah, I don't think I was very good in such situations. [00:25:39] Can you explain or can you just clarify for me during that period? I mean, we're all these experiences fun. I mean, we were you having a good time? Or was it something that you I mean, but you're running from something or a good Christian [00:25:58] experiences fun? [00:26:01] Yeah, pretty much. I mean, we were just getting style and very sculpture paced. [00:26:09] I didn't really know any different. So I didn't know to expect, I didn't know that there was a way to have fun without being off your tips. I didn't know that you could have basically intimate with someone. You just shaved. And it was kind of a it was almost like a social exchange. It wasn't [00:26:30] loving or kind. It wasn't [00:26:36] as though I had any value as a human being. But in some ways the the interactions didn't have them either. [00:26:43] So [00:26:44] we were having fun, goodness, it's a really good question. We laughed a lot. I'm sure. [00:26:53] I think really, we were just all fat faces all the time. So we couldn't really tell. I like my straight job. I liked that. I was felt like I was contributing in some way. But I didn't. I knew how to make people laugh as well as I knew how to people make people feel me. So I could manipulate by being a people pleaser. [00:27:22] But I didn't. [00:27:24] I didn't really. [00:27:27] Yeah, I don't know that we had asked, maybe we did. I don't know. I don't know. The drag queens were having fun. [00:27:34] They terrified me as well. They were nice to me, but they terrified me. I couldn't work them out. Really? So did you do drink? Or did I do Dre? No, they dressed me at once the girls the dangerous is dressed me up and put makeup on me. And I said photos, the Polaroid fellas to the queens and they thought I look beautiful. And they wanted to dress me up. But I said no, I didn't Beatrice that is a claim. I felt I just felt so far away from who I was anyway, that to do that would have put me into a whole new spectrum of being far away from who I was. And I felt lost the map as well. Sounds really tragic. But I just felt so lost anyway that I didn't want to do anything else that made me more more lost than it already was. [00:28:25] Interesting. I don't remember a lot of fun. Well, [00:28:29] at that time, were you aware of anyone in the kind of rainbow community or we just ran back through some that was leading a different life. So that hand that wasn't using alcohol and drugs, [00:28:46] but the guys at the Victoria club seem to be doing okay. But they were still heavily getting, they're still drinking a lot of the same. Their main way of getting was alcohol. And there wasn't some people who are gay, who were leading essentially normal lives and seem to be doing okay. [00:29:09] But we all seem to be [00:29:12] we all seem to be consuming a lot of alcohol. [00:29:16] But it was a lunch and then tonic rain drank. It was a lot of wine made drank was a lot of the ice to drink rum and coke. And you know, I was like, nothing is all this shouldn't have been drinking rum and coke. Who was sweet though? It worked. It's terrible. I don't have an answer the question, was it? Yeah. I don't know. I didn't really know. There was no one that I was aspiring to be like, there was no role models. There was no, no. [00:29:46] Well, certainly, they were accessible to me at that stage. No, they came later. [00:29:53] Early 80s. And I tried the AIDS starts kind of coming up your first memories of HIV AIDS, [00:30:03] as living in home straight. And I was living with john. JOHN in, you've got to hear about john. john was extraordinary. He was amazing. I think he would dishwasher at the restaurant. I seem to remember something about that. He was fabulous. He was so cool. He was so much fun. He was fun. It was always a great time that we were always off. So you know, it's probably guys getting the name that john used to wear yellow hot pins and a big fear coat. And roller skates. Anyway, sorry, I've got completely distracted. How do we get talking about john [00:30:43] HOBHO. Hey, [00:30:44] Toby, I lived in this house and with john and his partner, Paul, although that split up by now but they were kind of still kind of levitating in the same house. And there was a time magazine. And how I found a Time Magazine, God knows it right to bloody thing. But there was this time magazine about this gay plague in San Francisco, I think it was or something. And I remember reading it. And there was this guy that used to come around and shake me sometimes. And I remember showing it to him because he was going overseas. And I said to him, it's if you're going to go to America, you need to know about this. And I was sitting up in bed post-coital and kind of showed him and he reckons I saved his life. He's still alive, and he's still HIV negative at the moment, you know, it's pretty cool. But that was the first time I'd ever come across that in terms of that. And then I left Wellington in 1984. So I've been working for the insurance company, and they promoted me and sent me back the governor's the office manager, it was hilarious. I had no idea what I was doing. I had no no idea, thank God, there was a woman up there who were who was basically running the office, who knew what to do. And I was here for like five months, and I spent most of the time cleaning kind of anything, I knew what to do. And anyway, so it has been and then from Brisbane, I moved to one day for a couple of weeks, I transferred me the and then I got a hell out of the insurance company we're sharing. And so it was kind of a brief time and you know, as an Oakland, and then I became aware of AIDS more. And I don't know if the timings right, really. But there was a lot of stuff was happening. And there was all of the people who were on the street, the Christians would be on the street on the corners of the little tables and chairs and trying to get us all to sign petitions. Because what the petition was about because they hated us in some way, they didn't like us at all. And it was about that time that I became, I think, long I really didn't know, they've got this great job at the Sheraton. I worked a lot, shall we say. And [00:33:09] that's when I became aware about AIDS. [00:33:13] I can't remember how [00:33:17] I became aware of it wasn't really, it wasn't really on my radar. I think that was when the guys started getting sick. [00:33:30] Because I'd use condoms ever since I talked to my friend who went to the US are these condoms. And I knew about them. And I started practicing safe sex. And they knew his birth date told everyone that they should do safe sex and we know it all. And they kind of knew about it, then I felt like I knew about it really, really. I tried having various relationships with people, but none of them already. None of them were really successful. None were all successful. I kept getting trashed. And, yeah, so HIV and AIDS, moved to Oakland. And you know, I remember the Burnet clinic opening. And I remember I went to the opening because I made scans and I'd never made scans before my life. And I didn't know that I tried to make it get fit, not fit, thickening, or something or doorway, and I just added more better and more and more better to the point where there it is yellow scans. They were really, really battery. But I went to the opening of the Burnet clinic and it was how remember that, but I don't remember much more about AIDS and in everyone was getting and I tried to I would started as an education worker for the AIDS Foundation, the AIDS Foundation that was called a support network. It was called. And they [00:35:01] there was this woman, Barbara thorn. And she was she was a big woman, that she was fantastic. And she was really [00:35:09] the whole [00:35:10] thing about AIDS. That made me feel like [00:35:15] I don't know why, but it made me feel like I was okay. Wow, that's really weird. It was that it wasn't all about it was so fat six. And that it was all about alcohol and drugs, because they were trying to tell us that we needed to not get shut face. So we could try and make sure we didn't have unsafe sex. But there was people who came into this circle of people that I knew that I wasn't, that wasn't apparent before that, who would just turn hit six of me. And it was like they were [00:35:49] would be able to [00:35:52] God, it was like they would be able to help in some way. So I went to be able to network and I learned how to talk to people about how to keep themselves safe. The thing was, was it Barbara, the support new indication program, where I ended up was that we had to go to schools. And I was terrified of that go to schools. He go near schools and you know that Pharrell was fairly big stature, bigger stature, and she was commanding in a room. And I did that I was no longer a child. And I had a voice. So it was kind of helpful, in some way, traumatizing helpful. Then I had a guy called Nick Johnson when the training and he started talking about how a dossiers of his life because of alcoholism. And someone was speaking to me about me, and I can identify with him. And so through aids, and through what happened, I got a better understanding of myself, and that I was living the life [00:36:57] that head. [00:37:00] shelf life really, I didn't, I could say that I was in trouble. And I needed to do something about the way I was living. And when tech Johnson spoke about I thought, Oh my God, he's talking about me, because I hit the ears. And the thing already, and I just was so young, you know, as I've moved to Oakland and was working in the hotels, and you know, I was faced [00:37:22] God all the time, and [00:37:26] didn't still didn't have a value. So adds, in some ways was a savior, because it gave a point of reference that other people could reach into my life and help me. [00:37:38] Now I want to try and understand. Just a few minutes ago, you were talking about safe sex and freely on wearing condoms. But if you don't have a value, if you feel lost, that sense of worth is not there. I'm trying to understand what [00:37:56] why [00:37:57] you Why would I pay that side See you, because maybe they hit somebody. But also I didn't want to die. [00:38:05] I didn't want to die. I mean, if I'd wanted to die, I would have killed myself of our associated its high school. If I wanted to die, I would have given up then. And that had happened to me in my life that I could have given up. But I still had that desire to stay alive. Even if I had no value, I still had the desire to stay alive. You know. [00:38:26] So by practicing safe sex, [00:38:32] it gave me a chance to continue to love. [00:38:35] Whereas if I didn't, I was going to die. [00:38:37] I I that was the writing was on the wall quite early on. So it's interesting year, because there's other people who have had the similar kind of experience and ahead, no value. So they let themselves be used [00:38:50] by having unprotected sex. [00:38:54] Yeah. So it's interesting that I didn't, it wasn't my experience. But I think I was already a fighter. And I had learned how to defend myself at school even that was ill advised, you know, to turn into a hostile individual so that people would stay away. And I judged everyone who wasn't I judged those those married men who not living a gay life. But at the same token, was it? Was it a bad idea to stay in a closet? And live that way? not who I think it was probably a sensible idea. And I developed a whole lot more compassion for them, as I did for myself. And later years, when I realized that goodness, [00:39:37] I am. They didn't. [00:39:41] They were doing the best they could as much as I was doing the best I could. But yeah, it's interesting that that connection between sex takes and my self esteem. And somehow even though I had no value, and no self esteem, I still wanted to live and I still hits f6 [00:39:58] and want to die. [00:40:02] Around this time, the homosexual law reform was going through an 8586 the homosexual Law Reform have any impact on you? [00:40:10] It was a harsh because it turned to Hollywood of [00:40:15] people that attend Hollywood people against us. Well, it's an interesting statement, but it's how it felt. It felt like in my, in my little world of being nowhere, you know, because I really was nowhere. And suddenly, there was a whole group of people that now we're aware of me, and they were angry that I was existing, [00:40:37] you know, so [00:40:38] I didn't read about homosexual Law Reform very much. [00:40:42] And I I was just [00:40:46] still just trying to stay alive. [00:40:50] It didn't. I didn't feel like it impacted on me. While it's all happening, and I, you know, like, people say, what were you doing during homosexual or form? I have no idea. I was stoned. I wasn't out on the street doing stuff. I just noticed those people for petition that was scary, you know. And the hostility that I brought was, I didn't, I didn't like that. But I didn't really have any understanding. It didn't. It didn't create a community of leaders that I didn't felt comfortable to communicate with or talk to or anything. Now, I was stoned. And I was just living my life and trying to stay alive and hanging out for my my friends that [00:41:37] like me. [00:41:40] At the time, would you consider yourself being kind of openly gay? openly out? [00:41:44] Yeah, yeah, yeah, [00:41:45] I was very, [00:41:47] I was very out. I there was a closet big enough for me. When I after high school, I was always very K. [00:42:00] guy in those days, you had to be quite thick skin, I had to be quite thick skinned. [00:42:08] The late 80s and early 90s saw quite a large amount of sickness and death through HIV and AIDS. How did that affect you? [00:42:20] Well, after I hit deck talking to Johnson talking about it. And it must have been about 1986 87, I moved to Oakland and it was about 80. Sorry, 84, I moved to Guzman into and into Oakland at four in the valley for 85 got us where I was off the planet and 86 match the same and in kind of landing with the the support network and the education program of Barbara and hanging up here and getting just getting getting an understanding that shape what I was okay. Even guy that she thought I was okay. I didn't think paga was a lesbian or anything. I'm pretty sure she was a straight woman from South Auckland, who just had a moral conscience. And she had a bit of a compass and she was just cold. And she would, you know, talk to me that many, many, many other people have tried to talk to me, but I wasn't particularly open to seeing the world through other people's eyes other than my own. I was very Eric and Erica. Anyway, [00:43:29] and say, How did it affect me God? [00:43:35] Hmm, death was all around in the people were dying. And then people were getting sick. [00:43:45] So in really kind of rescued me. [00:43:52] She took really, [00:43:55] and confronted me about my drug use and everything else. I mean, I wasn't intravenously using those let's get faced and dying out. And I was working in the hotel industry. So it was pretty much accepted. [00:44:09] I mean, I had a good boss at work, he kind of cared about me. [00:44:14] But I didn't, I still didn't have an understanding or care that much for myself, other than [00:44:19] knowing how to put a condom on. [00:44:22] And so [00:44:28] I mean, I went to rehab, an early ID age, and came out in the April and everyone was really unwell and Oakland, it seemed like everyone was dying. And I wanted to stay clean. And there was so many parties, and everyone was smoking lots of drugs, and I couldn't handle it. And I couldn't handle being around everyone and will. So I moved to Wellington move back to and then I became a little bit aware. Because I'm playing now, that is a whole community of people who are not living like I did. And yeah, I hadn't really been exposed to that before anyway. So there's people that are living, not how I lived. And there's people who are loving and trying to help other people and the whole AIDS Foundation seem to be happening. And somehow I got to feel a part of it. I had a partner. After I got out of rehab, I was about I relapsed after five months. And then I on mo night trade was hideous. But I was looking into that story. It was there was a reason why it was stupid. But I am, I met someone who at a youth climate I was 26 years old, I'm at a rehab, and I met someone at a youth gathering I was benefiting people from it. So somehow I got hooked part of a community of people. Because I'm playing. And I met a man nickel, Peter, when he was 21. I was 26. So he was just a boy. sighs Well, in some ways, that he was just the most wonderful young man. And hey, so I was the cat's whiskers. He thought I was brilliant. [00:46:26] And I thought he was amazing. [00:46:29] He was totally gorgeous. He was like a six foot two. And he, he accept me for all my foibles that seemed and for all my for my story. [00:46:43] and [00:46:46] his family were fabulous. And they kind of made me feel normal, but left and not so as they were really really loving and kind. Hey, I'm sorry, is things going on. But meanwhile, I'm getting clean, and I'm getting a sense of myself. And, you know, I understand all the things that happened to me when, right and started to get a bit of a voice for myself. So at the same time as communities getting a voice, I'm getting one as well, me no longer hiding, we're no longer scared of ourselves and scared of the fake we exist. And it was how it was for me as well. So it felt like a really healing time for me. And I got I got I became a part of a community you know, I didn't get the community I felt like I became a part of them through the New Zealand AIDS Foundation, Athena center was on Main Street and new term. And Peter, he finished his university studies and I was working as a gardener and cleaning people's houses and kind of just trying to make them make ends meet and baton got me a job electrical warehouse, where they tolerated me coming in us completely OCD of cleaning. So as always cleaning everything, so they let me work there and I cut out the cardboard boxes. And, you know, when it was raining, and I couldn't garden and let me go there and I just work whenever I wanted to That was so good. But so many people are good to me. And, and I I stayed clean. And I became aware that there was a community of gay men and gay woman who have been living their lives free. And and I felt like I was a part of them in some way. [00:48:46] That was the revelation. [00:48:49] And [00:48:51] I got involved in the foundation and Peter got a job there. He was working as an age prevention worker. I was still a gardener. I felt I had to never be smart still. But he was bright. He read all the books and Tommy all the pant names. And I was like he was able to unpack the world for me. He could translate everything. I didn't understand stuff. So hit say that plan that plan to Mrs. Bally's place, that's definitely the one by the, by this viral thing. That's the sort of panics. You know, that's a pedestal, he could unpack everything. I went to a funeral member a friend and recovery is dead. And he was a Catholic. And his father had this full on mess up Incandela. And I didn't. [00:49:50] I didn't understand anything about religion, but I'd gone to this mess and I came home and I sit to pay that God. [00:49:56] They were all these people there they looked really well to do it was I'm can data and everything they thought [00:50:01] that [00:50:03] Jesus was the Son of God, and that God had given him everlasting life. [00:50:16] And all we had to do is believe that he was the son of God or something and with a lasting life. And I can see the pity. You know, this is ridiculous. It was always really intelligent looking, educated people that thought this and he's an Irish with the Bade it's Christianity. And I was like, really, I went to Sunday school, and I never got there. You know, it was hilarious, ever seriously, I had been living in this world and I [00:50:43] wasn't others. And he started to unpack it all for me and kind of made it. Man, it'll make sense in some way. Yeah, [00:50:55] it was a very, very good man and his family were very loving and kind to me. [00:51:00] I gave a sense of normality and accepted the fact that I, I didn't drink. And I didn't do drugs, never. You know, like they're always terrified and family events of adding up for wrong glass or something. I remember once going to drink someone else with a glass of wine. I just, you know, we were, I think it was during speeches or something and I grabbed someone's glass and was going to have a drink from it. Then the father, Peters father came sort of screaming across the room, and he must have been watching me. Anyway, they were very, very good to me. People were very good, very kind. But anyway, so what happened was through the whole aids thing was I got a sense that there was there was a community that wasn't bad. and bad things were happening to us, but that we weren't. And I got also a sense that I wasn't bad, as well, because I realized that I was a drug addict, that I was just an addict. I wasn't a bad person. I just learned a whole lot of coping mechanisms. That didn't serve me well. And given where I'd come from an environment and the high school and everything else, it was not surprising that I did have bad coping mechanisms, you know, I just had to protect myself and stay alive. [00:52:17] So, yeah, AIDS [00:52:20] was a horrible, horrible disease. And I mean, we got into so many funerals, but in some ways, it was. It's it saved me because it gave a point where I was inaccessible to help. [00:52:35] I've thought about it for [00:52:38] you've talked about healing. And I'm just wondering if you could kind of talk to me a wee bit about [00:52:45] kind of [00:52:46] resolving things within yourself because, you know, emotions that are kind of coming up. inside me are things like, you know, I mean, do you do blame people in the past? Is the anger as they forgive ISIS? Tell me how, how that kind of works for you. [00:53:09] Good question. So I blame people in the past. [00:53:16] Now, I think it was a time when I felt really angry about [00:53:22] what had happened. [00:53:26] I remembered rehab I sitting there, I lost all my knuckles, beating telephone box of rubber hoses until my hands are blade. And it was had a great group, I was really angry at what had happened. [00:53:41] And [00:53:43] I used to have a rock down by where the cafe is made of brass monkey is an awesome band, it was a big rock down the days to hit a sledgehammer and I'd go down and smash a skull up my six reviews rock. It's not because I smashed the whole thing. I just keep smashing it until it was gone. I don't think so particularly healthy ways for me to deal with anger, I, I certainly straighten my body a lot. And I hurt myself a lot to physically. [00:54:15] I think sort of [00:54:17] accepting who I was, and kind of came later. [00:54:25] That really, it came as a result of other people accepting me, you know, like I've had makes it difficult to accept myself. I've done so many things to myself. Other people have done things to me that I had done things to myself by putting myself in situations. And when I learned about, you know, the responsibility that I had, and things that didn't make it easier for love of myself, made it more difficult initially, but over time, I got a lot more compassion and understanding of who I was, and, and what happened to me. So I actually, I didn't give myself so much grief anymore, and beat my self as much as I used to judge myself so harshly, or others. You know, like I said about straight men who came in who lived a straight life, I used to think I was scum. I thought they were a coward. And I really got a better understanding of that they made choices. As I made choices. And they made choices. That meant that they were able to live for themselves, whatever they had live, whereas I was quietly carrying myself. So the healing came from other people first and then it eventually came from a sense of gratitude for my life and being able to live it as I couldn't before. [00:55:45] And I think the other thing was [00:55:49] in tears of anger towards [00:55:53] those who grieved me, you know, I look back at my dad's, you know, dad did the best he could given the resources he had available. Mandela society, you know, they were extraordinary people bringing up six children in those days. And having a gay kid at the end of a pack. You know, the youngest one turning out to be a handbag. kind of been a delight for them. You know, they, then they I was dad's blue eyed boy. I was the most one that was most like him. [00:56:23] I remember him saying to me, you know, [00:56:27] and [00:56:30] he had me twice in my life when before I got kind Well, he hugged me once after you give me a threshing. And then he hacked me once. And rehab, he gave me a hug. And that was the second hug have ever had from him. And then maybe he's helped me as a young boy, I can't remember. I don't remember being hacked army of being hash loss. I remember having to sit beside him at the dinner table. And if I could put a fake a steep and a lie on it, BO ahead, rub my face and my food. You know, either either hugging me of half minute time, it gives me a hiding. He gave me a hiding because I said that. This kid asked with my brother, grandmas and I said he made made so we shot them. Just Ping. Silly. I didn't want anything else to happen to Grand but I wasn't my fondest you know, we were always sibling rivalry was punching each other up. And, and dad said to me while I say that, and I didn't know why this was joking. And he smacked me right on the head. And he'd been unwell. There had been unwell. And I think he realized that it was unfair. And he was taking his and wellness out on me. And he gave me a hug. And he gave me a hug after it afternoon. thrashed me. [00:58:02] So, yeah, me and intimacy weren't very good friends were strangers, and the whole mechanical six things. So healing for me was about learning how to be intimate, and how to receive love. And when paid, I mean, paid her and he was really gentle with me. It was a godsend, you know, because suddenly, finally, I could be physically with someone who wasn't scaring me. And how I wasn't scared of her. I wasn't, it wasn't a [00:58:37] commercial exchange in everything, it felt like a commercial exchange before that. [00:58:46] So he was [00:58:48] he was good. So healing kind of started to happen the and then through that I was able to start feel better about myself. And then as I worked my, you know, my recovery program self help groups and things. Um, you know, that's kind of how it started to progress. And you know what that is pins as well. The linchpins have always been fabulous. You know. [00:59:17] I remember when [00:59:19] Gareth gathering of people in recovery, there was a lot of lesbians here. And one of them said yo up and honor his beard. And this woman looked at me and she says the only way that you're ever going to be an honorary it has been as he died be born again. You know, she was, she was scary. But at least in the woman's energy and healing that they were able to provide was extraordinary. You know, they were fabulous. I do remember those first devotion patties. [00:59:46] And you know, that woman, it was a woman, that one of them, [00:59:51] the matrix where we're all trying to organize everything and make it happen. Because eventually, originally, the devotion patties came out of their experience of Peter working for the AIDS Foundation and things was that we started with devotion. And there are eight foundation or an AIDS support network, or they were a fundraiser for people living with the virus, and they were really important around the community. But I remember this woman was saying, you know, what's going on? We're all the men, you know, we're all doing all the work. And I said, for goodness sake, haven't you realized that how did all that dying our community ladies that dying and it was very much the case, you know, everyone our brightest, you know, how most fabulous had the virus because everyone's that we get mistakes, I guess. But you know, that they they were the ones who, how we lost how we lost our leaders in some ways. We lost. We lost a lot of them. But you know, so the devotion part is we're running point. And it was how we came together, I think we came together to, to help each other heal and be exposed to each other. We weren't trying to hit six or my experience. You know, everyone wasn't like me, of course, I'm sure but you know, that was my experience. So healing happened, from me going to recovery meetings, and I went to them every day, I went to them every single day, I was desperate. I was desperate to not be who I had always been, I wanted to be different and I had become, and I didn't want to be isolated and alone anymore. I didn't want to be isolated with my anger. My hives and my you know, my total hatred [01:01:40] for people. [01:01:45] I just felt so isolated. [01:01:48] I wasn't very nice to be around. And because I escaped if I would just go for people's Jagger's and, and be hurtful towards everyone so badly me alone. So took that out of the equation. And I didn't really know how to deal with people. But I yeah, it was a confusing time. But people loved me before I could love myself. [01:02:14] 1991 No, that was the first devotion, I think was the first version. And [01:02:21] it must have been about here. Somewhere around 1991 I think I got cleaning at age. I remember the hero party. Because Peter made me a T shirt saying that to wear to the patty and it had something like two and a half years a hero. Because I've been playing for two and a half years. It was just fabulous. It was the act of many acts of kindness the head you know, towards me that celebration me and my recovery that made me feel good about myself. But you say the devotion patties I think we're kind of happening at the same time. We had that devotion, and we were basically trying to have a dance party to raise money. It was a fundraiser, as I said, and we had the first one at the overseas terminal. And there was Janet, I don't want to say who the people were because I might forget someone that there was jealous and Elizabeth and back Harrison hopes and that Harrison and Peter and there's a third kind and 10 at 10 they were the people that I can remember there may have been other people but they were the people I can remember who were part of the group that formed sprang productions that hosted the patties. sprang productions came out of the fact we had a T dad's as a fundraiser and the October it was springtime. So we called the tea dance sprung. And yeah, it was a lovely Patty It was during the day. And even though I'm playing and I'm not using drugs and not using any a holler anything that I kind of could go along and, and Patty because as a patron, you know, I felt so much love, you know, I felt loved. Anyway, so they may hit we raise the T dads raise the seed money for the party to be able to afford to buy or rent a venue and everything and we I rented the overseas terminal. Not the atmosphere is the downstairs, where the all the cargo area kind of thing. It was a big old Kevin as concrete thing. That was pretty hideous. But we made it into a dress that made it fabulous for Janet. And Peter, there was so many talented people around anyway. And they all were all sitting around on my Harrison's bead and already kalpa road and the house up there and we were trying to figure a name for this event. And because it was going to be by the ocean and the overseas terminal we were trying to think of something that would rise with rhyme with by the Irish. [01:05:01] I think we're very savvy. [01:05:05] Sorry, headed by the ocean Patty, what the hell. So when it became device and by the ocean, and then thank God we dropped by the ocean that just became devotion. And it became devoted to whatever it was that you wanted to be devoted to. So you could be devoted to hedonism or safe sex or love, or, or loving it alcohol and drug free. You could be devoted to anything you wanted to be could be devotion to your loved one, you know, and it was really had a lovely spirit that kind of captivated the imagination of people and they fell to pass off. And the community rallied around and wanted to be a part of it as well. And we had it all for a good cause. The other thing? Yeah, I was gonna say that it was great. It was a great celebration. Yeah, it was a rallying point for people to heal. I [01:05:58] think it's fun. And so these big and you have it, [01:06:01] I think they were NUI came up very regularly. And I know we've had a hell of a work. And the second one I remember was the Cisco a shed, which we call this a squish it I don't know what the hell it was called. But it was weird pepper is now. And it was a big shade that was created for Cisco, which I can't for the life of me remember it was I just know that Cisco became a disaster. And it was known as a disaster. But they built this big sheet or something, which path was and we got way It wasn't me. I mean, I wasn't the ideas person I was the dog who I mean, we're just go ahead, do whatever I was told really, to try and make things happen and was a part of that they had a carousel and squeeze shed and then they had this kind of dance floor surrounded by these rises from the big shade. And it was really really nice. And we had a coffee place as well so that for people like me could go and have a coffee. And it was inclusive and it was celebrated very and people dressed up and it was wonderful. I do I do remember getting dressed that for the first party, [01:07:12] Peter quite light dressing and drag which I found quite intimidating because you can never know who people were in drink and he develop the persona which I can terrifying. But Peter was also highly talented and [01:07:27] so [01:07:30] I'd say the vicious but it's the wrong word. He was herbaceous drag queen, but it was the title he had someone engaging and gregarious man so but anyway said a devotion party Sasha the net was the second one was squeeze it. And then the third one was that she had 21 on the waterfront, the big building by the by the railway station down opposite that old downtown backpackers. And that one commented about rebuilt staircases between the floors and big concrete floors. And I remember there's this big staircase [01:08:09] and scaffolding. And [01:08:13] Peter and I had made this fabulous outfit for me, because [01:08:20] it was a rainbow hoop dress. And [01:08:25] I wore this with heels and fishnet stockings. It was quite an experience, my brother came. My brother came came to that party, which was very peculiar, because I was always quite homophobic, buddy. I don't know. What's another story. That neighborhood dress was Crescent Hill as the inaugural out in that time, and I remember going up the stairs and high heels and [01:08:51] God knows [01:08:52] why we're anything. But anyway, I bought us and I wasn't made up as a woman or anything. I was just and it was kind of like Jean de facto. It was kinda like Tinder cross gender thing, where it was like, we really didn't care anymore. And we could just be who we wanted to be. And I was wearing that. And it made me feel good, because I felt like I was fed. I wasn't, but I felt like I was was better than I used to be. Anyway, and, uh, going up the stairs, and I lost my balance. And I ended up going backwards down the stairs, and heels in successfully not falling over. It was quite an achievement at the time. But it was a beauty of it was because I was just on caffeine, you know, once again, we had it devotion, Patty had this big area outside where people could come and have coffee, and it was kind of a cafe experience. Because Elizabeth and myself and others were keen to maintain it space. Yeah. Can you [01:09:52] talk about that in terms of like organizing dance parties? I mean, were you keen to have areas that weren't alcohol and drug? [01:10:02] Yeah, yeah, we wanted to mix it up. We want to kill everyone so that people feel included, we didn't want people to feel the isolation that you felt from drug and alcohol dependence. We didn't want people to not be able to come because they would be exposed to, to that. We didn't want to be like the door in society, we had to be face to get in the door. Basically, we had to be willing to Taiwan on. So you've created an environment where people felt safe from whichever part of a community they came from, or whether they were the the ones who wanted to get off it or whether they were the ones who just wanted to socialize and hang out and have a good old Boogie and then come back and socialize and hang out where you can actually talk to each [01:10:45] other. Where you could develop a sense of community where you could flourish where you could kind of have fun [01:10:52] Yeah, so that's kind of what they were and of course that one was noteworthy that patio shade 21 was the one that were there was we after had passed away so Arthur was extraordinary. gregarious but vicious man vivacious drag queen. He was just one of the leaders. And he that night died. And it was [01:11:19] I attacked with a ripple but it was more a [01:11:25] said since when it went through the Arthur and passed away. Cuz he was a performer at the last thing, you know, he was always a star. So it was said that he had gone it that night, and we win. I can't think of a word that describes the sense of growth that went through the place when it was done that he had gone. [01:11:52] I do will certainly have a patient during a very, very unsuccessful strip. He hasn't had the event, we're here. [01:12:01] Pater decided that he wanted to do I [01:12:05] don't think he'd quite factored in. How long the music wind and where he was up to and the music. And he spent way too much time on the stage juggling round without anything on hand. But yeah, he was he was a great performer. And he he was totally, totally gorgeous and handsome and in every way. What else about those devotion patties. So we made it loads of money for the ads for people living with a virus. And they were well supported by the community. And after that one, I don't recall having any further involvement in them. And and other people started to put them on, I remember going to add another time. But I don't really remember them as things that I was a part of. I think my relationship had developed and I felt somehow moved on. And it caught the hell. [01:13:03] Can you talk about just the whole kind of visibility aspect of something like devotion, which is a very big public showing of kind of rainbow people? How I mean, is that important, and if it is important, why is important? I think, and [01:13:25] I certainly know that the overseas terminal devotion, Patty, the people in orange Bay, were aware of the past. And I don't think that went down so well. So it was quite visible and not necessarily in a good way. And there was we had things called the love parade. And where I remember walking down and and key. And it wasn't a protest match. And it wasn't something that was supposed to be in your face. It was just a celebration of the fact that we were there. And you know, I guess it was Lego by now and wave testing the boundaries and things. But to my mind, visibility is important, is really, really, really important. And I guess that's why I used to be so judgmental of the straight men, the gay men who the straight life, because they were being cowards and everything else. But as I said, I've judged him so much anymore. But I do think that visibility is important because I am, I don't want people to go through what I went through, I want people to feel a part of, I don't want people to feel the part from and I think if people are visible, and in you know, I want people to be visible who essentially living normal life, because they're just as important as it is for the for the good, curious, and extroverts as well. Because it's important that everyone has someone that they can not necessarily role model, but someone who that they can believe that there's some way for them to be themselves in the universe, you know, because if they, if they think that they have to be a drag queen, to be out, or to be a gay person, that's going to be counterpart productive, someone who's maybe a little bit introverted, and doesn't really suit them that they can't really see themselves being there. I think the other thing, I think the thing that gave me hope, long before any of it really was the, the Netherlands, I've got to say. I don't know where how I know this or how I thought this but as a kid, I knew somehow that the Netherlands, someone who told me that it was okay to be gay in the other ones. And I held on to that hope that maybe one day I'd be able to go over the other lands. And I remember meeting the Dutch Ambassador when we were having the Outgames here in Wellington, and the same time that you know, I don't think your country quite understands what it did. Bye. saying that it was not okay to persecute gay people. Why back in the day before anyone else was doing it, because it gave me a sense that I was okay. somewhere. I wasn't okay with myself and I wasn't okay here. But I would be okay, if I was somewhere. So put that into context. Now. Then you have people who are visible within our community. It was like they were the first people who were visible like they being the Dutch government or whoever it was that was in there who was doing what they were doing to make it seem okay for me to be gay here when I saw didn't feel okay, being gay. So I think visibility is important. But I think it's important to be not just the the extrovert it's really important that we know that there's a quiet writer somewhere Who is he was gay and as writing, you know, this people who [01:17:02] are not and belle of the ball here. [01:17:07] I just want to go back on something I said, because I kind of just assumed in terms of like devotion that it was rainbow focus. And I just want to clarify when promotion was set up, was it targeting, specifically rainbow communities also targeting the, you know, anyone affected by HIV AIDS? [01:17:30] Yeah, it was. And everything was very much open to everyone who was affected by HIV and AIDS. And the other than everything about the parties was that everyone came, it wasn't just our community who went but it was an opportunity for us to flute and, and be naughty and to be to be out there with there was some it was testing the waters for people who were coming along who were not from our community, they were the pre and post gay they were the the heterosexual community the non gay community. I few things about the whole world is gay myself, the other his but you know, there is elements who are not gay apparently. And that within the devotion patties, it was kind of a way for us to test the boundaries about what we could get away with without being told off. But also it was an opportunity for them to come together with us and all of us to accept that. We wanted to try and stop the hideousness of the virus but more importantly, to stop people from feeling the isolation that the virus was creating and the lies. [01:18:43] Another very common public coming together was a with the beacons of hope memorials. You tell me about your involvement with those [01:18:54] essentially, trying to help trying to help Brett there was a man who wonderful man, Richard binge, who was working for the AIDS Foundation worked with PETA. And they were doing he was the one who was leading beacons of hope. And one extraordinary visionary man he was in terms of creating an event where everyone who had died was acknowledged, because he would have so my involvement was really going along to events and trying to support people to make the tortures or making tortures. I mean, it's taught us were hankered word, generally a piece of tree and wrapped around it was a whole lot of fabric, cotton, and old sheets from the hospital, I think they were, and then around wrapped around net was chicken wire. So that witness torch was that was that and it was probably threaded spurts or something, something flammable, was an illuminated, it's not the right word left was left was flaming, and that they had chicken wire around it, so it wouldn't come down and burn the person who was carrying it. So you'd hit one of these tortures for every human being had died from the virus. So it was the virus was not, you know, dependent on us all being gay. And then we'd have these flaming torches [01:20:14] around the outside parliament. [01:20:19] And it's terrible, I can't hear what the purpose of the event was, other than to acknowledge and acknowledge how many people had died from the virus. But I suspect we were trying to get some further funding or something further from government to acknowledge and to help us take responsibility. And we're trying to take responsibility by changing our practices and everything else, but to try and stop the viruses spreading within our communities as well. So these flaming torches in came from the four different points of Parliament grounds, and came we all stood in the circle in the middle of Parliament. I mean, in the front of Parliament there in the middle, in a circle of all these flaming torches, each one acre it and remembrance of someone. So it was, you know, a very, very spooky, haunting event. And then next time we did it, we did Frank it's pack. And everyone kind of came over to the city see birds and came over from different ways. And we all came around and stood around the the lagoon, and where the boat shooters and pens and learning from however so it was the second one but me used to have the bacons up on top of Mount Victoria. And then it was beacons all over the country where people were lighting. The beacons initially, I think, was the flaming torches and then it became the beacons with seven flaming big bonfires. Where was a rallying point for people to remember. And also for people to to [01:21:50] acknowledge somehow [01:21:52] I think I've seen some footage of the Frank it's lagoon one with about 175 torches around the lagoon, I [01:22:00] think I remember in 76, but yeah, it was and terrifying that many people had died. You know, I mean, yeah, I mean, and the context now of the day with youth suicide and everything else, you know, it's like the, I'm not gonna say we got off lightly, but we're going off it really, because we, we rallied, and we stopped each other from getting the virus in. And we we kind of saw the impact that it was having. Yeah. So many people remember that the Patriot I've actually split. And we're split, because I suspect that was because I was trying to have a child with a dear friend, we were trying to as 1994. And we were trying to have a child and he could see that the relationship was going to progress to other things. And we've been together five and a half years, and he wanted to do other things. And as life and he, he went to golf and travel, his grandfather died, he got some money, and he had gone to England. And I think as well, that got much bigger than mine seem so small, and and he he trotted off. So with that, at that same time, I was trying to have a child. And you know, after a couple of miscarriages, got it was awful. And we had two miscarriages. And [01:23:26] then I thought, well, [01:23:28] in some ways the universe has spoken, and I'm not going to have a child and I had to move on. So what a grieving experience that was. [01:23:37] I'm interested, I asked earlier on about, you know, what the early 90s were like in terms of all the kind of sickness and death and how you coped and wondering, what are the What do you think, after effects of going through that kind of intense period of years? And also the idea of moving on how, you know, how do you fall? [01:24:05] For this, I don't think you can move on to live acknowledged, as, you know, in some ways, you know, what's happening with Maddie and everything else, he can't, you can't say that the atrocities didn't happen. And we had to name us, you know, we had to come together with its foundation, candlelight, memorials and beacons of hope we had to get there. And we had to say people's names, and we had to acknowledge and acknowledge and feel the grief until it didn't hurt so much anymore. [01:24:45] Way to keep talking about them. [01:24:51] I mean, [01:24:52] I didn't [01:24:55] you know, Rudy, and john who got me claim who saved my life, they died 1991. [01:25:02] And [01:25:06] it was sort of, [01:25:08] in the 2000s, I, you know, I talked to my sponsor, Batman recovery. It was so many people who are dying, and I couldn't cope. I couldn't cut it for grief myself. And I used to say to my sponsor about it, and he'd say, well, let's put it on the shelf. [01:25:25] Let's put it on the shelf. [01:25:27] And then he came to my life a quite a garden shelf. [01:25:33] Anytime we have put it on the shelf, had kind of put it on the shelf. And I think I'll deal with it later. [01:25:40] On later, and became a timer. I don't know what happened. [01:25:46] But I felt like it was time to take take the boys off the shelf. I couldn't put them on the shelf anymore. [01:25:55] Could have been too long that they've been there already. And [01:26:04] and what do I do for grief? You know, I'm into a counselor and I see if it's right at Lisa. [01:26:14] How [01:26:18] How do I how would I right places to I thought [01:26:23] I didn't really, [01:26:26] you know, really enjoy it long gone. [01:26:30] I wasn't there at the end. When they died, I went to the funerals. [01:26:36] I mean, I went and saw them in the hospice, everything else, but I wasn't with them when I died. [01:26:42] I thought were great for that. [01:26:45] But I also couldn't cope with the grief and I wanted to stay clean. I didn't want to end up [01:26:55] I'm back using [01:27:00] so I did what I could, which was to stay away. And then [01:27:08] having to counsel limited revelation, I thought [01:27:14] what am I gonna say? I thought I've always learned the Actions speak louder than words. [01:27:21] So I thought how [01:27:26] I had done so much of a community stuff, and it stopped and I thought I had a gap. So I went in, went on Monday, Sarah Knight Foundation Board, and I stood for the board. And I thought well, if I can do something, if I can be some use if I can be useful in some way news, community connections, which are developed over time from being human, and being a pass off as opposed to living in isolation. [01:27:53] So [01:27:55] I went on the isolation board and tried to, you know, bridge that gap and, and give thanks. And remember, really, it was kind of therapy was constantly with the boys. And [01:28:11] I did feel a sense of healing. [01:28:14] And I went to more things and kind of acknowledged them a new Minaj 25 years played a couple of years ago, 25 years clean. And I always felt bad that Rudy and Jada never acknowledged in any way. I, you know, not acknowledged it sounds stupid, but that they were lives with diversity, but anything, you know, we did we [01:28:41] say, we created them. [01:28:44] We created them, and we spread the ashes. And [01:28:50] there was no way where they were went anywhere else over the past, but he was nowhere anywhere that acknowledged them. So when I turned 25 years came, I acknowledge them by establishing a pat bench and mount Victoria, which acknowledge them for for sticking me for saving my life, for getting me clean, and packing me off to rehab. So I wanted to acknowledge them in some way. And it's fine, you know, doing this today because I IO a few years before that I'd been to Cologne and went swimming in the Gay Games and cologne. And I went to Amsterdam, and met Rudy's parents and gave thanks to them for his life. [01:29:36] And, [01:29:38] and, you know, we talked about Rudy and [01:29:42] and it was lovely to remember him and with his mom and dad and just acknowledge who he was and acknowledge the impact on my life and the family and saved. So it's funny that I should be doing this today because I ran nom today, I haven't ran into something. And it was quite a few years ago in Cologne. And then I rang her today because I still hadn't let her know that we had done a paranormal binge. And partly because he's dead died the day before we did the Royal pipe binge. And I kind of [01:30:23] had felt sad about it. [01:30:27] And life's busy Nestle taken over, but this morning, it's funny, I ran here this morning. She was grateful to hear from me and she thinks very confined family of New Zealand. The thing I loved about meeting Verdi's mom was she said, You know, I have no shame. I have no shame. I have no shame for my son, who was gay. And he was an addict. And he had HIV. And I loved him. And she spoke so strongly about having no shame about his son, you know, some pictures, I had no shame about him as well. And I just adored him. He was a fabulous human being. He was mad. He was completely mad. As we all were, when we were drug affected and living our lives, and we were pretty mad when he stopped using drugs as well. But, you know, I love the fact she had no shame. And Maria's dad was just gorgeous as well. There are wonderful couple. I really, but it's funny, I rang her today and told her and so I'm compiling an email to send to her and her sister who does in Canada, taking photos of the bench and of the celebration that we had [01:31:40] in 2013. [01:31:43] Tell me about [01:31:46] the support group for Narcotics Anonymous for families, [01:31:50] where we don't breach how and no matter what you say. [01:31:53] So maybe you were instrumental and kind of establishing this and wanting to we [01:31:57] we had this funny old thing because we've been talking that we couldn't have a gay and lesbian group and, and Narcotics Anonymous, that we so established one and we thought we'd How can we have a meeting for addicts and alcoholics, so we don't, you know, end up in trouble. So we went the common sphere will have Carmen's cafe. And it was cold this stage, it was called evergreen cafe, and St. VM Street, and Chrissy Tucker, who was fabulous. She said, you can come and have your meetings here. So we had our meetings here, they had no 12 step. I know it has lesbians in gaming, getting together to try and help each other, stay clean, drug free, or deal with the effects of it, because there was a lot of adult children who have been affected by alcohol as well. So we all came together. Part of difficulty was we had no, we had no purpose, we had no way of moving up from forward to other than the stag with the disease and staying for problem, we had an isolation. So we had to try and find a solution, you know, find a solution, we had to find a solution sounds strange, but we had to find something that would give us a focus within the meetings that was solution focused. So we started we were told that we couldn't have it again, I call it sort of a summation, because you had to have one at exactly the same time is another meeting. [01:33:29] It was a bit unfortunate that that was the information we've given because it wasn't true. So we started in an AA mission. Okay, I mentioned, you know, I [01:33:43] was, I didn't really find it particularly useful for me, because I was an etic I was, wasn't just [01:33:50] addicted to alcohol, I was addicted to many things. And [01:33:57] I didn't really feel so comfortable talking about alcoholism, opposed to talking about the disease of addiction that seemed to ring more true for me and set more of me and I am anyway, so we started as a meeting. And then eventually, we found out from the Australians that we couldn't start again in a meeting. So we closed a meeting very quickly and started again, a meeting which happened for about 12 years, I think, and Wellington. And it was this one happens in Auckland, thank goodness. And it was a great opportunity for these winning gay edX to come together. The whole thing about the the 12 steps is to carry the message to the editor who still suffers, that's our whole primary purpose really. So whole reason for being is to carry the message to other addicts. And if you can carry etic message to LX of this building gay community, I thought it was a worthwhile cause anything that stopped us killing ourselves ready. So So here's what we did. And we head dimension gang for about 12 years. Sadly, it kind of got the separatists got involved for a period of time. And they didn't, because all the straight people used to come as well, because it was the best meeting in town, it was the fan meeting them that had the strong recovery because there was lots of us who had had got clean. And then the secret has got involved and said that they didn't want all these straight people coming to the meeting anymore. So the straight people said they left and went and started another meeting on the same night, and which is custom, that you have a lesbian and gay meeting on the same night as so that people who are not of that persuasion can go to another meeting and don't need to feel uncomfortable. But so but of course, with most things where things like that happen that killed it, we poison something with fear. And that way, it killed the meeting and it took away its Mojo. And eventually it closed. [01:36:01] Why is it important to have a secret space for say, gay and lesbians or rainbow people? [01:36:09] It's good, good question. Well, to my mind, is really interesting, because you have come completely full circle on this. Because when I was being assessed and everything else, and Aiden clinic and Oakland for the rehab, and I was meeting with them, there was this wonderful family who would say to me, you know, there's a lesbian gay meeting. And I said, I don't want to go and she said, Why don't you want to come? And I said, because why would I go to that community? Why would I go to that community had done nothing but writing poetry since I was young, I couldn't see any point in going near them. The gay people who are in recovery. And because I was so angry and and felt so hurt from what had happened to ZN person was still 26. I was an old at that stage. But you know, and took some time before I would go near the gay and lesbian meeting. And it was interesting, actually, when I went to the meeting, and I met a wonderful man kin. And sadly, he's passed now but he was a wonderful man because he had a Landrover. And I thought he was very, very handsome. And remembering that I have no point of reference other than sexual at this point, I've never heard of value as a human being, other than being able to have sex with people. So he, I remember hitting on him and him saying to me, oh, we could jump over the back of a Landrover and f6 now, but I don't know what it would keep you sober, was mortified. He called me on my shirt. And he was like, one of the first people ever acknowledged me as something other than just someone to have sex with. And it was so refreshing, so refreshing. So all I didn't want to go to the lesbian and gay meeting in Auckland, because I didn't want to be to expose myself to the guys who would do what they did to me kind of thing, God very victim ashes. And that, that I didn't find it when I went there. And all the people were were, well, we're well, Kim was very well and tried to give me the love and care, which I hadn't experienced before. So starting off at least winning game eight. And I wanted to ensure that it did the same kind of thing that it would did what Kim would have done, which was, we didn't have some each other, we were to stay for each other as this wonderful segment recovery that we do not bear knit the wounded. We don't violate the wounded. It's a horrible, horrible image. But it's kind of like what you do if you try and have sex with people in recovery from the Masons and things because what that means is that you stop them from being in a safe place. And we couldn't have set by the time someone gets to, and recovery from drug and alcohol dependence, the last thing they need is anyone else to try and use them in that way. We do need loving but not sexual. Yeah. And I was grateful that it's never been a part of my stories before enough of anyone in recovery until January last year, when I fell in love with someone who was a newcomer. And the effect on me almost took me out, you know, [01:39:30] the effect, the impact on me, meant that I felt another someone who, [01:39:37] who I couldn't have a relationship with ever, so new in recovery. And it was reciprocated initially. [01:39:45] But it was reciprocated only because they had no idea that it didn't need to. They also didn't know that they didn't need to fall in love with someone in recovery to get loving, caring support. So it was a it was a great little lesson for me, but it didn't happen. Yeah. Hmm. [01:40:03] In the meetings, do you find that there are common threads between people I'm thinking is the other common threads between rainbow people that are that are dealing with addictions? [01:40:20] If nothing else, the humor and the stories. Yeah, but generally, we come from the same places, we've been to the same places. As stories, not dissimilar though, across the whole of people in recovery. Most people have have had some horrendous experience, which has put them over the top or it's not all people in recovery, and not from trauma. And the same as all people who are lesbian and gay, haven't been sexually abused or, but there are some common threads. But I mean, humor is what have a good balance comes together. When we come together. And we're in recovery. You just, there's a lot of noise, there's a hell of a lot of noise. We have a lot of fun. And we celebrate the fact that we all claim, I've been to the first meeting, I went to an NA meeting a lesbian and gay one, because I've come from that experience of those bigots on Queen Street. I was hideous Christians who were telling me all sorts of horrible things about me, which I believed in some way that when I got clean, and I thought I had great difficulty accepting the fact that I was a gay man going to be kind. Because these Christians, that all told me that I was an abomination and everything else, I couldn't see how I could possibly escape that. And I went to a meeting at a convention and Sunday and I listening gay meeting at the convention, the never 60 they were 60 was a you know, one and a half thousand people at the convention. It was a very big major convention. And it was 60 days when in gay people in this meeting, this has been in a meeting that I went to, and I was in or I was totally and I can't believe that there's this many people who were claim [01:42:21] and Okay, [01:42:24] and that it worked for them. [01:42:27] Because I had difficulty with accepting that there was going to be some greater power who would accept me and love me as I was as a gay man. So yeah, I loved I just loved I just cried and cried, cried and relief and cried and gratitude, I was so grateful that they were there. And I've never forgotten them. You know, I've been to world conventions. Now. I've been to conventions and San Diego, I've been to conventions and Hawaii, I've been to Philadelphia. And I've been to lesbian and gay meetings where I see rooms in rooms that rooms of hundreds of people have a lesbian and gay have a claim. And you know, it's okay. It was a lesbian woman came to New Zealand, and how clean she was, she must she was like a god to me. And she was a lesbian woman who was played. And I remember just looking at her and thinking it's gonna be okay. We're going to be okay, I'm gonna be okay. It's gonna be okay to get old. As a game in and living plane, it's gonna be okay. As long as I keep staying clean, of course, you know, if I try and make my life a game, you know, chances are, I'm gonna be a grave, an early grave. But you know, that 52 now I've looked back, and I reflect, and I think my God, I've been so fortunate, in so many ways, and, you know, the Early life experiences that I had the hideousness of it all. I survived, and better than survived, I've loved happy and full life. So how have I done this, and what have been remaining gradient sort of created that sense of, of happy and free now is because I am, I became a part of a community. You know, essentially, I became a part of a community, a wider community, but essentially a the other part about it is that I become a part of a lesbian and gay community. But I have gay men who love me for who I am and not relationship. So all my friends are bloody couples. But I have a community of gay men who love me for who I am, and accept me for who I am. And yeah, I seem to add value to my community. And not isolated, I'm certainly not alone. Sometimes I think, to go to a town, where I didn't know I could walk down the street and not know everyone. And I thought last year, I thought after I I thought I'd love to come and love somebody right now, everyone. I know it costs recurrent. I was going to garden of the NFL in Spanish, and moved to Costa Rica. And I'll be anonymous. No, no, no, me. But within two weeks, I felt like I knew every well it's quite a small community there. And I stuck out like the proverbial I was terrible. And I thought, Oh, my God, I've just got to accept that are living in Wellington. And I know lots of people. Because I've been around a long time and anti fortunate that I have people who will come and say hello to me, who will. And if I'm sitting in a cafe will come and join me. And I'm never alone anymore. And I'm never line because I'm loved or not never line because people are relegate to get away from me. I'm sure there's some that do run to get away from me. But you know, just because they think I want something from them, or I want to do some fundraising or something. [01:45:53] You mentioned I'm greater power. And I'm wondering, what are your thoughts on creativity, spirituality or religion? What does it mean for you? [01:46:06] Well, clearly, my early understandings of religion didn't go down very well. I love singing and in the choir, at Methodist Anglican Church, and Masterson, I had a very good singing voice, and I loved singing. But I didn't have any understanding of religion. And I don't really profess to now either. Peter told me as much as I know about Christianity, and I didn't really feel that I wanted to take it any further. But a sense of, you know, a sense of spirituality and God, I have an extraordinary strong faith now that there is a power that's loving and caring and greater than me. You know, it's not, it's not sitting on a cloud, watching my every move, thank goodness, would be a bit tedious for him or her, I'm sure. But I just had a sense that there's a path that's loving and caring and greater than me, and it's kind of this kind of path of the 12 seat recovery, really, where I have to, I had to have to, I do have to have a sense that there's some power that's loving, encouraged and greater than me, because without it, I sort of do have [01:47:19] a sense of that. [01:47:22] I just become some, you know, egomaniac, again, I quite like the sense of relief I get from not being the most important person in the room all the time. You know, [01:47:40] not expanding myself very well. And [01:47:45] I get, [01:47:47] if I just rely on my own judgment all the time, it's fine, I have quite good judgment. Now. I'm not really doing a lot of things that are wrong, and I don't, I can live with myself and sleep with myself on the beach straight. Well, I do like to cut off and cuddle the pillow. But the but my sense of who God has, is, is really just, they're just the power that's loving, caring and greater than me. [01:48:14] And it saves me for for who I am. [01:48:18] In all my eccentricities and imperfections. I don't, I don't, but I do have a very strong faith in. I don't worry about a lot of things anymore. Because I, I don't think that God's gonna take care of things. But I do have a sense that, you know, if something happens, and something else will happen, and that something happens in a bed, and something else will happen that balances that out, you know, to I have any other, I don't really have any strong sense of religion, I know that there's churches that do lots of goods and Henry's on the terrorist goodness, what a helpful bunch of people there, you know, trying to find a venue to have a, a, an affordable meeting for a community, when you go to you go to a church. And some of them seem to hold, hold them hold the place for people, you know, there's other churches, so I wouldn't give you the time of day for, there's lots of churches who would probably be happy to start me, but I don't care about them. That's none of my business. You know, their life is none of my business. They have Elisa, none of my business, and I don't clutter myself with them. I really have no interest in them. I do have a sense of who I am. And it's important that I live within my moral code, and do what's right for me. Because if I go outside of [01:49:50] myself, and, you know, I think about what I didn't have all that, you know, drag gazing and everything else, you know, it was just a coping mechanism. All it was was a coping mechanism that I learned at an early age, so that then I could cope. I celebrate the kid, the kid who was it got some Boys High School dealing with all that I was dealing with, I celebrate his decision to get stoned. I don't think that was a bad choice. Given the options available to me at that stage of my life, I think it was probably a same move GIFs it faced until I could take responsibility for myself and get well. You know, I'm just glad I didn't set aside and decide glad I didn't suicide. So is there a god? Well, I don't know, I still don't know. And I don't really care. But I do have a sense that there's some power that's loving and caring and greater than me. And if that is, you know, me and for other people getting together, or maybe one other person getting together, then it's the full extent of their power. That's enough. For me, it's as big as it needs to be today. I love it. program, I don't really need to worry about anything more. I just have to stay clean today. And I just have to get up in the morning and make the decision that I'm Hamish and I'm an addict. And given my life's experience, it's pretty natural that I might think some peculiar things during the course of a day. But you know, I just hand them over to my higher power and ensure that I don't take action on them. And I try not to entertain my head too long about some of the things that are counterproductive to happy living. And that's that gets self obsessed. And think about, you know, someone's out to get me high. Now I'm in a bad place that I'm probably best if I just let that one go as well. So I kind of learned over a period of time to not listen too much to my head, and to go for good things about myself and other people. And I think that's where God loves the first record. [01:51:55] What do you think recoveries? Tony? [01:51:59] How long have because it's taught me so much. I think, Well, I think from from guy through the states and looking at my life and having the opportunity, the privilege really, to reflect on it and get a different perspective other than the one that I went through with the first time. And it's giving me an opportunity to be more compassionate about myself, and treat myself better. But it's also giving me an opportunity to be more compassionate about other people as well. So as I look at my mom, and my dad, you know, I say that, you know, dad was a victim of his circumstances and how he was brought up. And I'm not saying that he had a bad upbringing, but he was a product of their upbringing and in certain ways to deal with life that perhaps, you know, less helpful for him as a as a as a main. And mom the same, you know, and then coming together, I think it was [01:52:57] a [01:53:00] it wasn't a perfect union will surely say. So, me being able to look at it, in hindsight has given me and, and also look at it with some maturity as well, you know, I can kind of say that they did the best that they could, you know, the other things that it's given me as it's got given me an opportunity to be a part of community, a community of recovering addicts, and which has made it I've been able to be a part of other communities. So now I'm able to be in an act of well, it's pretty much happen quite quickly with Peter and everything else, but I was able to be a part of a lesbian and gay community that could kind of love and accept me as well. So the recovery community, then you've got the lesbian and gay community, and then I've been able to be a part of many other communities. So from the wider context of the world, really, you know, understanding how the world really works. But having thing about path of recovery fist is, you know, was essential. I, I just being in recovery, has meant that I've been able to learn to forgive myself as much as others and, and move on [01:54:19] the 2000s, I saw you doing quite a lot of sporty and sporty stuff with within the community. And I'm thinking particularly about the different strikes. Wellington, the swim team, but also the Asia Pacific Games. Can you talk about those [01:54:34] interesting times, they the guy games happened in 2002, and Sydney. So backing out of us today, because that's kind of where it all happened, because I was doing a particularly large project at work, and was busier than all hell. And I went to Sydney, to between the Olympics and the Paralympics. And then I went out to turtle Cove, to on a holiday. And when I was up there, when I was in Sydney, I picked up a brochure for the gay game. So it was happening in 2002. And I thought, wow, the Gay Games. And you know, I was the gay kid at school, I had never done anything sporting in my life. I was terrified by the shares the whole experience of being in that area, you know, so the idea of ever doing anything sporting, had never entered my mind. And then when I saw that, I thought, Oh, my God, I've got this helpless, busy life. I'm committed to my recovery, but it's really busy as well. And I thought I need to get some balance where I get some time for me to do something entirely for me. So when I was at turtle Cove, I thought that my infinite wisdom that I would do something and the Gay Games in 2002, and came home and wrote on a piece of paper and had a conversation with a dear friend of mine and says, I'm going to do this and I said, you write on your piece of paper, what you're going do, and lo and behold, we both exchange pay for both for China alone. Now I'd never swam, I swam breaststroke at school, that not particularly effectively and I'd certainly never done freestyle. I had never run in my life with my wrists down. As always, I just had no idea how to run and cycling. I had cycled but merely to get to school and back and to get to get away from all those bloody horrible kids at school. So I'd never cycled, like on a on a bike that you were trying to go fast to race other people or anything anyway. So I was learned to swim, I went and had swimming lessons. I joined the running group, the front runners group, and I found another community. And they were wonderful. You know, I really, really loved the running group, Nigel, Nigel, who was running the running great was just so encouraging, was so wonderful. Even though I felt like I was running decider bloody with it. He was amazingly fast. But he was very, very gentle and kind. So I tried to go with it, to go to the games and suddenly in 2002, and learned how to ride a bike and to all the transitions, and I were to triathlons. And you know what, as guys takes us as I am, no body key is nobody worried that this. This very came in. And I am quite obviously guy was coming along to the triathlons and competing and people were very kind and you know, I got a flat tire. And people helped me change the tire. And, you know, all sorts of things I just said, I was surrounded once again by people who were just kind of wonderful. So I did that. And then, and I competed in Sydney and I did quite well for myself, I hit this one, the one and a half Ks. One, because I'd pop my shoulder, pop my rotator cuff two weeks beforehand, doing sprints, I couldn't swim that I couldn't, I was competing, but I knew that I wasn't going to win anything. But I competed anywhere. And I did a really good round. And I had a fantastic 40 k cycle and 10 k run I did really, really well. And but the thing about it was the training and the whole experience of spending time on my own meant that I was doing something specifically for me. And physically, it was really, really good for me, you know, because my body started to change because I just, you know, got more and more bumpy as I've got my 40s. So I yeah, I had this amazing experience of learning how to swim and everything else. So you get yourself a bunch of because that the other thing was a swimming coach was this woman at Cal Poly pool. And she's this fabulous. she's a she's very, very comfortable in herself. There's been will say, and she's somewhat on Butch side, and somewhat on the terrifying side as well, [01:59:04] that she was great. And you know, she got [01:59:07] us all swimming, and l speedos and everything else and as a collective group of, you know, mixture of society. And I felt more and more comfortable, you know, and I got to be a part of a community. I was also running with Nigel and the guy running group. So I sort of got a sense of how important it was to be a part of. And then after that we went to way it was a few of us went to the Asia Pacific out games when they happened here in [01:59:39] Melbourne. [01:59:40] So a feat and it was in 2008, February 2008. And we were there competing. And I was swimming, I'd given up triathlons by this time because I'd had a very nasty incident with a steer rodeo, where [01:59:55] I went to interviewed radio in Canada. [01:59:57] And for the life of me, I cannot I find it more useful to go to an event and be a part of so I'll always send an email ahead of time or ring people up and say, I'm coming to your event and I want to volunteer. I don't find it very useful. not drinking and not taking drugs to go to an event and not feel and to steal a pass from I like to be a part of. So the best way to do that is to volunteer. So I went to the rodeo and I said I'd volunteer while I was volunteered to help out but I ended up in a row beside the competitors and I got talking to the competitors. And well I used to ride when I was a kid on horses and everything else and [02:00:35] I thought there's 5000 Canadian [02:00:37] dollars I could win if I could stay on a steer for six seconds or eight seconds. I can't remember how long it was. It didn't seem very long to me at the time. And I thought I could win 5000 Canadian dollars and it would really help me pay for my holiday. Who will I worried the next morning when I went down? It was only eight people on the steer riding less than I thought to this 17 100 people here there's only eight people riding steers. [02:01:03] There's got to be harder than I thought. And [02:01:07] well, I am the first steer right I did. I [02:01:13] am. [02:01:14] They've got quiet. They're like two between 1800 pounds and 2300 pounds I really big ears. And I got quite pointy backs. And because my muscles were aligned for triathlons, not steer riding. As soon as Steve started backing it split by sentences pubis, which is the Catledge behind my pubic bone kind of thing that when women give birth is lots of chemicals that are given to the senses previous to make it flexible and open up. Well, I wasn't giving birth, but my God opened up. And that was very, very painful. And needless to say, long story short, I wasn't able to run or ride for 18 months, so I could only swim. So I going to the games in Melbourne. I was already something that when we're at the Games, [02:02:05] Kevin said we could do this in Wellington. And I was like, [02:02:11] What were you talking about? We could do this in Wellington. He says here we could we could we could host this event we could do the Asia Pacific out games and Wellington. I said no, we couldn't. It's madness. We just run ourselves ragged. And he said, No, no, we wouldn't like this bitter like our way we try to be okay. Well, we did, we decided to do it. And it was four there was David, David, Kevin and myself were the original four who put in the bed. And through the process of putting the burden, I met a wonderful man who could read and write because he was a English teacher, Martin, and Matt and proofread out the document and throw him and we decided to form different strokes, different stripes is it wasn't cool to have initially God knows what was called initially, I can't remember we're trying to be clever. And by creating it nine, Paul they were anyway, so they got different stripes following 10. So if you get a bunch of gay men and lesbian woman, swimming and very little piling, because swimming, you don't swim in a lot of savage speedos, or a pair of shorts or something. And of course, all our body images and how he images and how everything else images. You know, it's real. It's very confronting for people to come together. So anything we can do to make that experience bit easier. That's kind of what I've been about. [02:03:36] Essentially, I just believe that [02:03:39] anything that stops me from feeling isolated and alone, and helps others feel the path of the community that upsets him, when I don't have an exit themselves is kind of useful. So that's why I've continued to be a part of different strokes and continue to work in the we had the Keynesian, we had to ride by sport and culture weekend, which has happens every two years, here in Wellington as well with Shira Thames cup, and the DSW shield with some between Auckland and Wellington, but a conference a competition, but basically, it's about people just looking after their personal fitness. And, you know, if you think about how much depression and how many people are mentally unwell, a lot of that come can be helped or assisted by feeling a part of a community that cares about them. And the thing is that what's happening of all of the apps and everything else where people are grinding and scrambling and one of the other scrapping that everything else that you know that those things just died lanes to people feeling pass off, that kind of go back to what I experienced as a young person, which has just been used in you know, I don't think it's way to build a community or for people to get some esteem for themselves, or community. So anything that we can do for community growth, through sporting activities, for people actually coming together, and being able to share their lives in a meaningful way is kind of what really smokes my tires and gets me out of bed in the morning and makes me feel good. [02:05:19] So finally, what, what gives meaning to your life, [02:05:24] to my life now, it's really my friends. And it's difficult as I you know, as I get as, you know, [02:05:36] who am I old friends, which I have, [02:05:40] who accept me as I am really, I don't [02:05:44] I have a seat to myself, and it's okay. That living with a disease that tries to kill me, [02:05:54] I have to [02:05:59] stay I connected with [02:06:00] people who [02:06:03] who are supportive. [02:06:06] And I've found [02:06:09] lasting friendships, I mean, I'm a good friend to have as well in terms of, I've put a lot into friendships. [02:06:17] And having friends is [02:06:18] as [02:06:21] is kind of what keeps me going really. [02:06:26] I know, I kind of always reflect on you know, people hitch sexual capitals, and they end up having families and everything else. And I think that we as gay people are going to end up online me. But you know, we have a life of being a part of a community, we're not reliant on children, to give us a rush reason to love, or to get up and get out of bed or get going in the day to take them to the football practice or their tennis lesson or whatever. With a quiet Listen, we live a life as part of a community where we have supported each other all of our years, and been a part of each other's lives for many, many years. And I don't see myself has been a lonely old gay man, I see myself as playing a game in who will be a part of a community. So anything I can do to try and ensure that that community stays in good health as as useful, I think. And you know, it's funny, because I'm going to, [02:07:34] after all these years, leaving Wellington and moving to live in Australia, [02:07:39] but essentially, I'm going to live in Australia, [02:07:41] the largest, but the smallest, well, the medium size, I'm going to live it and to kind of resort to manage her thoughts, trying to ensure its financial viability under the theory for the next generation. And it's appropriate to that generation is much as anything, you know, you always have to be looking at any product and anything that can [02:08:07] Yes, I can, [02:08:08] I can be there. And I'll miss my friends terribly, terribly. And that's the only thing I worry about. But you know what, I've got quite a few friends over there already. And kids and then Port Douglas. And that's my experience that I I kind of I make friends quite easily so it'll be okay, but you can't beat friends that have been a few through a generation or two or a decade or two to kind of know you and you know, I miss my sponsor terribly. You know, my sponsor has been my sponsor for 22 years is a wonderful heterosexual men whose them has loved me through many, many times of working the 12 steps and kind of seen me go through things and [02:08:59] it's really um [02:09:02] it's gonna be an interesting time. [02:09:03] But yeah, I felt like God had and I feel like I've done lots of prep work in terms of cleaning house and getting things in order for my own self. And yeah, I look forward to being there to welcome the next generation to turtle Cove and, and welcome anyone who wants to come and visit

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