I had to write the preceding chapter first, an account of yesterday at the hospital. I’m writing this at 4.30 am because it was necessary.
Waiting for a commercial channel to show an episode of Lewis and finding it re-programmed without explanation, I decided to watch Priscilla Queen of the Desert. I’m writing this now because I decided I would, if early onset Altzheimer’s [I jest] allowed me to remember the name of Spanish cinema great, Almodovar, who has a character with a poster of the film on his bedroom wall. The film is always a hoot; but the poster anecdote enabled me to see the movie anew through Spanish gay eyes.
Guy Pearce is wondrously brash, as is Hugo Weaving; while Terence Stamp is beloved from his day in Pasolini’s Teorema. The classic Darlo anecdote is of the night the cast got into character and costume and inhabited a table at Patches or some gay watering hole, got splendidly noisy & drunk, and people kept stumbling past their riotous table, saying “Bloody drag queens”. They’d arrived at a finely focussed characterisation; the entire gay community attended their bus launched into the outback from Erko’s Imperial Hotel.
Of course the movie has something for everyone; the naive faces of Dubbo locals, like a moment in a Pasolini film; the “waiata”, as performed by Simpson desert indigenous locals, during one drag number performed al fresco in the night desert when their bus breaks down and a Koori guy rescues them. The lovely realisation by the Terence transexual who says “We slag off at the big city but she supports us; you don’t know whether the ring of outer suburbs is meant to keep the others out or us in.
I was kept vulgarly, uproariously amused throughout; I’m sure I was audible a block away; but there’s a noisy drag queen in all of us, itching to get out and fire those ping pong balls!!!
So much of the movie made sense, given the day I’d had, as outlined in the previous chapter. Everyone grew up a little and learned to make the next painful step from business as usual to raw adult maturity. Of course Pearce was born sassy and his fit companion was Weaving’s son, his alter ego or cosmic mirror. Mama Mia and the Abba turd in a bottle. How could I resist you?