Chemical Palace by Fiona McGregor

By Fiona McGregor

This novel trips into the guts of the Sydney, Australia queer dance-party tradition. It follows a gaggle of neighbors via their lives of raves, relationships, and artistic endeavors as they try opposed to the adversity of harsh urban lifestyles to create bacchanalian fantasies. Their interwoven paths of creativity, hedonism, tragedy, and love result in celebrations and rituals whose echoes sound all through their lives lengthy after dawn. Depicted via prose that captures the rhythms of the dance golf equipment are the warmth, the sweat, the surplus, the paintings at the back of the play, and the fallow classes of stillness and foment.

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Nobody had ever described it to him justly. It haunted him as something he would never know again. He supposed it was his own decision. They went down to Heresy in the CBD. Cruising tunnels erected with black plastic, chillout space two bars large stage. Fred was there and the Professor in a long black dress, wire-framed glasses with amyl bottles suspended from the bridge to below each nostril. Turkish Jim in a pork-pie hat, fake shaving cuts and flies clustered across his face, a narrow beige suit onto which were laminated religious and porn cards.

Door ajar, music on, he slipped in unnoticed and watched them from the couch feeling underdressed. Moved to an armchair to better view Billy’s transformation, the way her true character emerged through party artifice. Everything she wore covered her entirely, he stared at her seeking her girlishness of before. Arcs of lilac appearing over her eyes long silver eyelashes and frosted lips, Billy was laughing and directing the others she was in control. These were the times Holmes associated with her years ago, before his time at the coast before Eddy.

Now Billy was by his side with spirit gum and half a long drooping moustache. Holmes leant back obediently trying not to smile. Billy gave him a pair of sunglasses with a lens missing to match his mouth. There, you’re dressed. She brought the mull bowl over. So you can go on joint duty . . You’ve got nothing to worry about y’know Holmes, we won’t be getting totally drugfucked. Then she went back to help traffic with her false eyelashes. Back all those years ago when Slut City was dying and Heresy hadn’t begun, Billy and Holmes would sometimes go out with Stash to have a break from the gay scene.

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