Seb’s In The City

I grew up a country lad. Nothing was more exciting than school holiday time when I was put on a train and sent to stay with my Nanna in the city for a couple of weeks. I’d have my View Master, a new ‘Hardy Boys′ book and a box of Ripe Raspberries to keep me occupied during the three hour journey and the train hosties would have been given $20 by my Mum to keep an eye on me.

Once a rib-crushing hug had been received as Nanna collected me from East Perth train station, we’d catch a taxi back to her house for a big glass of dry ginger ale and without fail there was always a new meticulously wrapped Star Wars figure on the coffee table.

My Grandmother had the magical ability that all Grandparents have – in that she always knew which toys I already owned – so there were never any double ups, just the pure excitement of unwrapping a Stormtrooper or Greedo or Lando Calrissian and the joy of having a whole fortnight in the city ahead of me.

Nanna’s house was on a property close to the city centre and was directly opposite the Perth Catholic Cathedral. Next to her house was the Catholic priest’s living quarters, where she worked full time managing the housekeeping and kitchen. When I got to visit there, all the staff were excited to see me and would spoil me rotten.

My favourite priest was Father O’Donnell, an Irishman as his name would suggest. He’d pop in to say hello whenever he heard I was about. He would walk in and pretend to go to shake my hand, then stop dead in his tracks and exclaim he could see so much dirt behind my ears I was about to sprout potatoes.

He and Nanna would then grab my arms and legs and pretend to to be about to throw me in the huge stainless steel sink with the dishes, yelling to one of the kitchen staff to grab the special ‘grubby kid’ detergent. They did this every visit until I was too big for them to pick me up. Or perhaps I just got better at behind-the-ear-hygiene. I doubt this was the case though.

Father O’Donnell also measured my height every year by making a mark against the door frame between the kitchen and the main dining room. This was one of my favourite things, having my name and height written in such an important building in the city made me feel very proud.

While Nanna worked I spent most of the day glued to the TV.  Being that we only had one channel in the country town I lived in, the sudden chance to watch Wacky Races, Captain Caveman and Sigmund and the Sea Monsters was so exciting. I’m pretty sure I came close to developing an actual case of the often-threatened ‘square eyes’, an affliction made up by parents to deter their offspring from spending too much time in front of the idiot box.

There would be Cartoons on every morning from 6am and I remember sneaking out of bed to sit in front of the TV in my pyjamas at 5.30 am, eyes glued to the test pattern, willing time to hurry up and present me with some Scooby-Doo or Pink Panther.

After a couple of hours I’d have a bowl of cornflakes that I was allowed to eat in the lounge room. Then the TV would be switched off and I’d have a break to play with my Star Wars toys, or even better dress up and create my own adventures as Han Solo or with some surprising support from my Grandmother, Princess Leia.

One day Nanna watched me change out of the gumboots, pants and white turtleneck with black waistcoat that formed the Han Solo outfit that Mum had made at home.

Being a creative young man I then proceeded to pull one of the white linen sheets off my bed and fashioned it into a somewhat clumsy replica of Princess Leia’s white dress from the original Star Wars and ran outside to tell a metal rubbish bin to take my message to Obi-Wan.  Then flat out refuse to tell a large potted ficus tree where the Rebel base was.

A couple of days later she presented me with a home-sewn Leia costume complete with a black fabric belt with a little holder for my gun (a wooden spoon that we coloured black with a marker). We then used pantyhose to make her famous ‘star puffs’ hairdo by making a spiral pattern with the legs and holding them in place with tape.

Nanna for the win.

Frequently during my stays there would be a ‘special occasion’ lunch at the priest’s quarters in the elegant formal dining room when the Perth Archbishop or an overseas guest would visit.

It still makes me laugh to think with all those Church officials sitting there, that during the soup course a seven year old boy in a white dress with a pair of pantyhose on his head would run past the windows holding a wooden spoon, dragging a metal bin and screaming “Run, Chewie!!”.

Then Father O’Donnell would say “Oh that’s just Kath’s grandson. Lovely lad. More butter, your Grace?”.

A Day In The Life

5:20 am – Alarm goes off. Tumble out of bed and stumble to the kitchen. Pour myself a cup of ambition, yawn and stretch and try to come to life. (Just kidding. Alarm goes off, open one eye, swear under my breath, hit snooze)

5:30 am – As above.

5:40 am – You guessed it. Snoozy snoozerson.

5:53 am – Bolt out of bed in a blind panic, fling self in direction of shower.

6:00 am – Toothbrush engaged! Minty freshness achieved!

6:10 am – Make bed. Hospital corners and all. Get a bit obsessive with the sheet smoothing/pillow arranging. Try to talk self out of it but I’m ignoring me today, apparently.

6:20 am – Take blood sugar levels and adjust with insulin injection. Take meds with giant glass of water. Get dressed for work.

6:30 am – In car.  Yawn so hard that water fills my eyes and runs down my cheeks. Decide this is an awesome time to engage early morning Perth traffic.

6:32 am – In traffic. Begin to regret giant glass of water at 6:20 am. Bladder is really, really mad at me. Decide my drag name would be Anita Peenow.

6:47 am – Park in seekrit location. It’s a few minutes walk to work and it’s free. I will never tell you where it is so don’t ask.

6:49 am – Very narrowly avoid slipping on actual banana peel that actual person dropped on actual road no doubt expecting actual comedy hijinks.

6:50 am – Nearly mowed down by angry cyclist as I wasn’t really looking where I was walking as I typed the above sentence into my phone.

6:53 am – Arrive at work. Coffeeeeeeeeeeeeee.


7:00am – Caffeine begins to work. Start feeling alive. Consider being friendly to co-worker. Decide to give it another 20 minutes just to be safe.

7:01am – Checking my emails. Nothing too serious in the old inbox. Nice.  Celebrate by selecting new wallpaper.

7:31am – Start work.

8:01 am – Working

8:12 am – More working.

9:25 am – A manager walks by, showing some new staff around our floor. He points at me and tells them I’m a hub of knowledge and can help with most anything.  Quickly close the Bananarama fan page website I was looking at and try to look wise yet approachable. End up looking like I have gas. The newbies scurry away quickly.

10:00 am – Morning break. Fifteen minutes of freedom. Cram packet of crisps in gob. Follow it with giant glass of water so that they drown before they reach my stomach and can do no harm. Get excited because I’m so smart. Pretty sure abs will appear any day now.

10:15 am – More working.

10:57 am – Even more working.

11:30 am – Start lunch discussion with best pal via email. It has been decided that I shall purchase sushi and that he will probably have the ham and cheese roll he brought in for lunch because he likes ham and cheese rolls and he went to the effort of making it and bringing it in so may as well etc etc.

11:55 am – Check blood sugars, take insulin.

12:00 pm – LUNCHTIME! Sprint to local Japanese Takeaway (Nippon Fare) and obtain delicious sushi.

12:06 pm – Sitting in lunchroom taking obligatory food photo for uploading to Instagram. Get sprung by one of the engineers who ribs me mercilessly for doing so. Make mental note to break whatever he’s in charge of maintaining when I return to my desk.

Sorry that it isn't filtered a la Instagram

12:07 pm – 12:28pm – Lunch with best pal.

12:30 pm – Back at desk. Today has more work than lunch, which doesn’t seem right.

01:30 pm – I started the day with 35 emails in my inbox. Answered 30. There are now 38. Help.

01:45 pm – New co-worker walks past, he is heavily tattooed, with glasses and a shaved head. He smiles at me.

01:46 pm – Google ‘gay wedding planners’. Decide on an October ceremony. Hopefully I find out his name before then, vows could be awkward.

02:20 pm – Afternoon break. Go into staff room – something smells really bad. I vividly describe what combination of events could cause such an odour. Turn to see co-worker looking revolted as he puts his delicious sandwich down and pushes it away. Apologise as he dry-heaves.

02:52 pm – Best pal emails me asking if I’ve had any experience with “Google Analtics”. Am slightly intrigued but decide not to Google this with safe search off.  Turns out he meant Google Analytics but you can’t be too careful these days.

03:11 pm – Tattoo man hasn’t walked past again. Or called. Or proposed. Am devastated.

03:40 pm – More working.

03:50 pm – Computer crashes three times.  Maybe I should have looked up Google Analtics after all?

04:00 pm – Home Time!

04:24 pm – In car, 80′s soundtrack loaded for the drive home. Arrive home 30 minutes later. Bring in bins for all three apartments because I’m nice like that.

04:40 pm – Sit in front of computer, just for something different. Listen to some music. Song reminds me of an ex. Haven’t seen him since messy breakup in ’96. Decide to Google ex. Find a video of ex giving a lecture at Sydney University. Watch video against better judgement.

04:45 pm – Shouldn’t have watched video. Eat feelings. Delicious, delicious feelings.

05:48 pm – Am hungry again already. Waiting for Coles home delivery. Vow not to eat anything until I have groceries and I can make something healthy. Three seconds later am eating peanut butter out of a jar with a tablespoon.

06:10 pm – Coles delivery arrives! Much happiness! Freak out delivery guy by saying ‘thank you’ with too much enthusiasm too many times in a row. After he leaves I find out I have peanut butter hanging off my chin. I’m so classy.

06:31 pm – Cooking salmon for the first time. Am rather good at it for someone who once accidentally made a ham and asparagus spongecake. Trying to eat better food to help with depression and overall life-livingness so am also having asparagus.

Victory is mine! Muahahahah!

06:35 pm – Check blood sugars, inject insulin.

06:42 pm – Deliciousness abounds. I’m like that chef bloke off the telly that swears at people. Without the chef or telly part though.

Dinner is served!

06:48 pm – Find self thinking that Cameron Daddo looks well rough in this ad until I discover it’s not actually him.


07:00 pm – Tempt fate by cooking chicken breast for lunch tomorrow. Begin to wonder if I’ve stumbled in to alternate universe when nothing burns, bursts into flames or turns into a spongecake.

07:20 pm – Cleaning the kitchen. Washing the dishes. Will this devil-may-care existence ever end?

07:38 pm – Pyjamas on, collapsed on couch. Doctor Who time – ‘Cold War’



08:17 pm – Meh.

08:20 pm – Ooookay then.

08:26 pm – Not bad in the end. See preview for next episode. It looks scary and awesome. Bounce up and down on couch excitedly until it makes odd “SPUNNNGGGG” noise.

08:40 pm – Time to write out this blog!

10:00 pm – Done!

10:30 pm – Check blood sugars, inject insulin (basal dose for overnight maintenance), take night meds.




Dastardly Disco

I hate fancy dress parties. HATE.

I was once beaten up by a pretty spot on Prince and and very unconvincing Bob Marley at a ‘Pop Stars’ fancy dress school disco. I ended up being rescued by Madonna and 2/3 of Bananarama when they went and got Bruce Springsteen, who was moonlighting as a P.E. teacher.

Years later I repeated this fact when doing a radio interview with Sarah Dallin from Bananarama.

Sarah: “Did they look much like us?”

Me: “Sort of. One of them was really overweight and had one leg two inches shorter than the other.”

Sarah: “Ah, so she was Siobhan..”

(Siobhan had famously left the group in 1988 after rumours of fights with Sarah and Keren, the other two members)

I’ll be laughing at that forever…


If You Can’t Say Anything Nice, Be A DJ

Well, if this wasn’t the most humbling conversation I’ve ever had…

DJ Tim B : When I was fifteen I snuck into Trade one Thursday and went up to the DJ box to watch you do your thing.  Watching you inspired me – that was the moment I knew I wanted to be a DJ too.

Me : Awwww. Tim, thank you. That means a lot to me.

DJ Tim B : And I’ll never forget the first words you said to me… they stay with me to this day.

Me (proudly) : Oh? What was that?

DJ Tim B : “Fuck off, you can’t be up here”.

Me: Oh.

And His Name Is…

Being a DJ and needing to play up to twenty hours of music a week to the disco lovin’ masses, I’m constantly on the search for new tunes to spin. The majority of them I buy online, some I get as promos from record companies and the rest I get from friends overseas who send new tracks directly to my e-mail inbox.

This means that on a good week you can have up to thirty or forty new tunes. The hard part is listening to all of them and committing them to memory so when you’re at your gig you know which new track is which and what you can mix it with. The need to learn tracks forwards, backwards and inside out was never more important than the night that I played a fab little ditty called “I Wanna Rock U” for the first time.

“I Wanna Rock U” is a funky, electro tinged tune produced by sonic master Giorgio Moroder (of Donna Summer’s ‘I Feel Love’ fame). It was sent to me by my friend Ryan in the UK, along with some other tracks he thought I might get all tingly and excited about.

Because he’d sent me a few and I was playing that night, I skimmed though them by listening to the intro, a bit of the middle, and finally the outro. Just enough to get the feel of it and know where the mix points were. Of all the tracks he’d sent me, “I Wanna Rock U” was my favourite. It was chunky, had a great bassline and featured an unnamed diva belting out some serious action in the breakdown. Perfect for playing at a gay club.

As luck would have it, that night’s gig was at a gay club so I burned it to disc, packed it with my other tunes and ventured off to work.

As the club filled up, I got the dancefloor going with a few well known tracks and when things were really starting to take off, I decided it was time to unleash “I Wanna Rock U”. I mixed it in and watched as people bounced up and down enthusiastically to it’s pounding rhythms.

The dancefloor was soon overflowing as the bass hit its peak and slammed into the song’s breakdown. This was the first time I’d heard it on a big system and I was loving it.

Then came the vocals.

“There’s only one – He’s the one to keep you safe……”, screamed the diva as I grooved on the spot, listening to the crowd yell their approval.

“There’s only one – He can take away the booze…..”, she continued, as I tried to work out what she meant.

“There’s only one – He can take away the lighter….”, she warbled, as I realised that it was perhaps a gospel vocal.

“There’s only one – He can keep your lips from swearing…” she stated, as a friend looked up from the dancefloor and  gave me a quizzical look.

Then just as I was beginning to worry that the crowd would notice – hotpant wearing gay men tripping off their tits at Connections on amyl and ecstasy aren’t really big on the whole ‘don’t drink because God loves you’ thing – she stopped singing. I breathed a sigh of relief until 20 seconds later when the backing music suddenly stopped and she belted out…


I died on the spot. My cousin, a fellow DJ who was running the lighting at the time collapsed in fits of giggles as the whole room looked up at me. Even the doorman came up from downstairs and mouthed “What the hell?” at me.

Within three seconds of diva rubberlungs having vocally extolled the virtues of the big J, the entire dancefloor had emptied aside from three very confused looking Japanese students who didn’t know if they should evacuate so they just stayed rooted to the spot, clutching each other’s arms.

The worst part was that if by some chance, someone hadn’t noticed the huge gay nightclub faux pas I’d comitted, the unknown diva on the record continued wailing… “Jesus! Jesus! He’ll be by your side! Jesus! Jesus!! Jesus!! Jeeeeesus!!! He’s great!! Jesus!! He’s such a fab dresser!! Jesus!! Jesus!! He makes great toasted sandwiches!! Jesus!! He’s the one for you!! Jesus!! He’ll save your soul!! Jesus!! Jesus! Gimme a J!!! Gimme an ESUS!! etc etc etc.

So I did the only thing I could, I quickly mixed in the next record then dropped to the floor and hid under the console.

I now listen to all of my new tracks from start to finish, taking particular note of any biblical references.

Demo(n) Tapes


Have you ever had one of those times when you really want something, but all your efforts to achieve your goal are foiled, almost by some type of unknown force? Well, you’re not alone my friend. When I worked full time as a club DJ I discovered a particularly bizarre phenomenon called Sydney Demo Syndrome, or SDS.

To fully understand my tale of woe, it’s important to note that at the time of this story most DJs – myself included – didn’t have access to a computer so when we wanted to make a demo of our work we had to record it all in one take onto cassette or minidisc. If you messed up a mix you had to go back and start recording again from the first track. Sounds fun, no?

I first encountered Sydney Demo Syndrome in December 2002. I had received an email from a DJ friend in Sydney, telling me that the Mardi Gras board had asked for demo CDs from DJs interested in playing at the next Mardi Gras party.

All I had to do was record a CD displaying my mixing skills, and I could be playing to thousands of screaming homosexuals in hotpants, all gyrating lewdly and calling my name at one of the largest gay dance parties in the Southern Hemisphere. Easy?

Well, no. For some reason, a perfectly simple process turned into a meltdown-inducing nightmare.

For starters my pal had sent the email to me with four days to spare. So time was going to be tight. Especially as I don’t have equipment set up at home, and need to go into one a club outside of opening hours to make a demo.

On a Monday night, I picked a stack of records out and went up to Connections. I had taken my minidisc deck up there on Saturday to record a set for a friend, and left it there, knowing I would be back to use it again. I got to the club, lugged my records upstairs, set everything up, and then noticed that my minidisc recorder wasn’t there.

A number of text messages and phone calls later, I located it at one of the other DJs houses, he had ‘borrowed’ it, thinking that I wouldn’t mind. And I normally wouldn’t have. but this was Mardi Gras.  He apologised and said that the deck was at his house but he wasn’t – and he wouldn’t be until tomorrow. Demo attempt number one aborted.

On Tuesday I worked all day, then went and collected my deck from my friend’s house after work. I went straight to the club, recorded the demo and went home to transfer it to cd.

As soon as it started playing I noticed that the sound was only coming out of one speaker, and there was a massive humming sound in the other. It turns out that my friend was a little heavy handed when removing the plugs from the back of my deck and had broken one of the inputs. Demo attempt number two aborted.

Wednesday I tried to get my deck repaired, but was told it would take a least four days. I only had two. Not one to be beaten, I called some of the other DJs I knew and managed to borrow someone else’s recorder.

That night I recorded the set again, and wearily staggered home to transfer it to cd. Half way throught the first track the sound dropped out, then came back in again. Then it did it again, and again. It turns out that the new disc I had bought was faulty, and was part of a batch that many people had reported problems with. Demo attempt number three aborted.

Thursday was the absolute latest I could send off my demo to ensure it was received in time, so the pressure was on. As luck would have it, I had to work all day, so I got up at four in the morning and drove down to the club to have one last attempt.

With one eye half closed, I recorded the set again, checked it had recorded properly (it had!) then raced home to transfer the minidisc to cd by hooking it up to my cd burning deck and had just enough time to run it off and get to the Post Office before I started work.

When I arrived home, the house was in complete darkness. There was no electricity. I later found out that someone (who obviously didn’t appreciate my music) had slammed into a telephone pole on the way to work and blacked out half the suburb.

By this stage, a lesser mortal would have just given up, but having gotten this far, I was determined not to be beaten. I got my cd recorder deck and the minidisc player and drove back to the club. I hooked it all up, and got ready to transfer the ****ing demo onto the ****ing cd and mail the ****ing thing to ****ing Syd****ingney.

I put the minidisc back into the player, and the display flashed for a brief moment, before displaying two simple words that would strike fear into the heart of anyone that’s ever made a recording.


Followed, rather helpfully, by


And then it wiped the entire disc. Yep. The whole shebang. All gone. Game over. See ya.
I checked the display panel, half expecting it to read ‘HA! HA! HA! SUCKER!!’ but all I got was…



There is no logical reason that this should ever occur, and according to my friend, his deck had never done that before. But it did it that morning, when it was the last thing I needed it to do.

So I did what any self respecting 30 year old man would do in such a situation. I bawled my eyes out, and went to work.

Demo fail. No demo for you. You come back. One year.

Fast forward to 2003.

Again on a Thursday night I set up my minidisc deck (it was working flawlessly after being repaired) and did some full practice runs to get an idea of the flow of the tracks I wanted to use. At about 3:30am I pressed ‘record’ and started my mix.

Two tracks into it I noticed that the deck had stopped recording and was flashing the letters ‘TOC’ on the display panel. Having no idea what this meant, I tried the time honoured technical solution of calling it something that rhymed with ‘you pucking bunt!’

When this failed me, I switched it off and tried to eject the disc. It wouldn’t. I pressed play. Again nothing. I tried pressing record. Nada. It had completely seized up. Even switching it off, then on again at the power point did nothing. And as we all know if it doesn’t work after you’ve tried switching it off and then on again you’re doomed.

Because of my previous experiences with electrical equipment that suffered had clearly suffered some sort of demonic possession I decided to give up on minidisc and that the best thing to do would be to go home and get my hi-fi VCR.

You can record sound directly onto hi-fi video tape without too much loss of quality, so it was the next best option. I unplugged the minidisc deck and left the club to swap it over for my VCR.

Unluckily for me, it was pouring down with rain at the time, and as I walked down the metal steps out the back, both feet flew out from under me and I only just managed to catch myself on the railing and stop from falling down the remaining twenty steps. The minidisc deck wasn’t as lucky. It flew out of my hands and smashed open in the alleyway below.

I cleaned it up – vowing not to get angry – and threw it in the bin behind the club before driving home to get the VCR.

Upon my return, things went a little better as I managed to get three quarters of the way through the mix, with it recording perfectly before the needle inexplicably skidded from the middle to the end on the record I was playing.

“Yay! How fabulous!” I thought as I fell to the floor, sobbing.  Yep. Time to go home and call it a night.

Not wanting to tempt fate too much, and suddenly becoming stair-phobic, I didn’t attempt anything again until Saturday. I went in the early afternoon, set everything up and recorded a fantastic demo. After all the practicing my mixes were flawless and I had the confidence to throw in a few little tricks, too.

I got home and went to play the tape, and it was completely blank. Everything was hooked up properly (I always do a little test recording first) but for some reason it didn’t record. No problem. I still had a few days. I decided to try again on Sunday.

I went in with my other hi-fi VCR (I clearly had more money than sense around this time), a brand new video tape and my records. I tested the recording setup twice before I did a complete run, and managed to do a perfect take. I sighed with relief as I played back the recording at the club and it sounded great – completely clear and crisp. All I had to do was take it home and transfer it to CD and I could mail it off first thing in the morning. Mission accomplished.


I pressed eject and the video tape wouldn’t come out. I got a screwdriver and removed the cover – the tape was completely chewed and wrapped around the heads of the vcr. I managed to get it out, but it was ruined. Damn you, Sydney Demo Syndrome. Damn you to hell.


Not to be a quitter, I drove to see the owner of the club and borrowed his minidisc recorder – a brand new portable unit that he’d used once. He kindly handed it to me, told me I looked like I was about to have a nervous breakdown and sent me on my way with a hug.

Back at the club I finally managed to catch a break. The mix went well and recorded properly. I took the player home and it allowed me to copy to CD without a giant squid crashing through my ceiling or any type of political coup occurring in my suburb.

The next day I labelled my cd, packed it in an overnight bag with my bio and a photo, closed my eyes for a second and willed it to be my year to be selected then handed it over to the nice man behind the counter at the Post Office.

I had beaten the dreaded Sydney Demo Syndrome.

Well, until two weeks after we were supposed to have heard back from the selection committee, when I sent them an email and they told me they didn’t receive my submission.

Oh how I laughed.

**drank myself into a stupor and woke up 5 hours later face down in a pizza.

If I Want Your Opinion, I’ll Beat It Out Of You

There’s no better way of celebrating a recent 6 kilo weight loss than with the following conversation. Picture me leaving a gay night that runs out of a straight nightclub and running into a particularly blokey punter out the front….

Punter : Hey DJ, where ya going?

Seb : Home, I’ve finished for the night.

Punter : What do ya mean goin’ home?

Seb : I’m going, as in leaving here, and going to my house, as in my home.

Punter : Who’s playin’ now?

Seb : Den is on till five.

Punter : Where’s Simon?

Seb : He doesn’t play Thursdays. He does the weekends.

Punter : He doesn’t play Thursdays? What do ya mean he “doesn’t play” Thursdays?

Seb : He doesn’t play here, as in…he just doesn’t.

Punter : How come, mate?

Seb : It’s a different night. Different promoters.

Punter : Different what?

Seb : Promoters. The people who run the night. They’re different.

Punter : Well what sort of night is it then?

Seb (cautiously) : An alternative night.

Punter : Naaaah, it’s not alternative (pointing upstairs) that’s not alternative music.

Seb : It’s not a regular night. It’s a different crowd.

Punter : What do you mean different?

Seb : It’s a gay night.

Punter : A bloody gay night? No!

Seb : Yeah.

Punter : They’re all poofters up there?

Seb : Yeah.

Punter : But you’re not a poofter.

Seb : I am, actually.

Punter : You don’t bloody dress like one.

Seb : (somewhat proudly) I know, but there’s not-

Punter : You don’t sound like one either.

Seb : (even more proudly) I know, but you shouldn-

Punter : And they’re not fat like you. They’re all skinny blokes. You blokes play good tunes but.

Seb: Th….anks?