Category Archives: Autobiography

What’s In A Name?: The Derivation of the Pickhills Surname.

My Great Great Grandmother, Elizabeth Pickhills nee Appleyard, and my Great Great Great Grandmother, Clara Pickhills nee Rickinson both have associations with the Northowram area in Yorkshire, so the below description came as quite a surprise to me. The family also has tie-ins to Halifax. My Great Geeat Grandfather, Rickinson Pickhills cannot trace back far with that surname – Hus father, Joseph Pickhills, we only know about through his marriage record to Clara Brown (Clara Rickinson was first married to John Brown). When I hired Milkwood genealogy researchers to do some tracing of the family in 2011, they could find no records for him, and thought there was a probability of him being an itinerant worker. Likewise, there are difficulties tracing Elizabeth Appleyards parentage, despite Appleyard being a common hame in the Northowram area. We only know her father’s name was William (through her marriage record to Rickinson), and a possible sibling or uncle – John Appleyard – present at the Northowram death of Jane Pickhills, the daugter of Rickinson & Elizabeth. Research is ongoing, but it is possible that both families are from that area.

Pickhills is a very old name coming from the medieval period where it was written as ‘Pighills’. I have seen the name on entries in relation to early research in the Shibden valley area. Northowram old Township was a very large area covering the village and skirting the edge of Halifax right up to the other side of Queensbury (Queenshead as it was in earlier times). 

This interesting name is of early medieval English origin, and is from a topographical surname for someone who lived by a small field or paddock. The name derives from the Middle English word “pightel, pighel”, small enclosure, field, or paddock. Topographical names were among the earliest group of surnames to be created in England and other countries in Europe, as they became necessary, since both natural and man-made features in the landscape provided instant and easily recognisable identifying names for the inhabitants of the small communities of the Middle Ages. 

The modern surname can be found as Pickles, Pickless, Pickle and Pighills, and is found recorded mainly in Yorkshire. The marriage of Thomas Pickles and Sarah Tennard was recorded in Bingley, Yorkshire, on January 28th 1649. One R. Pickles, a famine emigrant, sailed from Liverpool aboard the “New World” bound for New York on June 7th 1847. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard de Righkeleys, which was dated 1379, in the “Poll Tax Returns of Yorkshire”, during the reign of King Richard 11, known as “Richard of Bordeaux”, 1377 – 1399. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to “develop” often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.

Northowram Primary School
Old Northowram village before the developers moved in
Northowram Village

Acceptance Melbourne: Newsletter Book Reviews 1981/82.

I joined Acceptance in Melbourne just after coming out there in 1981 – probably an odd thing for an Atheist to do, but I had plenty of practise at being a Catholic – as a way of meeting people, and getting introduced to the gay scene. It was a very successful move, got me a nice group of friends, and gave me a great – and very busy – sociallife…and some sexual adventures! I ended up getting more involved with Acceptance than I originally intended, becoming Secretary on their committee, and being on the  fundraising working group. For a time, I was on with a member named Fred Diamond. Fred edited the Acceptance newsletter, and wrote a gossip column for it under his pseudonym Jodie A Frean. In turn, I got roped into doing book reviews for it. The interesting thing, when looking back now, is that all the books reviewed below were considered cutting-edge gay literature back then…some, like Larry Iramer’s “Faggots” controversial even! Authors like him, and Patricia Nell Warren, John Rechy, Andrew Holleran, John Reid, and John Coriolan were amongst the first to write about a somewhat subversive gay scene, warts and all. In those days, all these books would have been purchased from the Elizabeth Bookstore, in Elizabeth Street in Melbourne city. It was still an underground world in many respects.

Tim Alderman (2017)

Media Pig! From The Prophetic To The Mundane!

I have always believed in having a voice, and be it right, wrong or indifferent I think people should speak up, and one of the best ways to do that is through  either letter writing, or being included in written conversations on specific issues. There is a lot of stupidity, injustice, prejudice and misinformation going on around us, and it is always important to speak out against these issues.

I have been involving myself in letters and articles since the mid-70s, and have pretty well kept the full record of my involvement. As a way of posting something a bit different, and covering, where possible, the scenario’s that provoked the letters and articles, here is a rundown of my social involvements over time. Funny how circumstances provide the fodder for letters! In my early days, it was always about gay issues – but then you settle down with someone, move to the ‘burbs, and all of a sudden it’s about your local council, or the idiots who inflict their opinions on us through the local rags! Keeps life interesting!

Published in the Catholic Weekly around 1976. I was the store manager for apellegrini & Co Pty Ltd, in York St, Sydney. A woman had eritren to the Catholic Weekly that Australia had no patron saints, which was inaccurate, as Our Lady Help Of Christians actually was. This is under my old name of Robert Phillips.

Also from around 1976, this article is an interview with the Catholic Weekly regarding the actual Pellegrini store itself. It was sround this time that we had moved the store from its original site in George St, Sydney (in Roma House) to York St. 

Around 1978 I left Pellegrini to work for my local menswear store, P&S Michael, who were branching out from the store in Granville, to MacArthur Square in Campbelltown. However, they emploted pressure salesmanship – my pet retail hate – so it was a short-lived relationship. I returned to Pellegrini a couple of months later. This is me, modeling clothes for an sd in the local paper.

“Campaign” November, 1981. I was working for Pellegrini in Melbourne, and had just come out. I lived in West Brunswick. The gay clone phenomena had just started, and because of its “macho” imagery, a lot of old queens were whinging about how it was selling out the gay community by adopting “straight” stereotypes. I got fed up with it. My only letter from my Melbourne days.

Two-in-one! Both the smsll photo of myself (right) and Barty Carter taken at the Midnight Shift, and the letterregarding ACON Safe Sex campaigns not hitting the mark would be frim circa 1984. Both published prbably in Sydney Star Observer.

Beresford Hotel 1985. Christmas function. Photographed with Tony Kelly (right), my partner at the time. More than likely in the Sydney Star Observer.

Article in “Outrage”, October 1985 by Adam Carr under his pseudonym Miles Walker. Adam had visited myself and my partner at the time, Damian, in our flat in Kellett Way, King’s Cross. He was on hus way to a street party. He decided to write a tongue-in-cheek piece about the visit. In the article, substitute Damian for Shane, and Tim for Tony. Notoriety comes in strange ways!

Star Observer circa 1985/86. A politician had made a rather stupid statement that gay men didn’t work in retail! Considering the retail sector relied heavily on gay staff, it just showed his general ignorance.

Star Observer Issue No.30, 20 June 1986. Cleo, my gutter drag persona, makes the front cover, along with Ruby Pollock (front right), and Andrew Carter. We had been to a Queens Birthday party at Geoff Smith & Steve Thompson’s home in Glebe. This photo was raken in The Oxford.

Cleo making it real in an advertising campaign for “Numbers” Bookshop in 1987. This was Cleo’s 1986 Sleaze Ball costume.

Green With Envy party, 31 August, 1986 at 38 Mona Rd, Darling Point. An annual party, put on by Sydney DJ Gareth Paull, who played regularly at The Oxford. A friend, Andrew Todd, asked me to go with him in drag, as he had never done drag before. Andrew had AIDS, and had spent most of the yesr in and out of hospital. He had a great night, and died on Boxing Day that year. I went wigless, and on the far right of this Star Observer photo.

Star Observer August 1987. Montage from The Oxford’s 5th birthday party on 23 August 1987.

Outrage Magazine 1988. Mardi Gras photo, taken at the Art Gallery of NSW. Darby Wilcox (left) and myself about to scatter the ashes (mixed with glitter) of Don Tickle, who had died from stomach cancer earlier that year. His ashes were scattered along the parade route.

Star Observer June 1988. Montage from ANZAC Day at The Oxford, 1988..

“The Bulletin” August 1987. An interview in The Oxford regarding how we felt about living with HIV. Being still early days in yhe history of the pandemic, this all sounds a bit naive now.

Though labelled “Locker Room”, this was actually taken at the Midnight Shift circa 1997. Tony Kelly to the right.

Circa 1986. The premier, Neville Wran, commented on cinema’s banning condom advertising due to them being perceived as “family friendly”. I bit like sticking your head in the sand, as far as I was concerned. I had to see it on television, but not in the cinema? 

A series of photographs taken by the Sydney Star Observer circa 1987. We had a Nuns, Priests & Prostitutes party to celebrate my flatmates birthday. The patty was an afternoon affair held at our apartment in Bourke St, Darlinghurst. A group of us went out to the Oxford Hotel after the patty, where these were taken.

My backside, in leather chaps & thong, makes an appearance in – of all things – a lesbian magazine – LOTL (Lesbians On The Loose), at a Sleaze Ball. Also circa 1987.

Outrage No.63, August 1988. Someone from Adelaide was laying shit on Mardi Gras…onviiusly decided nit to have a great time…and succeeded! The tone of the letter will give you some indication of his gripes.

Poster for “Dancing Through the Decade”, New Years Eve 1989, at the Wentworth Function Centre, University if Sydney. Put on by the Bobby Goldsmith Foundation (BGF), DJs were Rob Davis & myself.

2 articles from local papers (names unknown) who reported on the opening party for “Expectations”. Expectations was a fetish store I managed for a short while, situated on the second floor of 159 Oxford St, Darlinghurst. Owned by Paul Jones, as was Numbers Bookshop, and the Den Club. In the first article I am in the top right photo, and in the second article the left side photo.

All I can remember about this photo was that it was taken in the Midnight Shift, and probably sometime between 1990-1993. I think I was in it due to my DJ work. It was published in the Star Observer. 

Star Observer May 1990? (Date very difficult to read). Oxford DJ roster for what would seem to be Mardi Gras week, seeing as a Recovery Party is listed.

The Star Observer, 5 October 1990. The Oxford Hotel DJ Roster. I was a resident DJ at The Oxford from 1990-1996. This is probably the first roster I was on.

Star Observer, January 1991. Australia Day week DJ roster at The Oxford.

“Wentworth Courier” 22 September 1994. As usual, Oxford St as ahopping strip is going to hell on a hot rail, and everyone just seems to argue about what needs doing. The need for a retail plan for Oxford St should have been a council priority.

Star Observer, 31 January 1995. Myself & Marcus Craig (right) st the opening of his mixed-media gallery exhibition “Odyssey”. The air brush painting in the oicture was donated to the Luncheon Club. 

Capital Q – 6 April 1995. People having a bash at HIV people because they are not relying more on alternative therapies.

The Daily Telegraph, 6 February 1997. Having attended the opening of a gorilla exhibit at Taronga Park zoo, all I could really see everywhere was McDonald’s – the exhibits sponsor – advertising. Way over the top!

Sun Herald, 16 March 1997. Someone whinging about forms if address to customers in rrtail stores.

Positive Living, June 1997. My response to an article they ran on CMV Retinitis, something I was well & truly knowledgeable about.

Capital Q 1997. My one attempt to jeet a potential friend ir partner through the gay classifieds. I opted for the fully out there, warts and all approach. All those that I met were either serial classifieds users, or just plain nut cases. I met Michael, from Rose Bay, who I had a brief “thing” with just proor to meeting David. I still have the letters from guys who responded…more than I expected.

Star Observer Jauary 1998. Dawn O’Donnell’s 70th Birthday Party at Paddington Town Hall. My self & Phillip Metcalf attended as representatives of PLWHA. Photo is not clear as enlarged from a gety tiny shot. I am in the rear, far tight.

Capital Q 23 January 1998. A letter in support of my friend Marcus Craig, regarding the closure if a gym in the Pride Centre.

Capital Q 30 January 1997. The response of the gym owner to my and amarcus’s letter regarding its closure.

Wentworth Courier 1997. My gripes about life in Bondi! A true nightmare of a place to live in, esprcially in regards to transport & infrastructure.

Star Observer 30 October 1997. A letter expressing my thanks HIV services.

Star Observer 1998 – Myself (left) and David st the 1998 Mardi Gras Party. We had been in the parade, and are photographed here in the PLWHA Time-Out Room…a dpace set aside for guts with HIV to have a break during the party.

Star Observer 1998. Mardi Gras Fair Day 1998, probably the last I attended. I am to the far left of the photo in 3/4 shorts.

“Talkabout” July 1998. Alex Crystal had sent a letter to the editor critisizing an article I had written. Not only had this person not ever been as seriously ill as I had been in 1996, he had no empathy for the long recovery process, the psychological implications of surviving AIDS, nor coping with ongoing life with disabilities.

Probably Star Observer 1998. Mardi Grad parade entry for PLWHA – Dick Van Dykes on Bikes.
Sydney Morning Herald, 22 October 1998. A letter responding to the mass closures of banks – a trend that was soon to reverse.

“Talkabout” No.91, Octoger 1998. A esponse to a letter critisizing my friend Marcus Craig for representing gay men with pisitive body images in his art work. Some people need to get a life!.

Sydney Morning Herald 10 November 1998. A letter regarding the fifficulties of obtaining work after serious illness, and when you are older.
“Net” Magazine, April 1999.,The mire everyday aspects of life, and dealing with technology.

Sydney Star Observer 8 July 1999. A letter of thanks to The Oxford for awarding me a special prize for having entries in the BGF Bake-Off since its instigation.

Sydney Star Observer 3 August 2000. The Oxford had undergone yet ANOTHER renovation, but this time a whole lot of poker machines had been added. Holding a charity auction in a place where money was being fed into machines was a bit ironic.

Good Weekend Magazine, 29 October 2000. A letter regarding an article they did on Stephen King, after his quite serious accident.

Wentworth Courier, February 2001. Letter regarding back-packers dumping inloved furniture etc on the footpath when they move on.

“Internet” Magazine, Issue 69, July 2002. Yet more mundane technology problems.

“Delicious” Magazine, February 2002. A great food magazine, if you enjoyed a LOT of tunning around to grt all the ingredients together for a recipe.

“DNA” Magazine, No.26, March 2002. A response to an article regarding gays, and religiiys dogma.

Sydney Star Observer 27 June 2002. Photographed at Arq with my winning entry in the Condiments & Preserves category, at the annual BGF Bake-Off. in 2002.

“DNA” Magazine, March 2003. A letter regarding an article in their Februarybissue regarding workplace bullying. The very start of the letter is missing.

“Sunday Life” Magazine, December 2003. My response to a fery touching article on coming out as gay to ones parents.

“DNA” Magazine, February 2004. A tongue-in-cheek lettet regarding their very sexy photo shoots.

Sydney Star Observer, 28 April 2005. My having yet ANOTHER dig at the Student Services Union at UTS. I had bern at loggerheads with them for years over compulsory inion fees. Unfortunately, my original oetter regarding this is missing.  

Daily Telegraph, 28 April 2005. The impossibility of getting work, even part-time, as you get older.

Daily Telegraph, 1 June 2005. Response to a ketter regarding the absence of small birds in our gardens.

Sydney Star Observer, 5 October 2006. David had, in a drunken moment at that years BGF Bake-Off, won an auction bid on a cake (bloody awful) and 2 Sleaze Ball tickets. We attended the party, and had an absolute ball, not at least helped along by some Ecstacy.

“The Glebe” 12 July, 2007. I take issue with people who are just unpleasant individuals. No wonder the dogs nipped him!

“The Glebe” April 17, 2007. After some demolition work in New Canterbury Rd, Dulwich Hill, some old painted shop signage appeared on the side of a remaining huilding, which had originally been hidden. I contacted the local paper, and they did a piece about it. The signage can be vaguely seen in the background.

“The Glebe” 1 May, 2007. My involvement in a local protest about removing a small park at the topnof Marrickville Rd that had historical significance as a tram turning-circle. I’m in the background, dark glasses & cap to right of picture. I’m holding Benji, my dog.

“Good Weekend” Magazine, 18 August 2007. A letter regarding the joys of childhood, which won me “Letter of the Week”, and the prize attached ton it – a weekend for 2 at Pepper’s Convent, in the Hunter Valley.

“Inner West Courier” 16 March, 2010. Local Treens rep is trying to thwart a much-needed recamp and extension to Marrickville Metro, and has obviously never shopped in our area. 

“DNA” Magazine No.121, 2010. In praise of a redhead make-over! Yum!

“DNA” Magazine No.124, 2010. A dig at a VERY boring Mardi Gras parade.

Inner West Courier, 2 November 2010. A whinge about cuts to mowing services that sre leaving yhe areas looking like jungles.

Sydney Star Observer, 23 March, 2011. A dig at a columnist who accused fit, healthy older guys of being posers.
A note to the Sydney Mirning Heralds “Column 8” about something locally amusing.

Fractured Reflections From My Dotage! Life On The Melbourne & Sydney Gay Scene 1970/1980 Pt.1

First published in the Dolphin Motor Clubs newslatter “Quid Nunc” in 1990.

It would have been 1975. I can remember that I had just passed my 21st burthday and moved out of home to my first apartment in Allowah (thanks to a legacy from my grandmother, which allowed me to live surrounded by all life’s comforts). I hadn’t come out, but was on the brink of doing so. I had a female friend (I would love to know what has become of her – does anyone know Jo Conway?) who used to come over and play “the girlfriend” whenever my father was coming to visit. He was convinced that this was his future daughter-in-law, the girl from whose loins would spring the fruit that was to ge forever stamped with the family name. Fortunately, he died before finding out that (a) she was a lesbian, (b) I was gay, and (c) I changed my name – lock, stock & barrel.

My lesbian friend was also the first to introduce me to Oxford St, which had its reputation even back then! We would catch the train from Allawah on Saturday nights and start out in Kings Cross, which gack in those days still had its mixed bohemian atmosphere, unlike today. The evening would usually start at  Chez Ivy in Bondi Junction, then to the Cross with the Barrel Inn, move onto the Bottom’s Up bar (strictly rough trade back in those days – not that I knew what that was…then!),Mother’s Cellar in Elizabeth Bay, then down to Jools, and up to Oxford St.

First port of call was usually Caps, followed in succession by Flo’s palace (not filled with the clientele it later gecame associated with), then onto the small, but popular coffee and jaffle haven in Boyrke St called Nana’s ( later to become Chu Bay Vietnamese restaurant). 

My friend was a close friend of the propriator, who was called Nana by everyone, and we had the privilege of being invited back to his terrace one night. Nana was the epitome of 1960’s camp – the bouffant hair, the wiggle walk, the limp wrist, the iver-the-top clothes, the works. The terrace was the ultimate in Victoriana – restored and decorated so. It was like entering another time! I vividly remember  sitting on the edge of an extremely dainty looking lounge, sipping Twinings tea out of giant amber Duralax cups, and nibbling on Iced Vovo’s (truly), all the time keeping a very hervoys eye on Nana (who kept leering at me) and his flatmate, affectionately called Cupcake, who kept flouncing down the stairs in various flowing creations, loudly declaring that he one of Sydney’s premiere designers under the auspicious label of “Margot of Sydney”.

The final stop if our outings was Central station, at 6 o’clock in the morning for the first train back home.

Ocford St confused me in those days. I wouldn’t let Jo’s hand go all night. I thought I should have been looking at the girls, being straight for all intents and purposes, but couldn’t stop myself looking at all the men and fantasizing over how great it would be to get off with one. On my solo stints into the city, I felt too intimidated to come to Oxford St. I frequented The Zoo in William St, (I think I now know who it was that tried to pick me up there…Paul Costello!), and the Downunder Disco in the Hyatt Kingsgate, all filled to the hilt with Italian John Travolta look-alikes, who all had with them girls who looked like Maria Venutti. I always went home alone. I was almost tempted  to go into the Zig Zag Disco in Darlo Rd, Kings Cross – which was reputedly gay – but nerves sent me fleeing at the last moment.

The Oxford Hotel

By 1979, I had settled for terminal, eternal celibacy! My one attempt at a straight relationship was a dismal failure. I nearly – which would have been a disaster – married her. She had a 6-year-old daughter who I thought the sun shone out of (and vice versa). She almost topped the scales in her mothers favour. Sexually, the relationship was doomed! I could not envisage a life of making love to a woman, while orgasming to the fantasy of a man. The body shape was – to me – all wrong, anyway. And coming down from the fantady was disillusioning. Celibacy seemed the only answer! My father also died at this time, so I had no need of pretense anymore. My company offered me a lucrative position in Melbourne – initially for 6-months, but ended up as 2 years.

In Melbourne, I came out – and not with a whimper! 

Another time, another name!

Melbourne was my chance for a new start. Nobody knew me, no family to watch me! I needed to make friends, so I joined a gay group. My very first meeting with the group, and I scored my first man. Being naive, I was an easy target for anyone. I hadn’t learnt to say no to a man at that stage, and he wasn’t exactly the most desirable of men, but what the hell – one had tostart  somewhere. I used him as much as he used me. He initially picked me up, after the meeting, at the old University Club. Shit – my first encounter with a gay group, my first solo venture to a gay venue, and my first man…all in one night!
He drove me to his place (with my dick out all the way), which was a good hours drive from Melbourne. The next morning, I had to get a train back. I wasn’t impressed. To this day, he doesn’t know he was my first. I’m a great actor!

I discovered The Laird. I discovered Mandate. I became a clone, and still am (albiet a 90s version). And bought my first leather harness, and vest, from The Beat. I fell in lust with Laurie Lane, but didn’t get to mert him until many years later.  I still have a pin-up of him from a 1981 magazine. Between The Laird and Mandate, I started my tally sheet. Inperformed my one and only act of public sex – a blow job in the barred areas around Mandate’s dance floor. We danced to “Fade to Gray” at Smarties, drank beer at the Elizabeth Hotel, watched drag at Pokies. I discovered that trying to have a relationship with another bottom was a sure recipe for disaster. I was attracted to him, he loved me – but the beats more! My first broken heart, and one of the few times I have cried over a man! Getting drunk is a better cure! No man is worth the vile hangover the next day! I met a man from Sydney. I came gack…but on my terms! This relationship was also a disaster. The fact that I had teavelled 800-odd kilometres for it, made it worse. I met a friend of his, and we used to go to the 253 sauna to get off. My first intro to the baths. I disliked them, but it was convenient for both of us. 

Bob – the Melbourne clone

Signal, the Barracks, and Club 80 were going strong, but not my scene. I saw the 4th Mardi Gras, and joined the parade for the 5th. I remember the first Sleaze Ball at the Paddington Town Hall, and Parties 1, 2 & 3. I drank at the Albury, Flinders, and Beresford, and danced at the Shift.

The Shift back then was clone and leather heaven! Split level dance floor, and lots if dark, wooden tables. Very barn-like, actually. The front bar was xalled “Charlie’s Bar”…and Charlie ruled it! The toilets were infamous, not to mention the goings-on around the dance floor. There was flesh everywhere – usually…okay, almost always, naked! People danced in Speedo’s and jockstraps, bandana and key codes meant something, and pick-ups were easy!

We often partied until 9am, falling out the door into full sunlight, then off to The Spirit Cafe in Crown St for breakfast. Home for a few hours sleep (maybe someone elses home, and not much sleep) then back out again.

We shopped at the Portuguese Deli (where Ian Roberts worked, and everyone wanted things from the top shelf just to get a rear view as he climbed the ladder); paid for over-priced groceries at Clancy’s; went clothes shopping at Daly Male (still going, though moved to a new spot), and Aussie Boys, Wheels & Doll Baby, Route 66; our leather and fetish gear from The Link, Jayar & Sax; books from The Bookshop; novelties from the Pop Shop; cakes from Pandora’s; flowers from Christopher’s Florist. We ate from the Bagel House; The Schnitzel Hut; Green Park Diner; Angkor Wat; Rockerfeller’s; Old Saigon; Billy Bunters; Betty’s Soup Kitchen; Loreto’s Larder; Raquel’s; The Californian (originally King’s coffee shop, named after the  mother establishment, of the same name, in King St, Newtown); Olympic Yerros(pizza slices on the way home from a big night out); Tin Hong (food poisoning central); La Boheme; Alfredo’s; The Balkan; una’s (Victoria St); Oddy’s; the list was endless. We read the Sydney Star – then the Sydney Star Observer, Capital Q, SX, Campaign, Outrage,  and the Village Voice; bought medical supplies from Serafim and Rely’s chemists (under-the-counter Ephedrine & Amyl); our hewspaper, magazines & stationery from Pigott’s Neesagency, or the newsryand outside The Oxford; hired video’s from Video Capers, then Videorama; costume accoutrement from Dita’s Feathers; bibs & bobs from Mother Of Pearl & Sons: records from Central Station (originally in the vicinity of what became the Bagel House) and Red Eye. There was even 2 butchers and a green grocer…once upon a time! And not to forget a very brief appearance from Gowings.

The Oxford opened, and became to a whole clique for many years (until the trendy set made it too uncomfortable for us). The Flinders and Beresford sponsored street parties. Sleaze Ball became a major event (remember  the one with all the wrecked cars on the dance floor?). Pere’s Beat (originally the Purple Onion) came and went (Wendy Wayne & Tiny Tina live on in memory), the Handle Bar came and went, as did The Man. The Link moved from Crown St north to Crown St south, and finally to Newtown. Jools, Signal, The Barracks, Club 80, Hip Hop, the Roman Baths, 253, The Spirit cafe, Caps, T.C’s (Crown St), the Geresford, French’s (not gay, but certainly memorable), all slowly closed and entered the realms of Gay nostalgia. Friends and lovers started to die, and it seemed that the scene was going with them. Life became abbreviated to the Oxford, the Shift, Mardi Gras & Sleaze Ball. 

Tiny Tina, Wendy Wayne, Barry Costello – Mardi Gras ’86

My (our?) lives moved on also. I tested Positive for HIV, as did many others I knew. Some of us passed on (and still are), though thankfully many of us sre still hale & hearty. Eight years under a sentence is a long time! Still, most of oyr old haunts are gone, though we still have a good time – somewhat more quietly these days. Forgive us our reminiscences. We have a lotnto remember, and ai still claim we gad the best of it! The eleven years since coming out,mand now seems to have gone amazingly quickly. Lovers, friends, venues have all come and gone in the blink of an eye. 

I am very hsppy now. My mother knows I’m gay, and reluctantly accepts it – ievidently she always knew. My half-sister will carry on the family line, if nothing else. I chucked the rest of my family years ago. To sever those ties, I changed my name. I like the empowerment derived from beginning & ending a family line. I am in several groups, which fulfils my nerd to ferl that I am doing something on the gay scene. I have made friends on the Lesbian scene, whichn takes me back to my gay roots. My social life is fulfilling enough. I am healthy, and will hopefully remain so. That is the only question mark in my life. I am in a relationship…again! Not the first dince the Sydney/Melbourne  episode, may I say, but certainly the most fulfilling I have ever had. I think the sun shines out of him, and he has added a dimension of happiness I don’t think he knows he has contributed. I see a lot of changes on the scene. I don’t necessarily like, or approve of, a lot of them, but ai guess I’ll lesrn yo live with them. It saddens me a bit to not have a venue for people in my age group who feel more comfortable with others from our generation. I won’t hive up hope on this point yet.

The Beresford, Christmas ’85

I guess to some, this is just another odyssey of coming out. I see it as the encapsulation of 10 years of change on the gay scene, from someone who saw the scene as ut was in the 70s, before coming out into the msdness of the 80s.

As you dan see, the sdage of “the more things vhange, the more they stay the ssme” doesn’t always apply!

Tim Alderman ©1990 (revised 2017)

Peter McCarthy, Peter Gilmore, Bevan, Steve Thompson, Tim Alderman – Quilt unfolding, Government Pavilion, late 80s.


Reality Check: The Politics of Blindness

Originally written in 2001. This article has never been published.

I have come to realise, perhaps a bit late in life, that you spend far too much time bending in the general direction of things instead of sticking up for yourself and saying no, this is not what I want, or the way I want things to go!

I have decided to sue a local hospital. That I have chosen to do this has come as a tremendous shock to me, though those around me seem to have been waiting for me rectify what has been, for me, a life changing event. 
By 1996 I had accepted that sooner or later, AIDS was going to get me. What I hadn’t counted on was that St. Vincent’s hospital was going to assist in my chances of survival! – and in the one ward they had where I always felt I would be safe – Ward 17, the dedicated HIV/AIDS ward.
It was a sudden change in health status that delivered me to the A&E department. I had collapsed outside my apartment building, gasping for breath, clutching my chest, thinking that a heart attack was going to beat AIDS to the crunch, or that PCP had finally caught up to me, as it seemed to do to all in my state. It turned out to be neither – I had a collapsed left lung, though being HIV, they moved me into Ward 17 after inserting a tube to keep the lung inflated. Most of us assume that we go into hospital to be cured of health problems, or at least receive a better standard of medical care to assist you to a slightly higher standard of health than you have when you enter. Well…I have to tell you it doesn’t always happen that way!

I firmly believe that some people go into health care because they truly believe in what they are doing. They truly believe they can make a difference, that they can benefit people who are ill or are disabled. These people are not professors of medicine, do not have a fancy examination room with a prestigious address, and are not heads of departments. The well-heeled medico’s who share these attribute have strings of initials after their names. They do ward rounds with a string of nose-in-the-air arse lickers and sycophants. St Vincent’s at this time had more than its fair share of the latter, and unfortunately, some of them were in HIV medicine! 

Now, I don’t want to give the impression that I was just in hospital with a collapsed lung – it was more complicated than that. I was in the midst of changing doctors, so didn’t actually have a GP when I was admitted to Ward 17. My scripts for AZT had just run out, I had chronic anaemia, chronic Candida, and weighed in at about 48 kilos. In other words, I was a very sick boy. Now, under normal circumstances, with a CD4 count of about 10, they would test and examine you for ALL AIDS related illnesses – PCP, CMV, MAC, neurological and psychological problems. For some unknown reason. Sure, they treated – and eventually repaired – the collapsed lung. They tested me for PCP – negative result – and gave me a blood transfusion, but that was it. No eye examination, no dietician, no occupational therapist – no, that’s a lie, I did have one session with an OT, and though she promised other sessions – she never quite madeit back.

 So I lay there for 10 days, drifting in and out of sleep, as you tend to do when you are in this bad a condition, suffering in silence the daily ward rounds with a professor who seemed more interested in prestige than care, with his little band of sycophants, who seemed to assume that this was what was expected of theM. No one seemed to particularly care, so I was thankful for friends, for without them I think I would have gone mad.

Death seemed pre-ordained at this time I felt I had outlived everyone else anyway, and that my time was drawing to a close. I had predicted 2 years when I quit work to go on the pension in 1993, and had managed 3, so in many respects I felt I had survived beyond expectation, and short of a miracle, I was going through the final stage of my life. I was, to all intended purposes, fulfilling expectation.  

So, with a repaired lung, a couple of pints of fresh blood, and some Candida medication, I was discharged 10 days later. No HIV medications, no doctor. I had my discharge papers sent to a local HIV GP, who I didn’t know from a bar of soap, hoping that she would feel sorry for me, and rush me through the waiting list. Thankfully, she did just that!

Two days out of hospital, and her receptionist rang to say my discharge papers had arrived, and that even though they didn’y know who I was, the doctor wanted to see me. I would like to think, in hindsight, that this was almost like some sort of sign, as having my hospital discharge sent to her was an act of providence that probably saved my life.

As soon as I mentioned to her that my vision had been ‘greying over’ for a couple of weeks, she was immediately on the phone to the Prince of Wale’s Hospital Eye Clinic at Randwick. They promised that somebody would stay back at the end of clinic until I arrived to have my eyes checked. They thought at that stage that I had CMV retinitis, but could not be certain enough to confirm the diagnosis. I had to travel to Hurstville the next day to see a leading ophthalmologist, an expert in CMV. He confirmed the diagnosis, and by the time I arrived home that afternoon, their was a message to ring the doctor. She wanted me admitted to Prince Henry Hospital straight away. 

Prince Henry added other health items to the list St Vincent’s had. On top of chronic anaemia and Candida, and my 10 CD4 cells, they added chronic bilateral CMV retinitis, and Wasting Syndrome. Pandemonium was about to strike, but at least this time I felt as though people cared. Prince Henry was much more grounded in reality than St Vincent’s, and whatever my prognosis may have been – mortality was never discussed – they went out of their way to help me. Sure, I had a drip in both arms, was being transported to Prince of Wales twice a week for intraocular injections of ganciclovir, and I was a bit of a guinea pig because of my condition – medical students must love people like me, as we become a living text book – but they did care. I had a dietician who planned meals and snacks for me, and nurses on hand to help me during my night sweats. I even had a reporter from Japan interview and photograph me, as he was doing a piece to be published in Japan. After seeing me, he was concerned that the Japanses ‘head-in-the-sand’ attitude to HIV/AIDS was something to be seriously concerned about.
To be honest, the two weeks in Prince Henry gave me a different perspective on many aspects of life. There was the guy in the room next to mine – I had a huge room to myself in Marks Pavilion, and the windows looked out over Beauty Bay – who had terminal cancer. Not once, despite whatever he may have been going through, did I hear him complain or whinge about his lot. He virtually lived in the hospital, and even had his own stereo moved in with him. And the young guy who was at the opposite end of the ward to me. He also had CMV, but fuck, he was so young, so innocent! We sat together in the eye clinic one day, and he grasp[ed my hand, cuddled up to me, and cried. I wanted to give him some hope, but I would have felt like such a hypocrite. I didn’t know if their was hope for me at that stage, let alone try to give it to someone else who I knew was worse off than I was.

Well, they saved my sight – sort of! The injections, and eventually $10,000 worth of ‘Vitrasert’ ganciclovir implants managed to save the sight in my left eye. As for my right eye, the optic nerve was damaged by the CMV, and despite efforts on everyones part, I lost 80% of the vision in it, and the impact on my life has been…disconcerting. I have regular checks every few months now, and I have to be careful not to bump my head hard on anything. The scar tissue in the left eye is so dense that they are concerned now about me ending up with a detached retina. I’ve also had two operations to remove cataracts caused by the implants. They originally estimated a 4% chance of cataracts from the implants, but 12 months later this prediction was upgraded to a 100% chance. Some odds you can’t beat.

But this has been the least of my worries. Sure, my right eye has, in some respects, compensated for the loss of vision in my left, but not entirely. It took me twelve months to adjust, but that twelve months was not without incidents, such as tripping over some tree roots in Crown Street, and landing flat on my face in front of some people coming in the opposite direction. I also tripped and stumbled a great deal as my vision tried to compensate for a change in everything, including perspective. Stairs with contrasting edging strips became ramps – at least from my perspective – and ‘I’m sorry!’ became part of my everyday vocabulary as I bumped and staggered my way around. That is something that even 5 years down the line, I have never quite gotten used to. This would not be the first time I have stated that in some respects, it would have been easier to have ended up completely blind. At least that way, I would have a white cane, or a dog, and people would know I was definitely blind, and not give me condescending looks every time I run into someone. For some unknown reason, it has always ended up my fault. I just accept. 

Rules of our household – don’t leave anything sitting low on the floor, or hanging to my left when I don’t know it is there. When walking down the street, keep to my right. If you don’t keep to that side, expect me to keep moving to ensure you are there. Go into the city? Not on my own these days. As much as I love the city, and love to watch it grow, it is a place for people in a rush, not a place for people who are visually impaired. Too many people, too many doorways for them to rush out of, and too many people crushing into confined spaces. I miss it very much, but it is not a place for me anymore. I shop locally, and that is hazardous enough for me. Do anything during the peak hour rush? Not likely these days. I had to meet David at 6.00 at the Entertainment Centre, to attend a couple of concerts. I actually mapped out a way to get there that would have a minimum of people that I would have to avoid. I go to daytime lectures and tutorials at UTS to avoid travelling too and fro during peak hours. I’m also trying to get them to contrast edge-strip the black granite stairs in the Tower Building, so that visually impaired people can see where the stair edges are. That is one fight I may yet win. Oh, and I shouldn’t forget that I kick small children.

David, who is my partner, and I went for a walk down Hall Street, leading to Bondi Beach, for one reason or another – we were probably looking for somewhere to eat breakfast. Sure enough, for a split second, I wasn’t watching where I was going and the next thing I knew, this kid had run straight onto my foot as I took a step forward. He just came out of nowhere, as kids do, and I managed to literally lift him into the air with the forward motion of my step, and launched him off to the side of the footpath. Thankfully, he landed in the grassed area around some trees growing on the footpath. I would hate to think what may have happened if he had landed on the footpath itself. I don’t know who got the biggest fright – the kid, myself, the kid’s father, or David. The father came running as I picked the kid up to make sure he was okay, but the look on the father’s face said it all – It was my fault, and I should have been watching where I was going. Even an explanation that I was  partially blind, and hadn’t seen the kid coming didn’t seem to sit well with him, nor did a multitude of apologies. Now, I dare say the kid probably forgot the incident 10 minutes after it happened, but It is still a nightmare with me. Whenever I think about the state of my eyes, that is the one instant that comes straight to mind. It’s not just the incident with the kid – I’m aware of that. It is that in some way, these sorts of things happen to me everyday, though fortunately with larger adults, not small kids. Despite all my precautions, despite taking my time getting around, despite walking metres up a street to use crossings or lights, despite great care at intersections I feel it is only a matter of time before I either seriously hurt somebody, or they seriously hurt me.

So I’m not just going to sit back and cop it sour anymore. Somewhere along the line, in a hospital, on a particular time on a particular day, somebody, for whatever reason, decided not to do something, and now I’m paying the price. Well, it’s time for someone to pay for their oversight, and the time to pay is NOW! My health is as good as it’s going to get at the moment, and with it being unlikely that I will ever return to full-time work, or to any job that requires me to get stressed, it is time to take action. I’m not going to ignore it anymore, or pretend that it just didn’t happen. It did, and my life has never been the same since.
Personally, I think that they, like Prince Henry, and certainly me, never expected me to live, so just doing a minimum of care in 1996 may have been acceptable practise, especially in an area of medicine that has always been cash strapped. But I didn’t die! I am well and truly alive, and the time for revenge is at hand. I hope that at the end of the day, they will learn several lessons. Never assume anything; never underestimate the strength of the human will, and mind; and never think people are just going to forget about it! We Don’t!
Tim Alderman

Copyright ©2001 (Revised 2017)

P.S: despite the solicitor instigating an action against St Vincent’s, and doing this pro-bono, I was expected to pay the bills for photocopying and incidentals. I received a bill for $1,500 from them to cover this…and being on a pension, this was the beginning, and the end, of the action. Justice never was served.

Spiritually Faithless!

First published in “Talkabout” magazine October/November 2007. I make no secret of my intense dislike – an understatement – of organised religion! No singular institution in the history of nankind has had such a stultifying influence on mankind’s collective mind! It has caused more deaths and suffering than all our wars combined, has held back the advancement of civilisation, and is singularly responsible for the hi-jacking of common sense, logic, and free thought! It’s sheer hypocrisy on being incapable of practising what it preaches, and being unable to judge itself so, is staggering in its breadth! Right at this very instant, somewhere in this world, people are being massacred or tortured in the name of religion! This is my perspective!

“Batter my heart, three person’d God…”

John Donne Holy Sonnet XIV

I started watching “The Abbey” on ABC TV on Sunday night. What a time-trip back to when I was 23 and living in an enclosed monastery, following the Rule of St. Benedict, at Leura in the Blue Mountains. How I ended up in a monastery – and eventually left – was quite a journey. One might even say a quest, a search for identity, spirituality and this unfathomable thing called faith. I found the first, still hold onto the second and lost the third along the way.
The quest started when, as a 12-year-old Protestant boy from very Congregational Sylvania, I managed to get into one of the states leading Catholic boarding schools – St Gregory’s Agricultural College in Campbelltown. They had filled their Catholic places at the school, and were willing to take Protestants. I lucked in. I have to admit that I loved going to school there, though with most of the boys being from country regions I didn’t make any life-long friends. I learnt to really loathe sport – Marist Brothers and their bloody sports – which I had just disliked up until that time. Also had a fleeting homosexual encounter with another boy…in speedos…in the pool. 

However, it was the Catholic religion that overwhelmed me. It wasn’t just one aspect of Catholicism, it was the whole shebang! The beauty of its rituals; the whole mystery of the mass; the adoration of Mary and the saints; the dogma and theology; and the people who devoted themselves to enacting and teaching these beliefs. As someone who had come from the sparse simplicity of protestant services, it took my breath away. So much so that at the end of my first year there I converted, being baptized in the school chapel with my history teacher, Mr Higgins – who, being a chain-smoker , stank of nicotine – and one of the Year 12 boys, Tim Sheen, as my sponsors. Little did I know that the priest who baptized me was, several years later, to be arrested for molesting his altar boys. My appetite for religion, especially the theological aspects of it, was voracious. In 1969 when I finished my final year one of the brothers asked me if I would like to join the Marist Brothers. Despite the faint inklings of a vocation, the Marist order really wasn’t my cup of tea. While at St Greg’s, I had a personal confessor from a Discalced Carmelite monastery at Minto. Through him I had quite a lot of contact with the monastery, including attending vocational seminars. 

I found the contemplative lifestyle much more to my taste, though decided to wait a few years before making any decisions.
In 1976 I contacted a small enclosed monastic community in Leura called the Community of St Thomas Moore, who followed the Benedictine Rule.
The community lived in this rambling old convent originally owned by the Sisters of Charity. It had the monk’s enclosure at one end of this huge ‘H’ design, the chapel, visitors parlors and Prior’s office at the other end, and a huge retreat section in between. The community supported itself by running retreats. As the youngest novice it was my duty to rise at 5am to set up the chapel for morning Office and Mass. I would then go to the common room in the enclosure to start breakfast and set the tables, as well as turning on the heaters to warm the enclosure. At 5.30 I would circle the enclosure with a bell to raise the rest of the community to prayer. Between prayer and work the day went very fast, with grand silence starting at 9pm and going through until after breakfast the next morning. Despite it being a tough life – and don’t for one minute think that these men are uneducated or unaware of what is going on in the world – I loved it. I loved the strong sense of community, the calmness of quiet contemplation in long silences, and the daily rituals of work and the Divine Office that bind communities like these together. The church regards these communities of enclosed religious as ‘powerhouses of prayer’, and there is little doubting that if you are on the inside. 

A very strong visual image of my time there, and one that has always stayed with me, is of being in the kitchen at 5.30 one morning and looking out the window. The monastery was set on the edge of a valley, and it was an icy cold clear morning. Outside the window was a leafless tree covered in frozen water drops glistening in the sun. Beyond it, a mist was rolling up the sides of the valley. It was one of the most profoundly contemplative moments I have ever had in my life. It was as if I was the only one observing this beautiful scene, as if it had been reserved especially for me for some purpose that was yet to be revealed. I can still see it in my minds eye as I write this. Now that’s impact!

However, one of the ‘problems’ with the large periods of introspection and contemplation that is part of the monastic ideal is that you tend to look deeply into yourself. Fears and hidden truths are often revealed. This can either lead one deeper into the religious nature of their community, or alienate you personally from the community. The realisation I came to, the fear I had, the thing that I was running from was that I was gay. Hiding in a monastery is not a healthy thing to do if you are gay – though heaven knows there are enough caught in this situation. Many stay on through fear of who they are. They think that if they work themselves to the bone, and pray hard it will just go away. It doesn’t! It ends in a life of bitterness, recrimination and self-loathing. Many, like me, decided that to really live life without hypocrisy they had to leave the safety of the enclosure and go back into the world. The decision to enter a religious community is difficult enough on its own. 

The decision to leave is even harder. Driving through the gates to go home was quite devastating for me, knowing that I was leaving all peace and tranquility behind me. I hoped to carry it inside myself, but the hectic, tumultuous real world makes it difficult, if not impossible. Another world awaited me.

I still didn’t come out immediately. My family was quite formidable and I knew I would have to choose my time well. In the meantime, I worked for and eventually became manager of Pellegrini & Co Pty Ltd – not familiar with the name? It was a huge Catholic emporium, supplying not just devotional goods such as statues and rosary beads, but furniture, church plate and vestments to all the local churches – firstly in Sydney, then to Melbourne where I came out. By this time my father was dead, my family alienated. Melbourne was a safe space for me. In the way of enforcing contrasts in my life, after I left Pellegrini in the early 80’s. I became manager of a sex shop in Oxford St called ‘Numbers’. It is often joked about that I gave up ‘praying’ for ‘preying’.

I must say that at this stage my faith was going through a shaky period. The fight for gay recognition, rights and anti-discrimination was in full swing, and the Catholic Church was one of the biggest bugbears to these rights. I joined “Acceptance” Gay Catholics in Melbourne, though not initially to fight the good fight, so much as a way to meet people through the shared common ground of religion. It was through “Acceptance” – I eventually became committee secretary, as well as working on several working groups – that I realised just how discrimination could alienate a group of people. We could only go to Mass in one church in Fitzroy, and then only at a certain time of the evening. The Servite Fathers, who were an independent order and not under the auspices of the local Bishop or Archbishop were the only order who could conduct our First Friday Home Masses. At one mass at my unit in West Brunswich confessions were going to be held in my bedroom. I had all this porn attached to the back of the bedroom door – as you do when young and single – and went to considerable trouble to ensure paper was taped over it to hide it. Evidently during one of the confessions the paper suddenly gave way, and priest and confessor were confronted with all these pictures of naked men. I believe the priest didn’t bat an eye, but I have to wonder if there weren’t additional sins for the guy with him to confess. Over this time I just got angrier and angrier at the hypocrisy of it all. Coming from Protestant roots, I still carried a lot of the simpler theology with me, and often found myself arguing against the stupidity and naivety that had crept into the Catholic religion through the centuries, which we were (are?) still living with, and decrying its inability to move forward and fit into a more contemporary era. It gained me quite a few friends, and earned me a few enemies. I got so frustrated that I dropped religion altogether, and have never really found my way back.

I returned to Sydney on the tide of HIV hysteria, and religion for me became even less relevant. Hearing our dear religious brethren, especially those in politics advocating hunting us down and locking us away in quarantine; the way they flaunted the view that this was God’s retribution against the gay community fuelled my increasing hatred for religion. Despite HIV being something that should have initiated reconciliation between my lost faith, and me it just drove a wedge in.. The soul-destroying slaughter of all my friends, lovers and acquaintances over this time didn’t bring me back to faith. However, it did cause me a revaluation of my need for spirituality of some description. The free-form style of the funerals that were going on over this period made me realise that we all practiced ‘faith’ in many different ways, and that having faith wasn’t the same as being spiritual. You could have one without the other. Religion, to just about everyone I knew, was an alien concept with little tie-in to their lives. However, many were searching for spirituality. One friend in particular surprised me by returning to the rudimentaries of faith just before he died. 

He did make me wonder what I would do if faced with the same situation – would I call on a priest and fall back to my Catholic faith; would I contact someone more in tune with the simplicity of my original faith, such as MCC; or would I just continue to refute it all up to the time I died. It is something I still ponder occasionally. 

In my search for spirituality I tried a return to a more primitive religion in Wicca, but found it unsatisfying. I studied the writings of Aleister Crowley and the Golden Dawn but found it too weird – and scary; the Jewish Kabbalah – real Kabbalah, not Madonna’s version – but found it too deep and complex, and I didn’t feel I had a lifetime to study it in.
So, I guess that in some ways I am still searching. It is not an easy world to find faith or spirituality in. Certain groups in our world have distorted the concepts to such a degree that you wonder what they find in the dry, humourless, destructive force they call religion. Others go on preaching what they don’t practice – and astoundingly never realise the contradiction; intolerance and hatred is rife. The Zen ideal is possibly the closest to pure spirituality that I have found, Buddhism being the one religion that seems to be the reverse of all else that is surrounding us. Like the monastic ideal, you can find peace in contemplation and meditation, something that cuts off the noisy world around us, and causes us to withdraw into ourselves.
Over the years, and before meeting my current partner, I have asked myself what I would do…where I would go…if I found myself old and alone in this world. I thought I would eventually return to a monastery, try to find all that I had lost. There are many who would tell me that faith is easy to find – it is just a pure act of selfless belief, a mere blinkered view to all the external forces that fight against faith; submission to dogma and ritual. I can no longer do that. I question too readily, and demand answers that aren’t esoteric.

So back to “The Abbey”. The five women who have gone into the Abbey to see if they can withstand the rigours of the monastic life are all in need of some form of self-redemption. Despite renunciations and doubts they are all seeking ‘something’. It is easy to see why Sister Hilda is the superior of this monastic community. Full of faith, a sense of humour, immense amounts of understanding and compassion, she is indeed the monastic mother. Just by listening to what these 5 women say, she is, possibly unknown to her, being a counsellor. In five weeks time when these women leave the monastery to go back to their normal lives, they are going to be intrinsically changed – you can see it already. They are going to confront things that they don’t want to confront, and if they allow themselves to just sink into the life of the monastery, to let it surround them and not fight it they are going to come to an understanding of themselves that they never thought possible – and their lives will be forever changed. I know. I’ve been there. Perhaps you can take the boy out of the monastery, but you can’t take the monastery out of the boy!

And as for me…well maybe John Donne and I fight the same demons;
“…I, like an usurpt towne, to’another 

      Labour to’admit you, but Oh, to no end,

      Reason your viceroy in mee, mee should defend,

      But is captiv’d, and proves weake or untrue,

      Yet dearely’I love you,’and would be loved faine,

      But am betroth’d unto your enemie:

      Divorce mee;’untie, or breake that knot againe,

      Take mee to you, imprison mee, for I

      Except you’enthrall mee, never shall be free,

      Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me.”

John Donne; Holy Sonnet XIV
Tim Alderman ©October 2007


Viral Games!

Originally published in “Talkabout”, September 1999.

In May 1999 I had one of the scariest HIV-related experiences I have had since my encounters with CMV in 1996! I literally, for a brief period of time, lost control of my feet. Already having problems with peripheral neuropathy, this just added to the incertainty and conjecture surrounding the causes. Initially, I couldn’t walk a steaight line up a footpath, but staggered from left to right with no control whatsoever. It got so severe that I eventually had to resort to using a walking stick to get around! Cassie Workman was at a loss! Thyroid, cortisol, B12, folate, a CT scan, Gallium scan all done to negative results. It took a further MRI and lumbar puncture test to reveal that at some stage during my transition from one drug combination to another, the virus had crossed the blood/brain barrier and got into my brain! By the time it was discovered, the new combination had kicked in, and problem resolved itself. It was a scare I could have done without, as the symptoms were also indicative of some very serious – and deadly – brain disorders! HIV in those days was good at throwing curve balls!

  The moral to this story is to never brag! I had been telling a work colleague of a rise in my weight to over 70 kgs, a record weight for me, and a record I was damn proud of. Within a few days of this, however, chaos had set in, and the treasured weight was going to have to be fought for.

This bloody virus just never leaves you alone! I stare at the magnetic scan images in my hand, and admire just how sneaky it can be. The pale grey ‘clouds’ that drift over the image of my brain are evidence of its brief visitation, the disorientation and fear it caused, all too recent to be forgotten.

 It started so simply. As I have mentioned in other articles, I returned to work just 18 months ago. My health, including T-cells and viral load, had been excellent for this period of time. I guess I may have become a bit complacent, thinking good health was something I could now take for granted. As has also been mentioned in other articles, I have severe peripheral neuropathy in my feet. It is slowly progressing, and is about half way along my feet. When the staggering started, my immediate thought was that it was just another phase in the progression of the PN. I could not walk a straight line, and when walking up the street, staggered quite visibly from one side of the footpath to the other. At the time this was happening, I mentioned to people that I wasn’t feeling ‘right’, I couldn’t put a finger on what it was, it was just a general feeling that things weren’t as they are supposed to be. I was going through some changes to my combination therapy also at this time, and thought that may have had something to do with it. Well, it did! But not in the way I expected.

The next phase of the illness consisted of a feeling of chronic lethargy. It became an effort not just to get up in the morning, but to get dressed, and to motivate myself to get up the street to get to work. I lost my appetite, and libido. Then I started to drift off to sleep on the bus in the morning, this symptom extending to falling asleep at home as soon as I sat in front of the TV, both these things not being normal for me. It wasn’t until I nodded off to sleep in front of the computer at work that I realised something was going seriously wrong. 

A series of tests was started. I had iron, folate, and B12 tests. They were all normal. I went to Albion St Clinic and had a test for a disease called Addisons (the symptoms for this disease were identical to what I had), and it also came back negative. I went and had Gallium and CT scans, and nothing showed up. By this stage, my walking had deteriorated to such an extent that I was relying on a walking stick to get around. It was thought I may have had bio-chemical depression brought about by returning to work and suddenly finding myself with the prospect of ongoing life, so I was, reluctantly, prescribed anti-depressants. My weight dropped to 58 kgs, and I literally had no appetite at all. My partner and I had up until then a very healthy sex life, and this dropped away (quite rapidly) to nothing. He started to get very concerned, though managing to hide it. Going out anywhere with me, especially with the walking stick, was a long ordeal. The only advantage to it was that I always got a seat on the bus.

My doctor eventually ran out of possible causes for my condition, and made an appointment for me to see a neurologist at St. Vincent’s Clinic. He put me through a long consultation, with a series of tests to check reflexes and responsiveness. During the consult, he asked me to do a number of simple walking steps like heel-to-toe, and I was unable to do them without losing my balance. His diagnosis wasn’t hopeful, telling me that it could have been one of several very nasty diseases, including one called PML (Progressive Multifocal Leukoencephalopathy). I don’t actually know what it is, but the look on his face said all that had to be said. There was a possibility of undetected Syphilis infection from years ago, but a test soon cancelled that option out. He wanted me to have a lumbar puncture, but rang me the next day to say I was to have a magnetic scan first, just to see if anything turned up. These scans are more thorough than CT scans, and more likely to show up problems.

If you are claustrophobic, don’t even consider these scans. You have to stick your whole head inside this small cylinder, with ear- plugs in, and foam wedges to hold you steady. The machine itself makes a noise like a pneumatic drill. I took one look at it, and said ‘no way unless you knock me out’. They did!

As mysteriously as all this started, it began to reverse. I returned to the neurologist a week and a half later, he being as surprised as I was to see I was walking again. He had received the scans, and they showed evidence of HIV infection on the brain, quite visible when viewing them.

To say this frightened the shit out of me is an under-statement. I have always been very good with my treatments, and consider myself about 95% compliant, which is pretty good, considering how long I have been popping pills and, at times, the quantity I have had to take. Somehow, the virus had used an opportune moment between combinations to cross the blood/brain barrier. Everyone on combinations take at least one drug to prevent this happening, so it shows you how persistent the virus can be. It doesn’t so much hide as sneak around, looking for opportunities to invade various parts of us that are not so well protected. If I ever thought there was an argument not to take drug holidays, this is it! What damage it could have done to my brain if left unchecked horrifies me, especially the prospect of Dementia. They seem to think that the anti-virals brought it under control, and for my sake I would like to think the same.i

A month after all this and I am back to normal – appetite, energy levels, libido, the whole works. I hope to return to work within the next month. It looks as though I will still have to undergo a lumbar puncture (they’ll have to knock me out for this one, too!), as they want to know what drugs I have become resistant to. Over the period of the illness my viral load did a rise, the first in almost two years. The frightening part is that within one week, it rose from 3000 to 19000. It is now back under control.

I have lived a long time with this virus Almost all my time as an active gay man has been spent as HIV+. I have put up with, and survived, a number of HIV related illnesses. I intend at this time to live a lot longer with it. If drugs and hope are the ways and means I will have to use to follow this intention through, then that is just what I will do.     

Tim Alderman ©2000 (Revised 2017)

An Eye For An Eye – Life After Cytomegalovirus Retinitis (CMV Retinitis).

This article, recently resurrected, was originally written in 2012, as I sat in the loungeroom at Ashgrove (Brisbane) after a panic attack drove me from my bed at 5am. I have revised & reedited the piece to cover the period between then and now. The original was published in “Talkabout” in 2012.

I shouldn’t actually be alive! And if it had been any other time other than when it was – 1996 – that would have been the outcome. However, timing and medicine are everything, or so it seemed in that period of huge leaps in HIV care and treatment. As a 42-year-old HIV+ gay man who was admitted to Prince Henry Hospital (now closed) at La Perouse in Sydney, weighing in at 48kg, with chronic CMV retinitis, chronic anemia, chronic candida and 10 CD4’s I guess you could say I wasn’t well, and the truth be known my thoughts were more attuned to the after-life than being given a future. So, blood transfusions happened, heavy dosing of drugs happened (curtesy of my current regimen) and gancyclovir injections into the eyes happened – but perhaps most importantl…the new protease inhibitors happened and in combination with my other drugs created miracles. My severely depleted CD4 count did a small, slow rise, and my 100,000 viral load slowlt dropped to 10,000. Though still very weak and sick, I walked out of Prince Henry a couple of weeks later, then spent the next 18 months getting my health – physical & mental – back on track.

At this stage I could crap on endlessly about all the strategies that I used, the anabolic steroid therapy to treat Wasting Syndrome, the fears and uncertainties, the sheer strength of will needed to reconnect with life, not to mention the huge mental shift that drove my life off into uncharted territory and resulted in the man I am today. Blah, blah, blah!So instead of boring you with all that, I want to concentrate on the one aspect of all this that is still impacting my life today – the CMV retinitis.

Say CMV to most people these days and you will just get a blank look. It is an insidious disease, and one that was greatly feared in the era of rampaging AIDS infections. It is a virus that pretty well everyone has present in their body, but is usually only activated in immune-suppressed people. In its retinitis form it attacks the retina, and can spread to the macula by slowly destroying the cells. It is painless, though can be evidenced by a greying of vision and the appearance of floaters. If untreated it will eventually lead to blindness. By the time it was detected in my eyes a lot of damage had already been done, and I was aggressively treated with intraocular injections of gancyclovir…yes, that does mean injections directly into the eye. What fun! At the time this was going on, they were looking for guinea pigs to trial gancyclovir implants – called Vitrasert implants – in each eye. I volunteered, had two operations to insert them, then found that the 4% chance of developing cataracts turned out to be 100%, so back for another two operations to remove them, and replace the lenses, plus some laser work. The end result of all these operations and expectations for me was that they hadn’t caught it in time in the left eye, and despite a tiny sliver of vision I was effectively blind in that eye. Despite a lot of scar tissue, the majority of sight was saved in the right eye at that time.

It takes ages to adapt to changed vision, especially when one eye is effectively blind, so over the next 12 months I became accustomed to having accidents, including several falls thanks to tree roots bulging through pavements and bus seats that were just out of sight range. It gets to a point where you no longer get embarrassed. Both eyes appeared to stabilise, I adjusted to the changed vision and in some respects life went on. Apart from the falling over, other negative issues included an avoidance of crowds and busy places, and 3-D cinema was a total waste of time. You do adapt strategies, but it is not yourself that you need to worry about, but other people. There have been a number of occasions where I thought a tee-shirt emblazoned with the words “Vision-Impaired Person” would have been handy.

Vitrasert Implant

It was 2008 before I had any further problems, and that was with my blind eye. It developed what I thought was a grain-of-sand-in-the-eye irritation, so off to the ophthalmologist at RPA hospital, who then passed me onto the Sydney Eye Hospital. When specialists start passing you on to other baffled looking specialists you know you have a problem! Evidently the blind eye didn’t realise it was blind, and decided to start creating a new system of blood supply to the eye, which in turn was in the wrong places as well as increasing the pressure in the eye. There was a new injectable drug around called Avastin which cuts off the blood supply to cancer tumours, and it was decided to inject this into the eye to stop the new blood system developing. So, off for another intraocular injection. It did the job, but I was also told that the interior of the eye was collapsing, and that in time it would change colour. Oh joy of joys. Over the next 18 months it changed from a normal looking eye that just had no vision to this oddly coloured eye which made many people think I had two different coloured eyes (a genetic variance). And this is how it still looked until 2014.

However, this is good old HIV we are dealing with here, and it doesn’t like being ignored. Just as you think the worst of your problems are over it throws another bit of shit at you. I had been told previously that with the amount of scar tissue present in my good eye that there was a real chance of the retina detaching. So, shortly after moving to Brisbane, when the good eye started swapping between clear and blurred vision and finally settling on blurred, I knew something was wrong. A visit to A&E (on ANZAC day 2012) resulted in no clear result, so off to the RBH Eye Clinic the following day. The retina was off, and floating around, and there was a scare, with them thinking the CMV had reactivated…hard to believe seeing as I wasn’t immune suppressed, had a high CD4 count and an undetectable viral load – and another scare when they realised that I had highly toxic implants in my eyes (though long inactive, as they discovered). Instead of collecting some eye drops and toddling back home as I expected, I was put straight into a ward, and within 24 hours was in the operating theatre. A bad recovery room experience with an Asian Nurse Ratchet, whereby they weren’t informed that I was blind in my left eye, and leaving me to come-to in total blackness, occasioning a major panic attack is something I could have done without. The ongoing problems of anxiety and panic attacks (and this article being written at 5am) is something I am slowly getting over thanks to counselling and a letter to RBH formally requesting they look at the procedures and communication in the recovery room. My vision is now officially classified as blind. Glasses help a bit, but it is now a matter of me adapting to a low-vision life and devising some new strategies to deal with it. I can still read, though the font is huge, obviously I can still write though currently using huge fonts to do it. In 2013 I attended Southbank Institute of Technology to do the Certificate III in Fitness. I am not only the first 59yo to do the Certificate…I am the first severely vision-impaired person to do it. Threw TAFE into a panic, as they had to develop strategies to deal with me, and make sure tutors were on-board and up to speed. As much as I loved the experience, and the youngsters around me were absolutely wonderful, I came to realise that I was way too slow at moving around a gym to be a PT, so went no further. Atthe same time, I had done white cane training, and though finding the canes handy in certain circumstances – like whacking my way through the city – it is, as a general rule, more a hindrance than a help. However, it is great for getting seats on public transport!

In early 2015, after ongoing problems with my blind eye, and not wanting to go on infinitum with drops, I opted to have my blind eye removed. Unlike the old days, they now put an artificial ball into the socket, and attach the muscles to it, so it moves like a real eye. I had a prosthetic fitted, and to date no one has detected that it’s artificial.
However, my vision in general is now very severely impaired. Every trip outside my front door is a potential suicide mission – not to nention ducking and weaving around two Jack Russell Terriers at home…but I still challenge the risks, and get out and about under my own steam as often as possible. If anyone wants to date me…I’m a high maintenance date these days. Being night blind, I need to be guided around, and I move very slowly and cautiously. However, it has been pointed out to me that I can still spot a hot butt from some distance away! Some Gay traits over-ride everything!

As for the future… who knows. I am trying to develop the “living in the moment” way of my dogs by just taking each day as it comes. I have had a lot of help and support, and despite whatever may happen that will always be there.

As they say, there are none so blind as those who will not see! I still walk my dogs every morning, I still read & write, still do my genealogy and my DJ mixes, go to gym, do the shopping, get around to local restaurants and cafes so I can’t complain. Life should always be an empowering experience, and the best way to achieve that is to own your disabilities – instead of letting both HIV and disabilities rule your life…YOU rule your HIV and disabilities! That is the road to freedom!

Tim Alderman.

Copyright 2012 © (Revised 2017)

On Being A Black Sheep!

“Regrets? I’ve had a few! But then again…too few to mention! I did what I had to do, and saw it through without exemption…but more, much more than this – I did it my way!”

“In the English language, black sheep is an idiom used to describe an odd or disreputable member of a group, especially within a family.”

I never planned to be the black sheep of my family. Perhaps genes had something to do with it; perhaps environment; or we can poke a finger at the times we grow up in – all are likely causes! But sure as hell, life experience, that need to survive (stronger in some of us than others, I’ve noticed) is a very definite cause.
I’m not the first in my family. My Great Grand Uncle, George Rickinson Swan Pickhills, was another. For the times he grew up in (the mid-1800s up), he was not a conformist. Outspoken, openly critical of others including governing bodies,  had no tolerance for idiots, and went about things with an actions-speak-louder-than-words attitude that gained him respect amongst his peers, and set him firmly against the establishment. A true role model if ever there was one! My cousin Dianne was also one who bucked the fitting-in trend, and did things her own way. I think she saw aspects of me that no one else in the family noticed. 

Even for someone growing up through the 50s& 60s, I don’t think I ever really conformed. It wasn’t an obvious choice to not fit in, but more like a realisation that if I didn’t stand up for myself, I would always be doing that which I didn’t want to do. Surprisingly, I always seemed to be accepted as an individual, even in a world where individuality was not an accepred norm. Perhaps the most difficult aspect of it, and certainly would have caused the most frustration in my family – oblivious to me, of course – was that I had a definite leaning towards the more creative side of life, rather than a sporting or physically active side. This showed up in various ways in my pre-teen years – I avoided sports for starters, much to my fathers frustration. He tried initially to get me to play soccer – I loathed it, and did everything possible to avoid contact with the ball. After that…tennis – but no, not interested. I managed to avoid sports for the entirety of my school life – no mean feat – by hiding, wagging it with other boys who felt the same, or volunteering for other duties. Truth be told, I didn’t hate sports altogether. My experiences with softball were very positive – but it’s not an Aussie sport, is it! And I loved athletics. I was a fery good runner, triple jumper and high jumper, but no one ever offered athletics as a viable alternative within sports, nor offered any encouragement to be trained in or follow such a path, so it went by the boards. Over the years, I’ve had cause to reflect on that!

I had a furtive imagination, which showed itself in my essay writing, my love of reading science fiction, and my ability to invent games to play at home. I loved nothing more than to be tucked out of sight, in a quiet corner with my hound, devouring a book. In high school, I was active in the choirs, theatrical productions, and writing – successfully, and often  with hilarious results – my own twisted interpretations of Shakespearean classics, performed during parent & teacher occasions at the schools. 

But of all the driving forces that create black sherp, the three singular and most significent events were the ones that had the potential to destroy me, but instead hardened me, radicalised me, and instilled the survival instinct in me. The acquired abilities to see through all the bullshit of others around me; to cut those out of my life who either let me down, or disappointed me; to realise early in my life that I was different to most around me, to embrace the difference, and despite making some very bad decisions along the way, always remaing true to myself; going against the grain, which created its own sets of problems; defying authority – ditto for creating problems; and the ability to live alone, to be able to be a solitary individual yet never let it drown me, has served me well all my life, has given me a tough exterior (and often interior) that has helped ne survive even bigger issues as life has trundled along. 

The first toughening came when, in early 1965, with me at the grand age of eleven, my mother left home. I can’t say I didn’t understand why she left. I was an intuitive child, and had, on occasion, seen and heard things I oerhaps shouldn’t have, and drew my own conclusions on things happening around me. This created, at home, a first taste of independence. Years of watching my mother do things around the house paid off, and with the help of neighbours we scraped by. I learnt not to iron nylon socks. The second thing that happened – bringing Nancy Thompson in as a housekeeper – was a catalyst for the third – the death of my 7 year-old brother, Kevin. Nancy taught me real survival skills, however not enough to prevent my brothers fate. Enough has been written about his death – there is a long article on my blog here “Kevin Pickhills – The Unspoken Name” – for me not to go into it here, however the effects on my life from this catastrophic event were to have repercussions for decades to come. To stand up to Nancy, you had to be tough – she was a bitch of the first degree – and she unintentionally taught me mental toughness – something one really shouldn’t have to learn at 11 going on 12 – and to alienate myself from all that was going on around me. She was the first to publicly acknowledge – in a newspaper –  that there was an “effeminate” side to my nature. I don’t know how I would have reacted if I’d known of it at the time. Perhaps I would have breathed a deep sigh of relief! She taught me survival against all odds!

My relationship with my father – not the best at any time, as I and Kevin had both been bullied by his hair-trigger temper, and the leather strap he weilded in the name of discipline – was fraught with tension, distance and disassociation after Kevin’s death. My final toughening had been invoked, and from that time on, whatever was thrown at me rolled off…at least on the exterior. From that time on, I was at war with my father, his family, and the world. He hated rock music…so I played heavy rock. He told me not to drink…so I drank…to excess. He told me not to smoke…I smoked. He forbade me growing my hair…I grew my hair. He told me to finish school…I left at 4th form. He told me to get a trade…I ended up in retail. Whatever he wanted, I did the opposite. At one stage, he threatened to “knock my block off”…I left home, and never went back. When he committed suicide in 1978 (carbon monoxide poisoning, in his car, in the bushland around Vincentia) I went through the motions of grief, but inside I was glad. Not only had Kevin’s horrendous death been avenged, but I no longer had to fear whatever retribution would have happened by finally fully living my own life. I could publicly acknowledge my sexuality as a gay man, and get on with it! It was exhilerating! 

I don’t know that contracting HIV in 1982 really impacted my life as much as it should have. I have always thought that I had fought tougher battles, and indeed when asked about it in an interview in the late 90s, I stated that despite everything I had been through with HIV and AIDS, the death of my brother had impacted my life more. By this time, I had found ways to be a black sherp in the community. My years of managing a sex shop in Darlinghurst, my forays into “gutter” drag, my taking charge of many aspects of my health care, my defiance at taking drug regimes the way I want to take them, instead of how they should supposedly be taken, my refusal to allow HIV to be a “secret” part of my life, my refusal to see the negatives of a very negative disease, by empowering jyself by not becoming a victim, all pointed me in different directions to what most others were taking. I made one atrempt to return to jy old trade of retail, hut it felt like a step back, a return to a world that I had now left behind. I went to university, I went to TAFE. I started my own husinesses, took my life off into directions that I wanted…and fuck the world, and fuck anyone who thought they could tell me what to do! Even my vision-impairment has pushed me into black sheep territory. I learnt to use a white cane, then refused to use it because it can be as much of a hindrance as a help. I still do things my own way, and despite sometimes being my own worst enemy, at least I feel like an individual. There is not a single thing I do that my father – or mother – would approve of…but then, I’m happy. I don’t know that they ever were!

Back in the late 70s I reconnected with my mother. It was as much a curiosity thing as anything else. She had remarried, and I had a half-sister, with 18 years between us. I didn’t particularly like my step-father, but I didn’t have to live with him, so didn’t much care. With so much water under the bridge, my mother and I had little in common. By the time I reconnected, I was on the verge of coming out (after my fathers death), and by the time I returned from Melbourne in 1982, not only had some friends accidently outed me to her anyway, but I was well and truly an out gay man. She tried the “Oh, it’s all my fault” victimised mother line, but I told her to get over it. In many respects I hever clicked into her family (or her into mine, I have to say). She was hospitalised to have her bladder remived – due to cancer – in late 1997. No one rang to tell me she was in hospital. Being a bit peeved at not being notifued, I rang to enquire why. I was told that there just wasn’t time to ring everyone – though mind you, the rest of the family knew. Made me realise just how far down the pecking order I was in her new family. I rang her in Westmead Hospital on Christmas eve, wished her a happy Christmas – and that was the last time we spoke. She made no attempt to contact me, nor I her. The last I heard she was still alive, and in her 80s. When asked recently if I shouldn’t contact her, being as she possibly won’t be around much longer, and I might have regrets if I didn’t – I replied…no, and I won’t! We all make our own beds!

I’ve lived most of my life on the outer edges of things. I have no regrets about that. If being a black sheep makes me an individual; if it gives me unrestrained freedom to express myself; if it means I don’t quite fit in; that I can just be me – then I luxuriate in it. Life took the 11 year-old child, and bashed (figuratively) and moulded him into the adult I became, and the senior (who still refuses to be what society expects me to be) that I am developing into. Its led me down some dark allies, crossed some roads against the lights, and balanced on the edges of many cliffs – but at all times there was light, safety and balance at the end of it. I have walked in the illustrious company of others who also follow the outer paths of life. It us never the easy road, though perhaps the more satisfying. 

I don’t know that a black sheep can ever be white, or even a shade of grey – but then…perhaps we don’t want to be! 

Tim Alderman (C) 2016

A Ghost of a Business

The original font & graphics for Alderman Providore

The ghosts of my business still survive in cyber-space. Alderman Providore started in 2006 as the next step along from Alderman Catering – a truly exhausting, though exciting business doing top-end party catering. The Providore was designed as an online business – still a very daring and risky step to take in 2006. It was started with $5000 that I begged, borrowed and stole (not really) and was originally a small store on Ebay, created from Ebay templates. 

By the end of 2006, I paid a website designer to create a site for a business, registered the name and domain, used a friend who is a graphic artist to design the typeface and graphic, and hit the internet. I bought gourmet grocery products from all sorts of rare and unique mum ‘n dad, hobby, localised, unknown businesses and created a unique space for their products. The sales started as a small trickle, but grew exponentially over time. David & I introduced product tasting parties, and along with some targeted advertising the business grew and grew. 

At the end of 2008, due to a personal interest in tea and teawares, and due to the rapid expansion of that area, I launched a second web site TeaCoffeeChocolate using the same premise as for the providore, along with a very large range of organic and free-trade products. 

Alderman Providore products in a magazine Christmas gift guide

By this time I had altered the business plan to embrace products from outside Australia IF it was a product that could not be sourced from within Australia. At this time an overhaul of the Alderman Providore site resulted in a fresher, more contemporary look. Magazines started approaching us for both advertising, and to supply products to use as props and in gift guides. Reps from companies contacted me about stocking their products. Sales grew and grew, and we had built a reputation for service, quality, uniqueness, pricing, and product delivery. Ideas were added – and subtracted ,often through being impractical. 

As Christmas 2009 approached, I started early purchasing preparations, and started to stock up on what should gave been our biggest Christmas ever. Like all small retail businesses, I purchased 20% more stock each year, which usually just covered growth, and ensured I wasn’t stuck with stick at the end of the season. If you didn’t get in early, and the product sold out…then bad luck. And the stock rolled in. Cakes, puddings, glacé fruit, sauces, relishes, fruit mince, biscuits and more. I was excited, and pumped for the excitement to come.

Then greed came to town. People who abuse the systems, deal illegally and fraudulently, who use other peoples money to satisfy their own selfish need. They created a monster that came to be known as the Global Financial Crisis (GFC). Everyone stopped buying. Online purchasing, in a growth phase at that time, was the first to be hit. That Christmas I sold…nothing. Thousands of dollars tied up in stock…and no market. By the time Christmas Eve rolled around, I was effectively broke. Money the business earned was sunk back into it. There was no excess. I remember ringing David, and a pudding supplier in tears, because, thanks to somebody else’s greed my business, my dream, was destroyed.
Early 2010 I put the business, good will, and web sites on the market. It sold to a mum in Brisbane who had an interest in food (but as I was to see…not a passion), and so it changed hands, and eventually a new name. Before we moved from Dulwich Hill to Brisbane, we had a HUGE market in our backyard to clear out the remainder of the stock. Anything left from that went to Vinnies.
So, for some unknown reason, today I searched for the ghost of my business. And it’s still there. A lot more than I expected, in fact. And a story of a past glory came out of it. Who knows what the future holds, as dreams do live on!;jsessionid=A5A960B20A0BA88AA9B4AFAA81406D95?sy=afr&pb=all_ffx&dt=selectRange&dr=1month&so=relevance&sf=text&sf=headline&rc=10&rm=200&sp=brs&cls=2353&clsPage=1&docID=SMH1004131I1G64QPB2R

The Alderman Providore masthead

Tim Alderman (C 2016)