Monday, August 15, 2005

From Babylon to Montreal

The end of an era has come, the boys and girls of QAF have taken their final bow here in Canada. Tears rolling down my face, she sang, "What have you done today to make you feel proud!" Five seasons and two countries and a lifetime of memories set to the music of the thumpa, thumpa, thumpa. In my earlier life, QAF would play on Saturday nights before the bars would open for business. I would always watch and I would dream, then I would shower and shave my body bare and dress in the skimpiest shirt and tightest jeans I owned and hail the cab that would spirit me away to "Salvation!" This club was in a HUGE warehouse on the west side of Miami Beach, it was a $5.00 taxi ride from home.

I would work all week, to save enough cash to g et as drunk and as high as I wanted every week without fail. This was prior to my second coming! The early boys would gather in the retaining area for free drinks before midnight and we would take the time to do our selected drugs in the hopes that they would kick in by the tolling of the midnight bell as the doors would swing open and the darkness and thump of the music would beckon.

Slowly we would file into the main dance hall and stake our claim to our section of the dance floor as the lights and lasers would begin to spin. The drama began with the opening welcome number performed by the greatest entertainers that Gay Miami Beach could offer. We would sing and dance and cheer on the show and salute the dj from the floor. As the show ended the lights would bow out and once again darkness would envelope the crowd. The only reason one left the dance floor was to further the high or the buzz. It was just an hour till the real show began, the 1 a.m. tolling of the bell, and as it rang everyone would be pleasantly tipsy and totally spinning in the clouds as one by one we would remove our shirts and the bare chested SOBE men would appear from under their safe and sane muscle shirts, I was one of them. I was alot thinner and much younger looking and I thought, well, I prayed that One Day I would become one of those "Babylon boys!"

Each weekend it was the same ritual, an episode of QAF, the proper grooming and dressing with the hopes that each successive Saturday might bring me closer to the nirvana I sought. But, I would always end up dancing alone in the same spot week after week. My friend Mark would find himself too pumped up on special K to remove himself from the stairs that took one to the second dance area upstairs. On Sunday we would talk about just how terribly high we got the night prior, and we would pledge not to do that again, because Sunday's were a bitch. I would end my Saturday night around 6 am on Sunday Morning, by pouring my inebriated and tweaked out self into a taxi, and I would come home and crawl into my apartment and i would always do the same thing, I would shower, make some food and put on The Cider House Rules to which Iwould pass out for the few hours that stood between me and work where I had to be at 11 a.m. each Sunday morning.

For some reason, each weekend I was fixated on one thing, and that was to retain my SOBE party boy, Babylon seeking youth. I wanted that life, it was all about looking good and being seen in a sea of men who were no less than perfect in every way, shape and form, except for one thing, the entrire weeks efforts were spent working out, tanning on the beach and buying the most fabulous clothes to dress to impress the googling men who would come to Salvation to find their Salvation. At one point in my SOBE experience I worked for a friend in his tanning salon, just across the street from where Salvation stood. And you;d never guess this, but a tanning salon on South Beach did incredible buisness on Saturday afternoons and evenings.

I wanted, well I coveted many things in my younger incarnation. The hot "to die for" body, I wanted the affection of those men I so followed each weekend. Fuck my HIV and the whole being responsible bit, I didn't care, if it meant for a few hours on a weekend that I could be just "one of the Babylon Boys." The music was thumping, and for a few hours I could "escape" and that's what it really was, an escape from reality. Sad though, how reality always wins when it comes to fantasy. The fantasy "escape" ended for me on the night that I prayed for the eternally nasty Hangover. God did not disappoint me on that prayer. He made sure he made his point perfectly clear. " THE PARTY IS OVER!!"

I got sober shortly after that response from God.


After I left Miami for the bright lights and big city for Montreal I was sober. And it's funny that Salvation closed its doors, and here I thought that they closed because I was no longer a paying, drinking customer! HA HA HA HA the bar closed when the drunk left the establishment. Its all about me right? wrong! Funny huh, I went from the life of Brian Kinney, the bar hopping wonder single boy who lived for Babylon, in Miami, I MOVED to CANADA and met a man whom I eventually MARRIED and became Brian Novotny, but I never forgot who I was, or left that person and memories behind. There are really bad and nasty memories in my past, but there are also some woderfully special great memories as well. As Melanie and Lindsay reminded us that it it good to have bad memories because they keep us greatful for the good ones. Miami was NOT a bad place, I mean I grew up there, emotionally and sexually, and I would not have changed anything at all, save for one thing, I would want all my friends who have died since then to be here again, for one last night at Babylon.

So we say so long to the crew from Liberty Avenue and we say Thank You for what you did for the gay community in the United States and in Canada as well. I thank you for reminding me that as Michael said "Maybe some things are meant to stay the same!" but as Brian has said, "life changes we grow up and get older" but still at age 38 I refuse to grow up and let go of the young man who used to dance until the sun came up, and the boy who STILL appreciates good dance hall music, and the boy who still needs to be seen and loved for all his flawed humanity. There will never be another series like Queer as Folk, And I for one, will miss your visits on Monday nights, but I am forever greatful, that for a little while I was able to dance and party as if I were in "Babylon" itself. Brian said it so eloquently " No apologies and No regrets!"

Good bye boys and girls.......
I am sad that its over but as they say
All Good Things Must Come to an End !!!


Let the music play us out to fade out.

I look into the window of my mind
Reflections of the fears I know I've left behind
I step out of the ordinary
I can feel my soul ascending
I am on my way
Can't stop me now
And you can do the same
What have you done today to make you feel proud?
It's never too late to try
What have you done today to make you feel proud?
You could be so many people
If you make that break for freedom
What have you done today to make you feel proud?
Still so many answers I don't know
Realise that to question is how we grow
So I step out of the ordinary
I can feel my soul ascending
I am on my way
Can't stop me now
And you can do the same
What have you done today to make you feel proud?
It's never too late to try
What have you done today to make you feel proud?
You could be so many people
If you make that break for freedom
What have you done today to make you feel proud?
We need a change
Do it today
I can feel my spirit rising
We need a change
So do it today
'Cause I can see a clear horizon
What have you done today to make you feel proud?
So what have you done today to make you feel proud?
'Cause you could be so many people
If you make that break for freedom
So what have you done today to make you feel proud?
What have you done today to make you feel proud?
What have you done today
You could be so many people?
Just make that break for freedom
So what have you done today to make you feel proud?

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