It was called the Crystal Ballroom …(1980)
It was called the Crystal Ballroom and even though it was NOT made of crystal, it was here that I found my first friends.
This pumping little night time affair held people who looked like me. Acted like me. Seemed to have spent as much time getting ready as me! It was in Fitzroy St. Kilda and sometimes I would spend 14 hours killing time at this strange, vibrant odd place.
The girls were wild and beautiful with a careful, cat like, purring air around them. They mostly appeared quite aloof and clicky and it was almost impossible to penetrate the knitting needle click of the tightly wound girl groups. The boys were shy, band types, long and straight with a mischievous, brooding, slightly absurd twang in their voice. It was terribly uncool for the nervous punk/newwave boys to have sex so I was safe. My flirting was always a cover, and this place, this special place where I found a little scene saved me.
I watched bands which were unlistenable and even had my own band called Scrabble which started and ended with a Two minute conversation.
I didn’t drink but I would natter for hours to all the girls and I’d make them little dresses and we’d holler at the boys and they’d crawl into dark corners to hide from us. It was actually very uncool to do much at this Ballroom except pose. One could pose for hours but I DID prefer to terrify the boys and natter to the girls. I would take my new found friends to my girly dancing Bar in the city and show them my very own back stage area. (the backstage area was actually a bathroom with a small mouldy sink) The new Crystal Ballroom friends would watch my reckless, forlorn provocative dance routine and I’d feel safe as they peered at me from the gloomy room at the top of Swanston St.
I remember the gladness inside my heart as I wrapped my arms around these new wild friends and I know now that these were some of the best days of my life.
The gift of youth.
The strength of being young and not knowing what was coming next.
I lived on chocolate ice cream, lollies and pizza and I found a real job in Chapel St. waitressing tables in a place called Spaghetti Graffiti. The menacing man in my Boarding House had been arrested late one night and taken away by the Police. Things were looking up!! A star had shone on me and I dared to imagine my impossible little dream as I’d take the long walk up Chapel St. from my waitressing job back to the dismal and gloomy Boarding House.
A tiny seed was planted and every store I walked past I would imagine my ornamental, strange little outfits sitting on racks with my name on the window!
I’d make that call to my mum on the Sunday night in Redan Street from the phone box. I would excitedly tell her that I had FINALLY found a job, some friends, and that I had a little dream that one day I might open up a frock shop.
I’d wait for the shriek, the worry, and then the …..
“But you can’t even SEW dear!! You’ve never even darned a SOCK dear!!”
THE END (part 4 of 4)