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SMUT STAND REPORT: Perth, Australia (Jan 30-Feb 5, 2018)

I used to say that getting back into the Smut Stand was easy, but that has never been less true than right now. I’ve been in Perth (Australia) for a week and a half, and I am struggling, my friends, wooo-wheeeee!

Submissive? Seated comfortably? Or COILED AND WAITING TO POUNCE ON YOUR SEXUAL INSECURITIES?
(Sidewalk Smut in Brick Lane, London. Photo by Daniel Wood.)

The last time I set up with my little typewriter to do smut on the street was mid-October, over three months ago. This is a normal break, one that has happened every year since I started doing the Smut Stand. The nice weather ran out eventually, and I’d have to head back to Boston or Montreal at the end of the six-month tour and just hunker down for the winter. Maybe I’d get a couple of indoor holiday gigs—like I did this past winter in Berlin—but mostly my typewriter just sat in a corner until my tour started up again and then it was go go go!

I was looking forward to that same energy here in Perth, but it’s not settling in yet, for several good reasons.

First, I got a mild but lingering case of heat exhaustion my first week in, when I tried to sit outside with the Smut Stand during the afternoon. I was in the shade and held a parasol over myself, but that is not enough, said all of my informants: the Australia sun will get the newbies one way or another.

Secondly, I’m afraid of roving packs of white Australian men. They were the guys I hated the most when I was doing the Smut Stand on Frenchmen Street in New Orleans, because they were SUPER aggressive. They seemed almost angry about me being there and not playing along with their comments about my tits. Like, many of the dudes who pass me on the Smut Stand anywhere are pretty aggressive and mouthy, and mostly I choose not to engage. But most of the Australian men I met doing the Smut Stand in New Orleans seemed EXTRA aggro, to the point of near-violence, and my sense of the street here after dark are very much in line with that feeling.

Of course, I don’t know how much of that is just bias, but several Australian friends who know Frenchmen Street have said of Perth, “yeah, don’t set up here outside of a Fringe zone.” The dudes here, they say, are not pleasant.

My pride is a little tattered now; I previously thought I was a street-smart broad who could handle anything. But I may just need to spin that into, I am a street-smart broad who wants to keep my typewriter intact. Surely that is a praiseworthy trait.

It all boils down to not having any luck finding the right spot to set up. Fans of the Smut Stand Reports know that it’s just like in real estate: location, location, location. Since I’m trying to both make money and promote my shows, the right spot needs to be safe, have good foot traffic, AND be Fringe-adjacent or actually in Fringe territory, so that people generally know what Fringe is.

This is apparently a tough combo to be asking for at this Fringe. I haven’t gotten the required busker permit yet for one of the big Fringe gardens, the spot I found up by Fringe central is… okay, but lackluster. Nothing on the street is safe, apparently, and frankly, my kit is HEAVY and I don’t have the energy to lug it around and try out multiple spots in a night.

I'm whining; I know this.

The problem is, I think I may have forgotten what it’s like to bring Sidewalk Smut to an entirely new town. Surely I’ve felt something like this in every new city? But I can’t remember. I’ve gotten soft, like paper in this 30-degree-Celsius humidity. I need to pull it together, because this is where it’s at for the next month: Australia.

Hot, humid, hard to suss out, and with above-average quantities of dickheads.

*****

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