Tuesday, August 21, 2012


It was a birthday present Noreen delivered on the night of Eurovision, a bottle of MOR perfume called Sorbet. I sniff it occasionally but it's a bit too strong to wear. Its smell reminds me of my 16th birthday, when I received a great influx of candles and a blue glitter lava lamp. My Dad gave me The Freddie Mercury Collection and I listened to it, obsessively.

For my 16th, a great swathe of friends gathered to watch Ross Noble perform at the Melbourne Comedy Festival. He was still young and nubile, his hair was bright red and his comedy electric. We all sat in the front row, taking up all the seats. I hid the bouquet of tulips I received from Spiro under my chair and Ross mocked both Laur and I at length for holding our bags on our laps.

Andrew took this photo of all of us after the show, many of us with Slurpees in hand. It was perfectly configured, with many of us in complementary magentas, light purples and dark denim skirts. We grinned and hugged each other as if we were friends who really loved one another. I couldn't believe I managed to stage that photograph. It was as if I really belonged.

Those candles have lost their scent. Mr Bad Guy has since been ripped of its associations. I take a shot of Sorbet occasionally. It's similar, but not quite the same. It's like how I'd sometimes pass women in the street who have the same smell as that discontinued St Ives' moisturiser. It is the smell of reading my first Queen biography as a 13 year old.

I wish I could just accost them and ask what they're wearing. I might become reacquainted with that moment when I became so captivated... and everything became so completely messed up.

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