Category Archives: Parties

A Lifetime of Drugs

DRAFT book chapter

62248A16-954F-485F-B33D-334C690B2E79.jpegDrawing on my experience of living with HIV for over two decades, this essay discusses the forms of anxiety and concern that emerged in 1996 in the context of the introduction of HIV combination antiretroviral therapy around the use of so-called ‘drug cocktails’. It shows how these concerns reflect broader anxieties about increasing sexual activity between men at this time. This event happens to kickstart a corresponding problematisation of gay men’s use of recreational drugs– another sort of ‘drug cocktail’ – on the same basis. I see the present moral panic over chemsex as the latest instalment of this discourse. The piece demonstrates the analogous character of antiretroviral therapy and recreational substance use in gay men’s practice, arguing that pleasure, self-medication, and experimentation with the conditions of life are concerns that cut across outdated distinctions between pharmaceutical drugs and illicit drugs. Meanwhile, the stigmatised and criminalised status of HIV-positive sex, gay sexuality and illicit drug use produces paranoid subjects and effectively endangers the health and wellbeing of those affected. It must be countered. Paying attention to the collective experiments of drug users is likely to be much more generative.


I wrote this piece for a forthcoming collection called Long Term, edited by Scott Herring and Lee Wallace, who invited me to write something about living with HIV.

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Dear Paramount Management

I was disturbed, angered and ultimately saddened to come across the notice that appeared in the elevator of the Paramount on Saturday night about the so-called ‘loud party music’ said to be emanating from the rooftop of 47 William St (Slims).


I am the owner of a Paramount unit and have been residing here since 2013. While admittedly my north-facing 1 bedroom unit is sheltered from the goings-on of William St, unlike the 2.5 bedroom units in the block, I do walk past Hyde Park House, the venue in question, on William St (the Paramount side) after 6pm almost every day, on my way home from work at the University of Sydney, and/or to walk my dog in Cook & Philip Park, any time between 6pm and 11pm.

While I have indeed noticed music wafting from the rooftop venue in question on one or two occasions over the past month on my way to and from home, to describe the muffled, atmospheric sounds of people socialising that I have experienced on these occasions as “loud party music” is – if I can be so blunt and pointed – a bit rich.

At the very least, I am quite sure these intermittent and ambient sounds of social recreation and urban leisure (which many people might otherwise or once have considered characteristic of urban centres and the experience of life in areas located close to the very centre of major cities) are nothing that a decent pair of ear plugs, or headphones with light relaxation music, or some straightforward interior design solutions could not mask. Certainly, the disturbance created by 47 William Street is certainly far less intense in duration and volume than the noise emanating from another social/communal venue within direct earshot of the Paramount in the vicinity, namely St Mary’s Cathedral

I am not aware of anyone ever having petitioned the council about the loud noise emanating from this institution, whose huge bells chime for whole swathes of precious time over the weekend, every weekend, from morning onwards.  Since I often work from home over the week, I have often thought to do so, since the “LOUD SANCTIMONIOUS NOISE” coming from this venue interferes with one of the main opportunities I have to get certain aspects of my job done – namely reading, research and writing – each of which require extended periods of concentration that are difficult to maintain when the boisterous noise that routinely emanates from this problem venue penetrates the haven of one’s private residence .

I have refrained from doing so, in the end, on the basis that cultural institutions such as this one serve an important social, communal and recreational function for a social minority in Sydney (i.e. observing Catholics); and that the noise made by these bells is a routine and ritualised part of these communal gatherings.  Most significantly, I knew full well that such activities went on in this neighbourhood when I first decided to buy into the Paramount.

So rather than try to impose my professional and personal needs on the neighbourhood as though I have some natural, ‘god-given’ entitlement to do so (as a “private resident”) I just shut my balcony doors, put some headphones on and get on with things.

For my part, I was delighted that the current owners of the trading venue t 47 William St decided to refurbish and convert the rather bleak, non-descript and usually empty Hotel William into Hyde Park House, complete with a stylish and striking rooftop eatery and bar, Slim’s Ithe venue I presume to be the source of some of my fellow resident’s moral indignation and NIMBY-style evangelism).  In my view – shared, it appears, by hundreds of friends and acquaintances familiar with Sydney’’s inner eastern suburbs and their urban and cultural history – the venue has added much needed life and effervescence to what has otherwise become a depressingly sterile local environs increasingly resembling a soulless ghost-town with little colour and movement whatsoever except the cars, buses and other vehicles pushing their way up the increasingly bland and alienating major road coursing through the area (William St) on their way to somewhere else.

To my mind, venues such as Hyde Park House add value – social, cultural, ethical, aesthetic, communal and financial value – to the area as a whole, the local environment, and indeed the residential properties located within it. “At last”, I thought, “a social venue that has the practical initiative, financial clout, critical and popular acclaim and aesthetic knowhow to buck the anti-urban wowserism that is killing the city formerly loved and known as Sydney.  Given the devastating effects of the O’Farrell government’s 2014 Lockout laws – not only on many small businesses throughout the entire 2010-2011 Sydney postcode area and beyond, but also on the distinctive social and recreational life and street culture that once made Sydney an exciting, friendly, vibrant and dynamic place to live and an internationally compelling tourist destination, I very much welcome a lively new social venue in my local area.

The elevator notice posted on the weekend asked residents to contact council to lodge their concern as well as email the building manager. But this approach to the matter is unfair and patently unbalanced. I believe it is necessary to devise a more even-handed strategy to these sorts of issues. I would like to see notices of this kind changed to reflect a more neutral and open stance that genuinely polls residents to express their views on the matter in question, whether for or against, and encourages them to share such views with council should they desire to take further action.

For my part, I am cc-ing this email to council, as well as the venue in question, to express my opposition to this resident action. Since the retort I taped below the original notice was removed, I had also planned to mailbox all residents a copy of this letter and share it with my extensive professional, governmental and community networks through relevant social media platforms. I would do so, not because I have anything personal against the complainants or building management per se, but because the action itself is indicative and/or symptomatic of wider trends in the erasure of public urban space that I find deeply concerning and demanding of counter-action.

As it happens, I contacted council, who informed me their rangers visited the venue on the night of the complaint and determined the sound levels were within the acceptable range for this venue’s licence type. I now wonder if the residents responsible for the complaint might be suffering from hyperacusis. They might want to look into it.

The Paramount is situated in the 2010-2011 area, very close to the city, right in the middle of the inner east’s Sydney’s historic urban social scene. Presuming those who reside here or buy properties in this apartment block are aware of this history, the “loud party noise” issue of the past weekend – like similar matters/actions that have come to my attention over the time I’ve resided here – have left me and many of my friends and correspondents wondering why those intent on wielding their status as ‘property owners’ or ‘private residents’ to shut down social venues in this neighbourhood, effectively killing all signs of social life in Darlinghurst, don’t just sell up and/or go and move somewhere quiet and peaceful and as boring as they seem determined to make this area.

Yours sincerely,

KANE RACE (Associate Professor)

E kane.race

Gender pronouns: he/him/his

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Queer Carry On

Colour & movement, the motion of light, and flowers  …

Reverberations/ Post-Impressions / Queer Carryover


Outfit created by Benjamin Williams








pink feathers






Intimate Exposures


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Above & Beyond a Joke: Who are the  real criminals here?

Above & Beyond;
Over & Above;
Beyond a Joke.

& more to the point: how long has this been going on???

Back in 2007, I tried to work out why the police state was insisting so dogmatically on policing techniques that, even back then, had already been shown to exacerbate rather than reduce the harms associated with the consumption of psychoactive drugs.

I could only conclude that the police and their state operatives were completely uninterested in regulating a market that their actions actually maintain and reproduce as dodgy and dangerous, realistically, at all. That would defeat the point.

Here’s what I argued, in Pleasure Consuming Medicine (2009), Chapter 1



That was A DECADE AGO.

Nothing has changed: things have only gotten worse.

The drug dog now serves as a shitty mick pretext to produce anyone who fails to tow the state line on ‘drugs’ as deviates… and punish young people for socialising en masse at all.

Fuck them; fuck the politicians who allow this to take place; fuck those sections of the public that support such blatant abuses of rational authority; and fuck the dumb-assed officers that swallow the bullshit ideology they get served up from their ‘superiors’ whole.

Above & Beyond & Pretty Much completely Over it All….

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I’m honoured that my book The Gay Science: Intimate experiments with the problem of HIV will be launched ~ alongside Susan Kippax and Niamh Stephenson’s Socialising the Biomedical Turn in HIV Prevention at

Pride of Place: Remembering the Past, Shaping our Futures;

a conference commemorating the 40th Anniversary of Mardi Gras, on the evening of Monday 25 June 2018.

The Pride of Place conference will explore themes of intergenerational lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer experience, and celebrate the evolving purpose, identity and influence of Mardi Gras within the LGBTIQ community. The relationship between LGBTIQ politics and Indigenous Australians, as well as multi-ethnic communities, will be a focus of conference discussion.  The conference is co-sponsored by the Ally Network, the 78ers, Sydney Pride History, and the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at the University of Sydney.

The books – both of which emerge from the vibrant social movement around HIV in Australia – will be launched by Peter Aggleton and Annamarie Jagose at an event chaired by Elspeth Probyn at 5.30pm on Monday 25 June, in the Refectory of the Abercrombie Building, University of Sydney (level 5).

Just prior to the launch, the conference is featuring a panel discussion, Mardi Gras and Communal Responses to HIV in Australia, from 4.15pm, featuring Dennis Altman (La Trobe University) Heath Paynter (AFAO), Nicolas Parkhill (ACON) and Niamh Stephenson, UNSW:

Mardi Gras and Communal Responses to HIV in Australia 

The Mardi Gras festival, protest and party have been particularly – and perversely – generative of communal responses to HIV in Australia.  At the beginning of the AIDS crisis there were calls to ban the parade, with one of the government’s principal advisors on AIDS describing the party as a ‘Bacchanalian orgy’. But it soon became evident that the parade and party could serve as hallmark events in which the possibility of a communal, collective response to the crisis could be celebrated and embodied. Some of the most brilliant HIV/AIDS education has emerged from Mardi Gras culture, garnering international recognition for Australia’s bold, irreverent partnership response to the epidemic.  This panel of distinguished speakers from the community sector and academia will explore why the culture of  Mardi Gras has generated such dynamic, collective responses to HIV in Australia.

If you would like to attend that session, or any other parts of the conference, you are required to register for the event (the standard price is $50 for the full two days, with some concessions as per the conference website).

“So many pills, so little time sweetie!”




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Chemical Practices: Enhancement & Experimentation

Are you gay/bi/queer/lesbian/trans/non-binary/HIV-positive?

Do you live in NSW or Victoria, Australia?

Do you use any medications, drugs, or alcohol to transform any aspect of your sexual experience, everyday life, or gendered feelings?

Artwork courtesy The Design Embassy

If so, please consider participating in this important study about experiences of drug, medication and other substance use among LGBTQ we are conducting:

Chemical Practices: Enhancement & Experimentation

(click on the above for more information about the study)

Interviews are completely confidential and anonymous, last about an hour, can be conducted in a location convenient to you, and participants will be modestly reimbursed for their time.

You can register you interest here

Thank you!

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Filed under Affect, Antiretrovirals, Devices and technology, Digital culture, Drug dogs, Engagement with medicine, Erogenous zones, Eroticism and fantasy, Masculinities, Medicine and science, Parties, PNP culture, Self-medication, Sexual practice, Sexual Sociability, Transgender