Who Popped My Cork Part Six

Who popped my cork 6
He’d surely pop my cork

How pop music influenced who I am.

‘Let the music set you free.’

Why can’t you be like the other boys?  You’re too skinny.  You’re too quiet.  You’re shy. You’re ugly.  You’re girlie. Poof. Pansy.  That’s just a sample of what I endured during my formative teenage years. Oddly is was ok to tell someone they were too skinny as opposed to calliing someone fat.  I can’t recall any positive comments anyone ever made to me.  I had zero self-confidence, I felt shunned, outcast, unwanted by anyone but my own family.  I stayed inside my shell, it was safe in there.

It took Madonna to make me slowly come out of that shell.  I admired her strength and courage.  She embraced her difference and f*ck what anybody else thought.  Her famed soared over the next few years.  Being proudly and defiantly different is what made her popular (and her music too of course).  During the 80’s there were a plethora of diverse artists, too many to mention.  They too all played a part in influencing, changing and shaping me.  For this blog post though I am focusing on the single biggest influence on me, Madonna.


As the years went by I found myself in a gay nightclub.  I was in my early 20’s and never been kissed.  Still living at home, I would bid my parents farewell as I headed off in my car into the night leaving behind my persona as the clean-cut boy next door.  Neatly hidden in the boot of my car I kept my escapee clothes.  The clothes weren’t too out there, but no doubt not to mother’s liking.  Transforming from the awkward clean-cut boy next door to a confident, bright, flirtatious male version of Madonna.  This club played all the best music, all the music I loved.  When ‘Into the Groove’ was played, I was my own version of Madonna in the video clip.  I flirted and teased all the boys, let them think they had a chance and then move on (mainly because I was scared, but they didn’t know that).

Let the music set you freeTouch my body move in time

They wanted to be with me, ugly, skinny, shy, girlie me.  These were my people, I felt comfortable and I fitted in.  We all had something in common, I was surrounded by other gay people just like me.  I embraced being a creature of the night.  I had plenty of energy, I would dance all night, my only fuel was the music and a glass of coke.  I had the confidence to walk into this club on my own, I wasn’t actually alone, I was with Madonna.

Next up:

‘Crazy for you’ – The first love of my life.


Who Popped My Cork Part Four

How pop music influenced who I am.

Part Four

‘Do you wanna see me down on my knees.’

Lying in bed in the dark fiddling with a knob, suddenly I take my hand off it.  I feel a prick in my ears which shoots over my body.  Overcome with endorphins I feel a sudden need to ejaculate, (to utter suddenly and briefly; exclaim.  What were you thinking!!)  Bright, energetic, bubbly, high-energy dance music enlightens my ears through the headphones.  The sound travels between each of my ears in clean, crisp, clear FM stereo.

What is this new sound I’m hearing I wonder?  I feel something inside me click and connect with the sounds and the voices.  My first time hearing dance music on the newly created FM Stereo network.  I push down the Play and Record buttons simultaneously to capture this sound on cassette.  I try to be selective as to which songs I record as the blank cassette is nearly full.

I hear extended dance versions of a few songs I am vaguely familiar with in the shorter version format.  This nearly sends me over the edge.  I hear extra verses and different arrangements.  New musical sounds pop and crackle like a coffee peculator.  I’m drawn to it like it’s a big shiny disco ball (not that I’d ever seen one yet).  After a song I later learn to be Hazel Dean’s Jealous Love another song is mixed into it.  This one is a standout for me.  The vocals are sexy, urgent, pleading, the music has me wanting to dance in the sheets.  I’ve never heard anything like it before.  A few weeks later I discover that the track was called Burning Up by a girl named Madonna.

madonna and me.
Madonna and me

Next post:  Who Popped My Cork Part Five.  Madonna and Me – The Early Years.


Who Popped My Cork Part Three

How pop music influenced who I am.

Part Three

‘You leave and you slam the door.’

Resilience.  Being an ABBA fan in Australia after their shelf life had expired taught me resilience and strength of character.  When most of the rest of the population used their pre-loved ABBA t-shirts as dust rags, I continued to proudly wear mine for a while longer.  I may as well have drawn a target on my back.  I was ridiculed and publicly shamed.  Strangers would snigger and laugh at me, I even coped verbal abuse.  Teenage years can be difficult, a teenage ABBA fan raging with hormones and a question of sexuality tapping at the door, I had a lot to get through.

I never wore my ABBA t-shirts again, it was a stress I could do without.  If asked, about my music choices I never denied I was still and ABBA fan, I was just no longer a walking advertisement for them.  If I ever heard anyone bag ABBA I would always jump in and defend them regardless of the ridicule I would receive in return.  I had now built up the strength to withstand the taunts of others.  This skill better equipped me for what I was about to face in the years ahead when the very core of me would be ridiculed and condemned.


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The Commonwealth Bank of Australia advertisments mocking ABBA fans.


I was different from the other boys at primary school and high school.  I hated sport and would rather hang with the girls during recess.  Girls were more fun to be around, they loved music and to joke around.  I had so much more in common with them.  During high school in particular, I was called ‘poof’ or ‘pansy or both by the other boys, never any girls though.  I guess I must have led a sheltered life as I had no idea what those words meant until I innocently asked my mother.  She simply said it was men who go out with other men instead of women.  I was shocked.  Though I had to admit to myself I found boys more attractive and girls were just my best friends.

ABBA became quiet as they began to embark on their solo careers.  ABBA had never officially announced a break up so I just clung to a desperate hope that they would, sometime in the future have another record out.  That never happened and my life kept moving on but I never stopped playing or loving them.

With the influence of ABBA I became just like them, a nice clean-cut boy who dresses nicely, is polite, friendly and caring.  A mummy’s boy who all my friends mothers loved.

Deep down in my rebel heart I was tired of being a golden child I wanted to rebel but didn’t know how to kick the goody-two-shoes I was to the kerb.

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Coming up next.

Who Popped My Cork – Part Four

‘Do you wanna see me down on my knees.’



Who Popped My Cork Part Two


How pop music influenced who I am.

Part Two

‘You thrill me, you delight me’

‘There was hysteria’   The first records I ever had were the “ABBA” LP and the Dancing Queen single.  Then a bit later came the Waterloo and Best of ABBA. Ring Ring and Arrival I got for my birthday in December.  The picture inside of the Arrival album, ABBA standing outside the helicopter was so beautiful. I wondered why Bjorn had his arms crossed and a pout on his face was he angry and didn’t want his photo taken or was the photo taken and he wasn’t ready yet?

‘You’re my obsession.’

I really wanted the ABBA socks that I saw at a Coles variety store but mum wouldn’t buy them for me because she said they were for girls so my sister got them instead.  (I have them now hehehe).  As a compromise I could get something else ABBA. There was so much merchandise to choose from so after looking at the ABBA scrapbooks and ABBA exercise books I decided on the ABBA note pad. OK I was happy now, but when we went into the newsagent for Mum to buy the newspaper and the usual couple of cartons of weekly cigarettes I spied more ABBA!  There was a large choice of ABBA poster magazines and a various array of magazines with ABBA on the cover and some had ABBA pin ups in them.  I did get pocket-money every week but I never had enough to buy everything that I saw.  My Mum was very generous and would buy me the ABBA magazine that came from England.


You’re my obsession.  I just couldn’t stop collecting everything in sight.


Eventually I had so many ABBA pictures I cut and pasted some into a scrapbook, the others went onto my bedroom wall along with a few posters that I had.  In the middle of the night some of the pictures would fall down giving me a fright.  The sticky tape couldn’t hold them up properly, so I got some wood glue and stuck them up that way, they never fell down again. About a year later dad wanted to paint my room, so with a scraper in hand off the wall they came.   I salvaged what I could.  I soon had new ABBA posters and put them up with sticky tape.  Whenever I had a fight with my younger brothers they would run into our bedroom and rip some of my ABBA poster, they knew it was the only way they could really get back at me.

ABBA were a clean-cut group.  I idolised them.  Both of my parents smoked (cigarettes), our house smelt of smoke.  The walls were covered in it, it was disgusting.  I didn’t realise how so until after I moved out of home how bad it was.  I wanted to be like ABBA, they didn’t smoke.  Years later I was shocked that they actually did smoke, but kept it quiet and rightly so considering their young fan base.  Impressionable children like myself could have taken up smoking if their idols were seen smoking.  I became a clean-cut boy just like my idols.  I vowed never to smoke because my idols didn’t.

Coming soon:  Who Popped My Cork?   Part Three

You leave and you slam the door.

abba-who popped my cork (2)

Who Popped My Cork – Part One