The prequel to Engle Byen – A Place to Call Home, finds Michael living in his penthouse apartment in a leafy inner-city suburb of Melbourne, Australia. After the unsolved murder of his identical twin brother Zac, he embarks on a quest to find the killer. Michael’s usual happy go lucky personality is put to the test in a series of incidents of mistaken identity.
A bright light amongst all the grief and confusion is Paul, his parent’s gardener. Michael felt an instant attraction to Paul and it didn’t take long for Paul to succumb to Michael’s goofy charm.
Paul harbours a past he isn’t proud of and doesn’t want to reveal. Having worked through his issues, his life is back on track.
Michael’s best friend Dylan, a doctor by profession and a snob by choice doesn’t hide his dislike of Paul. Paul meets up with some friends from his past tempting him back into his former life. Paul creates unwanted drama in every aspect of Michael’s life, but Michael has a kind and forgiving heart which will change him forever.
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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).
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.
This title is inspired by a true story of a Christmas tree that remained in my living room for two years. As you can imagine the balls became dusty and a few spiders found a new home. The tree became known as ‘artwork’ for ten months of the year. It became useful for Christmas in July and December. Enjoy this free download which includes a story from my partner Michael Young. p.s. it wasn’t me.