An absolute blast at the Midnight Shift

DJ Frankie Shin

Simply the best...DJ Frankie Shin

Who would have thought Thursday night at the Midnight Shift would be such a blast? James & I had an absolutely terrific time there last night, arriving at about 11pm and not leaving until 2am or whenever they stopped serving 😉

I thought I’d landed back in Oxford Street in the 80s. When Gay venues were Gay venues and Gay people went to Gay venues to drink and pick up! Now everyone seems to prowl Manhunt and Gaydar and then meet for coffee. Erghhh!

But last night at the Shift, it was a classic Gay venue vibe. A mixed crowd of slightly/incredibly intoxicated people, many obviously there to find “Mr. Tonight” (not Mr. Right) and the absolute best music by DJ Frankie Shin.

Whatever assumptions I’d had about Frankie were blown out of the water last night. He looks about 12 but is, in fact, 40 and has been DJing for 22 years! He’s incredibly passionate about all sorts of music but he doesn’t have a huge ego like…well, every other DJ in Oxford Street! He’s actually a really lovely guy and he’s like a Duracell Bunny full of energy….he’s here, there and everywhere at the Midnight Shift.

James and I had a really nice chat with him after James had requested Frankie to play a Robyn song. Frankie actually gave us a suite of Robyn songs and then also played Alcazar for us as well. To top it all off, he gave us a free drink voucher each. Now look, I’ve been going to the Midnight Shift since nineteeneightyf…. (let’s not go there!) and had never had such a lovely experience.

Frankie has his own website and, you might think from the website and the photo I’ve included with this blog entry, that he’s a kind of “uber too cool for school” kind of guy – but he’s not. He’s really lovely, friendly and down to earth.

Although the Shift was nowhere near packed, the collection of characters there was wonderful. A couple of very drunk shirtless guys, a couple of long pash sessions happening, stools falling over due to some over-enthusiastic intoxicated soon-to-be couples. And there was even a half-decent drag show as well.

I remembered how I used to go out to Gay pubs 4-5 nights a week in the late 80s/early 90s. There was always something happening between the Newtown Hotel, Town Hall Hotel Balmain, the Albury, the Flinders (and many others) etc. Sadly none of those exist as Gay venues anymore. Last night I reflected at how small Sydney’s true Gay scene has become. To people overseas Sydney is still seen as some kind of Gay Mecca due to the annual Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras. But that’s no longer the case.

The number of dedicated Gay venues continues to decrease and the number of patrons at those venues also continues to decrease. A combination of venue owners who have no idea combined with the “Cafe Latte” set are combining to make Sydney a bit of a “has been” as far as Gay cities are concerned.

So that’s why last night was so refreshing. When James and I normally go to the Shift on Sunday nights, the atmosphere recently has been rather tragic. It is very difficult to find a normal Gay “pub” to have a drink in these days. They’re either full of pretentious and unfriendly Gen-Yers or they’ve gone “upmarket” and lost the very atmosphere that made them crowd-pleasers in the first place.

What parts of the Gay community are crying out for is a couple of traditional “Gay pubs” where you can go and relax with some camp music, reasonable drink prices and friendly bar staff. Well, at least the first two! There’s a large component of the community that would love to go somewhere Gay that they feel comfortable in. Somewhere that doesn’t hold 1,000 people and has a $20 cover charge! And the crazy thing is that these people actually buy drinks…they don’t (as a rule) take drugs and then go out and drink water all night. That no Gay entrepreneurs have exploited this profitable segment of the community is just bizarre.

But back to the Midnight Shift, late on a Thursday night…James and I had intended to pop in for one drink after seeing “Tom Ballard and Acquaintances” at the Oxford Art Factory.  But we stayed until the end because it was such a good atmosphere. If only I didn’t face a $30 cab fare home from these nights, I’d try and do a few more of them. It turned out to be quite an expensive night but, at one point I simply decided that I was having such a good time I didn’t care.

Thanks James, Midnight Shift and Frankie Shin….oh and thanks to the beer as well 😉


1 Comment

  1. […] Shinn at the Midnight Shift, a night which he later described as an A1 evening, and which he has written about here. Who would have thought Thursday night at the Midnight Shift would be such a blast? James & I […]

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