Just Like Starting Over – The Thwarted Pop Career Of Laissez-Fayre

As many of my friends on Facebook know, one of my major goals and dreams in life is to start up the band Laissez-Fayre.

I have been trying to get it together since the late 1990s.  The idea for it originally came when I was reading the book Who’s Who Of Australian Rock, and there was an entry for a Brisbane band called Chicks Incorporated.  This band was virtually an all-girl band doing a blend of 70’s pop, dance, funk and rock.  They were led by drummer and producer Miriam Curtis (d. 2012), and fronted by Safanya.  The band was around between 1977 – 1982 and signed with RCA Records, making them one of the few Brisbane bands to be signed with a major label (the others were The Saints on EMI, Silver Studs on Philips, and Railroad Gin on Polydor).  Originally, they tried to be an all-girl band but had difficulty with finding competent players.  Plus their live stage shows were often overshadowed by a couple of wild and sexy backing dancers.

I thought, “Hmmmm, Brisbane could definitely do with another band like this again, but this time putting a twist on it: make it a concept band to endorse the naturist lifestyle”.

In 1998, I decided to try and get the band together fronted by four female singers who also had done nude modelling.  They were my then-girlfriend Julie Hepburn (whom I was doing the band Blackened with), Anna Petrie, Djuana Moore and Toni Monaghan.  After seeing Take That in concert in 1995, I also thought that for this band to work out they should also be able to do sets where they play instruments.  Julie had been learning a bit of guitar, Djuana played drums, and Anna could play a bit of keyboards.  Sadly, it didn’t eventuate due to some problems that I was having at the time with my residency after a dispute with a neighbour.  Anna ended up joining another band as a singer, and Djuana concentrated more on doing dancing and I didn’t hear much from Toni after doing a photo shoot with her for Sun & Health magazine about vegetarianism and naturism.

Julie and I decided to focus on Blackened with other musicians Tammy Berry (bass), Lisa Falovic (drums), and Katie Middleton (keyboards and vocals) and we got a couple of gigs and an interview on 4ZZZ’s demo show with Gordon Clarke, before splitting up due to lack of interest in us from the music business.

The following year, Julie and myself broke up after I had hit a low when my car was stolen and I found it difficult to get work.  In January 2001, after getting bored of vegetating I decided to relaunch my idea with some new members: Eliza Abbate (ne Pears), Carol O’Brien (aka Kitty Stevenson), Jane, Trish Bathersby, Bonnie Moir and Tema Morris.

We rehearsed for a number of months at Red Zeds Studios and a private house in Springwood, but unfortunately Bonnie’s mental health problems together with Kitty living on the edge and Trish deciding to move to the Gold Coast put it on the back burner.

I turned my attention towards managing The Busymen, who were a lot more active on the local music scene, and decided to try again in 2006 with advertising in the local music press and The Courier Mail.  This time, I got Yvette Jones (vocals), Kym Kruse (organ and keyboards), and Lindy Rakatau (drums).  With this lineup, we ended up recording some demos on Kym’s desktop computer to put up on Myspace.  The tracks were: “Don’t Say Sorry”, “R-E-S-P-O-N-S-I-B-I-L-I-T-Y”, “Pain Of Fools”, “Meat To Please You” and “Paper Wedding Dress”.  We then added bass player Megan Longley to the lineup, but after creative differences with Kruse came up the band disintegrated once again.  Later that year, I re-established contact with Bonnie and also befriended a vocalist and songwriter Caroline Smith and started working on the songs with them.

In 2009, I tried again with recruiting a new lineup and got Nova Eva Ciera (vocals) and Amanda Hurdman (vocals on keyboards) and recorded a jam session which Boston Bob from The Busymen filmed, as well as doing a performance at nudist venue Balkaz in Caboolture for the Free Beaches Australia’s AGM.  Nova and Amanda and myself had a great rapport with each other, but in January 2010 Amanda moved down to Melbourne to pursue a career in acting and modelling and ended up being cast in a few feature films and an indie TV show “It’s Not You – It’s Bree”.  Nova decided to hang up her musical career for personal reasons and once again I had to put things on hold.

Not to be deterred, I worked on a new lineup in 2011 with Alyssa Maughan (vocals and djembe) and Penny Pardon (vocals).  We got to play at a few open mics at Grill’d Bulimba before Penny ended up moving to Sydney for work commitments.

In late 2012, I built a new lineup consisting of Shelley Morris (drums), Kate McMillan (viola), and Cassie Trent (vocals).  Shelley and myself played at Northey Street City Farm in Windsor in October that year, the same day that I also befriended Violent Soho when I took part in their video for “Neighbour, Neighbour” which they filmed at a house in Zillmere and I did a scene where I jumped in the pool and did a striptease and chucked my undies at the cameraman.  It didn’t make the final cut, but I was invited back for their following video “In The Aisle” where I recreated the World Naked Bike Ride in July 2013.

This new lineup for Laissez-Fayre recorded a demo in the dining room at my place in Bethania, which I was renting with a nudist friend Kevin Gates.  We did the songs “Born This Way (Nude)”, “Botoxic”, “Stop Segregation”, “Unisexual”, “I’m Free”, “The X Factor”, and “Nekkid” which was produced by myself and engineered by Shelley.  No photos were taken of this session, but I put up some of the tracks on Myspace, YouTube and SoundCloud.  “Nekkid” ended up getting over 114,000 hits on my main YouTube channel with no radio airplay, or publishing company or record company distribution.  It even overtook The Veronicas song “Cross My Heart” in the popularity stakes for a while, until some dibber dobber falsely reported the video as being ‘pornographic’ and it got deleted.  I tried to appeal it with YouTube, but they refused to reinstate it even after it was age-restricted.

Between 2013 – early 2020, I’d pretty much decided to give up the idea of ever succeeding in a major way with this band.  I had been getting a lot of negative criticism from some people in the local music scene, and even got threatened with stalking, being bashed up and one guy sending me dick pics to my Facebook Messenger.

However, I do have a resolve of iron and it reminds me of Robert The Bruce going into retreat during a battle when he hid in a cave and saw a spider weaving a web in stormy weather.  The rain kept washing the web out and the spider still kept weaving it.  This inspired him a lot to decide never to give up no matter how stormy the weather is.  As long as you have the life force in you, there’s hope.  Don’t give up on your dreams and aspirations just because other people say ‘no’, or mock and revile you for doing so.

Sadly, Australia has got a very nasty cancerous attitude towards people who want to be successful (except in sports) known as the Tall Poppy Syndrome.  If you want to achieve something grandiose, unusual, or special then they will mark you down for burning.  I’ve been burned several times because of my desire.  I’ve been called a ‘rapist’, a ‘paedophile’ and a ‘drug addict’ by online cowards who hardly know me in person because I want to create a future where people are comfortable in their own skin and respecting the animal kingdom and the natural environment.

Frankly, I don’t care how long it’s going to take me as long as I get there.  As Bon Jovi once wrote “I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead”.

You can check out Laissez-Fayre’s links at:

https://www.youtube.com/user/laissezfayre

https://myspace.com/laissezfayre

https://www.facebook.com/groups/laissezfayre

https://www.facebook.com/laissezfayre

https://vimeo.com/laissezfayre

https://groups.yahoo.com/group/laissezfayre

https://groups.google.com/group/laissez-fayre

https://www.bandmix.com.au/laissezfayre

 

https://www.facebook.com/groups/laissezfayrehttps://www.facebook.com/laissezfayrehttps://vimeo.com/laissezfayrehttps://groups.yahoo.com/group/laissezfayrehttps://groups.google.com/group/laissez-fayrehttps://www.bandmix.com.au/laissezfayre

VEGANISM IS THE NATURISM OF THE MATRIARCHY

“A dreamer demands the impossible.  An idealist demands the impractical.” – Marilyn Vos Savant

This has not been the easiest blog post for me to be writing, but it has to be written.

It started off with my 100 Things To Do In A Year list, which was to enable me to stretch my comfort zones with doing a number of things I normally wouldn’t do to empower me to become a better and successful person.

2013 has no doubt been a great year for me in several ways, but the end part has been quite a challenging year in which I’ve come to the conclusion that in order to help save the world and myself, instead of looking to change it, I need to simply submit to both.

Being a rather defensive and antagonistic person, I am still coming to terms with this.

Having been a nudist for 23 years now, and a vegetarian/vegan on an off for almost as long, I had initially bought philosophies of life purporting tolerance, inclusivity and compassion.  Unfortunately, the reality is not so clear cut as it may seem.

I originally joined the nudist way of life as a means in the hope of finding acceptance and romantic love with the right woman since none of my textile peers seemed to show me much respect and make me feel welcome in their presence as a teenager.  Then, I decided to give it a go after a former friend who had gone AWOL showed me some nudist magazines he had bought with loads of families, healthy and happy looking people in it.

After three initially unnerving visits to Sunrays Swim club, I took to it.  It felt good to swim naked, get massages naked, and of course sunbathe naked.  However, the biggest downfall of the nudist world is the thing that they deny the most: sexual attraction.

Unless you are a eunuch or a child, as a fully fledged adult you’ve got to be kidding yourself if you don’t have SOME underlying sexual motivation for wanting to become a nudist.  Especially with so many young adults asking if nudist clubs and groups accept swingers.  Sexual attraction is not talked in or out of us: it is an important and inheren part of our biological makeup whether man of beast.  Is it any wonder then that “real” asexual social nudity only really tends to attract people past their prime, or people who have a very low sex drive? And yet, it is often those who shout “nudism is not about sex”, “being naked is not about sex” that often get caught with their pants down.

As a young single man in my early 20’s, I was reprimanded by a club organizer for showing interest in the occasional beautiful young women who would visit.  Erections are frowned on by many older nudists as “offensive” and “wrong” and “bad”, and “inappropriate”.

The other problem with nudist philosophy is it allegedly purports to be about freedom, but that “freedom” is only limited to being free of wearing clothes only.  I have found a number of nudists in the English speaking world to be some of the most oppressed and repressed people.  Nudism has become a form of naked Freemasonry bound to secrecy, suspicion, distrust and precious attitudes.  No mentioning full names of some people, as well as a number of clubs and social groups still shunning out single males, families and children.  We need to take off the rose-coloured glasses and see why the world laughs at our hypocrisy, political correctness and sanctimonious attitudes.

The Christian nudist movement is also a very fragmented one with its practitioners ranging from ultra conservative prudes still stick in the 1950’s mentality and morality, to some of these disturbing sectist types who thing that paedophilia, ephebophilia and incest are okay because “it’s in the Scriptures” or “Christ died for our sins so he is our scapegoat”.  Wrong! Jesus had VERY sharp words to say about such practices – and recommended drowning for anyone who abuses a child and/or causes them to lose faith in God.

With that said, I support the de-ghettoization of nudity such as what Vincent Bethell, Steve Gough, Richard A Collins, Gypsy Taub, Melanie Roberts and Felicity Jones have been doing.  With nobody (except a couple of businessmen) taking offence to seeing me naked on the streets in Violent Soho’s video clip, it is time for the nudist philosophers and cult nudism to move on and give way to the individual’s right to practice it as he/she sees fit without the need to join a hierarchal organization or club with its petty politics and formalities, or even cherry-picking the Bible or other sacred texts to rationalize their need for inner-peace and happiness being naked publicly.

If you want to be a nudist, then be honest about why you want to.  Whether it is a matter of aesthetic pleasure, or you enjoy the feeling of swimming unencumbered or exercising.  Events like Burning Man, ConFest, and venues like The Grand Barn, Terra Cotta Inn, Caliente and Turtle Lake frankly have a more finer and mature take on nudity, and also get more females attending them than the old-school asexual old-boys networks still hopelessly stuck in the good old days of the 60’s and 70’s.  Those days are gone – live in today’s world and today’s mores.  It is now the C-21.  Nudism will not heal the world, but when practices more openly, honestly and without any exclusivity it can help make the world a bit more of a tolerant place.

VEGANISM IS HOLLOW PHILOSOPHY

And while we talk about tolerance, the vegan movement is no more Utopiac, politically correct and idyllic than the nudist movement is.  I initially got into it in around September 2011 to try and lose weight.  Like nudism, veganism purports a return to a more Edenic, ideal world where no animal cruelty, exploitation or consumption by human beings exists.

Ironically, it was a vegan celebrity (Jess Origliasso from The Veronicas) who had indirectly inspired me to re-think my outlook on veganism and my place in humanity as well as nudism.

A few months after I turned vegan, in January 2012, I started going out with a woman three years older than me who was a vegan and also visually impaired with a guide dog, whom she also raised to be a vegan.  The fact that we were on the same page with veganism as well as her being a nudist having spent time in intentional communes in Nimbin caused me to let my cynical guard down, and just surrender myself to her.

All was going well until we attended Easter ConFest 2012 with some nudist friends of mine.  We stopped at several roadhouses and pubs on the way there which did stuff all to cater for vegans.  As I hadn’t eaten beef steak for a long time or chicken, I thought the least I could order for a hot meal was fish and chips for lunch.  She was both horrified and angry and she refused to join me for lunch with my friends.  Then on Easter Sunday, we went to a local café in Moulamein for breakfast with the others and decided as a rare treat to order poached eggs on toast, and that upset her even more.  For the rest of the festival she became distant and tactiturn as if I had had an affair behind her back.  Two weeks after arriving back in Brisbane she decided to end our relationship saying she “needed a vegan man”.

Not to try being outdone and to give veganism another go, I decided to join a group of local vegans to see if maybe I could get the diet to work for me with no romantic strings attached.  I eventually realized that the vegan world is almost exclusively the naturist lifestyle of the matriarchy in the sense that most of it’s devout practitioners are female – some of whom are single in the hope of finding vegan guys to hook up with, or non-vegan guys whom they try to convert to their way of life.  And as the old saying goes “the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach”.  Indeed, one woman’s magazine once said for advice on marriage “If your man wants bacon and eggs for breakfast, start frying.  You can always put him on a yoghurt and bran diet when you’re married”.

Yet with all the idealism it’s built on, the vegan movement can be just as divisive, judgemental and hypocritical as the nudist movement is, but on a more morally sound level – to stop animal cruelty and save the environment.  There are several types of vegans out there, but the most prominent ones are the anarchists who do it out for social reform, abolitionists (those who do not think humans should rely on or use animals for anything at all, period); and the health freaks who think everyone should become vegan to improve their health, lose weight and reduce cancer – which preys on women’s insecurities on having the “perfect” body and their overall health as well as compassion for animals which they will readily buy into.  I had taken the abolitionist approach, and became increasingly judgmental and argumentative with the meat-eating people to the point of alienating a number of them.

Veganism perpetuates to be about mercy and compassion, yet one local vegan activist has since refused to talk to me again regarding a faux pas I had committed some months ago regarding a photo she had posted onto my Facebook news feed.  Meanwhile, my physical health was starting to deteriorate with being vegan.  I felt tired, aloof, insular, and listless and fractious.

Treated with scorn by several prominent people in the local nudist scene, and also with apathy by most people in the vegan scene, there was one last thing that gave me a reality check and re-think my values.

Upon returning to Brisbane from LA after splitting with Warner Music, The Veronicas had announced on their Facebook fan page earlier this month they were doing a public fundraiser for Ronald McDonald House Charity.  I was initially shocked to know that since they had done campaigning for PETA some years before regarding exposing the barbaric nature of the fur trade which had partly won me over to being a fan of them.  However, as I had also been attending church again just before their return I came to the conclusion that as a human species, as well as like all sentient beings, we are inherently compelled to care about our own species first before all others.  Author Marilyn Vos Savant said a similar thing in her book “Of COURSE I’m For Monogamy” several years back regarding her comments about lion cubs being trapped in some pit on a wildlife documentary earning both scorn from regular viewers and glowing comments from an animal welfare group.  Unfortunately, I don’t have her book in my collection anymore.  Jesus taught to “love our neighbor”, but he never said anything about treating animals with same level of respect and equality as human beings.  The animals he talks about in some of his parables were metaphorical for the people who followed him and his ways.  As far as diet and legalism was concerned, he simply said “It is not what goes into a person that defiles them, but rather what departs from them that does”.  He was not talking about physical excrement, but spiritual excrement from the heart which some of these hardcore vegans sprout when someone disagrees with them.

This had convicted me of my abolitionist approach, and the one last thing that I figured I need to do was seeing as I was attempting to go back to where I was coming from to return to the omnivorous diet I had originally been brought up with again and the changes came almost instantly.  The lethargy is gone.  I feel more focused, motivated, and less fractious.

That said, I still abhor animal cruelty for fashion, sport, fun, entertainment, and factory farming.  Looking back now, I think that the RSPCA is more realistic about animal welfare than some of these fringe groups with their misanthropic and toxic outlook on mainstream society is concerned.

If being a vegetarian or a vegan is the right thing for YOU to do as an individual, then go with it.  Listen to your body’s truth than anyone else’s “truths” above all.  No-one knows you better than yourself.  If your body has cravings for animal products, then use them in your diet.  Don’t lie to your body or to yourself.

Same thing goes for if you are a nudist.  If you are truly happy with who and what you are and not worried with what other people think of you, then do it.  If it enriches your life then definitely stick it out.  But I advise others not to make the mistake I made and treat these philosophies like the golden calf.  As with anything, if you stake all your happiness in them they will let you down sooner or later.

We must be careful not to give our basic common sense of compassion to Utopianism.  The world will always go on as it is.  The apostle Paul quite clearly pointed out: “See to it that nobody fools you with hollow and deceptive philosophy which comes from the ruling spirits of the Universe, and not from Christ”.

To conclude: Dream for sure for YOUR own better world, but don’t idealise.  Otherwise you will end up disillusioned and disappointed with your life like I was.