Author(s): Hugh Patrick O'Keefe
Most gay men who grew up in Australia in the 1950s-80s were living a lie, constantly exposed to the triple risks of prosecution, job loss and shame. Hugh O'Keefe was bold, brash and usually ready to push the envelope.
Inevitably, change agents like him caused great discomfort to many in Australian society. But this book illustrates the important role that ‘living a lie’ played in the preservation of oppression. One man's life in the open thus becomes a candid, racy and very readable metaphor for major changes that happened in our society. And that are still going on in Australia and around the world.
The Hon Michael Kirby AC CMG.
Past Justice of the High Court of Australia and President of the International Commission of Jurists.’
You trust the rich detail of ‘Palely Loitering’ because there is no making it up. How Hugh quite recalls the cut of some guy’s jeans, the streets he walked, the meals eaten, and, particularly, the dialogue spoken, is uncanny. This candid book is appropriately inappropriate in the best possible way. How Hugh managed to fuck so many guys before Grindr is positively Herculean. But it’s trustworthy because this book is never shy and he never tries to self-promote - well, sure, he underlines his contributions to those witty dialogues, but he never varnishes who he is. That’s palpable in the way he exposes his attitudes to love and intimacy. It’s brave and, as a narrator, it is dependable.
Playwright (Holding the Man, Strangers in Between, Packer & Sons)
What a great read & more so that it depicts a ‘gay’ Australian life including the Sydney Oxford St scene of days gone by. We need more biographical stories of this kind capturing and documenting a time that will never be repeated in the gay scene. Fantastic read & highly recommended.
Author (Paris Nights)