by Dale Parker Anderson

Short Film
Email: [email protected]

There's no time quite as awkward as adolescence. Between the sky-high expectations of parents, the constant scrutiny of peers, and one raging hormones, something's got to give. And if you are like the main character and happen to be gay, navigating your way through adolescence can be like hiking through a minefield!



The sky was particularly blue that day over Brisbane. A seventeen year old handsome looking sporty lad wearing footy shorts, joggers and no shirt, Shane walks out of the footy club house, he throws his gym bag over his shoulder, he skips onto and over a bench on the footpath and runs down the street. As he runs ‘Your Love Brings Me To My Knees’ by Marcia Hines plays and the opening credits roll.


Shane running along Riverview terrace with the city view of the Brisbane Skyline in the background.

Shane running over the Story Bridge with Brisbane city Skyline in the background

Shane Running down Upper Bowen Terrace with the view of the city skyline and story bridge in the background.

Shane running down Moray Street in New Farm.


As Shane runs down Moray Street he pulls up outside the front gate of his flat. The two flats were built in the 1960’s a time not noted for excellence in architecture. His dad Don bought the flats when Shane was born from money left to him by his grandfather in his will. Don felt the site would be excellent for development, but then he has never got around to it. Neither did he do any maintenance because they were going to be pulled down anyway. The flats are ugly and plain, the paint is peeling off the old push out windows. Standing out the front of one of the flats having a cigarette is Joanie, Shane’s neighbour.

Joanie is eighteen both in age and dress size she has a sweet expression but is a little slow. She is Marcia Hines biggest fan and wears a Marcia Hines T-shirt stretched with a painted slogan that says QUEEN OF POP bellow this slogan is a printed face of Marcia Hines. Marcia’s face is distorted and her forehead bulges sideways like a deformity. Joanie lives in her Marcia Hines T-shirt it gives her a sense of belonging and she worships Marcia. Marcia is her idol. 

Joanie is delighted to see Shane she can count on him to do interesting things with his life. She shakes her head at him knowing he has been a naughty boy for doing a runner and skipping his footy training. Shane takes no notice of her and puts his key into the front door of his flat and lets himself in. He slams the door shut. As he does this the opening music ends abruptly.


Despite the fact it is a beautiful sunny day, Shane’s dad Don sits indoors in his shabby cluttered lounge room having a beer. Don is a large man with a balding head, ruddy face and is unshaven; he wears stubbies, thongs and an ugly short sleeved shirt with a pattern as busy as bees in a frenzy. In the tropical heat he scratches his belly where the sweat has made him itch. Don is unemployed.

The stained curtains in the lounge room have a tropical design, evocating of a holiday and strangely at odds with the morbid atmosphere of the flat. The lime green furniture is elderly and much battered by family life, the carpet has dust balls the size of small comets.

Don is silently swigging on is beer and watching a game of cricket on TV the cricket moves even more slowly than his own life but finally someone manages to catch a ball. Shane walks into the lounge room and throws his gym bag through the door of his bedroom and flops down on the lounge next to his father.

Don: Hey old mate can you grab us another beer?

Shane: Why can’t you get it?

Don: Cause I am watching the cricket.

Shane: Are we beating the Poms?

Don: We doin all right, what’s the time?

Shane: A bit after 1pm.

Don: Why aren’t you at footy training mate? Clubhouse burnt down, did it?

Shane: Yeah!

Don: What was it this time then? An Al Qaeda bomb?

Shane: Fundamentalist Muslim Taliban.

Don: Funny that, it looked all right when I drove past it to go to the pub before.

Shane: Yeah. (Impersonating him.) Funny that.

Don: You’re not too old to be given a clip under the ear mate, you hear me?

Shane: The whole of bloody Brisbane can hear you dad!.

Don: You have gotta start doing your training mate!!

Shane: Why?

Don: Coz this is Australia and bloody footy and cricket is more important than havin a fucking education that’s why!

Shane: Who says?

Don: I bloody say!

Shane: I hate footy training

Don: You never used to!

Shane: Well I do now! Jesus Christ dad, give it a rest will ya!

Don: How come mate every Wednesday afternoon without fail you come home early and your bloody sitting there.

Shane: I told you.

Don (verging on Bette Davis):  Oh have you just!! There was a phone in this morning on the fucking ABC radio about delinquent teenagers. I should of rung and dobbed you in!

The phone starts to ring

Don: That will be the phone

Shane: Well it wouldn’t be the fucking vacuum cleaner would it!

Don: Well could you bloody answer it and get me another beer while your at it!

Shane gets up in a huff to answer the phone and gives his father a scowl of a look

Shane: What’s wrong with you getting off your arse and answering the fucking phone little Lord Fontaroy.

Shane walks out of the lounge and into the kitchen to answer the phone

Shane (off): Hello….Yeah he is watching the cricket…just a sec I will get him for ya!

Shane walks back into the lounge with a stubby for his dad and the cordless phone. He has his hand over the phone

Shane: It’s the coach!

He hands his father the phone and the beer and Don clears his voice to speak on the phone, Shane goes out the front door.

Don: Mate I haven’t finished with you yet!

Done watches Shane go out the front door as he scowls down the phone.

Don (on the phone): Don speaking…… G’day mate, you want to talk about my little git of a son?

His face becomes more serious.


Don rushes into Shane’s bedroom, it is very masculine and untidy with footy memorabilia and trophies everywhere, he is looking for something, he picks Shane’s gym bag up off the floor and empties it on the single bed. He takes his footy jersey and shakes it loose. Someone has graffiti words like Cocksucker, Poofter, and Bent Bastard over Shane’s jersey in red paint. He rifles through a freshly covered diary and opens it, it also has homophobic graffiti written and drawn all through it. He throws the jersey and diary down on the bed disgusted. Something catches his eye. The end of a magazine is sticking out under the mattress; he reaches down and grabs it. It is a gay porno.


Shane slumps down on the balcony next to Joanie

Shane: What you been up to?

Joanie: Nothin I have been just listen to my Marcia Hines CD

Shane: There’s more to life than Marcia Hines Joanie

Joanie: She’s the only thing in my life that brings me joy

Shane: What’s wrong with Madonna

Joanie: She’s a slag

Shane: Hypocrite

Shane giggles and Joanie smiles at Shane

Joanie: Mum is going to church bingo tonight. I have half a bottle of vodka hidden under me bed and I nicked some of her prescription drugs. Do you want to come round and get pissed with me and take some of her tablets; we can have a bit of a party you and me and listen to Marcia.

Joanie pulls out a clear plastic bag with some of her mothers tablets in it and shows them to Shane.

Shane: No I’m in enough shit with dad, the footy coach from school is on the phone talking to him in there I’ll probably be grounded when he gets off cause I been skipping training.

Joanie: Sure don’t want to come round, Marcia is judging on Australian Idol on tellie tonight we could watch it together and take these pills.

Shane: Na! you shouldn’t steal your mums prescriptions Joanie drugs are addictive

Joanie:  No there not! And I should know cause I have been taking them for years!

Shane gives Joanie a blank look! 

Joanie: Suppose a root’s out of the question then?

Shane smiles at Joanie. Joanie smiles back at him. They both giggle

Joanie’s mum pops her head round the front door of her flat

Francine Walker is short and wide with a sweet kind, gentle face and a lost in space expression. Francine’s life hasn’t lived up to her hopes and dreams but her dreams are still a source of joy and she spends most of her time taking valiumn and other prescription drugs and hovering between reality and dreamland. Francine like Don is unemployed

Francine: Joanie, love, get in here and peel some potatoes for tea will ya?

Joanie: Kiss my arse.

Don appears at the front door of his flat

Don (to Shane): You! Indoors, she’s a bad influence.

Joanie (to Don): Your a bad influence, aint my fault I’m excluded is it you stupid cunt!

Don: Well whose fault is it then EH?

Joanie: The system.

Don laughs at Joanie

Joanie (to Don): I am a victim of John Howard’s Liberal Party’s thingamabob (As an afterthought.) Wasteland policy.

Don: You’re a victim of your own big mouth more like.

Francine( to Joanie): Right, you don’t peel no potatoes you don’t get no tea.

Francine disappears inside. Joanie reluctantly gets up to go in.

Joanie (to Shane): What you havin for tea

Don: He’s havin left over chicken and coleslaw.

Joanie: Don’t that make you fart that coleslaw?

Shane: Only if you got a fat arse.

Don: Mate indoors I want to speak with you NOW!!

Joanie and Shane each go into there respective flats and shut the door behind them


Don: Your coach told me on the phone mate that your getting picked on.

Shane:  That old git, everyone gets picked on.  

Don: Oh! do they just! And does everyone get called a queer bent bastard and a cocksucker do they?

Shane storms out of the lounge in a huff.


Shane comes in and flops down on the bed. Don’s in shortly after him

Don: Why don’t you talk to me, why don’t you tell me these things are happening to you at school mate. That’s why you have stopped doin footy training isn’t it. Cause your being picked on and teased.

Shane: I’m knackered

Don. Shane, please mate just talk to me

Shane: What about

Don: I am your bloody father.    

He sits on the bed besides Shane

Don: I found a gay porno in your room

Shane: You been spying on me?

Don: No, it was hanging out from under your mattress

Shane: Well it doesn’t mean I’m Gay

Don: No it doesn’t.

Shane: Well, what you going on at me for.

Don: Cause sometimes, Shane, I can put two and two together and get fucking four. I am not fucking stupid you know. I didnt come down in the last bloody shower!.

Shane: I just wanted to have a look at it, that’s all, all the blokes at footy look at porno’s

Don: Yeah , but they don’t all bloody look at gay porn, do they?

Shane: Some of em take drugs, at least I am not doing that.

Don: No, I fuckin hope you’re not!

Shane: Ah, well, thanks a lot, Thanks a bundle. Go back to the cricket

Don: I am not coping, Shane

Shane: Well, don’t take it out on me.

Don: Will you just talk to me mate.

Shane: I’m tied.

Don: Mate. Please. Just talk to me.

Shane: Something’s are hard to say.

Don: I know, I know that.

Shane: You think I am too young. You think it’s just a phase. You think I’m gonna catch AIDS and….and everythin.

Don: You know a lot about me, duntcha.

Shane is now crying, Don wants to touch him but can’t

Don: Don’t cry.

Shane buries his face in the pillow and cries. Don moves to him, pulls him up and hugs him.

Shane: I’m not gonna throw you out in the morning like an empty milk carton mate. 

He pics up a dirty footy sock off the floor and hands it to Shane. He wipes his eyes and blows his knows with it.

Shane: Dad did you when you were growing up find it hard to fit in? Did you ever feel though you don’t belong in this world, that you were different.

The two of them sit alone on the bed looking at each other

Don: When I was your age mate, I grew up and worked on an outback cattle station. I thought that the isolation out there in the country would prevent me from learning any of life’s great secrets. I was wrong. It prevented participation but not knowledge. Here is one of the things I learned mate. Do you know what turns dirt into diamonds?

Shane (sniffling): No!

Don: Pressure, weight and heat, the geographical equivalent of torture. And solitude and loneliness and being picked on and teased is a form of torture, but they yield wisdom. I’ll give you what they gave me. The first thing is that there is nothing in the world more important that knowing and loving someone else well. And the second is, know your own nature, accept it, and let no one and nothing alienate you from it. You have as much right to it as anyone else has to theirs. 

Shane: But sometimes people won’t let you do that, the blokes at school and training give me a lot of pain.

Don: The only reason they wont is because if you do know your nature and accept it then you are stronger than them. You can do what you want, not what they want of you. The point is mate, you have to take back everything that has been taken from you so far. You have been beaten and frightened into a parcel of raw nerves you have even given up your footy cause of them and your really good at footy, look at all these trophies you won, your as tough as old leather you are mate, there is such a thing as Karma and good things come to good people and with out a doubt you are one of the best.

Don: Chokes back tears. Dave lies back on the bed and starts to cry.

Suddenly ‘Your Love Brings Me Too My Knees’, the hit song by Marcia Hines comes blaring out of Joanie’s flat next door, they all wince, it is deafeningly loud.


Don comes flying out of his flat and runs next door to Joanie’s flat and hammers on the door. He has left his own front door open. Shane follows him out and leans on the railings ready to watch this spectacle.

The Marcia Hines music is blaring out of Joanies flat. From inside an argument is going on between her and Francine. Don continues to knock. Eventually Francine answers in a state of confusion, she is dressed in her Sunday best ready to go to the church bingo.

Don: Oh, Francine, get her to turn it down will ya?

Francine: What do you think I’m trying to do? I am trying to get ready to go to bingo? She has locked herself in her bloody room, ant she? (call’s through.) Joanie!! (To Don) I’m on tablets you know. I suppose I should be glad its not teckno….acid….housey… housey…pop (frustrated, she doesn’t know the correct word.) trash. (loses it.) Joanie!!!

Suddenly Joanie stumbles out through the front door, she is drunk on vodka and tripping on a cocktail of her mothers prescription tablets. She comes hurriedly out dressed gaudily in a selection of old Marcia Hines seventy looking clothes she has bought from St Vinnes, and slams the door to the flat behind her. She has put a pair of black tights over her hair to give the impression of flowing locks. She is holding in her hands an empty bottle of vodka, which she clutches to her proudly like a Logie. She speaks in an Australian/American drawl. She thinks she is Marcia Hines.

Joanie: Thank you. Thank you to all members of the Logies, and to the readers of TV week for voting for me. Your wonderful, your truly marvellous. This award means so much to me. I’ve never won anything in my life before. I’d like to thank my manager and all the crew on Australian Idol. But most of all I’d like to thank one very special person.

Don: What the fuck!

Joanie: The woman from whom all energy flows. This Logie is much hers as mine. The women who gives me so much….inspiration. Lets hear it for her….my honey child…Deni Hines

Don: Joanie

Joanie: People say to me, they say, ‘Marcia where d’you get your energy from?’

Don: Joanie your not bloody Marcia Hines and your not at the fucking Logies!

Joanie: And I say, ‘Hey…

Shane: Don’t shout at her

Joanie (to Don): You’re given me bad vibes cool dady.

Don : Francine has she taken something, she is tripping on your drugs isn’t she!

Joanie: Deni, Deni Hines, get down! Your vibes are shooting through me now.

Francine: Joanie, turn the music down love, spare a thought for all the nice people who live around here! Some of them don’t like Marcia Hines, you know!

Joanie:  Don’t ever let the light leave you Deni

Francine: Joanie love is that Apple cider I can smell on your breath.

Shane: Joanie!!
No response

Shane: Joanie!!
No response

Shane: Marcia Hines?!!
She looks up

Shane: What you doin Marcia, you look like your ready to party! you wana go to that gay pub the Wickham and party!

Joanie: Marcia doesn’t know any gay blokes.

Shane: Yes she does

Joanie adjusts the angle of her head, as though it will help her comprehend.

Shane: They’ll have male strippers there Marcia. Come and party there with me

Don: Francine

Francine: Yeah?

Don: I will never have grandchildren

Francine (to Joanie): You sure love you want to go to that gay pub with Shane you’ll be seduced by a lesbian, why don’t you come to the church bingo with me?

Joanie turns to her mother

Joanie: But don’t you see. I am a lesbian!

Mrs Walker gives a look of horror. Joanie bursts out laughing. Mrs Walker tuts and opens the door of her flat and shuffles inside.

Joanie: I think Marcia will find a nice dyke tonight. Coz I’m telling you, I’m through with men.

Don: Ere, Marcia.

Joanie: What?

Don: What’s this dyke gonna be like?

Joanie: Ooh, big and butch.

Don: What colour eyes?

Joanie: Green

Don: Tall?

Joanie: I’ll have to look up

Don: Nice

Joanie: Yeah


Shot of the gay rainbow flag hanging off the lace iron balcony of the Wickham hotel, the camera pulls back to show Shane and Joanie walking up the footpath and going in. 

Closing credits roll to the Marcia Hines hit song Your Love Brings Me To My Knees


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