A Lady I Dig Called… DJ Honey

The stunning Miss Honey and I have been friends for about a year now.

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The first time I saw her it was love at first sight. I thought, who is that tiny girl with the massive beehive, incredible record collection and stellar moves? Outfits always on point, she began her weekend residency at Sonny’s House of Blues (my favourite bar in Brisbane) a month before I moved back to Perth. Honey commands the stage with her classic presence and transports you back to a dance hall in 1965. She is the perfect Soul Girl.

After spending the morning co-hosting her show ‘Kiss Kiss Bang Bang‘ which features on 4ZZZ every Thursday morning from 9 – 10am, we found ourselves snuggled among wood and ropes in The Lost Boys; a sweet little brunch spot in the Valley, and perfect setting for our Passion Chat.

Soundtrack:

Barbara Lynn – I’m a Good Woman

Okay Honey, who are you?

Ah… I am a woman. I am a human being and I am a DJ.

I like that. I like the order. I am woman, first and foremost. 

Yep. Conquer of my own destiny (laughs).

Excellent, and describe yourself in three words.

Absolutely fabulous, darling.

That sums you up perfectly. What’s your favourite childhood memory?

Probably… Travelling (pause) Definitely. Growing up we lived in Kombi vans, caravans… and we got to see so much of the world. Mother nature, really. The ocean, sand dunes, bush, animals –

Exploring Australia properly.

Yes, Australia, and Europe. England!

You were born in England?

I was born in Scarborough, North Yorkshire. Then I moved over to Australia when I was 8. I have lived here every since. I grew up in WA then moved over to Melbourne in a van with my dog.

What kind of dog do you have?

A Chihuahua cross – and now I’m residing in Brisbane.

You love it?

I love the weather.

So what do you do for a living?

I am fortunate enough to be a DJ, so I play 60s soul records every weekend and I get to eat and drink for free while playing my favourite songs and dancing.

You’re mesmerising too! I’ll always remember the first time I walked in and saw you and I thought, oh my God I need to know her. She is a Goddess. You rock it.

I love it. Oh my gosh. It’s such an incredible opportunity. I get to share my favourite songs that I used to dance around to in my lounge room while drinking. Now I get to do it in a bar! and I get paid to do it.

And you have your radio show too.

Yes I have my show on 4ZZZ called Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, and through that I’ve met some incredible women. I interview female DJs, authors-

That’s me.

(laughs) Plug. But yeah, just some really awesome women.

Is your show always about women? Based on female artists?

Yep. All female artists. Particularly from the 50s, 60s and 70s but then also we have modern day artists with the retro sound.

You’ve been doing this for six months.

Yep, that’s right.

Okay, here’s a good one. Name a band or artist that changed your life.

So… I love Elvis Presley.

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Yes you do! (laughs) Look at your little face. You really love Elvis.

Yep. He is, other than my dog, the love of my life. I remember first hearing him when I was about 7 years old and… We used to go to the library every week. I asked mum and dad about him- because this was pre-internet days-and we got all these books. I knew the Elvis Presley section off by heart. I used to borrow all of his CDs and cassettes. When we went to the video store I got all of his movies. I learned everything about him and I love it all; his music, his style, the kind of human he was. He was so new and paving his own way, but still paying respect to the Blues and  RnB artists who came before him.

There is no one else like him.

He was the start of your love affair with soul music?

Yes, definitely. I listened to his songs and in the CD sleeves I’d see the writers of them and I would look those people up. Again, at the library.

So vintage.

So time consuming! Then I would listen to all their stuff. I was very lucky that mum and dad had a really vast collection, and mum would say, if you like that you should listen to this which is similar. Then it just grew and grew.

Have you been to Graceland yet?

YES! I went to Graceland last year (huge sigh) best moment of my life. That place is just… so magical. The whole of Memphis is so dedicated to him. You talk to people in bars who have met him, seen him around. This person who was an idol to you is an actual human being now. Then you go to his house and, again, his style was so ahead of his time and unique. He was just doing his own thing. Obviously they have all of his awards on the walls-

But it’s about so much more than that.

It’s about how kind he was as a person; not in a bragging way either. It was just the way he was. The overwhelming feeling I had after going there was what a wonderful man he was, not about his super-stardom.

Listening to Lisa Marie on the headset as you walk around, talking about the wonderful things he did for people and it’s just – emotional!

Yep. Random people in the street received his generosity. He is the King of my heart.

What makes you smile? Don’t say Elvis.

(Pause) um…. The King of Rock and Roll? (laughs)

He’s all you can think about now. I’ve got my questions in the wrong order.

Yeah, we should have saved him until last. Okay, so: my dog, Angus, my records – they are my confidants.

You must have a really good collection by now.

Um… yeah, it can always be better (laughs) it’s growing. Okay also… G&Ts, sunshine, ocean, animals, dancing, my girl posse, my family, travelling and… Orgasms! Because… of course!

What makes your frown?

Plastic bags, animal cruelty, sexism, racism, inequality. People who use the wrong there, their and they’re.

Oh we’re getting political. Who do you admire?

I admire people who are true to themselves. People who seek adventure, who won’t settle for what they’re told they should be content with. People who are kind. Ain’t nothing sexier than kindness.

Hashtag.

That’s my motto.

What’s your favourite line from a song? 

There’s so many… ‘A little less conversation, a little more action’.

Good choice. That kind of sums it up really. 

You could be talking about lots of things.

What your favourite film? 

There’s an Italian film called La Vita Bella (A Beautiful Life) and it’s probably one of the saddest films I’ve ever seen, but it’s so full of love and hope and optimism.

How old were you when you first saw it?

18 I think? Quite old.

Who is your favourite person?

You can’t have favourites (laughs).

I feel like I could answer that very quickly.

Well I’ve been banned from using that name anymore.

I’ll allow it for this one question.

I still don’t know if he’s my favourite person. I don’t think I have a favourite. I have lots. I think if you pick, it closes a door to finding more favourite people.

That’s very true; but who is your least favourite?

I don’t know… Everyone I think of still has their own story of how they got there, and their own rationale. So… you can somewhat understand how they are who they are. That’s a really lame answer.

No it’s actually a really good answer. Once you learn the art of empathy it’s hard to let it go. 

Exactly.

What’s your proudest achievement? 

This is a hard one. I’m always striving to do more. I haven’t got there yet.

You have such a high standard for yourself! I feel like you have done so many amazing things; just from the stories you’ve told me today. I get it though. What’s your biggest fear? 

This is really quite a privileged fear, but, it would be living in a house in suburbia with a mortgage, trying to keep up with the Joneses and trying to be some Stepford wife. I mean, it’s a safe life. But that would do my head in.

If you’re not living, you’re dying. There is no in between.

Yep, doing the same thing every day, that would be my biggest fear.

What is your biggest passion in life?

Music is definitely up there. I have always listened to music and there’s a song for every mood. Every song can take you back to a time, a place, a person. Happiness or heartbreak.

But also, just being kind and compassionate. Every single day I try to be kind.

Do you think it takes such a strong person to be that way? I think it’s so easy for you to close people out and not let them penetrate your shield, but to be kind you are putting so much of yourself out there. It’s a really good way to be. 

Yeah. Like you say, it can be exhausting.

What’s your favourite piece of advice?

I don’t think anyone ever said this to me, but ‘live every moment as if it’s your last’, tell everyone how much they mean to you, even if they roll their eyes because you’ve said it to them 100 times that day.

It’s still good to hear.

Spend as much time as you can with the people you love, and doing something, even if you’re completely exhausted. Just do it, because you could die tomorrow.

I often hear people say ‘If you die tomorrow, would you be happy with what you’ve accomplished?’ And people say no, but I really would. I do everything I want to do.

You make choices every day to project what you want to achieve in your life, and you might not accomplish everything but you should be happy in your back catalogue about the steps you took to get yourself to where you are now. 

At least you tried.

Well done for getting this far. So, are you in love?

Yes. I’ve been in love since I was 7 years old with Elvis Presley.

(Laughs) How does [your partner] feel about that?

He has no choice. He has to share.

Do you love yourself?

Um… I think we all do in a way. We have to.

Some people don’t, I think. Hopefully not many. I think most people can’t admit it because there’s such a negative connotation with it. 

Yeah, like you’re up yourself. But, okay. Do I love myself? Yes. But-

Look at you not wanting to just say it!

Yes! Exactly! And you’ll say it about every other person and yet you’ll be the last to say what a good job you’ve done, yourself. I try.

Be proud. I think that’s shifting it away from, ‘oh I’m so in love with myself’ to just being proud of yourself.

Be proud of your efforts, and what you’re putting out there.

So what is love to you?

It’s… Acceptance. Nobody is perfect. It’s actually our imperfections that make us beautiful and lovable, I think. I’s about enjoying another person and it’s about trust. Trust is… so rare.

If you could have anything in the world right now, what would it be and why?

A G&T.

~

Thank you beautiful creature for being my first.

For anyone interested in checking out Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, here is the stream link:

http://www.4zzzfm.org.au/program/kiss-kiss-bang-bang

https://www.facebook.com/kisskissbangbangradio/

You can find Honey Hip Shaker at Sonny’s House of Blues after the band every Friday and Saturday night.

All my love

Harleigh Q

xoxo

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Three Weeks in Wonderland

The last three weeks I’ve felt a complete spiritual shift. I look down at the words ‘parallel universe’ permanently stamped on my forearm with an inflation of pride. Past Leigh got it, and she didn’t even know it yet.

~

A few weeks on from my life altering splash in Maya Bay I’m still spinning the things I felt over in my mind.

I feel like I woke up that day.

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I read a lot of interesting posts from very enlightened people these days, and much as I always thought I understood what they were saying, I marvelled at their courage but didn’t actually embrace it.

That all changed my first weekend in Brisbane when we attended Jungle Love.

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That Saturday morning I drove feeling rather worse for wear to a service station 45 minutes north of Brisbane. There I met my boss, essentially a male version of me, and his incredible girlfriend, and in my mystery machine we journeyed to a wonderland.

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Jungle Love is exactly that; a creek side creation of love, art and music, a celebration of life and happiness.

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When we arrived it poured of rain, so we sat in the boot of our car and bonded for a few hours over beer and any topic we met.

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Another wonderful friend arrived, Sib, and at that point we decided to make the trek through the rain to the music.

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We were met by people riding in floaties down the baby waterfall, a five piece of dressing gown-wearing kooks with an excellent organised dance routine, a pumping DJ set and a bunch of humans dancing freely in the rain. It was nothing short of magical and oh boy did we embrace it.

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After a few hours we decided to change in to some dryer clothes for the night’s festivities. We still had an abundance of drink tokens to burn. We made friends with the group of fellas in the van next to us, one of which turned out to be the organiser of Brisbane festival Red Deer. They were so fun and friendly. We all made our way to the roof top bar from which I got to see my favourite Aussie angel songstress Clea, and her new project with former Cairos singer Ali.

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Her voice is even more perfect in person and I really was blown away by their performance. The chemistry between them is electric. What a beautiful couple.

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Next came the build up to my boys, Vaudeville Smash. I was well and truly in the mode of free love and banter at that point. When Tijuana Cartel came on and rocked my world with their Americana dance fusion, I was fee-ling-it.

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One of the VS boys happened to pass by and I pulled him over for a catch up and boogie. By the time they hit the stage I had wiggled my way front and centre.

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They smashed it, playing hit after hit of funk which jams you right in the soul. I danced and sang and when they asked us all to get low I was thankful for the barrier to help me back up.

Post-performance high I wandered to the side for a smoke and then realised I’d lost my friends. Bum. Not to worry though, I was summoned back to the artists tent and got to hang with my darling friends. It’s all who you know, kids…

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I saw Michelle Xen fling about as she prepared for her mind bending performance. It’s definitely not my bag, but I can appreciate she’s one hell of a stand out artist.

The boys and I headed back to the roof top bar to catch her and smash some of my still left over drink tokens, before stumbling through the dark to check out the other stages.

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At one point we nearly tripped over a fella laying on the floor, still clutching the bike he’d clearly toppled sideways on. My ‘are you okay, my love?’ Was met by a groan and a thumb shot straight in the air. Loving it.

We came across a tent full of the mellowest group I have ever seen. There was a collection of wild woodwind instruments in the centre that I haven’t seen since primary school. I was pretty tempted to take a seat but I knew I’d end up waking up with drool down my shirt if I curled up on one of the rugs.

VS headed back to Brissie and I commenced my march back to camp. Lucky for me I knew exactly where I was going, it was just a lot further than I remembered. I made it, and rested with the door of my Mystery Machine wide open, the gentle beat of the all night tent soothing me to sleep.

~

In the morning I felt a lot fresher than expected, and was thankful because VS announced a gig at Leftys that afternoon. I managed a good nap and my darling Kate and I made it just in time.

Having two sets this time, the boys were able to jam out some of the hits I’ve been dying to hear them play live, but one in particular rocks my world:

GHOULS – VAUDEVILLE SMASH

I was up and grooving from that point on. Post gig the darlings came to us and we chatted passions and nonsense for the next 5 hours until it was well and truly time to go home. See you soon my loves. You blow my mind!

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I spent my week dancing around the ridiculous new head office. We have sky line views from the kitchen on our floor. I was honestly just enjoying having a window.

The roof top bar and cafe ‘MOFOs’ is heaven. I caught Skroo hanging out up there one morning. Our Christmas party took place there the following Saturday. You’ll all be proud to know I was my usual charming self and didn’t embarrass myself in the slightest; apart from sleazing on the Travelshoot guy. Girl can’t help herself. Kate is slowly teaching me to tricks of approaching men first though. I’m too old fashioned for my own good.

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Fast forward to this past weekend when the transformation was complete. That day at work was rough

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On Saturday night Kate took me to a party with some of her old friends and I just loved them. What a beautiful group of humans operating on a whole new wavelength.

We chatted about all sorts and when Kate wasn’t feeling well and needed to go, I requested the uber to drop me at my favourite place, Sonny’s House of Blues.

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Still riding the high of new experiences I danced with DJ Honey, the queen of soul music, and huddled at the bar with my old friends.

When I first moved to Brisbane and didn’t know a soul, Sonny’s was the first place I could call home. The people who work there are kind, interesting and I’m proud to call them my friends. I love going to visit whenever I’m back, like nothing has changed they remember my name. It’s etched on the VIP wall now too!

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I love the people at work from other teams who know my name, the people in mine who blow my mind with their warmth; I love every single person who loves me for me.

Life is so short. I want to spend mine letting people in. I’ll be honest and I’ll be kind. I just want to share the love I feel with everyone, and I will never again seek the approval of others to make me happy. It’s good to be strong and know who you are, to be confident and let everyone do their thing without it affecting you.

I have met some women through my life who I can only describe as absolutely magnetic. They were true, free and completely 100% themselves. They were different, they had their own style, they loved and didn’t expect anything in return. I’m pretty tired of apologising for being me. It was a long time coming, but I’m here now, and it’s golden. I am one of those women. I hope I can help breed a whole bunch more!

I know most people don’t care for what I have to say, or the epiphanies I’m having or what’s happening to me. Its just that I’ve been down and unsure and cripplingly lost within myself, and now that I’m back and strong, I just want everyone to find their own inner happiness; and when you do, we can share it around. It’s never too late to open youself up.

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I probably belong in a cult in the 70s, but hey, I’m fucking happy man.

See you soon B.

✌️️

With love

Harleigh Q

Xo