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Pushing the night into the daytime

Long before I was fat and vegan (gay always), I spent a lot of time in a seaside town that Australia forgot to close down. My friends and I constantly lived on the verge of adventure and despair as we dodged the equally-dangerous obstacles of local thugs and mediocrity. The main attractions were an almost-dilapidated pier, a skate park and many drive through liquor stores that asked very few questions of disengaged teenagers with a few dollars to spend. We would walk through the idling cars filled with older-than-us locals buying cartons of ice cold beer before boldly placing our orders for the cheapest drinks in the store.

My friends and I were considered outcasts in the town and didn’t really go out of our way to discourage that notion. Countless nights were spent on the run from angry young men in pumped up cars. Startled by a homophobic slur or a verbal threat of violence, our group of queer misfits would hold tight to our cheap drinks as we took flight through the nearest park or known-only-to-us shortcut.

These tumultuous years were both terrifying and liberating. Our fashions were inspired by the likes of Grace Jones, Bananarama, Madonna, Prince, Morrissey, Dead or Alive and The Cure. I would cobble together an original outfit with pieces lifted from local charity stores before heading to my local drink shop to pick up supplies for a house party I was probably not invited to (and more than likely chased out of).

Years passing and advancing age will never take away those memories. As if it was yesterday, I can picture the garish label of our favourite tipple called Passion Pop. The price was ridiculously low and I recall it remained below one dollar for most of my formative years. The green bottle housed a sparkling wine drink that managed the rare task of being silultaneously delightful and disgusting.  If we found ourselves with an unexpected cash windfall, the misfit who looked the most-progressed in age was sent to buy a carton.

So much time has passed and Passion Pop is now located on the other side of the world as I reside in the UK. I have often longed for its repugnant and tantalising flavours and sickly-sweet aftertaste. I don’t enter an off-license without scanning the inexpensive sparklings for a vegan symbol. This was always in vain. Until now.

UK retail behemoth Marks & Spencer have pulled out all the stops in order to send me spiraling back in time to those crazy days. A new range of inexpensive, wine-based sparkling bottles caught my eye during a recent shopping trip. These glass-encased cocktails are eerily reminiscent of my halcyon Passion Pop days and nights. I snapped up the Cosmo Fizz and the Strawberry Bellini. The two vegan bottles set me back a measly £7 thanks to a current promotion.

Sickly-sweet, refreshing and familiar. They make me wanna throw on the Some Kind of Wonderful soundtrack, grab my liquid eyeliner and head for the nearest skate park. Thank you M&S. Who says you can never go home again?

Strawberry Bellini & Cosmo Fizz

Drink it up

It is vegan

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Written by fatgayvegan

  1. I love how M&S have updated their labeling to indicate which wines are vegan. Not that I need more wine…

  2. I read often and don’t comment as much as I should. Just wanted you to know I love this post. The first line is truly literary.

    We need V markers on wine in the U.S. Not sure if that is going to happen anytime soon, but it would be fantastic!

    • It is always lovely when you do drop by… thanks for the kind words. I agree that US wines are slack when it comes to labeling their products.

  3. you blew my mind!!! i don’t know your age but as a virtuous aussie teenage princess i often experienced that sickly sweet nectar known as “passion pop”…just as sickly sweet on the way up i might add!….ahhhh those sweet memories

    • Oh yes. It often found its way back up again! LOL. Glad I could give you a brief trip down memory lane.

  4. Well Redcliffe is still there, much changed on the surface but no doubt still dripping with fear and venom for anyone who doesn’t fit the norm. Even I remember Passion Pop and glad you have found a way to remember your misspent youth but would ask if it was worth the pain? Or was it pure pleasure in recalling those times?? Perhaps the pleasure comes from knowing you survived and prospered despite the bogans and homophobes in that pissant little place. Your writing is as brilliant as ever.

    • Hi Cathy… thank you for the kind words about my writing. You have always been supportive. Redcliffe will remain until its dying day a place where people with common sense and sensitivity escape or perish. A few years ago we visited for a laugh and I think our car broke down. So fitting. xx

  5. This reminds me of being an outcast teenager in the local ‘village’ which was much more of a town only we were drinking beer or straight vodka and we were dressed head to toe in black!! You express your memories far better than I ever could!!

    • There were so many of us. Too bad we didn’t live in the same town!

  6. I recently received a lovely gift of 2 bottles of Passion Pop for a best forgotten event, its had a makeover, now looks even more deliciously cheap.It now comes in mixed berry and strawberry, both vilely sweet and comes in a new 250ml can, so much easier to hide in a bag for the train ride to the valley or to hide amongst the bushes for those quick dashes outside to keep the alcohol level up.

    • There’s nothing quite like a sneaky drink from the bushes outside.

  7. I saw those in M&S the other day & would’ve bought some if I hadn’t been carrying a tonne of groceries. I’ll definitely be heading back to grab them!

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