In a nightclub in Australia, a scene that would otherwise be a mundane Saturday night unfolds – revellers rammed in a sticky club dancing to Lady Gaga.
They’re squeezed onto the dancefloor, hair preened, drinks spilling as arms fly up high. Gaga’s “Chromatica II” transitions into “911”, and the partygoers scream, cheer and do that emotion you haven’t felt in about a decade: happiness.
While the sight would undoubtedly cause headaches for law enforcement and public health chiefs in coronavirus-wracked Britain or the US, people in Melbourne, Victoria, are getting ready to party.
Mobile phone footage uploaded by Twitter user Matt of “Snap, Crackle, Pop!” clubbers at Poof Doof, a queer club in the South Yarra neighbourhood, has sparked an uncomfortable range of emotions online.
— ⚔️ GAGA DAILY ⚔️ (@gagadaily) January 25, 2021
For an Australia cut off from the world, clubbers dance on planet Chromatica.
For locals, users beamed with pride at a state that has all but banished the rampaging coronavirus, at least for now – it’s been 19 days since the last locally acquired case, Victoria’s health authorities said Sunday (24 January).
The video shows one Lady Gaga fan, his eye srolling back in euphoria, his hands almost forming a prayer motion around his glass – capturing the relief felt after Melbourne’s 112-day long lockdown ended in October, 2020.
But for those outside of Australia’s fortified borders, sadness, anger and envy mingled. Many, almost in a daze, mourned hitting a club – or sitting on a public bench – remain a distant dream for them as death tolls tick upwards, caseloads continue to swell, lockdowns tighten and leaders fumble.
This could be us, but we live in an incompetent country. https://t.co/5SzaqsHaJ5
— Jeffrey White (@wheffrey) January 25, 2021
My heart is pure broken with this lockdown seeing Australia and NZ just getting on with life 💔 https://t.co/UVLvePU0KO
— Jade Eire (@jade_eire) January 25, 2021
SWEET JOY! Get me to Australia ASAP! 😭 https://t.co/kxhHhi5kT2
— Cheryl Hole (@CherylHoleQueen) January 25, 2021
— obi-wine kenobi (@CaptainIberia) January 25, 2021
If only America could get its shit together https://t.co/A1S9dHrzQ9
— Black Top BARAbie (@DopestQueenUno) January 25, 2021
In the early days of the pandemic, Australian state leaders all but cut themselves off from the outside world. Shuttering the borders – including between states – Australians responded to the hardline, longstanding measures with diligence and acceptance, polls suggested.
As a remote island, states drummed the virus into submission with lockdowns that, for residents, may have felt they were going to last forever.
But they paid off. Melbourne, a city of five million, remained frozen for 111 days – a hibernation that brought to heel what was a deadly second wave for many of the rest of the world.
And with the state thawed and Victorians gingerly emerging from their homes, clubbing to Lady Gaga’s Chromatica is certainly to way to celebrate.
In the meantime, the rest of the world has Spotify and Bluetooth speakers.