(Don’t) Come to the Cabaret Alt-Right showtime with Milo Yiannopoulos | Le Montage, Sydney 5.12.17

Text: Charles Purcell

“What good’s permitting some prophet of doom
To wipe every smile away?”
– Cabaret

About halfway through alt-right provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos’ speech, someone has clearly had enough. An object is hurled toward him at the stage.

Suddenly the crowd is on its feet, electrified.

It appears a woman has unsuccessfully thrown a shoe at Milo in what will surely become the most infamous shoe attack since George W. Bush’s Iraqi press conference of 2008.

“Kick her in the head,” a voice cries as she is escorted out by security.

“I sometimes wonder about being assassinated by angry lesbians,” quips Milo.

What has provoked this shoe-based attack?

Was it the picture of Australian author and feminist Clementine Ford with the word “unfuckable” printed on screen? Was it because he called former Prime Minister Julia Gillard a prick or insulted the Opera House?

For a moment the mood of the room is less Lilyfield 2017 and more Munich Beer Hall 1923.

“Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, oi, oi, oi,” a male voice shouts.

“Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, oi, oi, oi,” repeats a large segment of the crowd.

Conflict has been in the air ever since Milo, self-professed “trickster”, libertarian, gay man, British Jew, former editor at Breitbart News and enemy of political correctness and the progressive left, began his Australian tour.

In fact, Milo’s gig in Lilyfield wins this year’s award for The Gig Most Likely Where You Are Going To Be Punched In The Face – so much so that I’ve been practising karate moves in my basement all morning. Last week in Melbourne rival left-wing and right-wing protestors clashed and had to be separated and pepper-sprayed by police.

Milo Yiannopoulos, Journalist, Broadcaster and Entrepreneur. Photo credit LeWeb14/Flickr

The Sydney gig is no exception. Hundreds of protestors holding signs denouncing “Nazi scum” and shouting “down with fascists” are at the front, baying for right-wing blood.

As I approach I turn to them, tear open my shirt and yell “who wants a piece of me”?

Just kidding. Because even if the protestors wanted a piece of me, they couldn’t get close.
There are cops everywhere. Cops on the water. Cops at the entrance. Cops under pot-plants. More cops than a doughnut convention featuring a cast reunion of all eight Police Academy movies.

Several arrests are made.

The security doesn’t let up at the door either as guards run metal detectors over us (too bad they can’t frisk for deadly shoes). It all leads to the impression that we’re about to be confronted with something – or someone – truly radical and dangerous.

Then it’s into the swank venue Le Montage, previously best known for hosting wedding events rather than the ”most hated man on three continents”. Awaiting us on each seat are party membership forms for the Liberal Democratic Party (cool, free toilet paper).

That well-known right wing battle cry of ‘You Can’t Stop The Music’ plays on the speakers as we wait for Milo.

First we have to endure a rambling speech from MC Ross Cameron that can best be categorised as ‘Old Man Shakes Fist At Cloud’. Then after a word from tour sponsor Penthouse Magazine we’re ready for Milo.

Madonna’s ’Vogue plays on the stereo and the smoke machines are on full blast as the leopard-print-coat-wearing messiah comes on stage. Sadly, he’s not sitting on stage on the back of a Harley-Davidson like he was in Melbourne.

Milo is here to smash the progressive left paradigm … and look fabulous while doing so, in a weirdly Justin Bieber kinda way. He’s here to drop truth bombs on us that will blow our tiny minds.

Feminism is a curse on the West (boom!). Islam is a threat to society (boom!). Free speech is under threat (boom!).

But Milo has been feeling unwanted in Australia. He feels he’s about as popular with the Australian media as Don Burke, though for different reasons. He feels like Perth – unloved, forgotten. He says we’ve lost a lot of our best people to Hollywood – including “that ‘gay’ one who plays Wolverine”.


It doesn’t take long to figure out who Milo’s friends and enemies are. In the friend or fellow traveller category are Mark Latham (big cheer from the crowd), Pauline Hanson (big cheer) and Alan Jones (cheer). In the enemies list is Clementine Ford (big boo), The Project presenter Waleed Aly, Hillary Clinton (big cheer over her current woes), Canberra (boos), gun laws (boos) and perma-tanned male feminists on the ABC (boos).

And the crowd is with him, howling, hooting and booing. Particularly one of the men next to me, who screams with laughter at every anti-feminist jibe like Robert De Niro in the cinema during Cape Fear.

The energy in the room flagged a little when he stopped with gratuitous insults and talked more in depth about what he perceived to be the threats facing Western society: this was an audience who preferred gut feeling and quick quips to detailed discussion.

As opposed to your standard conservative gathering – which Milo quips, usually features about 17 hip replacements before it’s over – this crowd is mostly white males between 25-45, but also with a smattering of women and assorted ethnicities.

It’s part AC/DC concert, part monster truck lovers, part curious bystander wanting to see what the Milo controversy is all about (preferably without being punched in the face).

Some shout “we love you Milo”. Some shout sexually salacious propositions. One even calls him “daddy”.

They’re cool with just about everything he says, even when he declares the greatest Aboriginal contribution to culture is a big stick  – or runs an image on screen that says “fuck off we’re full cunt”.

The only time the crowd wavers is when he calls Vegemite an abomination (one of the few things I actually agree with him on, but it’s a secret that can only be admitted between Australians).

Fortunately the angry protestors and their angry fists are gone when we leave two hours later. The only thing I’ve been punched in the face by are Milo’s truth bombs.

And I don’t know which hurts worse.


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