(Drowning in a sea of meaningless flashbulbs: Peter Breeze showed up late to his 25th birthday party dressed as a twisted Mickey Mouse./Courtesy of Peter Breeze)
It was my 25th birthday and I had rented out a dirty old pizza parlour in downtown Vancouver and invited a couple thousand of my close personal friends to help me celebrate.
The Facebook invitation had a poster that read, “Darling we’re a train wreck, but train wrecks always make the front cover.”
I had recently released a couple of pop singles that had taken my nightlife notoriety to a national level and I had been in a constant state of “Celebration” ever since. On this particular night I would experience a shift that would take my focus from the glittery lights of infamy to the hollow truth of my current existence.
I would finally discover the light I so desperately craved.
Ever since I was kid there was only one thing I knew for sure: I was going to be famous. If my life was a boat then my faith in my future stardom was my rudder. It didn’t matter what state the waters of life had me in — the icon in me was strong enough to keep me moving foreword without wavering.
I had absolutely no doubts that my future would be spent drowning in a sea of flashbulbs.
Fame was my god-given right and I was determined to see it through.
I initially thought I’d be a movie star but after a year in film school I realized acting wasn’t my passion. Being on camera was my passion, but there weren’t a lot of writers with scripts that would allow me to play myself. That would come later.
Since I was spending all of my time in clubs and being paid to show up and host, I decided to try music instead. At least then I could convince the DJs to play my songs and the clubs to give me the spotlight to perform, since they were paying me anyway. Whether or not I was a good singer didn’t matter. I knew that if this was going to work it was going to be because I was special and had a unique, magical quality that was hard to resist.
I have struggled with a lot of things but being self-aware was not one of them.
I ended up releasing a full-length pop album and three singles from that album got on regular rotation in clubs across Canada. Anything I released got press coverage and I got paid well to perform in cities across Canada and even the US. I even opened for Bif Naked!
Music was the perfect manifestation of the vision I had for myself. I still don’t identify with being a singer. I am an artist and at that particular time in my life music was my chosen medium.
Lots of people crammed into the basement of the pizza place that night for my birthday, as the DJ played cheesy pop music.
I had agreed to give half the money I made off cover to a local charity, which diversified the crowd a bit. Instead of it just being people from club land, there were also a lot of other community pillars that came, which made me feel good. I always felt like I was fighting for respect from the community and having those people there gave me a sense of validation.
I showed up late, dressed as a grotesque version of Mickey Mouse — ripped fishnets, studded leather vest, black lipstick and Mickey Mouse ears, and probably a pair of heels.
As I walked through the crowd I was handed lots of presents from people. Everyone had party favours for me and I took full advantage. Excess wasn’t just typical in my life; it had become a defining characteristic, an appendage, a second head. I should have just run away to the circus.
By the end of the night there were only a handful of people left and the party had transformed from a pseudo downtown disco to a twisted kind of zoo, and I was its prized exhibit.
A rare beast indeed, I demanded that the photographer start taking pictures of me while I rolled around on the floor and everyone watched in silence. I was drunk, high as fuck and dirty as hell, when it hit me. Everything felt wrong and out of place. Somewhere deep in my soul an alarm started to go off. This wasn’t my life. I was an imposter. Where the hell did I go?
As the flashes kept popping, a new sensation spread through my body. My dreams had come true. I was finally drowning in flashbulbs.
People spend their entire lives looking for love but aren’t prepared for life in a relationship. I had spent my whole life waiting to become a star and but never once thought about what it meant, why I needed it, or what would happen when the seeds I had planted so many years ago started to sprout.
It suddenly felt like I was a toddler that had just graduated from university. I wasn’t ready for the world I had created.
Suddenly a flood of light poured down the stairs and the whole world stopped spinning. The flashes stopped and the sound of high heels across the floor upstairs hit my head like a jackhammer during a hang over. Click, click, click, then they stopped.
For a moment everything felt like it was suspended on tiny invisible strings and the entire universe needed to pause while the monster in heels descended into our little cave. The heels made contact with each stair like they were paddles bringing the building back to life. I couldn’t tell if I was in the presence of an angel or a drag queen.
As my eyes softened and my vision adjusted, I was confronted by two hot pink heels and legs that seemed to go all the way up to heaven. I followed the tanned California skin until I could make out beautiful blonde hair framing a very recognizable face. “Get off the floor, loser,” she said.
I stood up and suddenly was face to face with Paris Hilton.
(Can Paris Hilton get a lost gay club kid back on track? Didn’t she teach him to seek fame in the first place? Read part two of Peter Breeze’s guest column on Daily Xtra next week, on Thursday, Oct 8.)