The funeral service for our drag sister yesterday was all we could’ve hope for – a beautiful crowd, beautiful memories and caring friends.
Melbourne’s drag community was deeply shocked and saddened by the sudden loss of our much-loved star and funny girl Pussy Willow, AKA Shahgopal Whybrow, who passed away from heart failure this month aged just 38.
The service started on time at Boyd Chapel at 2.30pm yesterday with a capacity crowd… just as well we booked the larger Chapel as it was standing room only.
The proceedings begun with a brief Buddhist ceremony, then eulogies by John Hardy, Oliver Barry, Tabitha and Paris, all interspersed with DVDs of Pussy, family and friends.
Then to round it off, a DVD was shown of Pussy performing her favourite number ‘Saved’ to a standing ovation.
It was great to think that Pussy’s mother and father could see the joy Pussy’s performances bought the people of Melbourne.
July 30th, 2012
After the funeral, there was a service at Pussy’s drag venue the GH, and just as with Viv’s funeral recently, the GH did Pussy proud.
The stage looked sensational with all the floral tributes, and there was food and liquor served in copious amounts. Singers from the Patrick Studios performed ‘Saved’ – then came the highlight, Pussy in full flight and best form… and at her funniest. The Videos she had done for Kevin Attwood and Kerrie Le Gore at the Xchange for Pride March and Le Gore’s Backyard were screened.
The formalities were brief, with people in groups telling their own favourite tales.
A grief stricken Paris summed it up with these words…
A TRUE FRIEND
“And I have learned that to have a true friend is the purest of all God’s gifts.
For it is a love which has no exchange of payment.
It is not inherited, as with a family.
It is not compelling, as with a child.
And it has no means of physical pleasure, as with a mate.
Is is therefore, an indescribable bond, which brings with it, a far deeper devotion than all of the others.” – Frances Farmer 1954
Here is Johnny’s tribute:
WHEN I FIRST MET GOPAL IN THE ‘90S
HE WAS 110 KILOS
WHEN I SAW HIM LAST HE WAS 110 KILOS.
ITS THE IN BETWEEN TIME IM GOING TO TALK ABOUT
WHICH IS ABOUT 40 KILOS WORTH.
WE AGREED TO DISAGREE ON LOTS OF THINGS
BUT THERE WERE LOTS OF THINGS WE AGREED ON
WHICH WE DID WITH LAUGHTER.
HE WAS OUR 3RD WHEEL, A LOYAL FRIEND AND NEIGHBOUR.
HE WAS THE EVERYDAY THINGS TO ME.
NIGHTS OUT AT THE MOVIES
DOCUMENTARIES ON THE QUEEN
FRAGRANCE AND SHOW TUNES
HORSES AND ANTIQUES.
WE SPENT LOTS OF TIME IN THE CAR,
PICKING UP AND DROPPING OF PARIS
LAUGHING, ARGUING, GOSSIPING
AND PLANNING WHAT TO EAT.
HE LIVED WITH US SEVERAL TIMES.
HE WOULD COOK BEAUTIFUL MEALS,
BAKE GORGEOUS CAKES
AND DOWNLOAD MOVIES FOR US TO WATCH
THROUGH THE NIGHT.
HE WAS TO ME
AND 2 MELBOURNE EARTH TREMORS,
FOR WHICH WE WERE TOGETHER.
WHAT HE DID FOR VIVIEN ST JAMES IN THE LAST 6 WEEKS OF HER LIFE,
WE WILL ALWAYS REMEMBER.
HE MADE US LAUGH WITH HIS STORY TELLING AND
MIMICING PEOPLE CLOSE TO US.
HE HAD THE NACK OF MAKING PARIS CRACK UP.
HE HAD COME A LONG WAY SINCE HE HAD
LAP BAND SURGERY OVER A YEAR AGO.
HE HAD GOT HIS DRIVERS LICENCE
AND HAD LOTS OF DRAG WORK COMING HIS WAY.
HE WAS LIVING HIS DREAM.
HE COULD SEE LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL.
HE WAS BECOMING THE PERSON HE WANTED TO BE,
LOOSING HIS DEMONS ALONG THE WAY.
ONE OF THE LAST TIMES I SAW HIM,
WE WERE IN THE KITCHEN.
HE MADE ME TAKE OFF MY JEANS
TO SEE IF THEY WOULD FIT HIM
AND I DID SO.
THAILAND WAS HIS SPIRITUAL HOME
AND HE TRAVELLED THERE OFTEN.
GOPAL HAD A TWO WEEK HOLIDAY TO BANGKOK
WITH HIS MOTHER BOOKED
FOR THE FOLLOWING WEEK
A TICKET TO BARRY HUMPHRIES
WITH TAB FOR JULY 26TH ,
HE WANTED TO BUY A CAR
AND TRAVEL TO INDIA WITH PARIS AND I
ON OUR NEXT TRIP.
HE WAS LIVING LIFE TO THE FULLEST
ON HIS LAST DAY
ON THIS HEAVENLY EARTH,
IT WAS NOT ABOUT SOMEBODY
WHO WAS GOING TO DIE
BUT ABOUT SOMEBODY WHO WAS LIVING THEIR
LIFE TO THE FULL.
THE KITCHEN TABLE WAS LIKE A
MAC COUNTER AT MYERS,
WITH ALL THE TOOLS OF THE TRADE
SET UP IMMACULATELY.
BRUSHES, BLUSHES AND POWDERS
ALL IN ITS PLACE.
ONE SMALL BONUS
WAS THAT HE DIED PEACEFULLY ON HIS COUCH
IN HIS APARTMENT
WHERE HE ALWAYS WANTED TO LIVE IN
NEXT DOOR TO US
GOODBYE MY FRIEND GOPAL
GOODBYE MY FRIEND PUSSY
YOU ARE IRREPLACEABLE
GONE TO SOON
Yes Pussy, you will be well and truly missed.