“My real name is Alysa Michele Moysey, but I changed it when a little hummingbird landed on Heidi May, the horse, and said you’ve got to change your name to Hummingbird!” – Alysa GG Hummingbird
Alysa GG Hummingbird (AKA Glitter or GG) is one of Byron’s colourful characters who gratefully still exist in our community. She is a reminder of the playful, magical and alternate nature this community once relished before commercialism and tourism seemed to prioritise the look of Byron. Ten or so years ago people like GG were everywhere on our streets… hugging, laughing, playing music, performing and sharing their creative gifts and ideas. Unfortunately a dying breed these days due to busking restrictions and image conscious, identity crisis, business lore. It was a total delight visiting Glitter at her Byron home where we were taken on a magical ride through Elven folk lore and all things not very grown up.
The chat started with much wowing at her incredible collection of retro, vintage and art deco collectables that fill her home. While we bombarded her with “Oh my goodness, where did you get all this stuff from? How long have you been collecting? This is amazing! Oh gosh look at that…” Glitter quietly went about making calming cups of tea so we could actually start asking more pertinent questions.
Now tell us again… how did you get the name Hummingbird?
Well… my real name is Alysa Michele Moysey, but I changed it to Alysa GG Hummingbird sometime back in 2000. I was in a very altered state (smiles) hanging out with my sister on her farm and talking to this wonderful horse called Heidi May (giggles), who turned into a centaur and a unicorn (as it does), and then a little hummingbird whispered in my ear “You’ve got to change your name to Hummingbird.” Taking a deep breath, I excitedly asked “Do you think I could have Glitter Girl as my middle name so it would be Alysa GG Hummingbird?” And the hummingbird replied “Yeah, that’s awesome!” And so I changed my name by depol the next week.
We are all having a good laugh at this point when Glitter says, “Well if a Hummingbird comes and talks to you, you’ve got to take notice!” After calming our laughter, we try to get back to finding out why Glitter moved from Melbourne…
So, you came here with your daughter… how old was she?
Yes, Lorien-Summer Moysey, she was just over one…but she is 19 now and recently returned to Melbourne after being in Byron her whole life.
Gosh, what was Byron like back then?
It was more a fey village…very faerie like, very free. It was a bit more organic and magical… there were more fairy and pixie types dancing about. There were no franchise ghettoes back then. Markets and creative culture made for a more alternative feel which made it very appealing to alternative thinkers.
When did you first stumble upon Byron?
When I was four weeks pregnant, I was driving through Byron in my Kombie with a girlfriend and I said to her “I’m gonna live here.” And she said, “You can’t say that after only being here 30 seconds.” And I said “Yeah, I can… I’m gonna live here. I’m going to come here next year or the following one and I’m going to live up in those hills (pointing to Coopers Shoot).” And I did. For 12 years I lived in a little shack at Coopers Shoot, just my daughter and I, and we called it ‘Elendili Eldamar,’ which means ‘The faithful Elven home’ where no harm comes to those who enter. Lorien’s name is an Elven name from Lothlorien as in Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings… and it means ‘the blessed realm’ which keeps her safe.
Did you have all your collectables then?
Yeah, I did. I was all 1950’s Sputnik, fifties, sixties, retro, art deco back then. We use to have a totally decked out house in Tinning Street, Brunswick (Melbourne)… and I moved it all up here.
And your move from Melbourne?
Yeah, I had to leave a scenario in Melbourne and my girlfriend was living in Byron at the time. The time was right to get out of the city so I packed up my Kombie and moved to Ruskin St where my girlfriend was living. The house was full of five couples living in domestic disharmony and I was living in the Kombie with Lorien. It was the time of the fifty year rain when it rained non stop for four months! Everything was getting mouldy and the nappies wouldn’t dry, and it was like…OMG!
After that I moved into the dwelling of our dreams for 12 years… and now this place for eight.
And what about all your amazing collectables? Where did you get them from? Are you a garage sale shopper?
No, I’m not a garage saler really… I love op shops… I’m an ‘op shopaholic’. I have an addiction but it is getting less and less. I’m actually becoming a minimalist (She says with a glint in her eye).
Yeah right. We hadn’t noticed. Laughing, she continues…
One day a friend came round and highlighted all the ornamental stuff and said, “You don’t have anything that functions… this place is like a big kid’s playground”. And it was like, toys and playthings everywhere. It was orchestrated chaos and madness and I guess it was because there were two mad chicks living here. After she left I started culling and getting back to my roots of Art Deco and collecting pieces that were just beautiful. I’m a Virgo through and through and through and through, with a Taurus moon and Taurus rising and all my Virgo sits in the fourth house of home. I’m an asthetic-est. It’s where I entertain, cook, do my art and create. But yeah, I have always been a collector.
I was brought up to known how to be thrifty. My mother was an op shopper, so I learnt to be a very good at the same. I’ve got a pretty good eye for it but it’s getting harder and harder now because vintage has become so trendy from all the crap mags. I’ll have to start hitting all those novice op shoppers off with a stick!
Whats your fave op shop in town?
Vinnies and the little treasure trove… can’t reveal where that is. They know me there now and put stuff aside for me… they’re like my grand family – it’s like dropping into the ‘oppy hood’ when I go there. Sometimes I pick things up from markets and redesign them.
So let’s get onto what it is that you do.
I’m a caretaker of the homes I live in. I clean and maintain them. I have two cats and tend to be an obsessive-compulsive clean freak. I have also been doing markets forever with my own redesigns. I transform existing garments with my trusty scissors. Scissors are a love for me… they are my ultimate tool of transformation… and see the two holes in the handles… they represent infinity… they lead the way through the galaxy and allow me to reinvent things that do away with the old and become new again. I am an avid recycler.
So along with recycling and recreating you also mentioned you’re a performer…
Yes, and I also do a bit of radio at Bay FM. I’ve been doing that for about 15 years and I use to dance for Solid Gold for about five years. I’ve done a lot of performance gigs, up and down the coast… some burlesque shows as well as some DJ-ing. I’ve also done a lot of cleaning… 25 years worth [eyes roll]. So my background is a youth worker… I’ve done theatre and wardrobe. I’ve also done horticulture, editing and TESOL (teaching english as a second language) and currently I am an activities officer with Byron Bay Kidz Klub and Trudy’s PA. I’ve done a certificate in aged care which was really rewarding but incredibly under-funded and therefore under-paid. I sole parented my daughter from 0-18.5 years. And if I’m not mothering, I’m cutting, creating, playing music, re-designing and OCD cleaning! I inject with a big trusty sanitized needle, a vibration of higher consciousness and ethos and ethics into the community. Put it this way, I would prefer to earn 20 cents an hour doing something I love than working for someone who doesn’t value their staff. I’m a bit of an anarchist like that… I avidly stand my ground.
More funky footwear… this is clearly a performer’s wardrobe! It would give many theatre wardrobes a run for their money.
Are you still performing?
Well, I haven’t stopped per se, but I have lessened. I don’t really promote myself… I never have actually… it’s not one of my greatest attributes, but if somebody wants to hunt me out, then I will. It’s the same with my radio show… everybody else promotes their show, but I don’t. I just get weirded out by promoting myself.
When does your radio show air?
Thursday brekky 6-9 and it’s called Planet Luv. You know how the correct spelling is L-O-V-E? If you add an ‘R’ at the end it becomes ‘LOVER’ but if you remove the ‘L’ it is ‘OVER’ and love is never over. That’s why I spell it phonetically.
And what type of music do you present on the show?
Intelligent dance music (IDM), uplifting, heart music… I’m a lyricist. I really love the message in the words. It’s about listening as well as sound therapy. In the future I would really like to be a sound therapist. Even if there is melancholy in music, there is still beauty in the movement of it. It allows the listener to find themselves in the music. Anything from classical, rock, hip hop, electronica, ambient, lo-fi, jazz, swooners & crooners and independent artists from Australia and world wide… I’m not really into reggae but I play a little bit of it, house, techno – you name it. Oh, I’m not into bad country or heavy metal.
Who are a couple of your favourite performers at the moment?
Well the fresh blood in Australia at the moment is Kimbra who plays with Gotye. I like a lot of music out of Europe too. David Bowie is my all time favourite… you’ll see lots of pics and posters of him around the house. He’s my all-time god.
The DJ with diamonds in her smile wakes you gently – shaken then stirred – every Thursday.
A fresh kooky platter. Image and text courtesy of Bay FM
Do you have to plan for your show?
You’re meant to but I don‘t plan anything. Dare I say it, I’m afraid of the word ‘plan’ because I’m more spontaneous. I have no idea what I’m going to say or play. You should see the studio when I’m in there… I am the messiest Virgo alive when it comes to the studio… I have stuff everywhere. And sometimes I have a track cued up and then change it at the last minute cos I tend to play by ear.
So, after 16 years you’re still passionate about your show?
Oh yeah. It’s a love and a desire to share what I discover through music. To me it is sharing, and sharing is caring… so to share the music is love. When we are all on the same page and hearing the same vibration it won’t be the love of power anymore that will be generating, it’s gonna be the power of love, a whole new movement.
Aside from your show, what else do you love about living in Byron Bay?
I love the fact that I can have complete anonymity when I want it. You can be who you want to be here. I have a beautiful network of friends and they all know I’m a kook but they let me be a kook. So I guess the beauty of Byron Bay is that it lets me be ‘me’. However, I’ve been through a lot of transformations in my time here.
I love the geography of the place. Although, I don’t particularly like some of the old sand mining dump sites here, they’re too radioactive for me. I’m super sensitive and I get burnt there. I love the lighthouse walk. It makes me really look at where I live and marvel at how beautiful it is. I feel very blessed. That doesn’t mean I don’t get sad. Sadness pops in and out like when I really miss my daughter and son in law, Felix whom calls me ‘mamma bird’. Or I get huffy when I think , oh geez, it’s been 107 years since I‘ve had a really good shag!!! But I only have to do a Marie Windsor pilates dvd workout and eat some organic dark chocolate and my huff turns to puff… the magic dragon… and I’m on fire again.
After composing our laughter (again) Glitter continues…
I think I live a very graced life. I don’t have any money and I’m so in debt but who cares? Michael Jackson was in debt (we were born a day apart) and he’s left the planet in debt… he can be Archangel Michael and maybe I will leave the planet in debt and be Archangel Glitter. I just want to live my life in peace and grace.
Given the plethora of spiritual pursuits on offer here, is there anything in particular you have explored?
I was Catholic raised but ventured into witchcraft and bandied about with a bunch of wise women for a while there. I also got into martial arts and that was a deep spiritual practice. I don’t get on any particular spiritual bandwagon because I believe your own spiritual practice is private… for me it’s transformational. I think there are a lot of rackets and brackets and a lot of would-be, should-be spiritual waffle… I don’t do the waffle… I do what is in front of me. I’m clairsentient so I have a knowing of what’s right for me.
From eyewear to (more) footwear… otter memorabilia… you name it… you will find it all in the House of Glitter
What are some of the things you don’t like about living here, the challenges?
I think the grand influx of tourism. Byron Bay has sold out… there is nothing different about it anymore. With the rise of the back packer hostels and happy houses (low cost short term share houses) there isn’t the longevity of taking care of the environment here. Even some of the businesses in town, one in particular I worked for, are too busy making money that they haven’t addressed their recycling issues… like they were reluctant to implement a recycling system due to the cost of the bins required. So they’re not taking responsibility for the environment either. The rise of the people who are gaining more and more money but don’t want to take care of the environment, really gets on my goat (she says as her horns pop out).
Employment. The lack of employment in this town is incredibly frustrating. There’s hardly any jobs unless you create your own. I think there has to be a lot more generosity with a broader view to typology in the town. There is this impression the town is full of 19 – 25 year olds, which is cow poo (trying desperately to be polite!)… there are still a lot of elderly people and lots of 40 plusses around… but they’re not catered for.
Affordable housing is another challenge. We need more affordable housing… not more houses but more affordable housing. We need a better hospital and we need to change the market site… why isn’t it on the beach front?
On the positive side, the energy here is very female and forgiving, though the land is obsidian based where it pulls you in to sort your shit out and if you can’t, it spits you out. I’m still here… whenever I try to leave, something pulls me back… it’s like, nah, you can’t go yet, you’ve still got some light work to do. Perhaps I’m going to evolve into a walking glittered LED. Very user friendly and cost efficient!
THE BYRON QUESTIONS
What’s your favourite shop?
Well it would have to be an oppy… Vinnies (St Vincent’s) op shop.
What would we find you doing on a typical Saturday morning?
Every third Saturday I’m at the Mullum Market but other than that, I’d be sitting in my shed with my trusty transformative scissors or being a true Virgo… that being either the virgin or the whore. Which is routine punctuated by the odd orgy.
What local’s tip would you give a visitor to Byron?
Straight up, do a lighthouse walk. Don’t think that it’s too hard or too hot… get up early and just do it. The panoramic view is beautiful… and the walk to Broken Head and around the headland to Seven Mile Beach is really good, too. And if you’re a shopper… wander out of town to the industrial estate and see what everyone’s doing out there. I’d like to say there was a good little dance bar to go to but there aren’t any. Oh yes there is… the Tree House, that’s great out there (Belongil) and that new underground basement where you can bring your double identity… and you can dance to music right across the board. It’s brilliant though I can’t disclose the whereabouts. I would have to kill you.
Note: Glitter is also at the Bangalow Market on the fourth Sunday of every month and she randomly opens up her House of Glitter to the public – look out for the sign near Mac’s Milkbar on Bangalow Road.