Connections posters donated to State Library collection

The State Library’s latest acquisition over 200 posters spanning the 44 years of entertainment at Connections Nightclub.

The posters have all been dated and annotated and will go into the library’s permanent collection providing a unique and interesting historical record of LGBTIQ+ culture in Western Australia.

Many different graphic designers and photographers have worked on the club’s posters over the decades, but many people would be surprised to find out that most of the posters in recent years have been made by club owner Tim Brown himself.

“In recent years most of them are mine, about 98% of them, I always love doing that.” Tim says, but argues that his own creativity probably shouldn’t be the focus of the interview.  I disagree and insist it’s actually fascinating that the club owner holds on to this task, that could easily be outsourced.

“It’s because I’m actually a creative, and I’m happiest when I’m DJing and cutting out people in photoshop.” Tim said.

Looking back over 200 posters and 40 years of performances at the club via the posters in an insight into the club’s long history. Tim says there’s a lot to be learned from the posters.

“For one, we’ve got a lot better at making posters.” Tim says breaking into a laugh. “But what it does show is the sheer diversity of stuff, but first of all the sheer volume of stuff!”

“We went through and carefully chose 200 posters from a much larger collection” Tim shared, describing the process of picking a selection that showed the huge variety of events and performances that take place in the long running venue.

“For events like Switch Ball or shows that we’ve done four or five times, we tried to give them a complete set, and we tried to get all the Pride posters in there, and all the birthdays.” Tim said.

While there were lots of posters from the last 20 years of the clubs history, there were fewer from the venue’s early days in the 1970s.

“The further back you go the less there is, there was only a couple of things from 70’s and a couple from the 80’s.” Tim said.

“I do believe the greatest value in Connections is its consistency over the years.” Tim said of the long running venue sharing that since he started working at the club in the early 90’s, he’s always had a clear vision of what the club should be.

“I always dreamed over a world that looks kind of like the one we are in now, where the world is more open, but where does that leave gay venues? We’re seeing that manifest all over the world with the shutting down of them.

“The value in Connections was always that it was a broader church than just gay men. It’s always been the gays and the lesbians, it’s always been young and old, it’s always included out allies, from the get-go, and I think that that has played out well to get to wear we are now.

“My view about what I wanted Connections to be has always been this, if you got into a taxi at the airport, this and told the taxi driver that you wanted to go out dancing, I want to go out late, they’d tell you about Connections, and say ‘It’s a gay club – remember this is 1991 talk here – but you’ll have a great time if you’re cool with that.’

“I think that’s sort of what we’ve become.” Tim said saying the vision for the club has always been the ability to survive and continue through changes.

The posters being donated to the State Library are the embodiment of thousands of nights out, millions of stamps on wrists, and hundreds of drag performances.

Tim says he could remember all the different performances that are depicted on the posters, but placing when they had occurred was often worked out by identifying which drag performers are in the posters and their different timeframes of working in the club.

Drag Queen carbon dating is not a recognised archaeological process, but it’s one that worked to get all the posters into chronological order.

The decades of posters supplied to the library is not the only way the club’s history is being preserved for future generations. Connections and the State Library are now working on a collection of photos from the club.

Graeme Watson