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“kings cross is… a dark hole. it’s a cycle of sex, drugs and sleeping… you know, you feel like you can’t escape it“ – natasha “for full-service it’s one fifty for half-anhour, three hundred for the hour. i have a private room that’s really close up there” as she points up the street from where i had come from. “you can have oral, cum-in-mouth, anal, kissing…” i interrupted ‘natasha’s’ sale pitch to inform her i wish to take photos instead. she asked what did i mean – it was clear natasha was on something this night, as standing still and making eye contact was not possible. i explained to her that i wanted to take photos of the room where she takes her clients and the path she takes to that room, and to make her comfortable i said “let’s go to the room first and i won’t take photos until you’re comfortable” “it’ll still cost you 150 bucks” – yeah of course, no problems i replied i had spent the previous two weeks building up my courage to approach a working girl, thinking what in the world to say without causing offence or getting myself into trouble, and it turned out to be much easier than i had expected. the walk to the room is a very short distance from her waiting spot on the street. we pass mcdonalds on our left and enter a small but yet very crowded entrance due to the bouncers

from the strip club next door. it has a simple flashing red neon light above the entrance reading ‘open 24hrs kx budget’. we continue up a flight of stairs covered in dirty beige carpet to an old man sitting at the front desk watching late night australian drama on a crappy small television high up on the wall. the three times i’ve seen natasha no eye contact has ever been made on me by this man, even when paying twenty dollars for the room. after paying we head up another flight of stairs which are guarded with a red metal hand-rail leading us to room number four. during our time i asked natasha if she had ever done a car job. “i’ve done two, but i never did again after the last, a guy was forcing me down with both his hands” natasha makes it clear of the force used to push her head down by demonstrating with her hands in-between her legs, turning them like someone trying to open a very tight jar. she continued“… while i was giving him head and i hate that, i don’t like being pushed down and i told him to stop and when i wanted to leave he… like yeah, he raped me… and then he kicked me out the door”. ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– “every girl out there has a story you couldn’t even imagine” ‘shelly’ proclaimed. – do you mind if i ask about yours

“no, i was molested by a family member – it was my brother” – did that turn you to drugs “nah not at all – i mean, i do a bit of coke here and there. i don’t even forgive him because he’s my brother, but like ummm, i hate him with a passion, but i accept it happened – and you can’t move on unless you put it behind you.” further into the conversation while taking photos i asked shelly if she was an addict and she promptly answered “no i’m not an addict, i’m not addicted to anything…” that all changed at the end of our paid time when she noticed me staring at her track marks around her wrist while i was preparing to take a photograph. not to make my staring obvious, i drew attention to a poor quality tattoo that read ‘mum’ located amongst the tracks on her wrist. – that’s a nice tat “yeah, and they’re tracks” shelly confirmed with obvious discomfort. “i shoot up coke, i mean… guys come in here with bags of coke, what are you meant to do.”


where do you want to live

what is your favourite colour

what is your favourite word

what is your least favourite word

what is your idea of happiness


what turns you on

what turns you off

what occupation would you want to try

what occupation would you not want to try

how would you like to be remembered


where do you want to live

what is your favourite colour

what is your favourite word

what is your least favourite word

what is your idea of happiness


what turns you on

what turns you off

what occupation would you want to try

what occupation would you not want to try

how would you like to be remembered


where do you want to live

what is your favourite colour

what is your favourite word

what is your least favourite word

what is your idea of happiness


what turns you on

what turns you off

what occupation would you want to try

what occupation would you not want to try

how would you like to be remembered


where do you want to live

what is your favourite colour

what is your favourite word

what is your least favourite word

what is your idea of happiness


what turns you on

what turns you off

what occupation would you want to try

what occupation would you not want to try

how would you like to be remembered


where do you want to live

what is your favourite colour

what is your favourite word

what is your least favourite word

what is your idea of happiness


what turns you on

what turns you off

what occupation would you want to try

what occupation would you not want to try

how would you like to be remembered


where do you want to live

what is your favourite colour

what is your favourite word

what is your least favourite word

what is your idea of happiness


what turns you on

what turns you off

what occupation would you want to try

what occupation would you not want to try

how would you like to be remembered


where do you want to live

what is your favourite colour

what is your favourite word

what is your least favourite word

what is your idea of happiness


what turns you on

what turns you off

what occupation would you want to try

what occupation would you not want to try

how would you like to be remembered


where do you want to live

what is your favourite colour

what is your favourite word

what is your least favourite word

what is your idea of happiness


what turns you on

what turns you off

what occupation would you want to try

what occupation would you not want to try

how would you like to be remembered


where do you want to live

what is your idea of happiness

what is your favourite colour

what is your favourite word what turns you on

what is your least favourite word


what turns you off

what occupation would you not want to try

how would you like to be remembered

what occupation would you want to try


where do you want to live

what is your favourite colour

what is your favourite word

what is your least favourite word


what is your idea of happiness

what turns you on


what occupation would you not want to try what occupation would you want to try

what turns you off


how would you like to be remembered


“my step dad was molesting me from the age of three until i ran away. he use to have people come over and pay him… to you know, fuck me as a kid… do you know what i mean“ – Lexy

“what are you doing tonight.” ‘sam’ and i had made regular eye contact over the past couple of months while i was constantly walking the main strip of kings cross. this was the first time sam had spoken to me.

– really simple, like what’s your favourite colour, favourite word” “that’s easy, mine’s – fuck off!”

– i’m doing a quiz, do you mind doing it. just answer ten simple questions for 20 bucks

i loved lexy instantly, she resisted to make eye contact as we spoke, keeping her defence strong. i couldn’t wait to read her answers. full of fire, disdain, and arrogance.

“are our arses too fat for your photos” sam replied.

– i haven’t seen you before

sam obliged and grabbed my book with the ten personality questions from me as we stood at a regular rendezvous point for working girls. i heard a voice over my shoulder call to me “hey, can i do it too” it was another working girl ‘lexy’.

“i’ve been up here far too long, longer than these girls”. we were interrupted by a very short elderly man of mediterranean appearance approaching lexy for her services. i didn’t hear his questions. lexy promptly replied to the man with no warmth “one sixty five for half-an-hour, three eighty for an hour”.

– yeah, for 20 bucks, it won’t take long “oh, i was going to do it anyway, but that’s a bonus. what’s it for”

– sorry, i don’t mean to get in your way with your clients “he wasn’t a client, he was a pervert”

i explained to lexy my project and the simplicity of the questions.

– what’s the difference

“no one’s going to tell the truth, they can just lie… we’re all fucked up here. that’s the truth. what are the questions”.

she smiles, “a pervert speaks to you like this” lexy aggressively leans into me while staring at my chest implying if i was to have breast “how much”.

sam finished her ten questions and passed the book onto lexy. “what are you doing” ‘natalya’ asked. i had noticed while speaking to lexy, four other working girls paying close attention to my presence. ‘rosey, annie smith, natalya and cathy’. the questionnaire book was passed around amongst the girls while i stood beside cathy with our backs up against a black roller door. myself observing the crowd, cathy eyeing potential customers. cathy, who previously told me to fuck off the week prior when i approached her to write in my book, was incredibly warm and responsive on this particular night. as a former heroin addict, cathy came back to kings cross for the cash to support her young child. the book had made it’s way to rosey, a tiny japanese working girl. rosey needed my help to write in the book as her hands were preoccupied holding a coffee and cigarette. as i held her coffee, i hear “hey, want a piece of apple” natayla outreached her arm holding a plastic container with a sliced apple and pear inside. it was a kind gesture that i happily accepted. we continued to share tales and a sliced apple.


anywherebuthere.com.au All Text and Images Š Ian Flanders. All Rights Reserved. Design by Ian Flanders. No part of this publication can be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise without the written permission of Ian Flanders.


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