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Byron Shire
June 22, 2021

A tribute to Michael Vider, aka Astro Boy

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Astro Boy has left the Earth.

Suzanne Bourchier

Byron Bay has lost its brightest cosmic body, who blazed across our skies and dancefloors for nearly thirty years: our one and only Astro Boy has left the Earth.

Who in this town could forget his performances as he flashed across stages, festivals and a thousand dancefloors in full robot suit, mirror ball helmets, Cossack boots, big earrings, airconditioning ducting, psychedelic geegaws, foot-high platinum mohawk, white-tie tuxedos or whatever he felt the event needed?

Trails of bright sparks

And the event always needed him; he brought trails of bright sparks of joy and energy in his wake, and laughter.

So much laughter, as he was always the funniest, sharpest and arsie-est man in the room.

As Michael, he was also a master gardener and landscaper, made exquisite paintings, could imitate any bird or animal (the angry dog… OMG!), made every child laugh, had a love and affinity for Indigenous ways, cared for homeless and mentally ill people living rough around the town, and was the best and most loyal of friends who made and did beautiful things just to make you happy – over and over.

And he never, ever, forgot a birthday. And he had literally dozens of really close friends, including children.

Sadly, there was a deep pain in him that was never far away.

A deep well of darkness he struggled with, sometimes successfully, sometimes not successfully, and his dark despairing days were tortuous to watch.

The struggles intensified over the past few years, in which time he moved to beachside North Queensland and made a successful life there, surrounded by friends, his art, a stream of lovers and an abundance of nature.

He died there, aged 52, beautiful to the end. Vale, Astro

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