||[Mar. 4th, 2007|04:10 pm]
The Mardi Gras parade was Saturday night. I sat in some seating that had been organized for the Bobby Goldsmith Foundation (AIDS charity that gets the proceeds) with my friends Gary and Robert plus some more of their gang who will probably become Yuri and my gang initially after we land. They're mostly Asian/Anglo couples, but they're all very nice. We watched the parade in a bit of a low-key way. It was certainly not the same as I remember it. There were some great things, club presences were strong ( e.g. regional gay groups, gay sports, etc.) Just about everything was serious, though. The Mardi Gras used to be full of joke floats and controversial political comments e.g. silly politician effigies, John Howard's head on a platter, etc. Especially tasteless comments on something camp in the news. That was almost entirely absent except for one very funny joke. There was a huge marching contingent tribute to Kylie Minogue, literally for hundreds of meters in grouple wearing different colored short shorts etc. After that had passed, bringing up the rear were four frumpy drag queens holding up signs saying "Dannii Pride" on one side and "I can sing too!" on the other.|
The aftermath was rather ugly - reminded me of Castro Halloween, all suburban gawkers and (worse) teenagers from the outer suburbs. We saw a guy in handcuffs and nearby, the young guy he had obviously bashed. Some of his gang started throwing bottles at the police, and then they baton charged in response. It probably defused quickly, but that's not the Mardi Gras spirit at all. It's sliding into a hetero sideshow where too many obnoxious people use it as an excuse to trash the neighborhood, just like Castro Halloween. It just goes to show what happens when you keep trying to get bigger every year and more inclusive - eventually you become a generic pissup. I liked it when most younger thugs would have thought that going to the parade would make their peers think they could be gay. That's no longer the case, but in the earlier days it kept the audience on our side. Attending was more of a statement of support for gays. Now they attend because it's the huge party everyone goes to for booze and lawless behavior.
So, before all that there was another late night on Friday for my 20 year high school reunion. The Oaks! The megabar in Neutral Bay, beer garden, function rooms, underage drinkers on fake IDs. I was never terribly interested in it during school days, and when I went to Sydney University, I was more interested in the local bars (and later the Newtown! Woo hoo!). One other out gay man in our group of 65 (from a class of 120). What a rip. Still, we all had a good time. People were very friendly and largely uncompetitive. (I was dreading the "what are you doing now?" competition). Kangaroo steak for dinner, lots of booze and a bit of slurred speech. When The Oaks kicked us out at 1:30, we kicked on to Minsky's (OMG what a dump). The one successful actor in our group was very actor-y (spotlight here, please). Lots of friends approached with slurred incoherent messages of support. Brad (the other poof) and I had a good chat, and on Saturday I saw him in the Sydney Convicts Rugby marching group in the parade. We all "vowed" to stay in contact after I return. I think it will actually happen, though. Twenty years has been long enough for the school days to recede. We're all more than twice as old as we were when we finished, most of us have had career shifts and life has failed to a play by our early scripts. Still, I had hoped for more poofters. We were a boys' school, dammit!
Flying back tomorrow. See you all then.