24 Feb 2008 (links may/may not still work)
If I go I will be about an hour late… Sounds interesting though, and I am not doing much about Mardi Gras this year. As for last year, see here and here, and before that quite a few entries and pages on the Big Archive.
The Empress is a 78-er: that is he was in the first Mardi Gras in 1978. (That’s from a left-wing source and they do romanticise themselves a bit, in my opinion. Shame about the attitudes and policies of people like Castro and Mugabe…) He’s not participating this year on the grounds it is all too commercial now and, he thinks, has lost the plot. That is perhaps a bit too strong, though I know what he means. I think it still serves a useful purpose, and is also one of Sydney’s more colourful occasions, though some still find it confronting. That last may in fact be proof The Empress is not right…
This did catch my eye today:
More than 30 clerics – from the Anglican, Baptist, Pentecostal and Uniting churches – planned to march and more than 60 had signed an apology, 100 Revs group spokesman pastor Mike Hercock (right) said.
“Church has been a hostile place for a number of people, including the homosexual community. It’s really trying to get away from the ideology of throwing rocks,” he said.
Mardi Gras chairman Marcus Bourget: “It’s a historic moment in the history of Mardi Gras for ministers to be marching to say sorry. In a way, it’s what Mardi Gras is all about – understanding, compassion and acceptance.”
See also UNITING NETWORK.
This is a long way from that creepy and far too famous little sect in the USA, Fred someone, whom I won’t even dignify with a link. Instead, look at The Association of Welcoming & Affirming Baptists (USA) and Soulforce.
For Sydney more generally, see:
Posted on WP and Ninglun on Blogspot.
28 Feb 2008 (links may/may not still work)
After coaching tonight I caught the slow bus from Chinatown to arrive on a cold and wet Sydney night at Newtown’s rather wonderful Courthouse Hotel for the blogger meetup. That’s not our group in the picture on the right. I was late, so I missed Marcellous.
Even before I had settled into the group for an hour I met of all people someone I had taught English with at Dapto back in 1970, one of the Spender sisters, Dale and Lynn, the former a rather well-known feminist writer, the other no slouch either. It was Lynn I saw, though initially I thought it was Dale. We both contemplated the years that had flown since then with some amazement, though I have to say I am a minnow compared with what those two have done with that time. (See also When I was a twenty-something conservative in transition…)
Someone whose travels eclipse M’s trips in duration, if not quite in exotic destinations but he comes very close, is this person:
I’m an Aussie who has just spent 2 1/2yrs roaming around Europe with my dog, a very large Alaskan Malamute by the name of Bondi. Our adventure began in May 2005. So far we’ve travelled around much of UK, including a week-long walk across Scotland; spent 2 months each in Spain & Paris, plus a 5 week circuit of Ireland; done a load of family-tree research; a coast-to-coast crossing of England on foot along Hadrian’s Wall path, and a side-trip to dive wrecks in the northern part of the Red Sea. Most recently we completed a 20,000km 20-country tour of Europe by car, and 3 months in Scotland.
I also discovered what the wonderful header on Dancing About Architecture is all about.
Check here to learn more about what this meet was and who was there. I imagine a relevant post might appear before long too. Topics as various as knitting, historical reenactments, and Number 96 — that site was especially referred to — were being talked about as I, noticing that it was getting dark out, decided I had to set off home, which I did via an excellent Chinese noodle shop in King Street.
Newtown at night is, I have to say, far more interesting and far more pleasant these days than Oxford Street.
29 Feb 2008 (links may/may not still work)
Must put the Court House on the list of places Sirdan and I should go to.
02 Mar 2008 (links may/may not still work)
…not at Mardi Gras last night. 😉
Or so it would seem.*
By all accounts it was a great success.
Australia’s gay and lesbian community stepped out in style to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Sydney’s Mardi Gras parade, lighting up the city’s streets with a colourful array of costumes and characters on Saturday evening.
Heading the 1.6 kilometre route was a group known as the 78ers, who took part in the first Mardi Gras in 1978. On that occasion, what started out as a peaceful march ended in confrontation with the police and several arrests.
“The 30th anniversary makes it extra special this year,” said Thomas Finnegan, 23, wearing a white mask and sequin-laden leotard and taking part in his third Mardi Gras.
With a theme of “Brave New World”, organisers were expecting up to 300,000 people to line the parade route.
Graeme Browning, the parade’s director, said that while the event’s 30th birthday was cause for celebration, the fight for acceptance and equality continued…
I wasn’t there in 1978, being still in the closet. I was there in 1988 and 1998 though. 1988 I remember especially, as I was working at the Jewish school at the time and an habitue by then of The Albury Hotel. At the Jewish school I was a roll teacher of a Year 8 class. The Friday before the parade a curly-headed boy with big eyes asked me, “Are you going to that Mardi Gras parade, Mr W?” Then he went on, “I’d love to see it; they’re my kind of people!” Um. What do you say? I replied, diplomatically: “Yes, I will probably see it. I live near there, you know.” I have often wondered what happened to that kid…
One other year around that time I was watching the parade in Flinders Street only to notice that I was surrounded by students from The Mine, where I was then working. “I didn’t know you were gay, Mr W,” one said. (I guess my Mardi Gras t-shirt gave me away.) “Don’t worry,” I said. “It’s not catching.” Of course an even bigger giveaway was the night I found myself in the Albury at the urinal with a Mine student next to me. “Oh, hullo Sir,” he said. “Doesn’t it seem rather odd to call me Sir in a place like this?” was all I could think to say. He just laughed.
And speaking of being the only gay in the village, look at The only gay in the village by Graham Norton on ABC Unleashed.
Tom’s account of his first Mardi Gras Parade (this year) resonated with my own memory of my first in 1986! He also has one of the most brilliant bits of graphic art I’ve seen on a blog for a very long time**. Do go and look. It turns out too that the slide show that currently heads my VodPod was done by Tom, though I hadn’t realised it at the time I collected it.
Sirdan and The Empress, whom I caught up with this afternoon, did watch the parade in comparative comfort. I might have gone too had I known. Apparently the Midnight Shift had cameras posted above street level so you could watch what was happening outside on the big screens in the pub.
** Tom says on his post now that this is very easy to do, and even tells us how to do it. 🙂