It’s the furthest destination us Brits can possibly travel to and spending a whole 24 hours in a plane makes sure for some certain mile-high-club action. And to top it off if you get a like minded dishy flight attendant, like I did, then it makes the trip a great deal more entertaining. However after 20 minutes of getting an earful of "I'll lose my job if we get caught" and then finding a queue of frowning passengers along with one of his work colleagues waiting out side when we emerged, I wouldn't recommend doing it again with a trolley dolly!
Darlinghurst is the main gay district
of Sydney, the main bars and shops centred around
This year's parade was out to make a political statement and cause a little bit of controversy. The lead float featured a replica of St Mary's Cathedral, and was accompanied by a cast of angels, devils and cardinals, as well as an effigy of Archbishop George Pell and the Spice Girls. It ridicules the church's stance on homosexuality as well as the narrow-minded attitudes of institutions in general. Parade director Mark Barraket said "It's a bold float that will no doubt add more than a little `spice` to the parade, the float is there to make a very political statement about institutions and the way in which they view our community."
Colin Polwarth the designer of the lead float had this to say about his design: "My hope is that the 2002 lead float causes a laugh, some mischief, and some positive action for our community. The lead float was designed to challenge and to remind Australians of the incessant discrimination homosexuals face through irrelevant moral judgement. I confess to having had great fun putting it together and am completely fired up about the response the workshop artists, cast, crew and volunteers, the parade committee and Mardi Gras board have dedicated to making the concept come alive."
He continued: "The message this parade will send out to the international community is that queer Australians are world leaders in the fight against discrimination. We do care about the plight of our brothers in repressed societies. We fight domestic and international discrimination at the highest levels. Many beyond our shores depend on us to achieve greater freedoms. The Australian queer community is a light to many where there is none."
Almost 7,000 people were involved in the 171 floats entered with almost 700,000 people lining the "golden mile" through Darlinghurst to watch it.
Twelve hundred parade officials lined the streets on the night to handle the crowds and deal with emergencies, they were identified by tee-shirts bearing the slogan "Walk a mile in our shoes". The reason for this slogan said Mark Barraket was "to encourage the straight society to consider the issues that we, as gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people, face in or lives - issues such as youth suicide, unequal age of consent and the fight for religious acceptance. It's important to acknowledge that walking in our shoes can be absolutely fantastic. We are successful in our places of work, on the sporting field, in the way in which we form meaningful and loving relationships and most of all, in our ability to celebrate and party".
Unlike most other Pride/Mardi Gras parades around the world it takes place after sunset, kicking off at . It was my first time ever in
The parade finishes at Fox Studios where the Mardi Gras committee lay on the largest gay party in the world. There's 4 dance arean's, a fair, drag shows, bars and shopping area. Canadian songstress Deborah Cox wowed the crowds at 1am with her hits Nobody’s Supposed To Be Here and Absolutely Not!, the latter song performed with the assistance of 21 Chanel-clad drag performers. At , Popstars graduates Bardot took to the stage to perform their single I Need Somebody in a James Bond-themed show which also featured 20 Pussy Galores and four drag king 007s. Arguably the campest moment of the night was to come at when Human Nature belted out Wham!’s high-energy hit I’m Your Man, complete with George Michael styling, 30 retro-clad male dancers and a shower of golden glitter. Swedish trio Alcazar performed their dance floor favorite Crying At The Discotheque just before , bringing an end to the 12-hour party.
Entertainment was also on offer in the Hordern Pavilion, courtesy of a jello-wrestling pit which I personally got involved with too, and at the Diva Drag Bar, where the cream of
Party director Glenn Horder said he was “really, really happy” with the party, particularly as it was his last in the role of Mardi Gras party director. “It was the best party I’ve ever been involved with,” he said. “I’m very happy to have been involved, but it’s time for someone else to take the reins and give the party a new direction, which is hopefully what I’ve done over the past few years.”
The weekend prior to the parade was that of the Harbour Party. This year it was held for two nights instead of just the one. After six years, the lease of the Britannic Gardens, where the party is held, has come to an end. The management has since changed and apparently are a lot more conservative. It isn't thought that another harbour Party will occur with-in the near future although the Mardi Gras committee did tell me that there are plans to put on another one in the pipeline. Here are 3 galleries of photos from the Harbour Party in 2002 and a short 9 minute movie to watch…
Over looking the city lights and opera house thousands of circuit boys (and girls) danced the night away in what was one of those magical experiences's I'll always remember. The DJ who headlined the final night along with many other dance events through-out the Mardi Gras weeks was our very own English bred
Wayne G from Heaven. When asked what he most liked about
Any one who hasn't been to
For further photos and info regarding Sydney Mardi Gras log onto: www.MardiGras.org.au