Mardi Gras / World Pride (Part Two)

“Why is the parade going THAT way?”, my colleague and friend, Sam asked me last night, as we tried to make our way through Surry Hills. We were both a bit discombobulated, after taking part in the Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras. Even though I have lived in the area for almost thirty years, we had both completely lost our sense of direction. “This is like the 90s in terms of crowd size all over again”, I said to Sam to explain my directional confusion.

My first involvement in a Mardi Gras parade was back in the 90s on a Wagga float. Then, after a lengthy break, I participated again with the ABC float in 2020 and 2021. I missed last year, due to the flood in Lismore. But was back again in the parade last year.

“Sorry, I don’t think I can talk much”, I said to my friend Sue who called me, checking in on how the parade went. As I’ve mentioned previously, I’m an introvert by nature, and crowds exhaust me. I called into home for a brief period of “recovery” before joining colleagues for an after-parade drink.

House party for Mardi Gras in Surry Hills

Taking part in the parade was one of the highlights, so far, of participating in Mardi Gras / World Pride.

ABC Pride in the Mardi Gras
Ita Buttrose leads the ABC float at Mardi Gras
Ita Buttrose leads the ABC float at Mardi Gras
ABC Pride float in Mardi Gras

But so, too, was Friday night’s Opening Concert at Sydney’s Domain. The crowds there were also pretty overwhelming. Though I had a good spot closer to the stage, I moved further back, due to my crowd phobia. Apparently, the show with 20,000 people attending was sold out. Closer to the extremity, I sat down at a nearby table.

Kylie Minogue performs at the World Pride Opening

“Do you mind if I sit here?”, I asked some people who happily said “yes”. As it turns out, they both previously lived in Lismore. One of them, in fact, lived only a few hundred metres from our place in South Lismore, and his mother still lives at nearby Alstonville. Small world, eh?

Tropical Fruits from Lismore in Mardi Gras, video thanks to my friend Andrea.

Another highlight from the week was seeing the Dan Daw Show. Originally from Whyalla, Dan now lives in London but returned to Sydney for a show for World Pride. Dan is a self-described “crip” whose work focuses on disability and sexuality. It was a pretty amazing work, both in terms of its physicality and humour. We enjoyed it very much.

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