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[Mardi Gras]

Something Blue do the 40th Mardi Gras

Kath and Ben from the Something Blue crew got to experience something unique and special in 2018 – we marched in and shot the 40th Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras with the Wayside Chapel Crew!

Kath said, “We lobbed up at the Wayside headquarters in King’s Cross, where everyone was buzzing and celebrating already, getting kitted up in their angel outfits to set out for the waiting area at Hyde Park”.

Kath and Ben got in on the Angel action, with makeup and wings slung on around cameras and gear packs – high vibes!

Ben said, “I sat down and the make up lady looked at me and frowned, then she said ‘close your eyes’, then i felt this huge wet swipe of a paint brush, right across my eyes! I thought, how the hell will I aim my camera? Hahaha but i worked out fine, camera ended up pretty colourful.”

Then we set off and walked through the crowds in a group, with people cheering us on in the afternoon light that slanted in to make the angels look truly inspiring – and like they might just take flight.

We all got lost in the crowd of well wishers at times, but eventually made it to Hyde Park, where Kath and Ben took advantage of the three hour wait between 6 and 9 to take a bunch of amazing shots of the stunning crowd.

The beauty and bravery of the people waiting to parade was all about, with glitz and glamour, abs and butts flashing all about – dazzlingly elaborate preparation and hard work on show to emphasise the importance of this event.

Ben said, “oh man, it was exciting and inspiring, and you just couldn’t wipe the smile of my face – or Kath’s. So many beautiful weirdos celebrating their individuality, sexualities, and lives. I don’t know what to say. It was just so inspiring.”

“Kath and I wandered about the park, shooting tonnes of photos, and everyone was stoked to see us, stoked to give us love, and to share the love”.

“Imagine it if you can – thousands of people lining the park surrounds, hanging out of buildings and on each side of Oxford Street, which we could see rising up from the park’s end and winding around into Surry Hills and beyond.”

“As the sun went down, we saw the bus carrying the 1978 heroes setting off to parade and music thumped and rose from a hundred places and people danced and laughed, and well, it was just a one off experience. Once in a lifetime.”

As dark descended, the marchers left the park and went to the waiting area beside Hyde park, and stood near floats – they laughed and danced and walked around and met the other crews. In this way, hours passed.

Then around ten the Wayside Chapel got the call up.

Kath said, “What can you say about such an experience? And the inspiring crew from the Wayside –  just that it was a life-changing privilege. It went so fast too. One second we were all setting off, then we were in Moore Park breathing deep and laughing and smiling and floating about in the crowd of marchers who had just finished the parade”.

Ben said, “yeah we set off with a few of the group pushing this massive red, winged heart with a lit up crown on it down Oxford Street. The crew had been waiting for hours so they had started to get a bit weary, but suddenly they were all up and excited and dancing.”

“As we came up to the turn to head on to Oxford Street, music was coming from all different places, and everyone danced and ran all over the road. Then suddenly we rounded the corner, and it was surreal.”

“Just thousands of people, thousands, cheering and going nuts! Kath and I were laughing and smiling and running around, trying to get clean shots of the group and crowd, and trying to capture it all at once – firing off our cameras like crazy.”

“It was like walking through a massive sports stadium full of adoring fans, and the Wayside marchers were interacting with the crowd, high fiving and hugging them, and running all over the place – and I swear we ran the whole way, it was all over so fast”.

Kath said, “yes we were drenched in sweat and smiling like idiots, and I am pretty sure we didn’t walk a single step of the way. It was amazing.”

Big shout out and thanks to Wayside and to everyone at the parade, if that’s you, cheers – thanks for the love!

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