So Mardi Gras, then. What

07/01/2001

So Mardi Gras, then. What was all that about? Met up with Davo and Meg and innumerable kiwis before tromping off to meet Sam and Nick H. at King’s Cross where we were to meet Rachel. At this point I lost everyone but Sam, Nick and Rachel. From there to Finsbury Park – all sunshine and poofs and innumerable pop acts.

After wandering around for a bit, looking at the astonishing fairground rides and the line-dancing hairy people in leather, we wandered towards the Radio One stage where we stumbled upon a Pimms and Champagne tent, had something to drink (£3.50 for half a pint – jesus) where we bumped into Meg and Nicki. Meg took photos of us. [Tom | Sam, Nick, Rachel, Tom]. Shortly afterwards Meg and Nicki wandered off and we started towards the main stage. On the way, we bumped into Ian from Blogadoon.

The main stage was exhausting but cool. Lots of the trashiest pop acts you can imagine in the same place at the same time. We got there for one vaguely popular act – can’t quite remember which, and then watched the Human League (two cool old songs, and several weird new ones), Sugababes (dull), Steps (the crowd went wild for some reason, and I thought of Chris doing the dance all the way through) and the very entertaining Hear,Say – who got cheers beyond all reasonable measure every time Noel came to the front of the stage. He couldn’t stop laughing about this, which was quite sweet. And be warned – Steps are doing a cover of ‘Chain Reaction’ sometime this autumn.

There were a couple of tremendously amusing moments along the way. Supergirly did a tremendous version of a couple of Britney Spears classics smooshed together. They both sang at the same time the choruses and they worked together perfectly. They also slagged off 5ive for their non-attendance, which was entertaining. And speakers like Ken Livingstone and Peter Tatchell were a bit of a laugh as well. Possibly the funniest part of the afternoon though was the presence of Penny from Big Brother and a video message from Josh from same TV program, clearly filmed before he went in. As he talked to the crowds, clearly full of himself and his pumped-up body a low chant from the crowd gradually exploded into a full roar of “Brian, Brian, Brian, Brian”. The gay community have spoken and they have picked their favourite.

Somewhere in the middle of all this I managed to lose Sam and Nick who both had descended into mid-to-late-Pride ennui and a feeling of disconnection from the sheer wealth of poofdom. After several attempts to reinspire them I kind of gave up. Although I did force them to go and see EMF over at the Popstarz tent. On the way we bumped into John W wearing a plastic fireman’s outfit. One ‘Unbelievable’ later, Nick’s much perkier and Sam’s run into an ex of his and wandered off somewhere.

At which point, my mobile phone goes insane and we suddenly start receiving all the text messages that we’d waited for all day from people trying to get in touch. Of course, several hours too late. Davo comes and meets us on the park outside the Trade tent and then John joins us. After half and hour of mooching and watching the sunset (around 9.00 – 9.30) and me giving my number to the friend of a guy wearing a Number 2 t-shirt, we proceeded to wander towards the exit – finding on the way a kind of little Latin / Easy Listening disco which we mucked around in for a while.

Once that had shut down it was just a bag of candy floss, a few cigarettes, a can of beer and an endless hike to the tube station before we were in Soho, guzzling trashy bottled drinks we’d smuggled out of bars on Old Compton Street. And then I flaked and had to go home. Quite a day. Exhausting.