2014 Sydney Mardis Gras: Hitching A Ride With RSPCA NSW

2014 Sydney Mardis Gras: Hitching A Ride With RSPCA NSW
2014 Sydney Mardis Gras: Hitching A Ride With RSPCA NSW

And now for something completely different.

RSPCA NSW entered the 2014 Sydney Mardi Gras, and I gladly accepted an invite to come along for the ride (sometimes literally) and capture a little vision.

I'm not gay. Not that there's anything wrong with that!
I’m not gay. Not that there’s anything wrong with that!

In terms of my personal interest and orientation, I’ll turn to the words of another in a picture I pinched off someone’s Facebook wall this morning.

I’ve never understood why humans would choose to exclude others because of the colour of their skin, their sexual orientation, body shape, or a host of other criteria.

Among many other things that confuse the stuffing out of me, the concept of ‘exclusion’ grinds my gears probably the worst.

Top ten, anyway.

Having only ever attended one Mardi Gras before (in 2000, standing in very similar conditions to last night, craning my neck to get a glimpse of the Dykes on Bikes over a sea of heads on Liverpool Street), I jumped at the chance to go behind the scenes this year.

I was the archetypical Johnny Come Lately, having had no hand in the weeks and months of preparation that a cast of many from RSPCA NSW had put in.

Put in. Putin. Ha! No, that was Amnesty International. More on them and Vlad the Impaler later.

And while the press today talks about the rain, and the rain, and a little more about the rain, I can tell you there was none of the wet stuff falling from a good two hours before the first float headed out. If it came, it came late, as the bishop said to the actress.

Enough with the waffle, on to the vision. Note: I’ve set the resolution a little low so it doesn’t melt people’s downloads or clag out 36* times during the viewing process.

* Just realised that this was the 36th mardi gras and 36 is my lucky number. What were the odds?!

The good-natured atmosphere behind the starting line even with hours to go was so chumpy you could carve it. Happy, shiny faces, people posing for each others’ photographs, the volunteers sharing laughs and stories. And the police were getting into it more than most:

Actually, while we’re talking about the NSW Police, how about this cheeky photo-bomber:

This one must be from the Explosives Unit: The Photo Bomber!
This one must be from the Explosives Unit: The Photo Bomber! — Note. after two years and several months of behaving well, this pic has tipped 90 degrees to the right and refuses all entreaties to right itself. Too much right. It won’t go left. I’ll leave it as such, because that sounds like a god-damn metaphor, man. And nothing to do with the bottle of Wolf Blass Sauv Blanc that has recently gone 180 degrees south…

With a little extra time before the start, and with a professional photographer fully employed to get the really good stuff of RSPCA NSW’s entry, I pinched an idea that some others were doing: a continuous tracking shot through the various floats in our section:

Just a very small snippet of the crowds lining Oxford Street. In various parts, they were more animated than others, and when the veterinary nurse in the van started getting a little frisky a little later, well… Pandemonium!

The faaaaabulous massed pooches and pussies of RSPCA NSW featuring the lovely Miss Penny:

Wending their way on to where the mood lighting went a bit low, I took a vantage point from the back of the van. May need spotlights on the back of the van next time!

Getting right down to the tail, as it were, and almost to the finish line. But there was still a little spring left in the steps, some junk in the trunk, and a shimmy and sashay:

That’s it for the videos. One or two other snaps for here:

Putin On The Ritz
Putin On The Ritz
RSPCA NSW at the start line
RSPCA NSW at the start line
Earlier before the place went totally nuts… so to speak
Earlier before the place went totally nuts… so to speak
Finish line at Moore Park
Finish line at Moore Park

Well, that was a lot of fun. Thank you, RSPCA NSW for inviting me along and congratulations on a hugely successful night. I reckon if you could capture the energy and enthusiasm on show from the participants, and the exuberance it generated from the crowds, you could sell it in bottles as the elixir of youth.

On to 2015! If you’re reading this on the date of publication, switch on to SBS 2 tonight at 8.30pm for the hour highlights package. It will also be available at SBS 2’s On Demand website for a time thereafter.

UPDATE: Unfortunately RSPCA NSW got dudded in the highlights show. A couple of seconds in the background and a throwaway reference from the hosts. That’s showbiz! 😦

Love. Doggy style.
Love. Doggy style.

Epilogue: looking at that last picture nine months down the track, and though I don’t still have an association with RSPCA NSW, I still wear the backpack and redirect the questions that attracts. And I continue to be a full-time house-sitter which has curiously seen me morph into something of a dog whisperer. True story.

Herewith (again, with due regard to the above photo) my current client!


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