“What are your plans for Mardi Gras? Are you going to the parade? Are you going to the party?” have been the questions colleagues have been asking me over the last couple of weeks. When I’ve told them, “I’m actually a little shy, I’m not very good with crowds”, they’ve seemed a little disappointed. But there was a time in my youth, when I’ve been a more enthusiastic attender of Mardi Gras. In particular, between about 1989 and 2000.
My first Mardi Gras was in 1989. I was 23 years old. Though I’m struggling to find photographic evidence, I know there’s one of me with friends, where I’m wearing a “Smiley face t-shirt” (it was an ecstasy reference, I’m sure) and “Batman” shorts. I was living in Bourke in NSW at the time, and coming down to Sydney was “quite a thing”.
If you were to ask similarly aged gay men to nominate their “Mardi Gras Soundtrack”, there’s a good chance they’ll nominate something from the Priscilla soundtrack, even though of course this was in the days before Priscilla. But for those of us of a certain age, “Dancing Queen”, “I Will Survive” and many other songs will spring to mind, and roll instantly off the tongue.
But for me, the ultimate reminder of that period of time is a song called “Pump Up The Jam” by Technotronic. At the party at the showground, I remember dancing with friends to an extended remix of the song which lasted maybe 15 or 20 minutes. We had long attention spans back then!
I stopped going to the party (and Sleaze Ball) in about 2001. After that time I lost interest in the big party scene, though, my interest in music continues to this day, and I love nothing more than going out for a dance. Palms!! However, I’m not one of those trapped in the era of twenty years ago, fondly remembering the “golden days”. I’m mindful the “golden days” for subsequent generations will be the music of today. But in the meantime – I hope you’ve enjoyed an awesome song from the 1980s.