Let’s have a gay old time

by Bill Ralston / 21 February, 2013
Shouldn’t a super-city be Super Fun?
Seven Sharp cartoon by Steve Bolton
“There’s simply no way you can argue that that is quality programming. I mean, where are the stunts?” / cartoon by Steve Bolton.


The dearly departed Auckland Hero Parade, which began in the 1990s to howls of outrage from some concerned citizenry and a majority of the horror-stricken city council – who seemed to fear a mass outbreak of homosexuality – ended in 2001 with the Prime Minister and up to 200,000 people in attendance.

As an experiment in the growth of moral tolerance it was a superb success. Sadly, the
parade’s sociological and philosophical accomplishments were not matched by financial acumen and the event eventually collapsed in a welter of debts – a kind of gay version of the Global Financial Crisis where everyone woke up after the party and realised they’d spent too much and their line of credit was exhausted.

I had done my bit to help as then editor of Metro magazine. Before the parade, the wowsers on the council had pulled their funding for it. I realised we still had, I think, $40,000 in the magazine’s marketing budget and so we stepped in to sponsor it. That act of charity had the unintended and embarrassing effect of stimulating a long line of well-built half-naked boys in tight hot pants into leading the parade down the length of Ponsonby Rd wearing photo-masks of my ugly mug.

The embarrassment was compounded when a gay magazine proclaimed me “Gay Man of the Year”. This confused my wife and me, as we’d been living under the impression I was stridently heterosexual. “Gay? I’m not even mildly cheerful!” I kept proclaiming to people who mentioned it, only to be treated to lectures on how we now lived in different times and, ‘It’s okay, Bill.”

I needed a decade to get over all that and so we were happy to wander up the road recently on a Saturday afternoon to watch the reconstituted Gay Pride Parade along Ponsonby Rd.

A gay friend came with us and there was a fair-sized crowd lining the pavements to watch. He had been talking about an iPhone app called Grindr, where gay blokes sign on and, using the phone’s GPS, can track other nearby blokes who fancy a bit of rumpy pumpy. “Turn it on,” I suggested. His phone went into meltdown. “Oh my God! There’s one five metres away. Another at 10m, 15m …” His head began wildly revolving 360 degrees trying to find potential Grindees.

For those who may be interested but of a different persuasion, there is a similar app for all orientations called Blendr. Actually, there is apparently also a Facebook app called Bang with Friends, where you can hook up with Facebook friends you had never realised wanted a bit of slap and tickle. I am not on Facebook, thankfully.

I digress. Full marks to the parade folk for giving it a go but it was a much more “family-friendly” occasion than the old school, much-raunchier Hero parades of the past. Starting it at four o’clock in the afternoon in bright sunshine does rob it of a bit of naughty ambience. It was like Walt Disney’s version of the Rio Carnival on a low budget, with Colin Craig as stage manager. It had none of the late-night frisky frisson that affected all sexualities on Hero Parade night, and was the poorer for it.

What Auckland needs is a Rio-style carnival. One that celebrates sexuality in all its forms, where everyone can dress up and party hard. Why should LGBT folk have all the fun to themselves?

It’s all very well for the Mayor and council to harp on about making Auckland “the World’s Most Liveable City”, but a liveable super-city needs Super Fun. The annual Santa parade and the Chinese Lantern Festival are, surprisingly, not enough. If they insist on calling it “The Big Little City”, let’s have a Big Little Carnival and change the city’s slogan to “Party on, dude!”
MostReadArticlesCollectionWidget - Most Read - Used in articles
AdvertModule - Advert - M-Rec / Halfpage

Latest

For the Fallen: Remembering those lost to war
71473 2017-04-24 00:00:00Z History

For the Fallen: Remembering those lost to war

by Fiona Terry

Every day before sundown, a Last Post ceremony is held at the National War Memorial in Wellington, to remember those lost in World War I.

Read more
Film review: Ghost in the Shell
71490 2017-04-24 00:00:00Z Movies

Film review: Ghost in the Shell

by Russell Baillie

Nothing dates faster than a past idea of the future.

Read more
The rate of technological change is now exceeding our ability to adapt
71303 2017-04-24 00:00:00Z Technology

The rate of technological change is now exceeding …

by Peter Griffin

A decade on from the revolution of 2007, the pace and rate of change are exceeding our capacity to adapt to new technologies.

Read more
Government tests electric limo for Crown fleet
71520 2017-04-24 00:00:00Z Technology

Government tests electric limo for Crown fleet

by Benedict Collins

An electric-hybrid limousine is being put through its paces to see whether it's up to the job of transporting politicians and VIPs around the country.

Read more
What growing antibiotic resistance means for livestock and the environment
71360 2017-04-23 00:00:00Z Social issues

What growing antibiotic resistance means for lives…

by Sally Blundell

Animals kept in close proximity, like battery chickens, are at risk of infectious disease outbreaks that require antibiotic use.

Read more
The little-known story of Ernest Rutherford's secret anti-submarine work in WWI
71418 2017-04-23 00:00:00Z History

The little-known story of Ernest Rutherford's secr…

by Frank Duffield

Famous for his work splitting the atom, Ernest Rutherford also distinguished himself in secret anti-submarine research that helped the Allies win WWI.

Read more
Book review: Larchfield by Polly Clark
71160 2017-04-23 00:00:00Z Books

Book review: Larchfield by Polly Clark

by Nicholas Reid

Poet WH Auden stars in time-hurdling novel – as a life coach to a lonely mum.

Read more
A Way with Words: Fiona Farrell
71329 2017-04-23 00:00:00Z Books

A Way with Words: Fiona Farrell

by Fiona Farrell

Do I have a routine? Yes indeed. Otherwise I’d never get anything done. I am very distractible. Suggest coffee and I’ll be there.

Read more