First, the stuff that really blows:

-¢ That moment, early in the night, when you realise that the punishing gym regime you’ve been following for the past three months needed to be at least twice as intense and three times as long;

-¢ That moment when some freak burns you on the dancefloor with their flailing cigarette;

-¢ And that sinking feeling you get when you realise you’re listening to a DJ who wants to educate the crowd. Pah!

And now, for the good stuff:

-¢ That incredible rush that comes when the Dykes on Bikes gun their bikes up Oxford Street. Boobs out, limbs akimbo, all yelling, honking and revving -¦ the sign that Mardi Gras has arrived.

-¢ That moment when you realise the importance of Mardi Gras. You chat to the straight mum from the central coast who’s standing next to you behind the barricade and she tells you why she brings her kids down for the parade every year; or you see the PFLAG float go by; or you simply look around at the enormous crowd who have gathered to support this thing, and you think wow.

-¢ That moment when you see someone so beautiful, they actually take your breath away.

-¢ Followed by that moment when you see someone acting like such a trashbag, they take your breath away as well.

-¢ That moment when you find yourself at the party, screaming your head off for a performer you’ve (a) never heard of, or (b) don’t like particularly much.

-¢ That moment when you see that hot little number from the gym -“ the one whose sexuality has always been a mystery -“ and you realise that they play on your team after all.

-¢ Those lovely, if somewhat tacky moments, usually late in the party, when boyfriends and girlfriends tell their partners how much they love them, how nice they are, and how pretty the lights look when they flash like that. Or is that just me?

-¢ Those moments when the sun comes up on the Sunday morning. I know it’s awful in some ways -“ no one’s pretty at that hour -“ but it also brings with it an incredible feeling of achievement -¦ a sense of We’re here, we’re queer, it’s Mardi Gras -¦ let’s keep this thing going. That feeling rocks.

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