If the way I feel right now is any indication, it’s going to be a shabby Mardi Gras.

I’ve brought it on myself, going out too hard and too far at the first launch of the season. It wasn’t a Mardi Gras event, but it was so chock-full of poof, it felt like one.

It was the launch of Paul Freeman’s speccy new book, Bondi Classic, at the Kings Cross MG dealership. What the MG brand has to do with photos of naked men is anybody’s guess, but it was certainly a shmick place for a party.

There was the usual super-abundance of free-flowing champagne, a few community notables, some supermodels masquerading as drinks-waiters for the evening, and just about every hot gay dude in Sydney. There were hundreds of them, squeezed into their tastefully printed T-shirts and long-sleeved shirts, chatting to their mates and trying hard not to look too gaga about the immediate proximity of all the other hot gay men. It was really quite a striking scene, like a full-scale congress of the Dude Nation or something. If by some crazy cosmic happenstance it had all suddenly turned into an orgy, it probably would have been a good one.

John Marsden was there; we chatted about his love-life and he asked me where all the attractive men hang out these days -“ and then he said he had to go because he was late for Kate Fischer’s birthday party, who, he helpfully explained, was the one with the tits.

Brett Sheehy was there; he introduced Paul Freeman with his typical flair and good humour. Someone near me in the crowd urged Sheehy to stand up while he was speaking, which I thought was a little cheeky, given he was already standing on a raised platform. This person then said he and Brett went way back, so it was OK for him to heckle.

And George was there. George, the model for all seasons, with two DNA covers and now the cover of Bondi Classic under his belt. I bailed him up in the queue for the bathroom and told him I had to interview him. He probably thought I was some kind of freak -“ but I’m getting the interview. (Check next week’s Star. It’s going to be really excellent.)

Things deteriorated after that. My drinking buddy and I ignored common sense and crashed the post-launch drinks session. Drunkenness ensued. Thus my hangover now.

So now I’m looking at the prospect of a long Mardi Gras season of launches, parties and boozy shindigs, starting with tomorrow’s festival launch in Hyde Park. I propose to make the most of it, and I reckon you should too. Happy shabby Mardi Gras, everyone. Cheers.

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