Snap Shot #37: Prime Parade Position

mardi-gras-float

It’s 1988 and I’m in the home stretch of my eighteen-month stint at the Australian Film Television and Radio School. Although I’ve had little direct contact with the TV department, I decide to volunteer for the outside broadcast of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parade. These are still the days before any of the country’s television networks are comfortable with broadcasting the event. So the AFTRS students record it as an exercise. Having been to at least a couple of the parades since moving to Sydney a few years earlier, I figure this could be a way to get a half decent view of the glitter fest. I am assigned as a camera assistant. Since the cameras are pretty self contained and linked directly to the outside broadcast van, the cameraman I’m teamed with has no real use for me. This works for me, especially when I see that our camera is elevated about ten metres by a scissor lift located at Taylor Square. This means that all the glitter adorned floats head straight for us before angling off towards the show grounds. It’s a mind blowing experience and easily the best position to take in all the glitz and glam. The downside doesn’t present itself until every subsequent time I go the parade, straining to see through the crowds, hoping for an abandoned milk crate to stand on for that little bit of precious elevation. But a milk crate is a poor substitute for a scissor lift. So I’m forced to accept that my Mardi Gras parade experience has well and truly peaked.

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