Rhodri Marsden's interesting objects: The rainbow flag
Rhodri Marsden is the Technology Columnist for The Independent; he has also written about crumpets, Captain Beefheart, rude place names and string. He's also a musician who plays in the band Scritti Politti, and won the under-10 piano category at the 1980 Watford Music Festival by playing a piece called "Silver Trumpets" with verve and aplomb.
Saturday 21 June 2014
* A rainbow flag was first flown as a symbol of LGBT pride 36 years ago this week, when two such flags were hoisted at the San Francisco Gay Freedom Day Parade. "From that first moment," said the flag's designer, Gilbert Baker, "I knew that this was the most important thing that I would ever do."
* Baker's skills as a vexillographer stemmed, he has said, from a realisation that he wasn't cut out to be a fashion designer. He was inspired by American politician and gay activist Harvey Milk to create a banner for the parade, an anti-flag that would "reach across borders". Baker also saw it as an answer to the pink triangle, a Nazi-designed symbol which, he felt, "represented homosexuals as victims".
* The original eight-colour flag featured pink, red, orange, yellow, green, turquoise, blue and violet, representing sex, life, healing, sunlight, nature, magic, serenity and spirit respectively. The difficulty of obtaining pink material ("I exhausted the very limited supply") saw him reduce the number of colours to seven, and then to six in 1979, when the organisers of that year's Parade in San Francisco expressed a desire to divide the flag in half and fly three stripes on either side of the street. The six-colour flag has since become standard, but Baker has expressed a desire to "bring the eight colours back".
* Baker's rainbow flags have twice broken the world record for the world's largest; firstly in 1994 at the 25th anniversary of the Stonewall riots in New York City, and again in 2003 when a 1.5 mile version was unfurled down Duval Street in Key West, Florida to commemorate the flag's 25th birthday. Following the record attempt, Baker cut it into pieces and distributed them to gay communities around the world. "It belongs to everyone," he said. "That's what makes it wonderful"
Life & Style blogs
Penis size study: what's 'normal' anyway?
Drugs Live cannabis trial: Hash is less harmful than any other drug, expert claims
What happens to your body when you give up sugar?
Penis size: is there a correlation with sexual satisfaction? A scientific look
Majority of UK women don't bathe or take a shower daily
Durham Free School: 'Creationism taught at' free school facing closure
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
Ukraine crisis: Top Chinese diplomat backs Putin and says West should 'abandon zero-sum mentality'
Boris Nemtsov shot dead: Outspoken Putin critic who had expressed fears for his life is killed near the Kremlin
- 1 What happens to your body when you give up sugar?
- 2 Have sex with your iPad thanks to the new sex toy no-one asked for
- 3 Bali nine: Welcome to 'Execution Island' – the Indonesian holiday resort where foreigners are sent to die
- 4 The 'sex selfie stick' lets you FaceTime the inside of a vagina
- 5 Why you're almost certainly more like your father than your mother
£45000 - £55000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior VMware Platform En...
£10000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A distributor of specialist ele...
£17000 - £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A distributor of specialist ele...
£32000 per annum + pension, healthcare & 23 days holiday: Ashdown Group: A gro...