Kathy Marks: Gay pride meets corporate ambition

Sydney Notebook: While same-sex marriage remains illegal, the mention of politics makes many gay people yawn

Were it not for the forest of empty beer bottles in my flower bed yesterday, topped by a rakishly positioned feather boa, I might have forgotten about the Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parade, which wended its way through my neighbourhood on Saturday evening.

The parade, now celebrating its 33rd year, has become a bit of a damp squib. It's still a flamboyant affair, with plenty of sequins and leather on display. But in recent years it has lost its edginess and the crowds have dwindled. When I moved to the area 10 years ago, the main thoroughfare, Oxford Street, was so packed in the days before the parade that you could barely navigate your way along the pavements. Transvestites tottered around on platform heels, and the sense of anticipation was palpable.

Now many gay people shun the event, either leaving town to avoid the hassle of road closures, or finding a better party to attend. "It's for tourists," says one friend. "For locals, it's a bit passé. I don't want to see the Ikea float, or the St George Bank float. The whole event has become boring and corporatised. There's no irony in it any more." Some wonder whether Mardi Gras has lost its mojo along with its raison d'être. The parade began as a protest march for gay rights. But those rights have, to a large degree, been won. Kevin Rudd's Labour government has introduced 85 same-sex law reforms since coming to power in 2007. And while same-sex marriage remains illegal, the mention of politics makes many gay people yawn.

Unimpressed by undressed

While naked flesh was widely on display on Saturday night, it was a different story at a popular nudist beach, Little Congwong. Police raided the beach last weekend and ordered 80 people to cover up. Sydney does have several legal nudist beaches, but Little Congwong is not among them. Residents complained and police, for some reason, were accompanied by officers from the National Parks and Wildlife Service.

Emperor's clothes missing

This morning there will be plenty of officially sanctioned nudity in a public space: on the steps of the Opera House, no less. The US photographer Spencer Tunick is in town, and, as ever, there is no shortage of people prepared to disrobe for him. Tunick himself, though, is at something of a disadvantage. His luggage went missing on a flight from Hawaii. "I am truly the emperor with no clothes," he says.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Home Care / Support Workers

£7 - £10 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This care provider is looking for Home ...

Recruitment Genius: Web Team Leader

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the UK's leading web des...

Recruitment Genius: Client Manager

£27000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A growing, successful, friendly...

Recruitment Genius: Property Negotiator - OTE £20,000+

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This family owned, independent ...

Day In a Page

The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'