Convetion Diary: Conga-dance and confetti for the 'Comeback Kid'

NO MEXICAN waves so far, but the mood on the terraces of the Madison Square Garden, home to the New York Knicks basketball team, is definitely that of a first-league sporting occasion.

Members of the Texas delegation have got together, though, to demonstrate their party enthusiasm by occasionally holding aloft a huge rectangle of placards that together proclaim support for Bill Clinton. Flipped over, the cards read: 'It's Time for a New Generation'. Meanwhile, high in the rafters flutters the famous number 24 Knicks shirt of a former star player, Bill Bradley, now the senator from New Jersey and keynote speaker at the convention.

One ingredient of the sporting night out is missing, however. While franchises in the halls surrounding the arena are doing a brisk trade in the obligatory hot dogs and popcorn, only Pepsi and Coke are allowed inside the hall. Budweiser is banned. But Democrats, it seems, have little need of booze to get worked up and excited. As the week reaches its climax, the mass of well-cast 'Middle Americans' - a pretty convincing cross-section of teachers, factory workers, white-collar professionals, some very old, some very young (there are even a few babies around, looking numbed by the commotion) - are well into the carnival spirit.

The surprise appearance on the floor on Wednesday of Mr Clinton - now formally christened the 'Comeback Kid' by Governor Mario Cuomo - after confirmation of his nomination, found your diarist fighting to stay vertical - and dispassionate - amidst a blizzard of cooking-foil confetti and a stampede of conga- dancing delegates. 'Enjoy it. The Republican convention (in Houston, next month) won't be half as much fun,' one party man shouted in my ear.

The dress code, too, has become noticeably less formal through the week, with delegates who were fresh and zealous at the start, now opting for the holiday, too-hot-for-jackets look and wearing ties only if they are silly. The cheekiest T-shirt spotted so far declares: 'Bush Lies'. In brackets underneath, it adds, '(And Barbara Gets on Top)'.

Delegates from the dairy state of Wisconsin brandish 'Eat Cheese or Die' stickers and wear giant cheese-shaped hats. A Brown fan has scrawled her slogans on the bottom of her socks. On the left foot: 'Save the Soul of the Party', and on the right: 'Sock it to them, Jerry'.

It is undress that is causing New York police palpitations outside the Garden, where 'exotic dancers' - striptease artists - from the nearby Goldfingers night club have been attempting to draw convention custom by jiggling their wares on the back of flat-bed lorries cruising 7th and 8th Avenues. One woman was arrested after succumbing to the goadings of a knot of all-male pavement enthusiasts and freeing the laces on her stars-and-stripes bikini top. Torrential rain and lightning on Wednesday finally forced all the strippers to cover up and flee.

It has been a bemusing week for 12-year-old Chelsea Clinton, now being paraded relentlessly alongside her parents as part of the carefully orchestrated effort to portray her father as the 'family values' candidate. On Tuesday, Chelsea strained her knee climbing the steps of the Statue of Liberty and had to be returned to the Clintons' hotel in a wheelchair. Limping only slightly, she appeared more bewildered than ecstatic accompanying her triumphant Dad on to the convention floor on Wednesday. Will she be the first President's daughter named after a London borough? British media wags have taken to calling her Tower Hamlets.

The other First Family of the Democratic Party - the Kennedy clan - played centre-stage on Wednesday with a moving tribute to the former presidential candidate Bobby Kennedy, assassinated in 1968, like his brother Jack five years before him. Such was the adoration, few stopped to raise eyebrows at sections in Teddy's speech extolling the dignity of women and fanning support for abortion rights.

Suggested Topics
John Travolta is a qualified airline captain and employed the pilot with his company, Alto
people'That was the lowest I’d ever felt'
Life and Style
healthIt isn’t greasy. It doesn’t smell. And moreover, it costs nothing
Jonas Gutierrez (r) competes with Yaya Toure (l)

Newcastle winger is in Argentina having chemotherapy

Arts and Entertainment
Blossoming love: Colin Firth as Stanley and Emma Stone as Sophie, in 'Magic in the Moonlight'

Actors together in Magic in the Moonlight: Woody Allen's 1920s romance

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
peopleThe Times of India said actress should treat it as a 'compliment'

Watch this commuter wage a one-man war against the Circle Line
We are phenomenally good at recognising faces; the study showed that humans have been selected to be unique and easily recognisable

Human faces unique 'because we don't recognise each other by smell'

Arts and Entertainment
You've been framed: Henri Matisse's colourful cut-outs at Tate Modern
artWhat makes a smash-hit art show?
Home body: Badger stays safe indoors
lifeShould we feel guilty about keeping cats inside?
A male driver reverses his Vauxhall Astra from a tow truck

Man's attempt to avoid being impounded heavily criticised

Arts and Entertainment
US pop diva Jennifer Lopez sang “Happy Birthday” to Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, president of Turkmenistan
musicCorporate gigs become key source of musicians' income
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
filmsDaniel Craig believed to be donning skis as 007 for first time
The Guildhall School of Music and Drama is to offer a BA degree in Performance and Creative Enterprise

Arts and Entertainment
Emma Thompson and Bryn Terfel are bringing Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street to the London Coliseum

Returning to the stage after 20 years makes actress feel 'nauseous'

Arts and Entertainment
Pulp-fiction lover: Jarvis Cocker
booksJarvis Cocker on Richard Brautigan
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke and Pharell Williams in the video of the song, which has been accused of justifying rape
music...and he had 'almost no part' in writing it
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

March On Cancer™ - Local Marketing and Promotions Volunteer

This is an unpaid voluntary role.: Cancer Research UK: We need motivational vo...

SEN Coordinator + Teacher

£1 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Job Purpose To work closely with the he...

Maths Teacher - Evening session

Negotiable: Randstad Education Birmingham: I am looking for a qualified experi...

Teaching Assistants

£50 - £85 per day: Randstad Education Preston: Rapidly developing and growing ...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week