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
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Financial Director / FD / Senior Finance Manager

Up to 70k DOE: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Financial Director ...

Recruitment Genius: Production Planner

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Production Planner is require...

Ashdown Group: IT Support Analyst - Luton - £24,000

£20000 - £24000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Support Analyst vacancy with a we...

Recruitment Genius: Instructional Training Designer

£30000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic and interes...

Day In a Page

Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen