When I set off to celebrate on Saturday I’ll be doing it for my 30th time. It would have just been unimaginable way back in February 1982 to think us, let alone I, would be continuing to tread the golden mile as a community in our annual celebration of pride.Everyone remembers their first Mardi Gras: I and my girlfriends had recently left Les Girls and had moved our partying from Kings Cross to Oxford Street; we were part of an exciting crowd to whom the Exchange Hotel and Patches nightclub was the centre of our gayness.
We headed to the Exchange for drinks in preparation for what was the first parade on the now well trodden route of today. Up on the awning the cast of Mixed Company began to appear one at a time, in ten minute intervals, dressed all in white to the hit of the day Billy Idol’s White Wedding. Chris De Bonnafin, Teresa Green and Cindy Pastel, three larger than life theatrical showgirls creating the most wonderful pre parade atmosphere. As the parade began to arrive at the hotel Julie Ashton appeared on the roof and in full spotlight abseiled down the front of the building doing Looking for Trade from Richard O'Brien's (1981) Shock Treatment. The parade just stopped dead in its track – the screaming and cheering deafening – we had arrived to claim our street in celebration.