Posts Tagged ‘Parade’

Day 84 – ANZAC Day

ANZAC day here in Australia today, a day for remembering the fallen Australian and New Zealand soldiers of the various wars down through the years and in particular the battle at Gallipoli during WWI. I have to admit after three years living here I never really got the spirit of the day, I guess it may be because I grew up in Ireland, a country with a strong history of neutrality and, from our own past, a dedication to peaceful negotiations before anything else.

In fact today was the first time I’d ever attended an ANZAC parade. I must admit it was an impressive occasion. From the pipe bands, the powerful drums, the rigid march and the medals of the soldiers that combine to inspire a respect for those that have served and died. I just think it would be nice to have something similar for those political negotiators who negate the need for war in the first place.

Its a tough debate, at one side people will say there will always be evil people in the world who cannot always be stopped by peaceful means, and on the other side there is a belief that actions create reactions that lead to a vicious unstoppable circle. Certainly that is seen with the amount of gangland violence in so many different cities. There is, eventually, a price put on human life one that I personally feel is, in a lot of cases, too low. Then again maybe I’m too naive to believe we all could accept each other and get along!

Quote of the day: “We make war that we may live in peace” – Aristotle


Day 49 – St. Patrick’s Day Parade

Most of today was spent in Hyde Park enjoying the after-party of the Paddy’s Day Parade, meeting my friends, taking photos of random strangers, listening to a quality music line up and baking in the sun! Of course most of the above was really just observing the various ways in which Sydney-siders and visitors celebrate their Irish heritage.

The picture above, of the brilliant Sydney bank Blackwater, shows one aspect of how we celebrate being Irish, through music, song and dance. This is the positive, productive and inspiring side of who we are. We have a multitude of musicians, a distinct musical style, poets, playwrights and novelists, our Riverdance and even a few Eurovisions wins to show for our culture. As someone said to me last week its probably a by-product of times gone by when all there was to do was talk, philosophise and sing, and all done in the pub.

Which brings me to the other side of Irish culture – the drink! Now the French might have their wine, the Russians vodka, the Mexicans tequila, but no one quite celebrates alcohol like the Irish. We use it to celebrate, to mourn, to comfort, to remember and also to forget! My friend also commented that we had nothing to do before, but drink. Now that we do we still haven’t let go of our fondness for the bottle. I mean I certainly know that living in Sydney, a place where you can go do almost anything you want but where most people are more content to visit the Tea Gardens than the Blue Mountains at the weekend. (Btw the Tea Gardens do not serve tea!) Its not like I can talk, I still haven’t been to the Blue Mountains!

The Hyde Park Party was a bit different for me yesterday, it was the first time I attended sober, and I honestly can’t say it was any better of worse, it was just different. That buzz you get from talking to people, from laughing, from connecting with people, from shaking your hips to ‘The Hills of Donegal’ can be got without alcohol, you just need to bring your own energy to the party!

It’s not that I’m saying we should all run off and join the pioneers today, I  like a cold Carlton or a crisp Chardonnay as much as the next person, but I do think the odd occasion would be improved with the lack of alcohol, I do think we as a nation (both Irish and Aussie) need to look at a psyche where alcohol is celebrated as much as the occasion and those who don’t drink ridiculed. I mean they’re the ones who remember the likes of Eleanor McEvoy on the stage yesterday, who can get up in full health to see the sunrise on a sober Sunday. The rest of us, generally, we miss out on something.

Quote of the day: “Everything in moderation, including moderation”

For other random, sober, pictures of St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Party click below:

Day 17 – D.A.S.

The photo above is partially related to the visual communications lecture we had on Tuesday about how perception and reality aren’t always the same, it is rather apt for day 17!

By the way the first person to figure out what DAS stands for wins a prize! Now let me tell you about today!

Earlier on I thought I would look into what the procedures were for getting a photographers accreditation for the upcoming Mardi Gras parade. After a little bit of research I saw that the passes were relatively simple to apply for but they cost $150, a little outside my student budget! Anyway I decided to email the contact listed on the website to ask about any possible student discounts as I wanted take some pictures for my assignments, and as such there would be no financial gain involved in it for me, only added exposure for the event.

Well his reply back must be the quote of the day, if not the month! It was: “I’m afraid it’s not possible to waive the fee. The Parade route is a relatively dangerous place to shoot as well so we tend not to encourage student photography”

Ok fair enough about the fee, I was only chancing my luck anyhow, although my income as a student realistically means I can’t afford to apply, but “a relatively dangerous place” ???!!! Ah here! Now whether he thinks I’m actually twelve and is genuinely concerned for my safety, or believes I will neglect to see a flock of 7ft drag queens bearing down on me and will succumb to an unfortunate ‘death-via-stiletto’ or is mindful that in my youthful exuberance (I’m 27) I may press down on the shutter a little too enthusiastically and break a nail I just don’t know.

Would I be too cynical to suggest he is merely sprouting bulls#%t (excuse my language!) to hide the fact that, to a non-commercial photographer, these fees are utterly un-justifiable and not typical of similar events?

Lets look at it practically, the photographers don’t actually watch the parade and any photographer will know that if you really capture what is happening you don’t actually see it because the shutter opens and the view you had goes black. Secondly they actually add to the atmosphere with the constant firing of the flash guns, just imagine the impact of a parade without photographers and thirdly the cost involved in accommodating photographers is more than recooperated by the publicity the media generate, which in turn leads to sponsorship. 

I mean I will have an argument with anyone and can accept that people are entitled to their point of view, but please, don’t give me bulls#$t. Fourthly I have both attended and participated in the Mardi Gras parade over the last few years and can safely say that the ‘relative’  danger is far greater on the spectator side of the fence! As anyone who has ever had to battle a 10-person-deep crowd with elbows, beer and milk crates will certainly know!

Now don’t get me wrong, I hesitate to criticise any individual or organisation that undertakes the work involved in putting together an event of the magnitude or importance of the Sydney Mardi Gras, but I did email back and convey, respectfully, my views that they should change their student policy.