Louie Spence has been in Australia for two weeks enjoying a bit of a break, ahead of his commentary role on the Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras this weekend.
The self-made, flamboyant star of Pineapple Dance Studios is tickled pink to be working on the broadcast, despite admitting he still doesn’t know much about what he’ll be doing. But that’s fine by him. He just loves being spontaneous and outrageous.
“I haven’t been preparing myself because I like surprises and there’s always lots of suprises on Mardi Gras apparently so I’m just going with the flow,” he told TV Tonight.
“I’ve done a photo shoot for a couple of gay magazines but I don’t even know what area I’m in. I know I’m hosting part of the parade in the street, which is where I like it. I feel comfortable with all the girls and boys.
“But with me things are very organic. I don’t like much direction. I like to be left and just go.”
Joining him in commentary will be Charlotte Dawson, Ruby Rose, Matthew Mitcham and Courtney Act as part of Arena’s live broadcast.
“I’ve seen bit of Mardi Gras on TV before and I have lots of Aussie friends back home who’ve told me what it’s all about and how fabulous it is,” says Spence.
But despite his buoyant demeanour, he does have firm views on some of the political issues that Mardi Gras is renowned for, including a message for PM Julia Gillard.
“The issue of Gay Marriage is very, very important, or civil partnerships or just anything to acknowledge a gay partnership. I’ve been in a civil partnership for 3 years and been with my partner for 10 years and it does make a difference,” he says.
“I’m really surprised that over here it isn’t already legal to have civil partnerships or recognition of gay partnerships, especially for such a young and vibrant country. And also Aussies are so liberal, but then again maybe that’s just me being naive because I’ve just met a lot of gay ones, or people that live in the city. Maybe the ones in the suburbs aren’t so (liberal).
“But even if they’re not I think it’s down to ….whatshername, Gillard with her bad red hair and nasty suits. It’s down to her to make a change. If she can go back on her carbon charges, why doesn’t she just say ‘Let the gays get married?’ I’m sure it would take her off all that flak she’s getting now and that bad hair. And she might as well do it now while Mardi Gras is on.”
That’s assuming she will listen to a visiting small screen celebrity of course….
Spence will shortly be seen in his new series Showbusiness, branded as a sequel to Pineapple Dance Studios. The fly on the wall series follows the preparations for a West End musical.
This is his second visit to Australia, but he has plenty of Aussie mates back home in the UK, who constantly remind him of our relaxed demeanour and progressive thinking. Yet the issue of Gay Marriage still evades us.
“Australians all over the world, apart from the Bondi boys and the cricket, you are known for Priscilla Queen of the Desert and the f***in Mardi Gras. Sorry for swearing. I mean really, just get with it. No-one’s going to think there’s anything wrong with Australia if they let the gays get married or have civil partnerships. Let’s get real. It’s a young country, come on,” he says.
Not usually prone to making headlines, Spence doesn’t mind giving an opinion is he believes in the cause, or those who should be hearing it.
“I have to get a bit of attention from Julia, with her bad hair and nasty suits, then there’s certain things that you do have to do to make her perk up her ears and get a bit of change in the country.”
Meanwhile he is gearing up for the fun side of Mardi Gras, his first ever. He promises a night that will be big on sequins, buff boys and nasty grrls -with himself somewhere amid it all.
“I’ll be in them, I’ll be on them, I’ll be over them, I’ll be around them, I’ll be splitting on them, I’ll be spinning on them. And that isn’t just on the floats, that’s whoever happens to be passing who looks quite nice,” he smiles.
“If someone walks past and they look hot I will be on them and in them.
“Especially the Bondi boys. There’s not much to get in, but I’ve fit two in a pair of Speedos before. There’s enough stretch in them.”
Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade airs live 7:30pm Saturday on Arena.
Showbusiness airs Wednesday March 9 at 7.30pm on Arena.