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Please bring Julie McCrossin back to Mardi Gras

Oxford Street looked like a great place to be on Saturday night, but watching through the box it really needed somebody to ground it all.

Having now watched a number of broadcasts of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade across Foxtel, TEN and ABC I really noticed the absence of Julie McCrossin on Saturday night.

The former Good News Week regular, who was there in 1978, has always brought a sense of history to her commentary and community insight into the stories behind the floats.

Oxford Street looked like a great place to be on Saturday night, but watching through the box it really needed somebody to ground it all.

Louis Spence simply twirled up and down the street with nonsensical asides better suited to an episode of Are You Being Served? I realise he was high on euphoria, but after 10 minutes of his act I kept reaching for the mute button.

There were an awful lot of cross-promos too.

Arena’s broadcast was embellished with aerial shots and a Red Button multiview option this year, so it’s good to see such commitment to a community event. Regardless of who broadcasts it, it’s always been a bit of a free-for-all which is probably part of its charm.

But drag queens who talk over one another and roving reporters shouting all night long really need to be tempered by someone who brings us the serious side to the night and tells us about the communities behind the floats.

I’ve watched plenty of Mardi Gras personalities over the years including Charlotte Dawson, Julian Clary, Gretel Killeen, Bob Downe, Molly Meldrum, Joan Rivers, Ricki-Lee, Alex Perry, Pam Ann, Mitzi Macintosh. This year Courtney Act was the best of the bunch. Lily Tomlin was also very gracious.

But none beats Julie McCrossin.

As she previously told TV Tonight the protests in 1978 were full of politics and passion.

“That night was particularly emotional because it had been very violent,” she said.

“The next day at Liverpool Court I can remember very vividly, the lawyers who helped us on the stairs calling out the names. There were hundreds of people there to support them. It was a very intense emotional experience.”

I have no idea if she was available or not this year, but please try to secure her services for next year?

13 Responses

  1. I agree with all the comments, I was looking forward to the multiview option think it would be different camera angles/positions but it was just one open with the drag queens talking about themselves and nothing to do with the floats. Opted out of this option straight away and not long later out of the whole telecast as I like to know what the floats are all about also.

    Enjoyed Lilly Tomlin, Courtney Act and Ruby Rose but it did miss Julie for sure.

  2. Some very angry comments on the ArenaTV website forum.
    Some felt it was demeaning towards the Gay Community and turned off .
    It was a bit of a shambles, reminded me of The Arias.

    Multiview should have given us camera views of the parade rather than 3 drag queen blabbering on, mostly about themselves.

  3. I thought Ruby did a great job when interviewing people in the parade. Pam Ann was appalling and made no sense the whole evening and Louie was too over the top.

    I agree they need more emphasis on the actual parade and what the floats are about. Perhaps cutting from the studio to street interviews with Ruby or pop up pre-records of someone from each float explaining what they are about.

    And this year they showed the youth welfare group Twenty 10 and Matt Mitcham started talking abut a youth group in QLD he used to go to, nice segue Matt but not anything to do with the great work Twenty 10 does.

  4. There was very little information on the floats, which is a shame as i’ve known people who spend 12 months getting their floats and dance routines ready for the big day. Surely someone at Arena could have arranged at least one person to explain the floats in detail, and one person on the street allowing the marchers to have their 1 min of fame.

  5. It would be great if the event was remembered (for once) for the positive parts where people take a stand on issues, rather than “screaming queens dancing down the street in their underwear” … too much of a circus!

    I agree that Julie M helps to address this imbalance …

    Also, that Louis guy is just annoying … too over the top …he was a clown on Kerri-Anne and he should just go away …

  6. I agree with everything that was said. But also Ruby Rose did a very good job as well. Being the more sensible one out of a bunch of people who (some of whom appeared to not want to be there – in ‘economy’ – Pan Am).

    The floats were not explained properly. It was heavily edited and cut inappropriately in some cases. The drag queens rambled on about a whole bunch of nothing and left me thinking I’m better off going to the parade next year because it would be more fun being there.

  7. I said the exact same thing before changing the channel. All we need is some music, different shots of the festival and one smart person explaining what each float is. It’s not hard at all, really.

  8. I would have preferred more of Louie and Lilly, actually, and less of Ruby! Also, it would have been nice if they talked about the actual floats that were passing by my screen rather than pushing the heavy political commentary.

  9. I thought the Arena broadcast was simply…..Dreadful! Switched between the drag queen channel a few times but gave up on them and stuck with the main chanel. Way too many add breaks. The hosts made such a fuss over the mass wedding that was to happen but they went to an add break while the wedding took place…Idiots!

  10. Yes please – Bring Back Julie. Someone who knows her stuff, is engaging and does it all with a sense of humour and wit. Oh, and who is a class act. Someone might have to inform the current crop of Foxtel execs who she is though – they tend to have very short memories in there.

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