Eskimos, we are always told wrongly, have 32 words for snow, as they've got so much of it. So why the fuck don't the Welsh have hundreds of words for rain?
Cardiff Mardi Gras was a dazzling display of diversity - every conceivable type of rain was there, from almost imperceptible drizzle through to heavy sheets that chased each other across the field. At one point it even appeared to be snowing, but this was simply the howling wind blowing fag ash from the dance tent.
In amongst all this were some damp gays. My memory of the afternoon is a little cloudy. I decided I needed a drink, and the only non-beer was a thing called Red, which was blue. The drink was as challenging metabolically as it was philosphically - the label on the side was a bit hesitant about what it contained beyond "alcoholic drink with mixed fruit flavours", but I was climbing the walls within seconds.
Over in the cabaret tent, a Welsh youth sang some "slow, romantic numbers" from Miss Saigon to a baffled crowd, and then a drag queen somehow managed to sing 9 to 5... *but to the wrong tune*. At first the crowd were stunned, then revolted, and finally murderous. I remember yelling "Stop! In the name of disco, stop!" And after that, perhaps some screaming, and a cloud of ostrich feathers.
Rugby Matt turned up late, having gone to a motor show by mistake ("I was thinking, this isn't that bad for Gay Pride, you know..."). When he finally turned up it was a heaving crowd of trainee goths, gay children (am I the only one reminded of the Mini Pops when I see a 14 year old twinked up?), wizened muscle Marys (I swear I saw one gay with a tatoo on his naked back of a naked back), and those girls with boobs merging into muffin tops. Matt sighed, "The Valleys are empty."
Over in a distant corner, near a stage on which four members of Blazin' Squad skipped, was the private members' area (Pink Plus), in which a dozen miserable people tried to shelter from the horizontal rain under a tiny pagoda. Nearby, two large old ladies had built themselves a shelter from empty crates and a tarpaulin. A dog cowered within, whimpering.
I went and had a dinner party, more to sober up than anything else, and then went to finish the evening off at the "Charles St Street Party". What someone had done is taken two enormous queues for two nightclubs, and added an outdoor bar and some speakers. The result? Instant carnival.
Mike, Sian, Darren and I sat on a step, drinking more alcopops and watching the world shuffle by. It had stopped raining, so I was out in only a t-shirt. In the subsequent downpour I achieved saturation.
Darren eyed me coolly, "I have a theory that gays are water soluble, you see. At any second, you're just going to wash away."
A tiny lesbian danced up to us. Sian gasped, "I saw her earlier. She was trying to stop traffic with her fists." The lesbian roared at us - "This is the most amazing tune ever. You guys remember that. I could dance to this tune for fucking ever. Have the most amazing lives! Hey, they changed the tune. Fuck them! Fuck you! Great beat."
Matt and the glamorous gays of Cardiff swanned past, in a strange array of Breton shirts and cloth caps. "We're queuing for the madness."
I went home for a shower.