By Suzanne Zacharia ©
The queue started as great fun. The Mother City Queer Project had truly started there, and it was exciting meeting everyone and guessing what they came as. Two amazing guys came in wearing Fairy Tails – tails beautifully adorned with fairies. That just had to be the most original interpretation of the dress code! Then came the Snow Whites, the Snow Queen from Narnia, Fairies, Alladins, Draculas, many cute Elves, Tarzans, Devils, Angels, and Jesuses, Alice in Wonderlands, the Mad Hatters, the Playing Cards Soldiers, the gays, the bi's, and the curiouser and curiouser...
After everyone in the queue, who like us, had arrived at the 8 pm starting time, finally were allowed in one and a quarter hours later, the excitement continued to build, and you could feel the thrill of music thumping through your body as you walked, skipped, and hopped inside! We investigated all the areas, met friends from recent and past times, reconnected, and danced together in celebration of all that is queer and beautiful.
The choice of music was interesting. House music on every dance floor. Mellow house, pop house, 80's house, 90's house, trancy house; you get the picture. But even the same and dated music could not stop that great vibe. What made the party was the people. The smiles, The energy. The hugs. The dance. And the special male-only room of course (wink, wink).
At some beautiful points, some of the dance rooms excelled. Especially the Trance room in the basement, which got into Techno Trance for a while. Yaaay! A change from House! Don't get me wrong, I love House music, but it's nice to have variety.
The toilets were first-class, perfectly clean and always fully supplied, and the parking was free. That was a really nice touch. The security was good, and the dancers and bands provided entertainment outside whilst the warm summer breeze embraced and welcomed you. There were ample benches and tables outside where you could sit, chat, and relax.
As nice as most things were, the organisers did a massive FAIL on many counts. For example, with such a good public transport system used after hours for sporting events, the Linkin Park and Lady Gaga concerts, why was it not put to good use for the MCQP? And the stalls were allowed to only sell food or drink but not both. Several stall holders told us that people were choosing not to buy food from them, because they could not also buy a drink of water or a soft drink to go with it. Meanwhile, the drinks stalls were struggling to cope with demand. On one drinks venue indoors, one waiter was clearly uncomfortable with the whole gay thing and only served women who looked straight.
But if you had chosen to go to a particular one of the drinks stalls downstairs, it was even worse. There, 2-3 black men were slowly packing and unpacking drinks that there was already stock of in the fridges, whilst the serving of customers was only done by the white men. When I asked others at the venue why this was, I was told it was because the black men were not allowed to take the cash on that stall. And of course, there were no women serving drinks, or at least none that I noticed. Lesbians and bi-girls wanting eye-candy?
That must be a fairy tale fantasy... Speaking of the ladies, my disabled wife had to painfully and slowly walk up and down six flights of stairs plus the basement – that is 7 floors in total. When she asked to use the lifts, explaining that she is disabled, she was refused point blank. Meanwhile, the cleaners were allowed to use the lifts to cart rubbish through the levels. And Health and Safety considerations do not end there either, with a lack of safety rails on the top level to prevent revellers from plunging to an early demise.
Despite all this, the event was certainly well-liked by visitors from all over; it was great to see all the lovely people who had travelled from JHB, Japan, Stockholm, Holland, and many other places to be there. What was missing however was the marginalised GLBTS in this country who may not have had the ticket money nor the means of transport. One act of giving says a lot, and who knows, if the organisers read this, maybe they can make some tickets available at R20 each to GLBTS in the Cape Town townships and arrange some safe form of transport for them for an additional R10 each way.
After all, is the MCQP not about equality and giving back to the community?
OK then, despite my bitching, I look forward to MCQP 2013. See you there!