When Doves and Pedestrians Cry
Remember when Sydney had a rainbow pedestrian-crossing for all of about 10 minutes before the NSW Nanny State kicked in and #Get StuffedDunc ordered it to be painted black and white again ?
Well, this is how bike-utopia Portland has commemorated the deaths of David Bowie and Prince earlier this year.
Since 2008 Portland has hosted an annual Bowie Vs Prince bike ride. Each summer, fans of the two brilliant, proudly weird performers meet in two different Portland spots and then join up to form a huge, glamorous rolling jam with costumes and thumping dance beats.
Not unlike with the late, great David Bowie himself, the success of the annual Bowie Vs Prince ride took even its creator by surprise.
"I thought maybe 20 people would show up for Bowie vs Prince, and we’d just ride along with the Dropout ride dressed as Bowie and Prince. Turned out, a few hundred people showed up. The park was packed. I really rested on the awesomeness of the Dropout bike ride crew, to this day I still owe a debt to Sysfail for letting us use his amazing sound system – I just had a small boombox on a trailer, not expecting the kind of crowd that showed up. We ended up partying on Mt Tabor until the sun came up, meeting up with the Solstice Ride. It was magical. So we had to keep doing it the next year. Turns out you can’t fight the power of Bowie."
There are all sorts of fabulous stories associated with people just wanting to join in the fun; in 2012, an Italian bike rider told the organiser he visited Portland specifically for Bowie Vs Prince.
A few months back, a sales clerk at a local vintage store told me [the organiser] “I start commuting to work by bike every May to get ready for that ride because I love David Bowie! My husband and I do it on a tandem!”
This year the ride was held as a memorial to the life and careers of two fabulous musicians; and who know what future years will bring, whether the rides will continue.
But wasn't it wonderful that it was allowed to be in the first place ?
There's a move now to re-install the rainbow crossing in Sydney; and I hope the decision makers can be a little less precious about allowing an area of Sydney to celebrate it's unique personality.