How Do You Prepare For Mardi Gras? Tom Ballard’s Tips For The Gayest Night Of The Year

Gay as Tom Ballard will be bringing the only national event at which hand-sequined assless chaps are socially obligatory – the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras!! – into your home(o) this Sunday evening so that the PVC- and leather-adorned LGBT masses can retroactively watch themselves be magnificent while parading down Oxford Street. Tom, who will be co-presenting the broadcast with Patrick Abboud on SBS2 from 8.30pm, has answered some of the tough Mardi Gras questions for Pedestrian readers before the main event explodes across Sydney like Kylie Minogue from a glitter cannon*

*Might actually happen.

How do you prepare for Mardi Gras? Physically, spiritually, emotionally et cetera? I feverishly buy six different overpriced outfits then abandon them all, look at myself shirtless and get sad, un-friend anyone on Facebook who regularly posts details about their Mardi Gras detox/workout regime and try to get famous enough that my appearance doesn’t really matter.

Then drop a pill.

If it’s your first time at Mardi Gras, what would recommend revellers wear/do not wear? Avoid anything practical or comfortable. You want glittering sequins that will blind all children around you, high heels that draw blood and some kind of headpiece that will give you permanent neck damage. Don’t worry – it’ll be FABULOUS neck damage.

What’s the most unforgivable Mardi Gras social faux pas? Starting a conversation with, “Hey! Have we talked on Grindr?”

How can you optimise your parade-viewing vantage point? By booking a hotel room with a balcony on Oxford Street five years ago.

Finish these sentences:
A drag queen is only as good as… her song choices.
BYO… condoms. LOL JKS there’re heaps of them you guys.
“Is that Kylie?” No, it’s… Danni. “That’s a shame.” “Yeah.”
You are what you… SWALLOW (I don’t even know what that means).
You’ll find me… smelling Ricky Martin’s hair.

If #auspol were a float, what would it look like? It would be a broken down Holden ute that can’t go anywhere or do anything because the driver won’t work with the mechanics and the mechanics won’t work with the people on the float and it would be pelted with rotten fruit and ignored and it would be sad.

What’s on your pre-Mardi Gras playlist/viewing list? I love me a gay Aussie drama like Priscilla or The Sum of Us. Music-wise I’m twerking to “Flawless” [Ed note: we assume Tom is referring to Beyonce’s “***Flawless”. But “Absolutely Flawless” by The Ones is just as likely] or crying to JT’s “Mirrors”.

What should you include in your Mardi Gras survival kit? A jar to urinate into (no toilets), a chap-stick (for all the air-kissing you’ll be doing), Grindr, Hornet, Tindr, 3rindr and a “Fuck Tony Abbott” t-shirt.

Please suggest one novelty dance move and pick-up line we should have mastered by Saturday. Because I’m not a very good dancer, I always opt for the “quick burst of ironic enthusiasm” dance move. It comes across as me taking the piss out of energetic queens when I secretly wish to be them…. As for a pick-up line, perhaps try “Hey! Have we talked on Grindr?”

Where’s the best after party/hotel lobby at? Wherever there’s a 1:30am lockout and 3am last drinks. Everyone knows that knee-jerk reactions make for responsible policy and awesome partying! Woo-hooooooo!

To everyone participating in the festivities: party safe, take care of each other, and look spectacular.

The Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras will be broadcast on SBS 2 on Sunday March 2, at 8.30pm. Get involved online using #sydneymardigras