The Santa Parade

Everyone in Auckland knows the Santa Parade, we've been going since were little kids. Back in 1985, when I was a part of Smooth Inc (the graffiti off-shoot of breakdancers The Megazoids) we were asked by Farmers* to come in and add a bit of 'youth' to some of the tired parade floats. Obviously we couldn't paint anything in Wild Style, but we were happy to do our bit. Hip Hop is about being 'recognised' (or should that be 'rekonized'?) and graffiti is all about getting your pieces seen by as many people as possible. So painting some parade floats that were going to run down the city's main street in front of 100,000 people was pretty big.

I snapped these pics that year, and you can find more on the Facebook group Old School NZ Hip Hop:

Yesterday I went back to Queen Street to watch the 2008 Santa Parade. Auckland City certainly has come a long way since I was a kid. At least half the crowd seemed to be from the 'immigrant community' ie 'not white'. Being the child of Italian immigrants myself I know what it's like to grow up feeling slightly disassociated from the traditional/dominant 'Anglo' kiwi culture, but at least I wasn't 'not white' so I had no real problem assimilating. Most of our non-white immigrants don't have it so easy and I was surprised to see so much aggro at yesterday's parade.

Maybe 'aggro' is too strong -- but there were a lot of niggles. Usually when a non-white person tried to push their way through the throng and upset Whitey who'd been there since 11am in order to get the best spot to watch the 2pm parade. What Whitey doesn't understand is that these immigrants have probably come from cities with a zillion people and for them there's loads of room, and if I see a gap I'm just going to move over there and fill it. And if you really want to know what poor crowd control is (ie a survival-of-the-fittest free-for-all) you should be in Paris on Bastille Day. But I'll save that story for later.

And it happened to me too. I had a great spot and got lots of good pictures (for my daughter, she insisted) until about half way through, when some woman planted herself in front of me. She didn't plant herself straight away of course - first she went through the charade of miming her need to get through and go 'over there' to those kids in the front row she was pointing at. Right next to my daughter seemingly. But as soon as she got in front of me she stopped, and then proceeded to take really good photos of the floats. The same really good photos I'd been taking from that position up until then!

Rather than remonstrate with her (pointless) I snapped her picture and resolved to blog my stress away. Which I've done now.

But to finish on a positive note here are some pics of the Santa Parade:

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