Saturday, May 05, 2007

Liberation Day - dancing at the Homomonument

Liberation Day, the day after Remembrance Day, here in Holland, a time to celebrate freedom, after remembering the war dead.

It turned out to be a great day, once Fred and I had both woken up properly and ridded ourselves of the headaches we had gained as a result of maybe a beer too many the evening before in our new Friday evening bar, Spargo. Our friend Howard to had stayed in our house whilst we were away in Africa was in Amsterdam and we had not seen each other for a long while, so we invited him over before setting off to town on our bicycles to have a look at the various Liberation Day festivals here in Amsterdam.

First stop was Het Oosterpark, where they had a large stage and also the bandstand for various music, singing and dancing performances, surrounded by various stands selling snacks and drinks, behind which there were stands for political parties and social groups. The sun was shining brightly, a big difference from other years when one always seemed to be stepping in and out of mud and puddles between the showers. In the park behind there were various sports activities arranged for the local children in what looked to be a council-sponsored initiative to encourage local children to play more sports - a good thing, judging by the number of over-weight children we see passing by some days!

We met up with Henk in the park and were treated to some sexy dancing by three teenage girls, who I thought were really rather too young to be waving their bottoms around in public they way they were. Still, they moved very well and were very entertaining and no doubt the young men in the audience enjoyed the performance immensely!

Time now to cycle across town to the Homomonument at the Westerkerk, where they organise an open air disco on a stage, with beer and food stalls on the outside... and here we spent pretty well much the rest of the day, enjoying the atmosphere, the company and the beer and even dancing. A great feeling that such a festival can take place openly in the middle of town, knowing how difficult it is for gay people in many other parts of the world.

I went home at one stage to bring Howard back, as he was on Fred's bike and had left his car here, so was able to bring back some warm clothing for Fred and Henk, which helped us keep going for a while as it got more crowded and the stage filled up with more people dancing. Time at home to have a quick look on the internet and to see that both of the horses on which I had placed a bet earlier in the day had won, namely Always Waining at 5/2, from my favourite trainer Peter Bowen, but more importantly Cockney Rebel at 20-1 in the 2,000 Guineas, the first of the season's classics. This all making the day even more perfect!

We rounded off the evening at the newish bar De Prik (The Bubble) where we carried on dancing before taking to our bikes and going home at the respectable time of midnight.. or just after...

On returning to the internet, I found a comment to one of my photos of Marc Almond, which reminded me that Marc had been giving a couple of concerts in London these past two evenings and that I had missed them. I had tried to get a ticket but had failed, but reckoned that anyway I have seen him so many times and have so many good memories that missing him would not be the worse thing and that anyway there were good things to be doing here in Amsterdam as well. And so it turned out as yesterday was one of those really nice days which you can have spending time with your friends and enjoying what life throws at you.


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