DAY 122: Leading the zombie parade to death and/or glory

31 Dec

MY FACE is caked with black, red and white pan stick, my wig is yanked on, I’m in full marching band regalia… and then there’s a sharp pang of horror.

My eyeballs aren’t disguised! The world will surely know me, as I lead the NYE zombie parade through the Falls Festival, and thus my resolve will sociophobically shrivel and my baton will wilt mid-twirl. We’re all fucked, sorry about that.

This is no reflection on my spirited sisters from the Red Brigade or the shuffling undead behind us – rather it’s based on data collected from previous performances in my back catalogue of ill-advised public ventures:

2004: Playing surf bass in grass skirt, a lei and grimly set jaw. Are there firing squads in Waikiki? If so, I am authentically recreating the death-in-paradise vibe.

1998: “Fall to your knees in your guitar solo,” the singer hisses before we crank out our single. As if. Stare morbidly at the drummer, more like.

1982: Mid-recorder recital in assembly I suddenly can’t remember a single note of Morning Has Broken, and am forced to play air recorder. Still – good save.

The Red Brigade are girly militia led by Brandy Alexander, Stacey Starbright and Dr Randy Beaverson. They’ve sportingly let me join them for one night only, and I’ve had around 50 minutes to learn various marching formations (bicycle wheel, circle, cross…) and a few dance routines.

As we gather for the real thing in the campgrounds of Falls, we’re quickly surrounded by our very own cheer squad of shirtless toolbags, drinking beer and heckling. We’re not actually going to set off for an hour yet, but that’s okay – they’ve got all the time in the world. I suppose it’s good for me to learn what heckling feels like though, just as it was good to find out how it feels to have your lyrics critiqued. Yeah… don’t like it.

Meanwhile, information filters through the ranks that last year the parade was bottled.

“I’m scared,” I hear someone say.

“Me too,” someone else chips in, reassuringly.

As I sit down for a sec to contemplate the fact that I’ll be in the frontline, a searing pain hits my leg. I look down and it’s crawling with bull ants. Brilliant! Maybe I’ll need to get it amputated and I’ll miss the parade.

No such luck – we’re off. I quickly get “in character” – avoiding eye contact, not smiling, staggering a bit – hey, just another night down the pub. Unlike the layabouts in the campsite, whose jeers still ring in our ears, those in the main arena are totally amenable to having the undead walk among them. Only one guy comes up for a bit of a go, but then when his girlfriend screams at him, “Why would you DO that?” he’s not sure.

As I lead the pack through the festival grounds at a bit of a sprint, we’re attacked only by paparazzi. Admittedly I shirk on the dancing front a fair bit, but we’re going down a treat.

Keeper? Was pretty pumped after – this must be how Bono feels. But I’ll leave it to the professionals.

One Response to “DAY 122: Leading the zombie parade to death and/or glory”


  1. DAY 291: Going to my first rally « Hey man, now you're really living - June 20, 2011

    […] Hall is the Red Brigade, who I last saw when I led their zombie parade through Falls Festival on Day 122. They oompah us through some free the refugees-style chants as we proceed through the suburb to […]

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