This weekend marked my first Halloween in America incidentally tomorrow is the first anniversary of my incarceration/freedom/sentence/job/arrival in America (delete as applicable, note applicability changes frequently).
Fortunately, I missed the little kiddies dressing up and knocking on my door asking for stuff part of Halloween, as I was at a John Kerry rally on Thursday evening. The rally was quite an interesting experience. They could have done without their generator breaking down and plunging the 30,000-50,000 strong crowd into an hour long silence before we got to the main event. The main event of the evening was, obviously, Bruce Springsteen playing a couple of songs and introducing The Next President of United States of America. At this point confetti rained down upon the stage and some people in the audience started to leave, well a few people also left during the unplanned intermission. Kerry didn't have anything particularly interesting to say, or at least didn't have anything much to say that I haven't heard a few times before. He, or his scriptwriters, tried to illustrate a few of his points by using local examples, job losses in Ohio and that sort of thing, which gave it a slightly more personal feel. But most of the time it was like watching a repeat of the Kerry half of the debates. Springsteen on the other hand was quite an eloquent speaker, but maybe that was just because he came after the very old sounding John Glenn (but hell he's 80 and has been to space so we can probably forgive him for sounding a little strained and frail). In case you were wondering I didn't have to sign a loyalty oath, I just wasn't allowed to bring any banners or signs in with me, not that I wanted to.
Most of my entertainment for the evening came from a small troupe of banner waving Bush supporters, who congregated just outside the rally enclosure, and their interactions with the Kerry supporters. I was particularly amused by the guy who was dressed up like a character from Aladdin, big red turban and princely robes, holding a sign saying "Make me safer. Vote for Kerry". Now I guess he was trying to be a terrorist, and suggesting that terrorists would be safer under Kerry, but instead he looked like a pantomime character (I used to go to the pantomime every year when I was growing up, my mother still goes every year. For those of you haven't had the, dubious, pleasure, you get men dressed up as old women, women dressed as young men, two men dressed as a donkey or cow, and lots of singing, dancing and bad jokes. Oh and he's behind you.), so I was trying to work out why pantomime characters/actors would be endangered under Bush. It really was quite a ridiculous costume to wear if you were trying to make a serious political statement.
Since Thursday night, every night has been taken up with some amount of Halloween partying and staying up late, although the closest I got to fancy dress was putting on a Hawaiian shirt. The highlights of the parties included: the large number of women who came as angels, or leather clad cops; repeatedly talking about gay marriage (For the record I just don't understand it, and can't conceive of how two guys getting married could possibly effect me or my marriage, if I was married. For that matter I can't understand why they'd want to get married, but telling them they can't seems entirely unfair. But surely there are other issues that people should be paying attention to and not wasting so much time with this smokescreen?); being told that the reason for September 11th, the attack not the date, was McDonalds and rap music (I have no witty comment to make, just "Huh?"); listening to a former resident of communist East Germany arguing with a former marine about how much influence Reagan had on the fall of communism in the Eastern-block (none and all, were the initial positions); listening to the HooDoo Soul Band, they were very very good and 12 hours later my ears are still ringing; being taken for one half of a gay marriage; pretending to be an Alabaman pastor pretending to be an Englishman (long story, the guy I was talking to was both drunk and annoying so I decided to start lying to him, okay not that long a story); not getting home before three o'clock all weekend and just generally enjoying myself.