FORMER Fremantle Festival parade coordinator, float builder and my best friend Amar (Philip Derek) Mason has died.
Amar will be remembered by many in the Fremantle and wider community as a creative man with time for everyone and a passion for “making things happen”.
An orphaned lad who cut his teeth in the east end of London, young Philip was an adventurer who loved travel and meeting people around the world.
He discovered the joy of music, food and dancing while living in West Africa before moving to the Sanyassin community in Puna, India.
It was at the Ashram that Osho gave him his new name Amar, meaning deathless/eternal.
A rule breaker and non-conformist who defied the colour coding and obeisant adherence of his new-found family, he did however flourish with a sense of belonging and found an inner strength of peace and goodness within himself.
It was a good day in the late ’80s when Amar blew into Freo and found himself home.
A carpenter by trade he had once created theatre sets for the Welsh National Opera and brought this creativity with him to work on many restoration and renovation projects around Freo alongside renowned stonemasons and fellow master craftsmen.
His first dip into event management was with Robby Lang and Kim Potter organising the well-attended and much-lauded Hookers Ball, which earned some unexpected publicity when its risque theme riled the new owners of the venue they’d booked – the Catholic Notre Dame University.
Later, we put on a few little dance parties as members of the Pride Committee.
Anyone who attended the “Eternal Glamnation” after-parade dance party at the Gasworks in Perth will testify to the grand scale of these productions.
It was a case of Fremantle meets Northbridge when the superb choreography of the Flaming Butterflies duo in unison with an unforgettable drag rendition of Dancing Queen brought in a climactic finale one dawn morning.
It was a natural progression for us to form an artistic partnership under the business name Floating Passions.
During the years 1998-2003 Floating Passions was contracted to coordinate the well loved Fremantle Festival parades and float-building workshops.
Amar will be remembered for his commitment to having the parade led by members of the Wadjuk community and his persuasive and passionately collaborative style.
He would ride around Freo day after day knocking on the doors of local business and identities seeking favours from warehouse space to float materials and parade judges.
He was comfortable with and loved and respected by everyone.
He was a good man.
He will be remembered with joy.
Details of a celebration of his life will be held at the Fibonacci Centre at a date yet to be confirmed.
by BARBARA SIMPSON