The artist Spencer Tunick put out the call – and Sydney answered. More than 5000 volunteers began arriving from 4am, queueing from the Opera House forecourt round to the Museum of Contemporary Art to be part of the American's nude art installation; a crowd so big it spilled on to the Royal Botanic Gardens.
They were willing to risk being late for work, being filmed by television cameras – and worst of all, being spotted by someone they knew – for the honour of being the 2000th buttock cheeks from the left in a Tunick photograph.
The official name of Tunick's installation was The Base. Yet after waiting two hours for the sun to come up, it became apparent that Blue Poles might be an appropriate title as a brisk wind hit the Opera House steps.
A collective cry went up with each new chill as we gathered in the shape of a giant upside-down triangle. Soon people were slapping their buttocks en masse with their hands to warm up.
Those blessed with magnificent pelts of chest hair – something of a rarity among the waxed and trimmed crowd – fared best in a sea of goosepimpled flesh.
The ferries appeared to slow down as they came and went at Circular Quay, passengers witnessing more bare breasts than in a Russ Meyer film, while news helicopters flew overheard. But we were not daunted. The mood was happy, strong. Young and old, straight and gay, we were united in our nudeness. We were declaring to the world: "Yes, these are our bellies, our tuckshop arms, our hairy backs. Love them as we do."