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Posts Tagged ‘Pride’

  1. Brighton Pride

    August 17, 2011 by superlative

    I have been going to Brighton Pride since 2000, and this year’s was one of the best I have been to in absolutely ages.

    After the last few years of failing abysmally to cover their costs, the organising committee took the controversial decision to fence off the festival part of the event and charge people to get in this year. Many people threw up their hands in horror.

    “It’s Pride, it’s meant to be inclusive! Inclusive means free!” some said.

    “Well I’m not fucking going then. I’ll go and have a free party on the beach instead,” others grumbled.

    But after all the complaining, and the initially slow ticket sales, I have to say that I think ticketing the event was a near total success.

    Last year, Preston Park was awful. Absolutely awful, and I did not enjoy it at all. Well, looking back at my blog post I apparently did enjoy it regardless, but it was still awful. 120,000 people packed into the park, to the point where you could barely move and had to spend most of the time pushing through a huge throng of people, trying not to trip over the ankle-deep litter on the floor. There was also quite a large proportion of people who weren’t there to celebrate diversity; they were just there to get smashed. There were large groups of drunk kids and street-drinker types, and it really didn’t feel like a particularly nice place to be at times.

    So halving the numbers (I suspect the final total will be 60,000 or fewer in the park this year) was great. It got rid of all the people who just wanted to get trashed, and allowed the people who were there to do some astounding things like: use the toilet without having to wait for half an hour; get to a bar and buy a drink without having to wait for half an hour; sit on the grass; actually walk around.

    They also had a live music stage again, for the first time in a good few years, and it has been something I’ve always missed. I’m not that into standing in a sweaty dance tent jiggling up and down to house music at 2pm, so a music stage provided a much more civilised place where you could spend some time and enjoy yourself without needing to do a lot.

    They had some very good acts on too, with the biggest names being Alexandra Burke and Joe McElderry. Sadly, in the end we couldn’t be bothered to wait for either of them to come on before we sloped off home, even though we had planned to. They just put them on too late – they were scheduled for 5.15pm, but by 6pm there was still no sign of them so we got bored. But before that, I very much enjoyed seeing Sonia (yes Sonia! From the 80s! No, she’s not dead!), and Booty Luv, and our new favourite boyband: Boy Banned. It’s not the best name for a boyband, but they were very entertaining, and I have a bit of a crush on Ethan now. He’s the one in the vest, here’s a picture:

    I really hope that Pride made enough money from the ticket sales to cover their costs this year, and that they keep the overall format in the future. I think it’s quite telling that I have pretty much never put anything in the collection buckets at Pride in the whole time I’ve been going (although I do donate via the fundraising the local bars do), so I have myself been part of the problem with it not making enough money. But once they stuck a ticket price on it, I paid up and don’t regret it. I’m sure I won’t be the only one. So if it makes it work financially it can only be a good thing.

    As well as the park being better this year, I also thought the parade was unusually good, with a large number of floats and some good outfits.

    The street parties in St James’s Street were okaaaay, but I found them over-crowded and afflicted by some of the pikey street-drinker types I mentioned earlier.

    Chris spent most of the street party doing underwear modelling in a shop window as a favour to some friends, so that was nice for him.

    The other best bit for me though was the club night we went to on Saturday night. It was an old school return of Dynamite Boogaloo, our favourite club night for years and years that they stopped doing in 2009. And it was amazing! So much fun. It’s exactly our sort of music (because our sort of music was pretty much molded by Boogaloo anyway), and we knew quite a few people there, and I just danced like a crazy fool for hours and hours and hours. I wasn’t even particularly drunk; I was just drunk on Boogaloo excitement I think.

    So yes, that was my weekend, and it was really good. Thanks to Brighton Pride and to Boogaloo Stu, and to all the hot boys who swanned around in various states of undress throughout. It was really rather pleasant.

  2. Curtains and curfews

    August 11, 2011 by superlative

    It has been four weeks since we moved into our flat now. Four weeks that have really gone very quickly, that have been insanely busy, and which have made moving day feel like ages ago.

    The flat is starting to look really nice, and I think there is only half a box of junk left that we haven’t unpacked. We have our lovely new sofa, and we have sorted out our guest room such that we might actually be able to use it as a guest room now, rather than the Room Of Shame where all the crap we haven’t dealt with yet has been hiding.

    For the first time in my life I have had to buy curtains, and FUCKING HELL are they expensive. The ones in our bedroom cost £140! For squares of cloth on little hooks! I had no idea; I have obviously been living a very curtain-sheltered life. It has also made me feel very old, trolling around C&H Fabrics going “Hmm, I like the pattern on those, but they’re pencil pleat not eyelets”. Why the fuck do I know what pencil pleat is now?? That’s not cool! But anyway, all the windows have curtains now, so I plan never to buy any ever again. Or to wash them. I’ll be too busy having homosexual parties.

    I have been subtly probing the secretary of our freehold company this week, and got some contact details for the woman who owns the flat above us (the one with the toddler-elephants). The noise has been quite bad at times, always just toddler noise rather than anything else, but their parents just make NO attempt to control them. Why are parents like that these days? They think if they upset their child by telling them not to do something, they must be a bad parent. So even though we have complained twice, and Chris has banged on the ceiling several times (which always results in several hours of pure silence), they still haven’t actually told their children not to play ball games in the house or run fifty times from one end of it to the other. Stupid parents. So I emailed the owner of the flat anyway, and I have found out that the flat is indeed a short-let holiday type place now. It seems to be the woman’s second home by the sea, so she’ll be there a fair bit herself, and then it’ll be empty some of the time I expect, and will have paying guests at others. She was very nice about the noise, and apologised for it, and has said that she thinks she’ll put an age restriction on any children who come to stay in the flat. So that would be great from our point of view, because I don’t think we’ll hear normal adult noise much, or will easily be able to ignore it, and slightly older children don’t tend to run and cry so much.

    So that was some good news anyway. She’s a yoga teacher, I have found out by internet stalking her, and I now know where she lives in London. It’s terrifying sometimes what you can find out in five minutes on Google. I bet she’s a hippy. A rich hippy though, with a house in London and a flat in Brighton.

    The curfew bit of this post title was because I had planned to say something on the subject of the recent riots in cities around the UK. I’m not sure if I can really be bothered to get into it now, as those sorts of posts always attract critical comments, but I like the alliteration of the title so I’m not changing it. Suffice it to say I have been both very shocked and very saddened by the scenes of British people smashing up their own communities, and feeling so disenfranchised and disengaged that they see society as ‘other people’ and don’t care what happens to them.

    I’m not totally surprised, as it is really in keeping with attitudes that have been growing for some time. I went to school in a not particularly nice area of London, and even back then in the 90s there were kids who simply had no respect for other people, for their property, or for the rule of law. And that just seems to have grown over time, to the point where most people are too frightened to challenge anti-social behaviour when they see it because they might get stabbed. Is that really the country we live in now?

    There were two girls on the radio, who had just been looting, who said “This is the rich people’s fault. We’re showing them we can do what we want”. As terrifying I found that sentence, it is not actually incorrect. Yes you can do what you want. Everyone can. We are policed by consent, and the police can’t actually stop you doing most things. They can only hope to arrest and punish you afterwards. But most people feel it is wrong to break the law, and if given an instruction by a police officer they’ll just obey it. Hardly anyone (I hope) would assault a police officer, not because they can’t but because they know on principle that it is wrong. So yes you can do what you want; but the fact that people are doing what they want, and what they want is to smash their own high street up and steal from people who may only be marginally better off than they are, is really scary. People say this is due to deprivation and marginalisation; to people being called ‘scum’ and so behaving like it. In some ways I’m sure that’s right; but at the same time, lots of the looters we have seen on the television probably aren’t that deprived – they have nice trainers and mobile phones. So it is much more complicated than that.

    Anyway, I’m not going to go into it much more. I just hope the trouble dies down now. One of the most pleasing things to come out of this so far is the sense of community that has been generated among people affected by the riots, with people helping each other out, cleaning up together, and raising money for those that have lost everything. If that continues in the future, it may actually do our cities some good.

    Changing the subject, it is Brighton Pride this weekend, so I’m sure it will be a busy one. Sunburn doesn’t look like it’s going to be an issue – the forecast is cloud or intermittent drizzle – but it will hopefully be fun nonetheless, and if I’m careful I might be able to enjoy it without too catastrophic a hangover. This year the park will feature performances by Joe McElderry, Alexandra Burke, and SONIA! Yes Sonia from the 80s, who apparently isn’t dead. So I’m sure it will be fun. I’ll blog about it after the weekend.

    Stay safe everyone (that seems to be what you say to each other at the moment) and for FUCK’S SAKE BE NICE TO EACH OTHER. We all have to live here together, and it’ll be much more pleasant if we aren’t beating each other’s skulls in.

  3. Brighton Pride – celebrating my sexuality by getting trashed and scoping out boys with my boyfriend

    August 11, 2010 by superlative

    I had a very nice, if exhausting, Brighton Pride weekend this year and ended up doing LOADS of stuff. I’m always a bit funny about the run up to Pride, not because I don’t enjoy it but because some people seem to get really REALLY over-excited about it, like it’s the highlight of their year or something. It’s not the highlight of my year, but I still like it, and this year’s was particularly good.

    We started on Friday night by going out for ‘a few drinks’, as we thought the bars would be quite busy already with early arrivals for the weekend. We were correct, because everywhere was RAMMED, and quite a few of the bars had decided they could get away with charging for entry. I found this quite annoying, because some of the bars really aren’t that good, and they’re normally free all day every day for the rest of the year, including their separate club area (yes, I’m looking at you, Legends). So suddenly to say it’s £5 to get in I think is a bit absurd, and we just scoffed at it and went elsewhere.

    Our few drinks ended up being several drinks, and took us to the Amsterdam, the Star Inn, the Hub and Vavoom, all of which were inordinately full but were free and had nice party atmospheres.

    I shouldn’t really have had that much to drink because I woke up hungover on Saturday morning, which was a bit annoying, but I was still able to drag myself out to the main road in time for the parade.

    The parade was frankly rather disappointing though, and has been for the last few years. The theme was a weird one, ‘Pride and (No) Prejudice’, and it didn’t leave people much room for dressing up. Yes you can be Mr Darcy and/or one of the Bennett sisters, but that’s about it. And the same as last year, the parade consisted almost entirely of trade unions, political parties, and a couple of banks. So none of the floats were that much fun, and none of them featured gratuitously stunning and semi-clad boys.

    It did at least stay dry this year, and we trekked on up to the park for a while like we always do. Normally we only stay for a couple of hours, but this year we were having a bit more fun and stayed up there until after 4. It was absolutely PACKED, to the point of being a bit annoying really, as you couldn’t actually walk anywhere – you could only shuffle along in a sea of people trying not to tread on anyone and hoping not to get swept off in the wrong direction by the current. We met up with a few friends though, which was nice, and we had a sit in the sun for a while and pointed out pretty boys to each other when they occasionally wandered past.

    I also had a nice long hold of our friends’ baby and felt very paternal:

    I’m not always that keen on babies, but this one is quite cute and very well-behaved, and he got a good fistful of some lesbian’s hair and wouldn’t let go for about 5 minutes, of which I approved.

    Saturday night was the Kemp Town Street Party, which always gets rather messy for us. It’s very easy where we live to pop in and out of the flat to get more drinks (making it cheap too), and I ended up drinking oh I don’t know… about three times as much as I had planned? Something like that. My recollection of the latter part of the evening is hazy, but I do recall some straight-looking boys taking their tops off and licking each other’s nipples; having a feel of one of my friend’s breasts and informing her they are “quite firm actually”; and a boy trying to pull me for about 2 minutes before he realised I had a boyfriend and stalked off in a huff like I’d been deliberately wasting his time.

    I had the worst hangover on Sunday and thought my head was going to explode, so I was very, very subdued for a while. I looked lovely, as you can see:

    I barely moved for about 3 hours, but then I had to start to shake it off because we had bought tickets for the Wild Fruit Pride Closing Party for that night.

    In a radical move, I decided I would try to go out clubbing without drinking, just to see if it was possible. And it was! It was really good actually. OK, I had TWO drinks, but they were only singles and I couldn’t actually feel them, and they were just to take the edge off my tiredness. But other than that I was entirely sober, and I didn’t mind at all.

    It was a bit odd dancing sober, and a bit disconcerting that everything stayed in focus for the entire evening. But it was also a welcome relief to my system, and I think if I had drunk any more I would have just fallen asleep anyway. And I finally managed to have a morning without a hangover on Monday, which felt amaaaazing after the previous days.

    So yes, that was Pride, and it was quite good. I’ve learnt since the weekend that they unfortunately haven’t raised enough money YET AGAIN, because people never donate enough on the day, and so I’m not sure what’s going to happen with it next year. It’s just too big and expensive to run now really – they had 160,000 people apparently, and I think they’re either going to have to start charging for some of it or try to scale it down a bit. You can’t sustain that sort of growth if your income doesn’t increase with it, and the park really can’t fit any more people in it next year. So who knows what they’ll do. I’m told in Manchester they fence off the entire gay village and charge people for a three-day pass (£15 or something). They could probably do that in Brighton, although it would be a bit of a nightmare to arrange and manage, and I presume I would be exempt from the charge as my house is in the gay bit of town already… I would actually pay something though if they asked, so we’ll have to see!

  4. A damp and drunken Pride

    August 5, 2009 by superlative

    It was Brighton Pride last weekend. While I always enjoy it, I’m not quite as mad on it as some people seem to be – looking forward to it all year, updating their Facebook for the month before it with “13 sleeps to go until Pride!”, and then running round ejaculating “Happy Pride! Happy Pride!” at everyone on the day. It’s quite fun, but it’s not THAT good…

    This year it was slightly spoiled by the very ill-timed weather. Friday? Lovely. Sunday? Lovely. Saturday? Heavy rain on and off from 1pm until 8pm. So not great, I have to say.
    It stayed dry for the parade at least, as it would have been rather miserable to see the rain slowly dissolve people’s papier maché outfits into sloppy goo. They said it was the “biggest and best parade ever”, but they always say that, and I found most of the floats rather mediocre. Lots of the gay bars who normally do floats didn’t even bother this year, so it was primarily political parties, public services, and a couple of banks.
    The Conservative Party excelled itself though by having some of the fittest boys on their float, including a rather nice one in red shorts. He spotted us taking lots of photos of him (and then catching up with the float later on and taking some more) and he waved lots in an appreciative manner.

    I was rather disappointed to see that the Labour Party parade people, aside from being exceptionally sub par in appearance, were wearing stupid red t-shirts that proclaimed “Never kissed a Tory – never will.” So pathetic! What has that got to do with Pride? And they clearly hadn’t seen the boy on the Conservative float before making that commitment… I’d kiss him. I’d kiss him good. But honestly, it’s ridiculous the amount of negative campaigning Labour supporters indulge in – half the time they don’t even mention their own policies, they just campaign on a platform of ‘You have to vote for us or the mean old Tories will get in’. Tsk. Anyway, I digress.
    We did go up to the park for a while, but after sheltering from the rain in the Wild Fruit tent for 40 minutes we decided it wasn’t really worth the effort and we bailed out.
    The street parties in the evening are always much more fun anyway, and as usual ours was one of the roads they closed for it. It’s ever so convenient to live just upstairs from all the action, and it’s rather economical too as you can just bring your own drinks from home. So we spent a fair bit of the evening just wandering around Kemp Town checking out hot boys and emptying out our drinks cabinet.
    The mixture of champagne, wine, vodka, cookie dough-flavoured shots and cider did take its toll on me though, and by 1.30am I was rather out of it. I remember being sat on the kerb on my road for quite a bit, while a girl angrily told me that the pollips up her nose were preventing her from taking her coke. I didn’t really like that, so I staggered off to bed, and was fortunately too drunk to care about the remaining noise from the street.
    On Sunday I felt really rather ill, but I did manage a walk in the sun, and an alcohol-free hour or two in the daytime street parties they have on the Sunday afternoon. I did my usual thing of swearing off booze for a while, but it only lasted until 9pm when I had a glass of wine “to finish it up because it’s open” and “to help me sleep” (both good excuses).
    It wasn’t the best Pride I’ve been to, mostly because of the rain, but it was quite good. It made us appreciate our flat and our location a bit more again too, so I think we might stay put a bit longer before we worry to much about moving.