Gay Pride 2004...
And so it began. Last Saturday was London Gay Pride 2004. Here is a brief outline of my day.
[12:00 noon] Pride Parade - Stood down by Green Park tube station in the sunshine and showers. It was a fairly colourful and high spirited parade but 'not as busy this year', but then we always say that. It was the Parades that got small!
[1:30pm] Comptons of Soho - The boys took over the street as usual, lots of minkering and smiling and flirting and the odd tinny or three. Pace yourself, Jonathan, pace yourself. It's going to be a long day. And (no) surprise, (no) surprise, we were given loads of free tickets to Big Gay Out in Finsbury Park (prompting a hasty change of plans).
[3:00 pm] Pride Rally in Trafalgar Square - On stage they were mainly the great and the good but with a smattering of politicos to lower the tone - Jean T and Ida Barr provided the glue to stick it all together. We also enjoyed (?) some (worthy) music and a genuinely moving speech by an 81 year old woman who was a survivor of the Nazi Concentration Camps. Elsewhere in the square there were cute men on the stalls (Hi Bryan! Hi Glen!) to provide a very welcome distraction from the baking heat. Pointing to a man in a kilt an old woman nudged me and demanded, "Tell him I'm a Hagis". And they say we're queer. A success then. Could this be the relaunch of Pride proper? (Pickup point for Waif and stray #1: Max - freakoid in need of escort to Finsbury Park).
[5:30pm] Big Gay Out in Finsbury Park - Max was tottering a bit on the grass in his overly stacked heels (did I mention he was 'differently dressed'?) but I steadied his balance and he steadied my nerves with a drink. A drink he actually stole from one of the beer stands. Heavens. I was soon ditched by Max (he had a podium to find) and hooked up with David #1, Jason #1, Jason #2 and later David #2 and Roberto and we bopped and boogied the evening away. In the Gash (sic) Tent we saw a woman being pierced by six meat hooks in the skin of her back and suspended from the ceiling. Nice. She then did a strip. Of course. Marc Almond was on at 9:20 singing Soul To Soul, Tainted Love and the Almighty version of Say Hello, Wave Goodbye. His backing troupe were a mix of 15 muscle Marys and massively befeathered Argentinean samba dancers. Fab.
[11:00pm] Duckie's Gay Shame at the Coronet in Elephant & Castle - David #1, Jason #1, Jason #2 and I eventually made it down south to join the merry throng that was Gay Shame. Marky, Drew, Steven & Ian were a(l)lready there. Lots of entertainment was on the main stage (London Readers Wifes, Ida Barr, Ursula Martinez etc) while 30 stalls scattered around the venue gave us a chance to spend our fake pink pounds. The stalls had names like Kiss Box, Confront The Cunt, Tea And Sympathy and Talkeoke. Bit hot but great fun.
[4:30am] Home & Bed - Phew!