Brighton Pride

We decided to go to Brighton Pride today; I only realised it was this weekend on Thursday, so we made quick arrangements to go with our friend Singapore Alex and his partner Bob, and their two friends.

The day did not start auspiciously; I woke up at 5:30 am and decided I’d better get up and take my diuretic so that I wouldn’t be caught short on the train. Did that, and we left for Waterloo around 9:15 am. Now those of you who know London may be aware that Waterloo is not one of the usual stations from which to catch a train to Brighton–those would be London Bridge and Victoria. But Alex’s friend had gotten a four for the price of two deal on railway tickets, but he had to start from Waterloo. So, we got on the 9:50 to Clapham Junction, then waited for his friends (who needed to catch up). We rushed to another platform at Clapham Junction when it was announced that the next arriving train for Victoria was so full no one would be able to get on. We got a train to East Croydon and rushed about there to two different platforms until we got the correct one to catch a non-full Brighton train. I had to stand all the way. I was pooped, and we hadn’t even gotten there.

So when we alighted, Alex et al. ran for the parade, but we started searching for a restaurant for a leisurely lunch. We found one, called “Ha Ha” (no jokes about the cuisine; my burger was OK, not a masterpiece, but edible, and his pasta was fine). We got a good vantage point from which to see the boyz walking by, which is always nice. However, we were outside, and the sun was strong and bright. I ended up with a bit of a burn (I was wearing a hat!) and am a bit lightheaded–could be the Manhattan I just finished, or heatstroke.

After lunch, we walked up to Preston Park, where the actual fair was held. It was absolutely mobbed! I overheard someone saying that the police had estimated 150,000 would be there. It took about 3/4 hour to get into the park from downtown, but we enjoyed ourselves. We found a shady spot and put down our sheet and sat around.

I did some shopping, and bought a denim kilt. Pics to come. It’s a proper kilt, not the rather woebegone thing I had 10 years ago. It feels good to wear and I suspect I’ll be wearing it around the house as well as out and about (or “oot and aboot” as the Scots say) for parties and Pride events in the future.

We walked around Preston Park a bit, but it was so crowded that we decided to walk back to the seafront. There were loads of straight couples there; while I wouldn’t say they shouldn’t come, the fact thqt gay men and lesbians know how to throw a good party means that the party does get crashed from time to time. There were tons of kids of straight couples around, young teens with their (opposite sex) girl- or boyfriends showing off their straight privilege by walking hand in hand or kissing with lots of tongue.

We went back downtown; I bought two pairs of flip-flops that looked comfortable and well-fitting. I’m wearing the kilt and the flip-flops now.

We walked back to the train station, got a seat on a Thameslink train, and came home. Lovely day.

Some other thoughts:

— People who wear old and tattered “Come out, come out, wherever you are”, or “No one knows I’m a lesbian” T-shirts should be warned that their 21st century membership card will be torn up and thrown over them like confetti. The fights we’re fighting now are not for the right to come out of the closet, they’re for the right to marry, the right to walk down the street hand-in-hand or to kiss our partner in a public place without harassment. We seem to have special license from the straights to do it on Pride day; we need to claim the authority to do it 365 days a year.

— Guys who never take their shirts off in the sun at any other time seem to do so with abandon on sunny Pride day. They will have their comeuppance when they try to sleep on their backs tonight.

— Brighton must be enormously tolerant. There was litter all over the place, men urinating wherever they saw fit, and traffic on one of the major North-South streets stopped and the rest of the city came to a virtual standstill. Everyone seemed happy to see us tho.

— The number of organic cooked food stalls has increased from none to multitudes this year. All to the good. Those hot dog/hamburger stands that cook in grease left over from their last oil change are there too, but healthy alternatives make is less likely that people will have to resort to eating the guck they sell.

— The type of stalls available has changed. It used to be mostly folk crafts, jewelry, piercing and piercing jewelry, and Terence Higgins Trust in the stalls. Now there are many other types of stalls selling things such as life insurance, other financial products, real estate, etc. etc. and so on and so forth. There will be retirement home sales in some of them very soon, I suspect.

I’m too tired to go on.

4 Responses to “Brighton Pride”

  1. trawnapanda says:

    odd you should mention this – in the elevator up this afternoon, there was someone with pet suitcase (with leash), and by way of passing the time of day I asked if he’d been away long. “three weeks”, he said, “last day was Brighton Pride”.

    though he did allow that his own bed would feel awfully good this evening.

  2. chrishansenhome says:

    If he was flying from Gatwick Brighton Pride would be most convenient.

  3. dangtri says:

    1. I want to see that kilt.

    2. My own being-out-at-work was greatly facilitated by my one preexisting cow-orker understanding outness (though he’s mostly straight, he is an obvious kinkster, pierced, and coming to work in kilt and New Rock boots, or PVC trousers and the like.

    3. It’s hard work, though. I just came out to one of the two guys I recently hired for our team. Distinct lack of gossip in our office.

    4. Nearly bought a “no one knows i’m a lesbian” t-shirt on Saturday in Camden… would have been cheesy, then, huh?

  4. chrishansenhome says:

    Well, I’m just venting in that Brighton Pride used to be a nice little celebration at which you could spread a blanket, have a picnic, have lots of room, and enjoy yourself. It’s now turned into a warren, with lots of drunks, no room to swing a cat, and lots of straight people. We enjoyed the whole thing, just, but I miss the old-time Pride celebrations.

    As for coming out at work, everyone has their own style. I suspect that your office is atypical, in that in most places you can be as out or not as you please.

    As for the t-shirt, well, that’s just a personal opinion divorced from the person who is wearing it. Maybe I’m losing my sense of humour or something.