Another year, another Pride parade / day / party / celebration / farrago / fiasco …
Didn’t it all used to be so much simpler? I remember just five years ago, living in London at the time, it was a foregone conclusion that I, along with a selection of my closest friends, would be waking FAR too early on the Saturday in question, hopping on an-overflowing-with-gays train (plus the obligatory, sole, confused pensioner who had NO idea what was going on!) and sallying forth to London-sur-mer for the day’s festivities. Fifty-five minutes – and usually a couple of cocktails – later, we would have arrived, and the day would be glorious; from the practically guaranteed perfect Summer’s day, to the atmosphere of ribald mirth and cheerful fun, to the selection of music, entertainment and even shopping. What more could a poof desire?!
Now, however, the sheen seems to have gone. The last two years have been … disappointing. Whether it‘s due to the less-than-spectacular weather, or the media attention which seemed to presage a failure, or possibly my familiarity with the city breeding contempt, I don‘t know. Perhaps I‘m simply getting older growing up, and standing around in a field for 4 hours isn‘t my thing anymore.
Actually, that never was my thing; I was born middle-aged and never really took to the joys of youth. (Youths, yes; youth, no!)
Nonetheless, something about the atmosphere of Brighton Pride always managed to help me overlook that and enjoy myself, ravening hordes and barking dogs notwithstanding!
So, I’m left pondering the question posed – what sort of Pride would I like this year? Successful, yes, though how you define that may as well be the same question, differently framed!
Do I want the parade? Yes – though I often miss it, alcohol NOT being to blame for this, I still value it as a reminder of why we have Pride in the first place!
What of the park? To my mind, it’s scarcely conceivable that Pride might happen without the celebration culminating in the park! My experience, as the travelling Londoner, was always and entirely at the park, the two ideas being inseperable in my thoughts! I realise others feel differently; they should get their own columns!
And what of the the week of community events leading up to the “big day”? I must confess, they rarely impinge upon my thoughts – I could for myself happily see them fall by the wayside. However, they’re not really up for discussion in the way that other, more obvious targets are; they’re not some monolithic entity, which stands or falls as one. Even if more than half of these events folded, others would remain and still more rise up to take their places. They neither operate under, nor require, the formal approval of Pride.
Let’s just keep it simple, shall we? Parade, Park, Party. No more politicking, sniping or in-fighting in the community – we’re going to face enough enemies without in the years to come, without fighting the enemies within!