It’s not often you can wander down Regent Street with a couple of blokes wearing fairy wings and a woman with a huge pink union jack without feeling atleast a slight tinge of self-consciousness. Yesterday, however, the group of GCN guys I’d met up with looked completely normal as we watched the London Pride parade and then wandered down to Trafalgar Square.
The day is one of pure fun and OTT cheese which is enjoyed by everybody except the small group of fundies on the corner who gather to protest, and whom the police stop you trying to engage with. It’s the sort of day where it doesn’t matter where you are on the spectrum whether you are LGBTQ or straight you can just enjoy the sights and sounds which are Pride. This year the theme was myths, legends and fairytales but it seemed a majority of participants had decided the sub-theme was actually Amy Winehouse and so there were a range of good and not so good lookie likies. Boris didn’t go for this approach, but rather just stood at the front looking rather uncomfortable whilst going for the plastic grin. You don’t realise until you see him in real life exactly how old he looks.
Part of the surreal appeal of the parade is seeing the most bland companies and public organisations trying to attract the confidence and money of the LGBT community. The prize for best float from a completely bland organisation has to go to the Home Office who had a great Wizard of Oz thing going on, and Lloyds TSB who had a similarly great trailer until you looked down and saw who was sponsoring the truck. Most ironic element of the parade has to go to the fact Shell had been put next to the environment agency.
Down at Trafalgar Square there was a mix of music and speeches on the stage and stalls to wander around. Best speech I heard was Sir Ian McKellen , who included in his speech an e-mail message from Gene Robinson basically telling people God loved them. Harriett Harman stood there and took the booing wonderfully whilst she gave her ickle bit of Labour propoganda to a crowd who seemed equally cynical about her and Boris from the comments I was hearing. Stall wise the Catholic element of LGCM had a nice touch of irony with their “nobody knows I’m a Catholic” t-shirts.
Music wise there was a mix. Sandi Thom was doing “I wish I was a Punk Rocker” when we got down there which was cool. There was also some completley plastic cheese Eurodance act from Sweden who was fun before Geek Girl who the audience didn’t seem to appreciate, but who I thought were excellent. They were a kind of punk and goth go on holiday and meet pop before discovering a folk festival. Whilst the setting may not have been the best one for them I would really like to see them in a smaller venue because I’m sure that they must be great when the audience are being atleast an ickle less indifferent.