Pride Bristol 2011 – a record of my day

Sorry this post is so long and rambly, it’s a first draft that I wrote whilst watching tv and can’t be bothered to be rewrite.

Saturday (the 16th of July, 2011) was Bristol Pride.

I woke up nice and early, looked out the window, and saw that it was pouring with rain. Cats. And. Dogs. I should have had breakfast, but I didn’t feel too hungry and I was in a bit of a rush.

The first thing I had to do was dye my hair. I’d bleached it the night before in preparation, and bought a pot of green dye. It was a different brand than I normally use, and it was about twice the price, but I was persuaded because it said it fluoresced under UV light… and apparently I’m attracted to shiny, glowy things.

I combed the dye into my beautiful blond locks and then washed it out again after the required period of time, only to discover that the dye had barely taken in my hair. The overall effect was odd, and fairly unimpressive. No matter, though. I didn’t have time to try again.

I got dressed in ma new jeans (tenner from Matalan) and my UWESU t shirt, picked up my obscenely heavy backpack (which was filled with books to put on our stall) and left the house. It was, of course, raining. I was a little worried about how this would affect the turnout of Pride Day.

I arrived in town at about 11.25. I was supposed to be meeting the other members of Sing Out Bristol in Queen Square at 11.45, but first I had to collect the wristbands from Castle Park. I rushed over towards the park, gradually realising that even though the sky was grey and cloudy the weather was actually quite warm. The fact that I was wearing a massive jacket and lugging around a heavy backpack may have had something to do with it.

It only took me a couple of minutes to get to the park, but getting into the park was a different matter. The park was fenced off for the day, and I found myself having to ask a nearby Pride Bristol steward where I was supposed to be going and where the nearest entrance was. They directed me to a point just down the road in search of a yellow building, so off I went; ever mindful of the time.

I reached an entrance just a minute or so later. At this entrance was another steward, skilfully turning away members of the public who were unaware of the day’s events. I explained to him the sitch and he kindly let me in, pointing me towards the yellow building. I headed off in the indicated direction, increasing my speed as I noticed how late I was getting. I passed the large, rainbow coloured, “Community Tent” and paused to say hi to the volunteers from UWE’s Equality + Diversity Unit, who had a stall of their own there. I confirmed that I was heading in the right direction, and carried on moving.

After a couple of minutes, I saw it. The yellow building. I reached it and found there was a queue to get in, which was a bit of a pain. I checked my watch, noting the time as about 11.35. The queue dissipated very quickly and I came to someone who seemed to be in charge.

“I’m volunteering on a stall this afternoon,” I explained, “and I need to pick up my wristbands.”

“What stall are you on?” the nice lady asked.

“I’m on the OutUWE stall.”

“That’s run by the Community Tent, you can pick up your wristbands there.”

And I was all like : |

So I jogged back over to the Community Tent. By now I was really starting to heat up inside my jacket, but I didn’t have time to slow down and cool off! I reached the community tent and was quickly directed to the person I should have spoken to in the first place. She gave me the envelope with the wristbands in, and I hurried off towards Queen Square.

Checking my watch, I was confident that I wouldn’t be (too) late. I was walking quickly, and it didn’t take me longer than five minutes to reach the square. However, when I did reach the square I was a little disappointed. The crowds were almost non-existant, and I was really worried that the turnout would be low. I hadn’t heard from anyone I was supposed to be on the stall with, so I decided to head to the small corner where people were congregating.

The crowd was bigger than I’d first thought, and as soon as I reached it I spotted the choir. I headed over to join them, and was immediately impressed by how wonderfully people had dressed up.

I wandered into the crowd quickly to find OutUWE’s treasurer, who was volunteering selling wristbands. I had a brief conversation with her before receiving a message from my vice-president. He’d just arrived with his boyfriend, and I met up with them quickly to give him his wristband, and then I headed back to the choir.

We circled up and did a quick warm up, and then decided to have a bit of a sing. A friend told me afterwards that they’d really enjoyed our singing, and they thought that it had really added to the atmosphere.

We waited in Queen Square for another half an hour or so, while more people turned up. By the time the parade left at about 12.20, the square was impressively busy. I marched along with Sing Out Bristol, all of us wearing feather boas and singing as we went. The weather was already starting to pick up, and I was having a really great time.

We got to Castle Park just before 1.00, and I headed over to where the OutUWE stall was supposed to be. I looked into the tent, but oh no! We didn’t have a table! I was all like :O

I left the job of finding a table with my vice-president, since I had to meet up with Sing Out. The choir was due to perform on the main stage at 2.00, and we had to be ready backstage by 1.30. I changed out of my UWE t shirt and made my way to the backstage area and met up with the rest of the choir. We were all really looking forward to performing, and when 2.00 came we bundled onto the stage with excitement.

The performance went well. We’d done better, but it was definitely nothing to be ashamed of. I was stuck in the back, but it was cool. The basses looked fantastic with their canes and hats, and the rest of us were gorgeous in our boas ; ) we only did like six songs and I would have loved to have done more, but it was still amazing fun.

After we’d performed I went to see how we were getting on finding a table. By now, other members of the OutUWE committee had started to show up. My wonderful co-President Stuart had arrived with our second vice-president, and we decided to head to Wilkinson’s to see if we could buy a cheap table. It was quite important for us to get a table, you see, since I’d brought like a million booklets I wanted to show off (hence the super-heavy backpack) and Stuart had brought something like 160 cupcakes.

Stuart and I headed out of the park and down the hill towards Wilkinson’s. It was great to see so many homos in town, and the sun was really shining by this point. We searched Wilkinson’s but couldn’t find any appropriate tables, so we decided to head back to the park. When we got there, we were overjoyed to discover that one of our vice-presidents had managed to blag a table from the organisers!

We set the table up in the Youth Area, spreading the booklets and cupcakes out. We didn’t get much interest at first, but whenever I saw someone I knew I called them over. Volunteers from the UWE Equality + Diversity stall came over too, and soon enough our stall was getting some attention.

I decided to get a drink, but after I finished it I realised that I hadn’t eaten anything yet. I went for a wander and got some Chinese, which was pretty nice :p ooh, I do love me some chow mein X)

Back at the stall, we continued to get interest for a little while longer. As other stalls began to pack up we decided to do the same. We headed into the crowd to enjoy the show on the main stage.

Clare Maguire was performing. I’ll be honest, I’d never heard of her before, but she was amazing! In fact I’m listening to her on Spotify right now :p

Of course the act everyone was excited for was Kelis. She was due to come on at 7.00, and by by then the crowd had grown hugely. At around 7.15 she came on, and let me just say that she. was. awesome. Seriously, SO good! She performed all of the three songs of hers I knew, and a load of other stuff. Her DJ was absolutely fantastic as well. Hearing Milkshake over Madonna’s “Celebration” was just… ach, perfect. And boy, can the girl dance! Not in the choreographed way that female pop singers are supposed to be able to dance, but in the gorgeous way that gorgeous people dance to real music. Everything was just… SO good.

After Kelis was finished I said my goodbyes and headed home. I was planning on heading out later, but first I needed to get rid of my bag, have dinner and freshen up. I was back home by 9.00ish I think, and grabbed a pizza from co op. I chilled out for an hour or so before getting changed and heading back into town.

The plan was to meet friends at the Queenshilling, and I got there at about 11.00. There was, unfortunately, some drama that meant one of my friends had to leave. I stayed with the other two for a while, visiting the new Bent bar. I wasn’t a massive fan, to be honest. Really, the best thing about it was the sexy rugby player at the bar. We didn’t stay there too long, just long enough to have a drink and dance to a little Gaga.

Our next stop was omg, which was PACKED. Unfortunately, it was so packed that I quickly lost my friends in the crowd. The signal in omg is terrible as well, so I couldn’t contact them by phone. I ran into a couple of friends from choir and hung out with them briefly, but I was tired and decided to head home.

And that was my Pride Day 😀

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