Manchester Pride – Campaign, Celebrate, Engage – 25 August 2018
The Manchester Pride Parade is one of the most highly anticipated events, with thousands of people marching proudly together through the streets.
I did see three members of the group marching in the parade, which took more than two hours to pass by, but I was just watching. The crowds were so big that it was difficult to find a good place to stand and get good photos (… so apologies now for the poor quality). On a personal note I enjoyed the entries by Manchester Lesbians Stand By Your Trans, George House Trust and the leather and rubber men, but the NHS and the fire brigade got the biggest cheers.
Later, I went to Superbia, a free of charge, diverse, accessible, intelligent and welcoming programme of new queer art including ‘Not Going Shopping’, a brand new sound installation from Abigail Ward; Conor Collins’ HIV+ blood portrait of Princess Diana; new MMU graduate art, new film and more. There was a packed out interactive talk, by Superbia Project Manager Greg Thorpe, who took us on a history tour of Pride, from the 1969 Stonewall rebellion in New York, to Europe and beyond, to Pride around the world today, using imagery, video, activist profiles and memoirs to remind us why we still march today.
Trips & Adventures – 23 August 2018
We had a local trip to the People’s History Museum, after quenching our thirsts and filling our stomachs at the Moon Under Water. The Moon Under Water was formerly the Deansgate Picture House Cinema and I remember watching “Myra Breckinridge” there featuring Raquel Welch and Mae West, back in the day. The film is based on the book by Gore Vidal where Myron Breckinridge (Rex Reed) flies to Europe to get a sex-change operation and is transformed into the beautiful Myra (Raquel Welch) … you can guess the rest … and yes, it is outrageous!
We then walked to the People’s History Museum where there were temporary exhibitions as well as the permanent works on display. These included: Represent! Voices 100 years On – an exhibition reflecting on those who campaigned for better representation; and The Women Who Said “Yes”! – the extraordinary stories of the 17 women who stood for Parliament in the 1918 general election.
There was an opportunity to wear sashes and to vote on four major topics: Should the voting age be lowered to 16?; Do you feel that you are represented in Parliament?; Do you think voting in general elections makes a difference?; and Is it ever acceptable to break the law in protest?
We were also very impressed by the sculpture of Dr Erinma Bell OBE, a Moss Side activist who has been hailed for her work against gang violence in south Manchester. The sculpture is made from melted-down shotguns and will take pride of place inside Manchester town hall’s sculpture hall – the first-ever sculpture of a woman in the building – once the town hall re-opens after renovation. (She is also one of Stuart’s colleagues on the Diversity Panel at Granada TV).
Finally, just outside the exhibition space was the Alan Turing bee. If you don’t know a colony of decorative, super-sized worker Bee sculptures are all around Manchester bringing fun and fascination. The happy hum of creativity has become the biggest buzz around town and is bee-yond belief.
Trips & Adventures – 16 August 2018
We met at Victoria train station and travelled to New Brighton via Liverpool Lime Street. There were not many people on the train so we travelled very comfortably.
The purpose of our visit was to see the group show bringing together for the first time the New Brighton pictures of internationally renowned British photographers Martin Parr, Ken Grant and Tom Wood. Showing in the town from which the pictures stemmed, this exhibition records three decades of New Brighton through the eyes of the photographers as they lived and worked there.
However, we wanted to eat first and by chance found the Queen’s Royal Hotel. Between us we sampled most of the items on the menu: scampi, steak and ale pie, cheese and onion pie (with three cheeses), salmon as well as beer, lager and cider!
Somebody said “Five queens in the Queen’s Royal”, but I don’t know who could have made such a statement?
We decided to sample the sweets and although the cheesecake was a big hit, the apple dish created a mumble and a grumble as it wasn’t a genuine crumble.
We then made our way to the exhibition, showing as part of Imagine Wirral and Liverpool Independents Biennial, at The Sailing School, Marine Point, New Brighton.
There was a fantastic view of the Mersey and we spotted container ships travelling into Seaforth as well as Crosby beach. The photographs were fantastic as well bringing up nostalgic memories from the mid-80’s.
Mermaid – fact or fiction?
Tallest gay in the village
Happy Valley Pride at Hebden Bridge – 16 August 2018
Two members of the group made it to Hebden Bridge to join in with the Happy Valley Pride. Lynn joined a “Cabaret & Drag” workshop and Sandra bought a fab dress for £1 and two rings.
Contact was made with “Over the Rainbow” – an independent social group for LGBTI+ aged 50+ who meet once a month on the second Saturday of each month from 1.00pm to 3.00pm in Todmorden Library. There are discussions on a wide range of topics in an accessible venue. They also arrange meals out, visits to the theatre and local places of interest and plan quarterly Queer related free films at the Library which are open to the general public.
They have a Facebook page “Older LGBTs – Calderdale” and can be contacted by telephone 07901 854 823 (answerphone) or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Us oldies need to stick together, so I am sure that we will link up with this group in the future.
Trips & Adventures – 9 August 2018
Today we visited the city of Liverpool to see the Minton Floor at St George’s Hall and the Double Fantasy exhibition (about John & Yoko) at the Museum of Liverpool.
As we were too early for lunch we made our way to the St George’s Hall cafe, just a short walk from Lime Street train station. There were framed prints of famous Liverpudlians decorating the walls and we recognised most of them, whilst we enjoyed our tea or coffee.
The Great Hall is two floors up and has a tunnel vaulted ceiling supported on massive red granite columns – the largest of its kind in the whole of Europe – and interior architecture which cannot be beaten; including figures portraying qualities Victorian Liverpool aspired to – art, science, fortitude and justice. The Hall houses a breath-taking Minton tiled floor of 30,000 mosaic tiles, which is normally covered by a removable floor to protect it. The floor was uncovered just for a two week period.
We lunched at the Fall Well pub and then made our way to the Pier Head where the Museum of Liverpool is located. John Winston Ono Lennon MBE was an English singer and songwriter, who co-founded the Beatles, the most commercially successful band in the history of popular music. He married Yoko Ono in 1969. The Exhibition “Double Fantasy” explores John and Yoko’s story of their deep and powerful love.
John Lennon was highly political as a peace activist and in 1973, he contributed a limerick to Len Richmond’s The Gay Liberation Book (now out of print):
“Why make it sad to be gay?
Doing your thing is okay.
Our body’s our own,
so leave us alone
And play with yourself today.”
Other quotes from John Lennon:
“Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”
“Time you enjoy wasting, was not wasted.”
“All we are saying is give peace a chance.”
Another fun day Out in the City!