Thankyou Manchester for not just a Big Weekend, but an amazing weekend! And thankyou to all my friends who were a part of it and made it so special. I last went to Manchester Pride a three or four years ago, and had quite a mixed experience of it. But was determined to make the best of it this year … it’s all in the planning.
I have quite a love / hate relationship with pride – indeed a good friend on twitter replied to a comment saying “you sound like a crotchety old man”, which is about right. I don’t really like hugely crowded places, queuing to get in a bar, or the fact that you can apparently only celebrate pride with music turned up to 11. I do enjoy a good bar with a drag DJ taking the piss out of everyone, but most of the time I’d prefer an old man boozer.
I love the daytime of pride, the atmosphere and excitement building, the socialising and drinking and a little bit of shopping. This year I stopped off at The Moodybear to buy some shirts and a baseball cap. Andrew is a great guy who has built a great brand with brilliant designs and superb quality. Long may it continue!
The evenings through I lose patience and interest. I have no interest in the dance arena, I have no interest in the main stage acts, I have no real interest in every bar playing the same music. The Friday night I went along to my first Alert! So pleased to see the team have been able to return to Alter Ego after the nightmare they had with the previous location / people involved (well documented online). But for me it was way too crowded (as any club night over pride is), and blow jobs and fucking are nice enough but get a bit boring after a while. I lost the will to try and find someone to tie up and torment / flog (which is what I want to do in fetish clubs).
The Saturday night I abandoned all pride activities and venues and opted for an amazing evening fine dining, wine and cheese (omg the cheese!). This was a perfect night for me – so much more enjoyable then the crowded streets of Canal Street. Sunday night I was tucked up in bed by 9pm with a bottle of wine and Are You Being Served!
The parade was amazing fun! There were three main fetish groups in the parade, The Pups (Kennel Klub), Manchester Leathermen and Manchester Rubbermen in three walking groups – I was with the Manchester Leathermen. If you look back through gay rights history is you will always find two groups at the front of so many protests, fundraising efforts and awareness campaigns – the drag queen queens and leather queens. The latter would now better be described as the kink or fetish queens. And so for me we as a fetish community as such a vital and important part of the wider gay community, and it’s vital we continue to be seen.
Everyone for the parade gathered by the Manchester Science & Industry museum ready to begin the march, an amazing crowd of people from so many organisations and companies. Though the M&S team with their trolley full of Percy Pigs caught many peoples eye!
The parade was brilliantly organised, we were group number 127 I think, and the stewards were very good in ensuring every group left in the prescribed order. The reason was half way around an announcer was introducing each group as they passed and any changes would have caused chaos! The downside of being so far back was the hanging around, we finally hit the parade about an hour and a half after it started!
I have read complaints in previous years fetish shouldn’t be a part of pride marches, and I have had the same discussion with people in person. The argument is that the celebrations, marches and parades are ‘family’ events. Yes they are, and we are guys (and girls) who like to dress up in fancy dress. People often forget that it is the adults that sexualise our outfits, kids just see grown-ups having fun in fancy dress.
A friend marching with the Pups and Kennel Klub took two pictures that show such a lovely moment during the march. A young girl was in a wheelchair watching the march with her parents, one of the pups noticed her and went over and gave her a rainbow rose. And then one of the others went over and draped his own rainbow flag over as a cape … she loved it and her parents were so touched! That little impromptu moment captured so much about why I love this community.
I would love in a future Pride to see a universal “Manchester Fetish Guys” group, maybe a float sponsored by some of the big fetish brands / stores and all the groups mixed up sharing their love if kink!
Manchester Pride is a huge event, probably one of the biggest Pride celebrations in the UK. I know on both the Saturday and Sunday they sold out of one day wristbands for entry into Canal Street it was that popular! If you are thinking of going in 2017 you are best buying a weekend wristband early when they are at their cheapest, and if you decide not to go I’m sure you will find a friend or someone who will have it off you. Next year I am sure the same rumour about Kylie making a surprise appearance on the main stage will come round, just as it does every year.
This year I stayed at the Hilton Doubletree at the end of Canal Street, perfect location if you want to gear up and walk to Canal Street as it’s not very far at all. There is a Holiday Inn just next door and Premier Inn’s the other end of Canal Street. Again like with tickets book early … particularly if you can get a good refundable rate!
See you there next year for a bigger, better and kinkier Manchester Pride!