Saturday, August 02, 2014

Brighton Pride 2014

Our Brighton Pride 2014 experience was rather different from in previous years.

My hopes of watching the Parade were dashed, in no small part by the naughty Mr Cheeky, more of which later.

By the time we set off, a river of people were coming back.

All the same, we mingled with the crowd and walked up to St James's Street for a Pride cocktail.

We have never been to the Preston Park event (too expensive and, I suspect, not really my cup of Assam).

But I love to take part in Pride.

Usually, we join the procession. One of the great things about Brighton Pride is that it has become so much more than a celebration of the LGBT communities of the city.

It is a party for everyone and straights enjoy it as much as anyone.

It's an incredibly friendly event.

I see it as a thumbs-up by the entire community to freedom of expression, to people being themselves without fear of prejudice or discrimination.

It is also remarkably entertaining.

We like to kick off Pride at the Bedford Tavern on the Friday night. 

There is always a drag act, a packed house and a great atmosphere.

The Bedford is a 200-year-old "country pub in the town" which welcomes everyone while being a gay venue.

We got to bed quite late and the next morning Mr Cheeky wanted to go out early and did not return.

Just as we were about to go out, we received a call from a resident of Brunswick Square to say that Mr Cheeky had just jumped off the roof and landed on some scaffolding where he was now stuck.

They had climbed up to see him and undone the capsure around his neck to find our phone number.

After his recent accident, we were shocked the Cheekster had got himself in trouble again.

My flat backs on to Brunswick Square - the grandest address in Hove.

The houses are enormous and at least 100 foot tall. It takes about 10 minutes to walk round to the front.

I grabbed the cat basket and dashed round to try to rescue Mr Cheeky.

On Brunswick Square, I was called in a huge basement apartment and led by Ed to their courtyard at the back.

Mr Cheeky was some 20 foot up, standing on a scaffolding plank.

As soon as he saw me, he moved forward as if he intended to jump off!

Ed's partner Caroline held him back.

I climbed up the ladder and managed to get Mr Cheeky into his basket fairly easily. I think he was quite frightened.

Caroline explained that their little daughter, Parker, had first spotted Mr Cheeky coming off the roof onto a top window ledge.

Then he tried to climb down a builders' ladder and had fallen off, miraculously not going through the hole below, but landing on the plank.

They climbed up and had been feeding him ham and trying to lure into a wicker basket.

The big mystery to me was how Mr Cheeky had come to be on the roof of Brunswick Square. It is not an easy place to reach.

Our flat has no access to the back of Brunswick Square and, even if he found his way through from a neighbouring house, Mr Cheeky would have had to climb around 100 feet.

Even if he found a fire escape to climb up, he would still have to jump from the top of it onto the roof and then jump from roof to roof to start to get down the other side. A very precarious business!

Now,  for his malfeasance, Mr Cheeky is grounded - literally!

Back to Pride, after our foray out, we returned and I had a nap (I have not been sleeping well recently) and then we walked back to St James's Street in the early evening.

Pride is becoming increasingly ticketed.

I believe the Preston Park used to be free. Now it costs a lot to get in.

The St James's Street party has always been a free, albeit crazy, alternative
This year you had to buy a ticket for that, too.

Laura is not terribly keen on standing in crowds and, as I currently have zero income, we decided to give the party a miss this year.

We sat around the gardens opposite which had turned into a kind of Pride picnic. The flowers were wonderful - very fragrant.

It seems to me that Pride is gradually and
stealthily taking over all of the centre of Brighton.

In 20 years' time it will be one of the biggest outside parties in Britain.

Already, you see Pride shindigs all over the city. It is a great excuse for a knees-up.

And long may it continue!


What to do about the Holy Land?

If you had God-like powers, you would redraw the boundaries to give Israel and Palestine each a fair share of this arid and inhospitable part of the world - including Jerusalem.

Then you would brainwash all the people into forgetting the past, loving each other and living in harmony.

Without God-like powers, it is not so simple.

The Palestinians fighters are hugely outgunned by the Israelis but carry on attacking their foes because of the historic injustices foisted on them.

The Israelis indiscriminately slaughter the Palestinians, mainly civilians, with the hearty support of most of their citizens.

It appears to be another problem without a solution.


My allotment is doing well.

I try to fit in a visit a week, to weed and water, to break up the tedium of applying for jobs and generally looking for work.

On Tuesday I have my first interview with my "coach" at the Labour Exchange (Job Centre Plus).

I am not sure what to wear: pin-striped suit and tie, jeans and open collar shirt, or allotment shorts and T-shirt.

Do they expect me to look like I am still working and instantly ready to attend any job interview?

Or would a more laid-back, resigned-to-one's-fate look suffice?

Questions, questions. Why is life so complicated?


I am thinking of writing a will.

It is not that I have any plans of dying - although with my luck since 2010, nothing seems impossible - but it is good to have your affairs in order.

It is also an excellent time to do it because I have very little left to bequest.

Therefore, it is unlikely to take me long.

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