Gay Pride Manchester 2017

A week ago today, around this very time, I was preparing for my second night out in Manchester.  Seb and I attended Manchester Pride 2017.

I cycled from my house to the station and then locked up my bicycle.  With 12 minutes to spare before my train, I had a rhubarb cider from The Little R’Ale House just by the station.  It’s a tiny micro-pub which serves, of course, real ale but I wanted something sweet and refreshing and the cider was just that.  I sat waiting for the train, with the sun glaring down and sipping on my nice cool drink.

The train arrived in Nottingham and I walked to the bus stop.  I am not the biggest bus user.  I know a few usual routes back at home but each different city has a slightly different system.  Eventually I found a bus with my intended destination on it, so I headed for about 15 minutes northwards to Seb’s.

I was transporting myself by my favourite means – the bicycle, the train and then the bus and then it came to an abrupt halt.  Seb proposed to drive from his to Manchester.  Initially I was against the car idea but the ability to be a little bit more flexible was actually great on the return journey.  Whilst driving up there, we went through the peak district and saw some spectacular views.  There were some incredibly tiny roads and some sheep in some very precarious positions.  The photos shown below do not do it justice.

Just before we pulled into the hotel’s car park, we stopped off for a McDonald’s.  From the beginning of the year, I become a vegatarian so have therefore not had a Big Mac.  I missed this.  It suddenly occurred to me that I could have a Big Mac without the meat and substitute it with the veggie option.  It was a couple of pound more, but it was really nice.

We stayed in the Ibis Budget Salford Quays a little while out from the centre.  The reason being I left it incredibly late to book.  All the gays booked up the nearby hotels months and months in advance and then for any hotels which remained vacant, the prices increased massively.  When I was unsure about where to stay, as a precautionary measure I booked to stay at a hotel just by Canal Street.  It would have cost £220 just for the Saturday night.  I soon cancelled that.

Salford Quays isn’t too far away.  There is a handy tram stop just by the hotel and with it being only a few quid we travelled back and forth and back and forth on the day’s and night’s out.

We got the tram to Piccadilly Gardens and then walked down towards Canal Street.  We knew that entry onto the street was ticketed but weren’t sure how much.  We went to the ticket office and found out it was a steep £30.00.  This was for entry for all three days but with some places also charging you to enter and the fact that it is actually a public street, it wasn’t the smoothest of moves.

Canal Street was packed and we had a really great first night.  We were out quite a while but it wasn’t too drastic.  I recall Seb initially proposing we have a quiet one or no night at all on Friday.  What is that?!

 

The next day, we awoke at a moderately good time and got ready.  We got the tram and walked down to watch the parade.  It was, as could have been expected, massive.  It had a different atmosphere to the London Pride parade.  It was more informal and more community focussed.

Here’s a photo of a guy we met at a club the night before.  He came and said hi when he saw us watching the parade.  Cute.

As illustrated by these photos, there was a whole lot more of a community feel.  Perhaps London Pride is too commericalised with the fact that Barclays and the like are desperate to splash the cash and display their brands on Gay Pride marches – but perhaps this is a good thing.  This was so informal and relaxed that at the end of the parade everyone just joined in.

 

Afterwards we went to Canal Street for a couple of drinks.  Now, more so than last night, it was packed.  Really it was.

 

After a short while, we decided for a tactical food stop at Byron Burgers and then we got the tram back to the hotel.  The plan initially was that there would be time for a few hours to nap but this turned into a one hour power nap.  Regardless, I felt refreshed.

After the nap, it was time to listen to some music, have a few (too many) drinks and get ready.  Getting ready too slightly lasted a bit longer than usual.  Yes, I admit, I did copy Seb’s idea from London Pride to thickly apply glitter to the eyebrows.  I want to clarify it was my idea to bring the glitter.


The night was young and we went into many different bars and clubs and met some lovely people.  Everyone was in a happy, relaxed mood.

 

At 5am, our night was over.  Well, for me and Seb it was over.. Some people somehow kept on going.  I don’t know how.

 

I must admit that there was a long lie in involved the next day.  Afterwards, we explored Salford Quays a little and then headed back to the the Canal Street area.  We listened to some music and relaxed.

I recognised the face of Andrew Tindall who I have followed on Twitter since his appearance on television back in 2012.  I asked him for a photo and he obliged.  I said “thanks” and walked off.  A little while later, I was about to tweet the photo to him to say “thank you” and realised that the bitch had blocked me.  Now, I am not sure exactly why.  I imagine it was a slightly risque comment I made to him but ouch.  I hadn’t even noticed he had blocked me.  It must have been about 8 months ago.  So shit to you Andrew.

Seb suddenly realised that we would have to leave promptly as my last train would probably be in a few hours.  I checked and it was the 21:21.  Why on earth do trains not run later than this?  It’s almost as if the train companies run the trains for a profit rather than running them for slightly later, as they’d be more convenient times.  Hmmpt.

We got the tram back to the hotel, checked out and hit the road.  This is where I would like to make my declaration.  Yes, I apologise to Seb.  I was bad mouthing the idea of using a car to get to and from Manchester.  But where we needed to go directly to Nottingham train station, it worked a treat.  He managed to get there just in the nick of time.

I loved my time at Manchester Pride.  I will certainly be going back next year.

Talk soon,

 

Sam

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