Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Sparkle, Lynne Featherstone and Government Policy

9:00 am Saturday 9th July 1011. Premiere Inn, Portland Street, Manchester and the alarm on my mobile phone sounds.

I carefully remove the bandage from my arm … it comes off without having stuck to anything. Hardly hurts at all.

I decide to wear something with long sleeves to cover up the bruising and keep it clean.

It’s gone 10:30 by the time I’ve shaved, made up and dressed.

Tina sets off to visit Amy who’s staying at the Britannia Hotel a little further down Portland Street.

My elder daughter lives close to Manchester and we’ve planned to meet up.

I send a text and head out of the hotel. Almost raining but not quite. The Paramount (a Weatherspoons pub) is just a few doors to the right.

I order a Latte and sit by the window. After a few minutes Sarah arrives. Soaking wet from the rain. She gets an Americano and we sit and chat a while.

Eventually we decide to search for something to eat and eventually find ourselves in the Via bar. I show her the scene of the previous night’s bumps. See how narrow the steps are on the inside of that bend?


Laura and Billie join us after a while. Then it’s a short walk to Sackville Gardens where the official Sparkle opening happens and met up with Tina.

This year the Government Minister for Equalities, Lynne Featherstone was invited to opening and spoke for about 8 minutes. Hers she is saying what she said. It’s worth listening to if you’re interested at all in transgender rights.


Lynne mentions this in her own blog at

We listened to some of the music. This is The Strawberry Elephant Experience. The bass guitarist (wearing the hat) is Didi who sometimes visits Surrey Swans.


This is the Pink Punters bus in the background:



This is a little of Frillerz – I thought they were pretty good.


And here’s a variety of folk in the park. Some wearing rather more in the way of clothing than others Smile







And here is what makes Canal Street … well … Canal Street, with the Rembrandt Hotel to the left:


And here’s Laura making her way towards us along with a wisp of Billie’s hair in the background:


Eventually we set off back to the hotel and get changed for the evening. I only have one other thing with long sleeves … so tonight I’m all in black.



We eat at the Red Chilli restaurant on Portland Street.

I’m a little amazed at how many inebriated people there are on Portland Street at 7:30 in the evening. They’re easy to spot since they are the ones that make idiots of themselves by making stupid comments.

In the restaurant the manager and staff make us feel extremely welcome. People take no notice of us … until all around us they begin to cough and splutter as the waitress places food onto a very hot sizzling platter.

The rest of the evening is mostly chatter and a few drinks. We end up at the Via bar again and I am especially respectful of the steps.

I hunt out the ladies loos.

“There’s a bit of a queue” says the girl in the queue.

“Oh. Are you the queue?”

“Yeah” she says. “And I bet you … whichever one becomes free first has no toilet paper.”

I smile.

A door opens and she sets heads for it explaining “… well I guess I’ll just have to drip dry.”

Next morning Tina and I meet up with my daughter Sarah again for a while. We have breakfast and a drink and talk and talk. The people at Weatherspoons take no notice of us.

The journey back home is a slow one … traffic pouring out of Silverstone where the British Grand Prix was raced slowed things down somewhat.

However … I did have a really nice weekend.

Roll on Sparkle 2012.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hello Friend, been a long time. Thought I saw you briefly on our old stomping ground, but then you were gone again. Been a while... Sara