Sparkle 2012 has been and gone.
As ever, it was great.
Tina and I travelled up to Manchester together last Friday. We set off a little after 9:30 am from Windsor.
Eddie Stobart truck name spotting is an affliction that I acquired in July 2012 … and it’s all Tina’s fault. We saw Nicole (don’t remember her second name) and Beatrice Ann … and several others as well. Still no sign of an Andrea or a Tina.
The traffic was pretty reasonable. We stopped for a coffee en-route and arrived at the Premier Inn on Portland Street in Manchester a little after 1:30 pm. The weather was grey and wet most of the way.
The traffic got a lot worse not much after we had passed the M5 / M6 junction … a few people we met spent a few hours in traffic jams.
All the staff at the Premier Inn on Portland Street that I’ve met in the past several Sparkle’s have been really helpful and friendly. It’s a great place to stay and is very TV (transvestite) friendly.
We checked in, dropped off the luggage and parked the car.
At round about 2:00 pm we began the process of of getting made up and dressing.
Round about 3:30 we called into the hotel bar to meet up with Veronica, who Tina had chatted a little with on TV Chix.
Veronica was chatting with Maxine who she’d bumped into while having a ciggy break outside the hotel, though Maxine was currently in male mode. Emma was also there, and currently also in male mode.
Here’s Veronica with Tina:
And Veronica with me:
We had a drink and then went for a walk round the corner to the Paramount Weatherspoons pub on Oxford Street.
Just in case you are interested … here’s a picture of the Gentlemen’s toilets taken from the web site … I don’t know if they were really like that though, having only ever visited the Ladies:
Here’s Tina in the pub:
And here am I:
The only not-nice incident of the weekend occurred here.
Veronica visited the Ladies and a guy that was very much the worse for wear in terms of excessive alcohol consumption … began to bad-mouth her. For no good reason.
There was a member of the Weatherspoon’s staff close by at the time who called a security guard over and the man was escorted from the premises.
When we left, the guy was still outside the building with a few of his friends.
He was abusive to everyone and if it hadn’t been for the efforts of his friends in holding him back, I guess all kinds of things could have happened.
Incidents like this have different effects on different people.
My own feelings are varied.
It didn’t bother me much … I try, though not always successfully, to not allow the behaviour of bigots, idiots and drunkards to upset me … and the guy seemed to fall into all three of these categories.
It was good that his friends could see the unreasonableness of his attitude and behaviour and that they were prepared to calm him down.
However, a part of me would have been happy to hunt down a police officer to explain to the drunken man the unacceptable nature of his behaviour.
Really, I don’t intend to offend or upset people.
At the same time, I am who I am … and the law agrees that I have the right to be myself. And so do Veronica and Tina.
A song called Second Time Around by Amy Ray includes the following words:
Here's what I've learned about compromise--
Don't do it if it hurts inside
'Cause either way you're screwed.
Eventually you'll find
You may as well feel good.
You may as well have some pride.
And I think that kind of attitude is a fair one for transgendered people to take.
Next stop, a change of clothing. Something shorter for the evening. Without shoes:
And with some pink ones:
Then back to the bar at the Premier Inn for a meet with Veronica, Emma, Tina and Maxine … all girls this time:
And then out for a meal.
We ate at the Red Chilli restaurant which is a short walk down Portland Street. The food and service were excellent.
And then for a night on the town. Mainly in the the Via bar on Canal Street.
We hadn’t been there long when Nikki and Rachel showed up:
We knew they were around somewhere, but hadn’t been in contact … only minutes before they arrived Tina had said, wouldn’t if be funny if they showed up here. And, het presto!
We chatted and danced.
Later in the evening we dropped by Eden and sat and talked for a little while longer. It was getting close to 2:00 am when we headed back to the hotel.
Next morning Tina and I went for a wander along Canal Street and had a coffee at the Via Bar and a little walk around Sackville Gardens where the main Sparkle stage and stalls are.
And then we met up with Sarah, my eldest daughter, at Weatherspoon’s for lunch. The prices are good, and there’s a great selection of beers.
Next stop is a re-visit to Sackville Gardens.
We listen to the Burlesque Boys:
There are a few strange animal passers by:
And a nice mix of folk all around:
And we have a chat with a few of the police support personnel.
Then a short walk to the Lesbian and Gay Foundation on Richmond Street where some of the people featured on the Channel 4 documentary My Transsexual Summer are interviewed … Karen, Donna, Lewis and Fox. I’d watched the TV (television) series and it was really interesting to hear a little more from them.
And then, Sackville Gardens again to hear Elouise
And admire the Pink Punter Bus … the biggest, gayest bus in the world:
And see Miss Sparkle being crowned.
Here’s a taste of it:
Another change of clothing and tidying up of makeup and Tina and I head for Eden. I’m wearing four and a half inch stiletto heels, so it’s a slow walk.
We have a bite to eat. It’s busy but not overcrowded and the food is great.
Later on in the evening … Sunday morning to be more precise … a girl comes over and says she loves the way that we look and can she have a picture taken with us. She’s with her mum and her girlfriend (all are gg’s rather than tg’s, ts’s or tv’s). She very sweetly says that she had to try hard talking her girlfriend into taking a picture because she was so jealous … so cute.
And here’s a picture or her mom and me:
They’re really lovely people.
And then back to the hotel. A passing girls makes us smile as she says “you look really great girls”.
As we go through the door we meet Emma in male mode and have a chat. (S)he’s headed outside for a smoke and we arrange to meet in the bar in a few.
The bar is surprisingly busy for 2:00 am.
We sit and chat and drink Stella Artois.
Emma keeps apologising for being really drunk and for swearing. But is good fun talk with.
Eventually its time to sleep again.
10:00 am on Sunday morning and time to get ready for the day.
Tina gets made up. I’m in guy mode. Sarah is getting married on Friday and we’re planning on calling on her to collect things to take down to Windsor ready for the wedding. Her fiancé knows about Andrea, but doesn’t feel ready to meet her, so I’ll visit as a guy.
We leave bags in the luggage store at the hotel , have breakfast and then wander around the Arndale shopping centre for a while and have a cup of coffee.
Collect the car and luggage.
Visit Sarah to collect the wedding things.
The drive back home.
The traffic is moving pretty well and we see a few girl trucks.
Another really good weekend.
Roll on Sparkle 2013.