Thursday, June 24, 2010

My First Time

By Ashley Lister

This year I joined our local gay pride march. It was my first time at the event. I went as part of our poetry group (The Dead Good Poets). The poetry group is wholly inclusive and I thought it was important to foreground that inclusivity by joining in with the local community activity of the gay pride march. Also, there were free lollipops and I’m a sucker for free lollipops.

Participating in a gay event meant I had to do a couple of things I don’t usually do. Most worrying of all was the fear I would have to ride on a bus. I don’t want to sound like I’m a hater, but I don’t ride on buses. It’s not that I’ve got anything against buses, or people who ride on buses. It’s just not something I choose to do myself.

Fortunately the parade was a slow-moving event and I was able to walk alongside the bus. I was lucky in that regard because I’m not sure I could have lived with myself after doing something that goes so strongly against my character. I firmly believe, if God had intended me to ride a bus, he wouldn’t have given me a car.

The second thing that worried me was the blowing I was expected to do. I was asked to blow up some balloons to decorate the bus. Anyone who has ever known me knows that balloon-blowing interrupts valuable smoking time. I’ve been smoking so long that my lungs have shrivelled to the size of a midget’s spent condom. Consequently, the idea of me producing enough air to fill a balloon was a genuine cause for concern.

Nevertheless, I braced myself for the task and got on with blowing.

Blackpool is, generally, a gay friendly town. The parade was populated with brightly-coloured trailers and included some spectacular floats. Because someone had noticed I was having difficulty blowing up balloons, I was entrusted with a camera and told to go and take nice pictures. This was more in line with my abilities. I was expected to look through a viewfinder and press a button. I eagerly rushed out to take as many photos as possible.

The team from the S&M bar were cheerful and happy to pose for snapshots. A pair of drag queens from the local TV bar had me laughing so hard I couldn’t hold my camera steady. And then I got to chatting with Dorothy on the Wizard of Oz float about the detail on his costume. Dorothy and I were chatting for so long that it wasn’t until one of the munchkins came and told us that the parade was starting that we had to say a swift goodbye and go our separate ways. But I was quite pleased to say I’d become a friend of Dorothy.

And then the parade began.

It was fun.

As I said before, Blackpool is, generally, a gay friendly town. The parade went down a length of the seafront and there were large crowds of people lining the route, shouting support, waving cheerfully, and clearly enjoying the spectacle.
I was giving out of some of the lollipops that had been entrusted in my care (not all of them – I’m not that generous) and I got to waving at the people by the side of the road. There were a handful of Christian protestors who didn’t seem to approve of Gay Pride. I’m not quite sure what their problem was: once you get the tune to It’s Raining Men inside your head, it’s difficult to hear anything else.

I had a wonderful day on the Gay Pride event. I had a chance to catch up with some old friends and make a handful of new acquaintances. The weather was perfect, the atmosphere was light-hearted and cheerful, and the music was YMCA-tastic. I hope to be going again next year, if not for the fun and friendship – certainly for the free lollipops.


  1. the size of a midget’s spent condom

    Now I must go bleach my brain. ;)

    Glad you enjoyed yourself!

  2. Eyre,

    Have fun with that bleaching ;-)

    The whole day was a hoot and half. Lots of fun.



  3. Hey Ash!

    I want to see some of the photos!

    Very funny while quite to the point.


  4. Hi Lisabet,

    I'm going to have to find the photos and share a link. It was perfect weather for a parade and the floats were beautiful.

    The only problem with photos is that they can't convey the full atmosphere.



  5. Ash - What fun! When I try to hand out lollipops, I suddenly look like the child catcher from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, so I just keep them all to myself. I love how active your poetry group is. It's inspiring.

    Oh, and midget's spent condom - best line, ever!

  6. Kathleen,

    I did worry about handing out the lolipops for exactly that reason.

    Luckily there were less daunting figures than me at the parade who were able to hand out goodies without it coming across as 'gifts from Uncle Creepy.'



  7. Ash,

    Shoving the Gay Pride parade aside for a second, and the outstanding vision of the midget's condom which you've managed to burn into my brain tissue somehow, could you explain to me, how in hell you get around? I mean, no busing, you don't drive, you've explained in great detail your thoughts on any form of exercise so I'll assume walking, jogging or biking are out, let alone skate boarding, inline skates or whatever else the young have found to make life a hazard to those of us who do drive.

    Cripes, I'm not even sure that last bit was a sentence, but never mind.

    Glad you had a good time, Uncle Creepy and do hope you'll get some of those pictures available for us to look at.


  8. Hi Jude,

    I do drive. I drive very well and I drive everywhere. I'm the most environmentally unfriendly person on the face of the planet. I would drive to the loo if it wasn't for the sharp bend at the top of the stairs :-)

    And your sentences always make sense ;-)

    Ash (aka Uncle C)

  9. Hi ash

    Sounds like fun and more emotionally fulfilling than running a marathon. You don;t get lollipops at marathons.

    Show us the pictures some time.


  10. Garce,

    It really was a good day out. As soon as I've got access to the pics I'll copy everyone into the link.




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