Student Pride: Uncut
GT got jolly trollied at Student Pride. Again.
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Paris gave good face, Benjamin won an award and Jack kept up the rear end…
Like so many of the best weekends, it started with a free VIP bar. We say “VIP”, we mean an array of persistent and pasty gay journalists like us, although there were one or two big names dotted about. Mariah couldn’t make it this time but Green MP Caroline Lucas is possibly the next best thing, especially when you overhear the following: “Is Caroline Lucas gay?” – “No, but she’s definitely a lesbian hair icon”
The canapés looked like palmfuls of Dolmio catapulted onto toy bread and served up on paper plates, but we didn’t come here to dine, we came for the wine. Jack Daniels and Facundo Bacardi were also both present in spirit form. By 3pm we were well on our way, Evan Davis began looking a bit holographic and we had to resist asking the mayor if we could help him turn his chain-of-office into a Sasha Fierce headpiece.
LOTS OF GAY STUFF
American Apparel gave out free t-shirts that said “GAY O.K.” in a variety of colours. The queue for these was colossal. The Royal Navy had a recruitment stall and we chatted to some of the sailors as you can see above. We couldn’t work out if they were all gay, but basketball star John Amaechi gave us hope when he said “Some of those sailors made it pretty obvious that they were gay last night”. We didn’t press for details because it was near impossible to talk over the deafening roar of the live music stage below.
There were lots of other trestle tables kitted out with pens and key rings and boring pamphlets. One stall we’d like to mention though is ASDA. Their t-shirts were amazing - black cotton with the ASDA logo blown-up huge across the top and beneath it “LGBT” in matching rainbow block letters. It would have been well worth seducing someone off the ASDA stall just to get one of those.
GT’s very own Paris Lees starred in the first discussion, a Question Time style session in which there was talk about sex education, transphobia and outing celebrities. Soap actor Charlie Condou garnered a group giggle when he said “My industry is full of gay people, apart from the odd straight actor of course like John Travolta or Kevin Spacey”.
The second discussion was mainly about admiring rugby player Ben Cohen and staring in wonder at his shoulders while hoping nothing too smart would be said in case it triggered a semi-exposing standing ovation.
Our Benjamin took home the Journalist of the Year gong from Channel 4 Diversity awards. Congratulations!
We shied away from the bar crawl this time because it didn’t feature our favourite Brighton gay bar, The Marine Tavern, and so we instead attended the unofficial Student Pride pre-drinks hosted by Brighton-based musician Nick Hudson and his (art)houseboy Joe Nockles.
Student LGBT activist Charley Jarrett was there, as was cute 18-year-old Dutch journalist Wouter van Dijke who writes for the magazine Exprezco.
By this point everyone in the Brighton Dome’s Corn Exchange was wasted. We vaguely remember seeing the boy band Class A (who featured in GT’s naked issue this year). We also caught a glimpse of Lucy Spraggan strumming away at some point.
Benjamin Butterworth was the only GT member who managed to make it this far. Paris returned to London mid-evening (professionally sober, of course, and ready to save the world again on Sunday) and Jack was turned away by Revenge’s door staff, quite reasonably, because he was absolutely twatted (in the most pacifistic and pleasant manner of course).
The decision was made to walk along the sea front, not to sober up but just because that’s the way Brighton works: if you can’t get into one bar, you just try the next one along the seafront and then the next until someone takes pity. Helpfully the bars get progressively lax as you wander East.
Eventually Jack’s throng were admitted into R Bar, ironically owned by the Plan B perpetrator Revenge. In fact, it’s even called Bar Revenge now, but everyone still calls it R Bar.
Obviously this paragraph doesn’t stand a chance of surviving the red pen. But yeah. It was Student Pride. Everyone was in a good mood. Everyone was reasonably intelligent. People had hotel rooms. Michael Kirwan has a new book out. Work it out.
Aforementioned activist Charley Jarrett suggested we congregate in the morning for a windy round of out-of-season crazy golf. This proved the perfect hangover cure and a chance for gay journalists to prove to the student LGBT community that queer culture doesn’t just centre itself around drinking, but it also celebrates cheap burgers with fried onions, apathetic anecdotes, Ibuprofen and kitsch carpeted putting greens bordered with crumbling pebble-dash.
LIFE’S A (BAD) CABARET
At 3pm Legends bar put on some cabaret. Due to a freak burst of sunshine we decided to sit outside Legends, but the musical bars of Gold Finger were much appreciated through the double-glazing. Legends is an interesting bar actually. The regular clientele are an impressively retro bunch. A pint of diet coke costs £3 though. You can buy a timeshare in G-A-Y for that.
It wouldn’t be a trip to Brighton without a visit to our cute little Prowler branch right in the heart of Kemp Town. So we popped in to say hi and pick up some gay reading for the train journey home.
As ever, it was a fantastic weekend. Student Pride testified the high levels of interest in LGBT rights within the student demographic. Fun was had by all, new friends were made and organisations had the chance to connect with and showcase their support for the young LGBT community. Bravo.
Follow on Twitter: @jackcullenuk, @parislees, @benjaminbutter, @gaytimesmag and @studentpride
Read Jack’s 2011 Student Pride diary.
Words: Jack Cullen