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GT Weekender: Birmingham Pride/As One in the Park

Because being a GT staffer doesn't end on Friday afternoon...


Birmingham Pride 2013

We’ve only just recovered from Birmingham Pride a couple of weekends ago. Kicking off the Pride season in style, Brummies certainly know how to party! The ‘second city’ deluged their denizens with a plethora of pop performers that spanned the decades. We flirted with the gorgeous JLS and straddled Rylan Clark in the artist's lounge backstage... well, our assistant Selina did. You just can’t take drunk straight girls anywhere! We bowed down to the legendary Bananarama, watched the Cheeky Girls eating some fast food outside Birmingham New Street train station (yes, it was all glamour) and stood back agog as Paloma Faith took to the stage with the ever-hilarious drag queen Sandra in the cabaret tent.

While the acts were fab, what makes Pride is the people, and a stunningly gorgeous day alongside some eye-popping, flamboyant costumes gave the parade a real Carnival feel. Drags on stilts, campaigners, volunteers, politicians and members of the public from across the sexual spectrum mingled together to a soundtrack of pumping dance tunage. The city was alive and an estimated 75,000 people turned up for Birmingham Pride’s 16th year - an amazing event, well done to everyone involved.

For a full rundown of Pride’s around the UK, check out the latest issue of GT in stores and online from 12 June.

As One in the Park

When it comes to publicity money can’t buy, As One in the Park in East London received the holy grail of divadom, not once but twice in the form of Dame Helen Mirren. We all know the now infamous story of As One trotting out a merry (and loud) band of drummers and shirtless Vauxhallians outside the theatre Dame H was giving a performance. But noisy park promotion and a serious thesp treading the boards certainly don’t mix; cut to a peeved Dame storming outside dressed as Her Maj Queen Elizabeth II to silence the enthusiastic rabble.

Well, Dame Helen turned up to the actual event itself, completely game for a laugh and posing with drums and a couple of gurning gogos in short shorts while complaining of it being “too loud”. Backstage was abuzz with well-known faces, such as Kate Moss, Gok Wan, Katie Price and a plethora of the ever-multiplying ex-Big Brother contestants. And was that hunky young diver Tom Daley we spotted briefly sashaying around the VIP area? We barely recognised him with his clothes on...

As for the acts, Rita Ora, Katy B and super-cuties Union J provided perfectly pleasant summer sing-a-longs, with stalwart performer Holly Johnson adding a bit of gravitas to the roster, but the day proved to be so wonderful because of the one thing no-one could control - the best damn weather we’ve seen all year! Thanks to the sun, Victoria Park was awash with gay boys in tit slings, many of whom went for the multitude of Bank Holiday after parties, like As One in the Dark, As One Still Partying and As One Just Go To Bloody Work Now. Awesome day!

PS: The Bumper cars were amazing! It's not a festival if you can't ram in to the back of your drunk best friend! :-D

Words: Lee Dalloway @Leeroydalvin

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