Life got in the way. I just had a check and my last post was about brunching at Ox Club on the first of May. Which is basically a million years ago. Well, 4 months. A QUARTER OF THIS YEAR. It’s flown by in the blink of an eye and now it’s September and time to wave goodbye to summer (my least favourite season) and enter my favourite, Autumn (someone recently suggested that this is a Proper Yorkshire quality). In that four months I’ve squeezed in a holiday (that I’d intended to blog about and then at the very least to do some reviews on Trip Advisor), I’ve been grafting hard in the day job, I’ve been turning my hand to some fiction writing (that I’m not ready to share with the world yet) and very nearly completing more than one short story. I even submitted one of them (no luck in being shortlisted so it’s time to crack back on. They can’t all be winners, can they?)
I also felt exasperated by the world. By the leader of America being a bigot who seems to be whipping the rights of people like me, or those I love, away in the country he leads; women, LGBT people and minorities. The world feels like it’s accepting hate as being okay by default. While in my little bubble of a world (IRL and online) there is a cosy echo chamber of left wing opinions that,sometimes, if only for a second, can make things seem not quite as bad. Until the next Guardian update flashes onto my phone screen to tell my about another horrific thing happening at home or further afield.
Not long after my last post the Manchester Bombing happened. I don’t intend on giving a commentary about it except to say just how very heartbreaking it was and how proud I was of the city in the immediate aftermath. So many people’s lives were altered irrecoverably that night and afterwards talking about anything seemed too frivolous to be worthwhile.
The less I wrote the more exasperated I became with the blogging community who, sadly, I often find to be the cliques I’ve spent time not caring about since Primary School. I took some time completely off social media when I went to Thailand and I felt cleansed. I didn’t abstain completely upon my return to the UK and slowly but surely my time on Instagram and Twitter crept up. I’m convinced that social media will be the downfall of a generation and in 50 years there will be a whole university module for Psychology Undergrads (who by then will probably be paying millions for the privilege) on the long term impact of Social Media on the mental health of early-millenials. Maybe one day I’ll have the opportunity to write a thesis on that and I can refer back to this post within it.
Anyway, before I know it the summer (which has been fun and busy and fast) has whizzed by and it’s the last bank holiday of the year until Christmas. There’s probably just time for society to start trying to tell me I still have time to fit into that sparkly LBD for Christmas if I follow a strict diet now, just before they tell me in January how it’s okay that I enjoyed my Christmas dinner because now’s the time to crack on with an all new New Year New Me diet to get svelt after all that over indulgence. If I miss the boat then there’s always a summer body to prepare.
So, I started writing this post having attended Manchester Pride last weekend and had planned to review it here. The above was going to be a witty, pithy introduction. Oh well.
So, Pride. I really enjoyed the Silent Disco and the Expo – as ever – though it was smaller than usual to accommodate the former and there were fewer stalls that tickled my fancy, though there were a lot of important stalls there. I find the parade- any Pride parade, large or small- so moving that sometimes, when I’m reminded of the many rights I have compared to those that have come before me; being able to marry my wife. Being able to have a family if and when we wish to. Being able to go to work (though not being able to earn the same as my male counterparts, statistically speaking). Being able to be Out at work. Being able to be Out. Being able to wear what I want. The parade also reminds me that there are many people in the world without those choices. Astoundingly in 2017 some people had more rights last year than they now do and it occurred on the same day that over the pond Transgender people’s right to serve in the military was removed. It takes your breath away, makes you feel extremely grateful and fires you up make change where you can, even in a small way.
This years Manchester Pride, however, disappointed me. The theme; Class of 2017, begged for cliched dress up on some of the floats and was a less obvious choice than many others given the current social and political climate. The parade itself was long (we stood, cheering periodically, for almost 2 hours) and extremely corporate. While some of the floats – including those for LGBT support groups, celebration of equal marriage in other countries and health issue awareness- were appropriate there was a huge number of floats from banks, supermarkets and car showrooms that were purely commercial. You at the back, I can see you muttering about Allies. And I understand, on one hand, that it’s positive that companies want to show their support for the LGBT community. But on the other, are these companies actively helping LGBT causes the other 51 weekends of the year? Or is it enough to sling some free condoms in a printed tote bag with your brand all over it and hand them to the crowds? Let’s remember that Pride is a Protest and particularly now we shouldn’t water down our voices by being bought with something free and shiny.
The world needs us right now. Be kind to each other this autumn.