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Old May 22nd, 2007, 04:52 PM   #21
woodhousen
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i cant help but think it will only be a matter of time beofre that all happens
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Old May 23rd, 2007, 09:19 AM   #22
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Hey, who is going to pride then!!?? Ill be there Sunday / Monday and heading to the Gale on Sunday night! well excited!
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Old May 23rd, 2007, 11:09 AM   #23
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ive missed it again, im not coming down to birmingham until wednesday
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Old May 23rd, 2007, 02:33 PM   #24
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I will be out all weekend, going to Godskitchen open air dance party on saturday which is on from 4pm until 4am and its outside(weatherpermitting) and then i will be out and about on Hurst street on the sunday. I think im doing DV8 this year as they have Liverpool superclub CREAM, should be wicked. I normally do Subway city at pride but the club isnt the same anymore, it has lost that really good atmosphere that it used to have, had some wicked nights in their in the past.
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Old May 23rd, 2007, 03:14 PM   #25
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Oh what a shame I'll be missing it - I'll be too busy washing my hair over the weekend.
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Old May 23rd, 2007, 03:19 PM   #26
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Oh what a shame I'll be missing it - I'll be too busy washing my hair over the weekend.
Is this you?

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Old May 23rd, 2007, 03:31 PM   #27
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Old May 23rd, 2007, 03:48 PM   #28
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a read thats a long read but worth a read!

Quote:
Brum gets in the pink
May 23 2007


The Big Picture


London has its Soho. Manchester has its Canal Street. Jo Ind discovers that Birmingham's Hurst Street is on course to catch up.

This is the weekend to paint the city pink. About 60,000 lesbians, gay men, transgendereds, transsexuals, bisexuals and their families and friends are expected to be celebrating, parading and fun-fairing around the Hurst Street area of Birmingham.

Such events have been called many things in their day - Gay Freedom Marches, Mardi Gras Parades, Queer Festivals - but at its simplest and most succinct they are known as Pride.

This is the weekend of Birmingham Pride. It will be launched on Friday night with a massive party headlined by the Rogue Traders at the newly refurbished Nightingale in Kent Street, one of the UK's leading gay clubs.

The festival spirit will continue to the end of Bank Holiday Monday with entertainment, a parade, art shows, live music, stalls, a fun fair and late night licence extensions at the city's gay bars.


It is expected to be an event the whole community will feel proud of. And yet there is a puzzling aspect to the city's gay scene.


Birmingham is a great metropolis at the heart of the country which prides itself on embracing diversity. It should be able to boast a bustling festival attracting tens of thousands from all over Europe. And yet last year's Pride was a bit of a damp squib, in more ways than one. It was attended by about 30,000 people in contrast to the 600,000 that went to London Pride and the 40,000 that attended Manchester Pride, which is perhaps a fairer comparison.


Birmingham's festival cost £220,000 and ran at a loss. London's generated £1 billion towards the economy.


David Babbington, of Everevent, which is organising this year's Birmingham Pride, said last year's disappointing attendance was due to charging an entrance fee to the festival, a decision which alienated the people who are used to going to their bars for free. But that was the 10th Birmingham Pride, so on the face of it regrettable decisions of that nature can not be put down to inexperience alone.


Birmingham's Pride might well be up and coming, but why has it not already upped and come? There are a whole range of off-the-record answers to that question:


Everything about Birmingham is naff, so why should its gay scene be any different?

The city has historically had problems with its licensing restrictions and that has impacted on the gay pubs and bars.

The council put all its resources into developing Brindleyplace and the Bullring and had nothing left for the B5 side of the city.

There is so much in-fighting amongst the gay bar owners, they can not get together to organise anything.

There might be some truth in each of those answers but what can certainly be said, as far as Pride is concerned, is that the event has never had a sustainable management structure through which expertise can be developed year on year.


The festival has limped between being organised by individuals one year, community groups another, gay bar owners in the year after that but never through a structure which has got all the salient parties together.


Yet Pride, while by no means synonymous with the gay community, should be a key component in developing cohesion and celebration amongst the city's diverse sexuality groups.


"Pride is the focal point for the community. It's like a university freshers' fair," says David.


"The student groups take place all the year round and there is a student body which says they will support them in what they want to do. The freshers' fair is when we all get together and show who we are and say: 'Come and join us.' That's what Pride is."


The student groups, within David's analogy, are the many gatherings of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) people throughout Birmingham.


There are 35 in all, including an email group for girls, a women's walking group, an older lesbians' group, a choir, a writers' group, a church, a discussion forum, a married men's group.


One of the tricks is working out how to involve these diverse groups in the running of the festival so it is genuinely their Pride.


"What you had was 35 individual community groups that don't have anything to do with each other," says David.


"They might have come together, for example the deaf signing group who happens to meet in The Fox might have met up with the Moseley Shoals, Birmingham's Gay swimming club if they were drinking there, but other than that it wasn't going to happen."


In order to address this difficulty the Birmingham Pride Community Trust was founded three years ago to help create cohesion amongst these disparate groups, which was a positive move.


Another positive development took place last year which was the forming of a trading association of the gay business people in the Hurst Street part of the city.


The purpose of the B5 Southside Traders Association was to represent the traders' interests to the city council and ensure that the character of the gay village is enhanced as the area is being developed.


"Gay scenes, like the Soho area of London and the Canal Street area of Manchester, have have always been in old industrial areas, which are out of the way with hardly anything going on," says vice-chairman Andy King.


"In Birmingham, it used to be in Camp Hill, where the Nightingale was, but after the 'Gale relocated it became around Hurst Street. It was very derelict, so it was a safer place for gays because nobody was bothering anybody in that area."


While secrecy was essential during the homophobia of the 50s, 60s and 70s there comes a point where, for a scene to flourish, it needs to be visible as it can not thrive without the support of planners, developers and the city council.


At the moment the area around Hurst Street is pretty dismal with bad paving, bad lighting and no bins.


It is currently being re-developed, a move which is long overdue, but the worry is that without a strong input from the gay businesses, the character of the village will be overtaken.


"The developers need to make the gay village a marketing feature, as in Manchester and London," says Andy.


"People have to accept, if they are going to live there, that there are three clubs. When they go to sell these properties, that should be a selling point, that it's in the heart of the gay village."


The B5 Southside Traders Association was therefore formed to work in co-operation with the council in developing the area in the gay character.


This means that Birmingham now has a forum through which the community groups can meet and an association which brings the traders together, both useful components in creating a good Pride.


The other positive thing the traders did was to put the organising of Pride out to tender. They borrowed the money from the Nightingale to pay for somebody to run the festival. David won the bid and one of his jobs has been to raise the funds to pay the Nightingale back.


This year Pride is supported not just by the city council but by the arts council as well. The arts council has provided funding for a carnival artist, Garry Jones, who is responsible for making the floats, and an artistic director, John Lupton, who is directing the Queer Arts Fest and sorting out the street decor. With these two on board there is every reason to believe it will be a strong festival artistically.


David has worked hard at making it into a community festival. He is aiming for a Pride which involves all the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual people of the city.


For example, Hilly at the Fox has chatted to the women who meet there and then gone to David and said what they want is a designated women's area, called WOW, and their own marquee and stage.


"I say, 'perfect,' and I make that happen and then nobody can criticise a gay man for putting on the women's entertainment," says David. "I would like to see that model replicated across all the other areas."


Putting all these factors together, there is every reason to believe Pride will come into its own.


"The vibe is positive," says Andy. "Everything seems to be going in the right direction."


More importantly, it seems there is grounds for believing that an infrastructure is forming to develop the Prides of the future.


If this Pride is successful, David hopes to have the funds and mandate to run Pride for the next three years providing the continuity that is essential for festivals of this kind.


He aims to expand it into a week-long festival, twin Birmingham's Pride with another city, possibly Moscow, to provide support to other LGBT people there and to develop Pride as a means for raising money for charity.


His dream is to have an office and be based in the gay village, so he is accessible to people and they can come in and out and say what they want from Pride.


"If you try to run Pride without involving the community, it will fail," says David. "If you try to run Pride without powerful leaders, it will fail. If you try to run it with too many leaders, it will fail."


It has some leaders, it has business sense (David has reduced the costs from £220,000 to £150,000) and it has the involvement of the community.


Meanwhile, thanks to the B5 Southside Traders, there are plans for the gay flag to fly from the lamp posts throughout the gay village all through the summer. And at Christmas it will have its own lights, which will be pink of course. Shine on.


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Old May 23rd, 2007, 05:13 PM   #29
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My first pride and one which will always be remembered was 2002. The city was buzzing and part of the eclectic mix of the city was the Lord Mayors walkabout and show, Jubilee celebrations and gay pride.

Roll on 2012, what a year that will be for the city with Diamond Jubilee (fingers crossed), Olympics, lord mayor, Euro 2012.

With a lot of buzz and some encouragement the place will be amazing. Im excited now, hehe.
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Old May 23rd, 2007, 05:22 PM   #30
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my furst and only pride was the jubilee celebrations one, always remember going and following the parade which was full of queens dressed as queens! the best part being wen the floats pased a pub (fitzgeralds???) on benetts hill and having all thee football fans (most being twats) coming out and watching whilst shouting abuse. never to this day has the sight of 20 football fans being shouted down and shown a thing or two by a man dressed as a queen with elton john style hair been suppassed!
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Old May 23rd, 2007, 05:26 PM   #31
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My first pride was a complete accident. I got lost and found myself on a small patch of waste land with a festival thing going on. I soon realised it wasn't my scene after I noticed the large concentrations of gay people. I was worried that I would become the subject of interest as well so I quickly made an exit.
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Old May 23rd, 2007, 05:47 PM   #32
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Thanks for the article.An interesting read.
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Old May 23rd, 2007, 06:52 PM   #33
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Gay Pride must bring far more than £150k into the local economy... i bet its more like £30M if not far more... all the gayers go to selfridges, house of frazer and the mailbox and spend a shit load; not forgetting our gay sex shops.
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Old May 23rd, 2007, 07:18 PM   #34
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£30 million a bit steep as revenue. I know they spend money but i doubt that much and sadly with pride it tends to be on liquid refreshment.

Definitely interesting in the ghetto versus integration debates and how a wider profile might increase city wide support and engagement.
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Old May 23rd, 2007, 07:27 PM   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scazmattaz View Post
...not forgetting our gay sex shops.
Do people really shop in these? Surely the internet is a more, erm, discreet option.

Not that I'd know...
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Old May 23rd, 2007, 07:38 PM   #36
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hehe,

Well the new Prowler on Station Street is really good for the discerning shopper. Got good selection of books, and clothes and there is an expectations shop below selling the more adventurous items and accompanying movies

Lots of people still use them, Clonezone on Hurst Street still keeps going.

Prowler very good though, much more open and friendly style.

http://www.prowler-stores.co.uk/prow...t.asp?ref=1922
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Old May 23rd, 2007, 09:19 PM   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by feltip View Post
hehe,

Well the new Prowler on Station Street is really good for the discerning shopper. Got good selection of books, and clothes and there is an expectations shop below selling the more adventurous items and accompanying movies

Lots of people still use them, Clonezone on Hurst Street still keeps going.

Prowler very good though, much more open and friendly style.

http://www.prowler-stores.co.uk/prow...t.asp?ref=1922
Yeah its a nice shop, but whenever I walk past (every day on my way to work), its empty. Surely its just a matter of time before this oddly placed investment relocates or closes completely?
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Old May 23rd, 2007, 09:54 PM   #38
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Must agree. Its good its not in the gay ghetto but also without natural home of the gay community it depends on people knowing it exists.

I think its more extensive collection of some things might keep it going but yeah it needs a bit more tlc.
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Old May 26th, 2007, 11:17 PM   #39
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If anyone around the village tomorrow my friend in the know says that the city council planning team will be there to discuss environmental improvement proposals for the gay village. Prob best to take an umbrella as its going to be wet

I know they will be there from 2pm at least, but i guess most of the day.

(and im not sad for not being out for pride tonight but feeling a little poorly and spent out )
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Old May 28th, 2007, 05:51 PM   #40
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Well, braving the wintry weather (was blowing a gale up Kent Street) I went to speak to people about the redevelopment and regeneration plans.

The plans are entirely speculative and based on some money given by local developers ( Crosby etc).
The city council has NO money and would need to raise it. Its also linked to the Gooch Estate which owns practically all the gay village and seem to be intent on making money out of development.

Now the good parts
Plans include trees lining a couple of the roads, and trees and the junction with Lower Essex Street and Kent Street by DV8 entrance.
A lot of the village would have pavements widened with nice paving. Also looks like prospective lighting plans to enhance the nightscape.

What they have already done which will look good if plants bush out and are maintained is put some hanging baskets on lamposts at junction with DV8 on.

All sounds promising but we will have to wait and see. Got the feeling from the planning team there that they are aware that council a bit ambivalent. Also seems that I-Land will be marketed much more to gay community as complaints that South Side wasnt marketed to a gay audiance well.

Plans apparently to go online in coming weeks.
Questionnaire is, if its same as yours Woody, a little sparse but at least with some comment spaces.
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