Having been to Pride only once before, last year, I was eagerly awaiting returning for my second stab at what I remembered to be a whole lot of feel good vibes and glorious technicolour.
What I found this year was that just like how a rainbow, the classic emblem of Pride, is made - it was a mixture of both good and not quite so good but in the end formed something mainly pleasing.
My companion, let’s call him X and I set off with great aplomb, face jewels stuck on firmly, me in a shimmering muted rainbow shades maxi dress and gleaming white superga pumps, him in freshly applied fake tan, a colourful shirt, Pride socks and white shorts.
The sun was shining but X was carrying a huge umbrella that bugged him with how cumbersome it was from the moment we left the house - but the weather forecast stated a ten per cent chance of rain and we were taking it seriously - or at least I was, as I had just had a blow dry.
Still, when we arrived in the city centre, the sun was beaming - so much so, I had to remove my denim jacket and the atmosphere was fun and frivolous as floats full of people and Pride paraphernalia trundled by.
The weather was sunny, the people were sunny and it was a long anticipated summers day....until it wasn’t.
One hour in from arriving to watch the parade and remarking what a lovely day it was, X and I found ourselves marooned in the hotel where we had stopped to pick up our media accreditation, unable to leave due to the biblical rain that had viciously attacked us on the way there.
The rain bounced off the pavements, floats were soaked, people were drenched - the idea of standing in a queue for Canal Street felt less than desirable and when the rain finally eased and we made it over to the village, a woman stepped back on my toe and left a vivid, muddy footprint on my gleaming white pumps - what with my ruined blow dry and shimmery dress being splattered by the wet pavement - it was all a bit disheartening.
I tried to buy a flower garland for my head that lit up with little fairy lights as a way to appease the general deterioration of my outfit, but the vendor stabbed me in the head with it while simultaneously taking pictures of a group of drunk women and then couldn’t get the card machine to work, so I gave up.
At that point, a bit like a toddler having a tantrum I declared “I wasn’t really enjoying myself.”
But I had to suck it up, as the jostling was immense, Canal Street was shoulder to shoulder rammed - but at least while I was queuing for my drink I could entertain myself by watching a man in nothing but a bulging pair of white Calvin Klein underpants and angels wings gyrating on a podium and trying to head a silver balloon.
Still, the power of a few pink gin and tonics and a bit of extra personal space as we escaped to the dark confines of G.A.Y and danced to some throwback tunes from the 80s was immense. And as X and I sang “You spin me right round, baby right round,” to each other and remarked on the saga of the late Pete Burns face, I began to relax again.
Perhaps my only tension at that point was fearing having to remortgage my house every time I bought a round - easily dropping the best part of £20 for two drinks every time I visited the bar. Celebrating free love certainly comes at a price these days it would appear.
Once back out on the street, the rain had lifted and as the evening fell, Canal Street looked rather beautiful. A sea of vibrant, rainbow coloured hues - huge silver balloons, rainbow flags, a ceiling of ethereal dangling lights, flower garlands, floating white bubbles and drag queens in synchronised outfits made for quite the visual.
As people walked past in a variety of pink hats, sequins, masks, bondage outfits, wings, drag and glitter - it was almost a sensory overload, but there was a feel good vibe in the air - and also a tantalising aroma - due to the street food trucks selling reasonably priced and super tasty wraps, fries, chicken and halloumi.
After I tucked in to halloumi and chips and X went crazy for his spiced chicken, we headed to Brewers, along with a few other friends, where I joined the epic queue for the ladies to freshen up - except it was all a bit confusing, as it wasn’t the ladies - it was gender fluid and there was certainly a lot of fluidity - mainly on the cubicle floors after drunk boys came out of them - causing a general female unhappiness all round.
We spent the remaining part of the night watching a Madonna tribute act with two amazing backing dancers, followed by a Dua Lipa tribute act with two amazing backing dancers, followed by a Lady Ga Ga tribute act with two amazing backing dancers - you get my drift.
I was pretty much ready to leave by the time Dua had declared one kiss was all it took, simply because I was so exhausted and had been on my feet for 10 hours, but X was loving Ga-Ga so I hobbled around from one foot to another dancing to Bad Romance and Poker Face up to the finale, where Ga-Ga impressively shot flames out of her metal bra.
Then it was just a nippy wait for an Uber and home - all in all an enjoyable - but as one of our party described - “kind of strange” day.
My day at Pride was long, fun, expensive, tiring and a mixture of sun and rain - both literally and metaphorically. And like I said, I guess that’s what makes up a rainbow in the end.