We went up to Manchester this weekend for the last of the summer pride events. Lots of fun. Lots of dancing. Lots of music. Lots of beer. Lots of boys.
That about sums it up. No really it was a really good trip. Took the train up on Friday afternoon for a leisurely start to proceeedings. After the first bottle of wine I fell asleep and then awoke near Manchester having missed the snack run.
We checked into The Place (lovely apartment hotel we stayed in last time we were up in Manchester).
Then straight out to Canal Street for beers and meeting up with friends. We spent an awful lot of time outside the Rembrandt Hotel for some reason. After checking out the queue for the wristband exchange we decided to go back and get more beers and leave the wristbands until later. There was an enormous queue due to the exchange only being open for an hour before they stopped anyone entering the gay zone without wristbands. Still I was slightly distracted by the cute boy from the St John Ambulance. He looked a bit like Tom Wisdom (Mile High, Corrie).
After a few beers we went back to find no queue so exchanged the tickets for some lovely spangly silver bands which once attached to our wrists did not come off. It meant spotting other potential homo’s was a breeze regardless of where you went in Manchester. In fact when wandering Selfridges on the Monday it seemed every other bloke was checking out my wrist before looking at me.
The rest of Friday night was spent at Essential. Still one of my favourite venues. Lots of nice boys and free glow sticks kept me happy!

Saturday was a late starter for all of us. Breakfast followed by another trawl down Canal Street. We checked out the stalls and entered a few prize draws and checked out the boy from the St John Ambulance again. The stage area was sadly very cold and windy so we didn’t stay long before heading back to the aprtment for food and then more drinks out in Canal Street followed by Uni Challenge . This was a lot like the old Famous 5 at bagleys but much betetr organised. Buses from town took you to the door. No queueing for coat check or tickets. Lots of space and venues and I really enjoyed myself. Lots of fun and highly recommended for anyone thinking of taking a trip oop north next year.

Sunday then was naturally recovery day. Well you would have thought so but no we did surface mid afternoon and yes we did head back into the throng of pride. That was until the tage performances got too much to bear. Okay so the single performed by Soraya was bad enough but then Jarrod Bachelor started singing ‘We are family’ in a very bad karaoke style. So I’m all for charity singles but come on. Mr Gay UK is not exactly picked for his singing talent is he. Anyway this was enough to make us flee the area and back to the relative safety of the apartments via Queer (again). Sunday night I couldn’t face another big night out so returned to the flat on my own around midnight leaving the others to stump up a hefty ?15 to return to essential. Weird how the price increased nearly double from ?8 on the Friday!

Monday after a lateish start we wandered around Manc land shopping centre. Funny how all the boys kept looking at your wrist first. Maybe we should all get matching bracelets like in the eighties when all the gay students used to wear little pink triangles. It would make life easier and stop me obsessing over lost causes. No wait. That would not be the case at all. Then back to Canal Street for beers before catching the train home.
The boy from the St Johns Ambulance was now wearing a sign on his back saying ‘available’ (sadly I thought it would be too stalker like of me to whip out the phone and take a pic). How I regret that now!

As if we had not had enough alcohol over the weekend we decided to take in more boys and beers at Kazbar that evening to prolong the holiday spirit. Tuesday morning I can tell you was very very rough!