Durham Pride – thoughts

Last year I wrote about Newcastle Pride and how I didn’t think it was my cup of tea. I returned to another Pride march this and this one took place in the City I was born – Durham. 

The pile of sick I stepped over in front of a Champagne bar in Durham might have been a foreboding to what I was going to experience throughout the day. I had travelled from my home into Durham city and made my way down to ‘The Sands’ which is a field next to the river Wear.

Durham Pride is in its infancy and we must take that into consideration. The fact that it was founded in 2014 and only has been running for 5 years makes us realise that this event does have a few problems and stuff that needs, in my opinion, ironing out.

I arrived about 2.30pm an hour and half after it officially opened to see some stall holders already starting to pack up. The event itself is only running for half a day from 1-6pm at The Sands. I thought it was a bit mean of those people who had decided to put their stall out to start dismantling things not even half way through the afternoon.

It was good to see organisations like Police, NHS and Samaritans get involved in promoting their cause and even local bus services had brought a vehicle designed in a LGBT theme celebrating pride.


The music was okay I am not a huge fan of every song being the dance version of every hit you have ever heard. The queue for the bar was about ten minutes long and overall the prices where reasonable for this sort of event. The only thing that I thought was a bit steep was the price of a full bottle of wine at £18. Strangely I didn’t witness anyone take up this offer and people mainly stuck to pints or shots with a mixer.

At around 5pm people were leaving in droves and it was only when I was walking back to catch a bus home did I catch the headlining act (albeit via facebook live) of Sonique. They had decided to put her on about 5.50pm when the majority of the people had gone home.

I think overall people were happy with the event. It’s manly attended by the 16-30 crowd which is great if you are that age, but someone who is knocking on the door of middle age and reluctant to go inside, it does make me feel that once you have passed the milestone of thirty in gay terms you are in retirement.

There was nothing I could see for people past thirty we all aren’t interesting in drag queens and repeating infinitum the mantra that we are ‘having a good time’ at the host requests.

This for me is where Pride events fall down. The ageist opinions of not just the attendees but the mindset that people in organisation make invisible those who have experienced the 80s and 90s and have the grey hair to prove our non-existent status in LGBT world.

Good points – young people ready to embrace their sexuality and others willing to support them

Bad points – 15 toilets for 25 thousand. Not enough variety of food. Stalls packing up way before the end.




Does Chester-le-Street need another bar?

Does Chester-le-Street need another place to drink? I love my hometown and happy and proud to live here but does it really need another bar?

There are already ten drinking establishments within a few hundred yards of the proposed site. They have been there for a number of years and I am not including ‘Working men’s clubs’ within the area of the town in this number. Why is it that the council now seem it fit to give permission for another place to drink?

I had a brief search of the proposals and peoples objections to the demolishing of the current premises to be replaced by a new build. I can understand that a building that was built hundreds of years ago needs a lot of care and maintenance. From the reports that have been published, it looks likely that building work that had been carried out was of a poor standard and therefore contributed to the decline of the building.

Screen Shot 2018-03-20 at 18.12.19

Anti-social behaviour, noise, litter and other concerns that have been reported over the years to official associations such as the Police and the council with residents complaining that on occasions the disruption to their lives is unbearable.

I was amazed but not surprised that despite these objections the council has given permission for the site to be flatted and the bar to be built.

There are a number of premises (like other towns) that are empty and have been for some time. What I think is that the council’s motivation for approving this bar is 100% money. There is no nostalgic, sentimental  or even aesthetic part of their plan. They will make the decision on the basis that will this business make money, not for the residents or the people that will work in this establishment but the taxes and rent that the council will receive in funds.  The fact that this will cause problems for the police in anti-social behavious and it’s dealing with is inconsequential to the council.

Sad to say goodbye to another part of Chester-le-Street.

the barefoot tree

Still grumpy

Gari Wellingham

UK-based musical theatre geek previously living with a brain tumour!