Top Tips for Surviving Pride

crowd with coloured baloons at London pride

Advice for Proud Magazine June 2010.

1) Electronic Devices Will Fail You

Your mobile phone will may be your second brain the other 364 days of the year, but today, it is your nemesis.  Your phone doesn’t care if you charged for a whole 72 hours; it will splutter and die just as you’re arranging to meet up with the evening’s potential shag. You’re only a few short beeps and away from battery death and it’s goodbye sex, hello lost and lonely in a crowd of thousands. Your camera will soon follow suit.

Witness the clink-whir of your shutter as the lens retreats back into its hole, stubbornly refusing to snap that a-list celebrity you just caught with his pants down. No one will believe you now. So what are the alternatives? Swap the philosophy of Cannon Digital for carpe diem; screw the camera and let someone else worry about capturing the moment while you’re busy living it. There will be a million photos of you tagged on Facebook tomorrow even if none of you bring one. And the hottie? Seize the day, and whoever’s closest!

2) Lose reception, Lose your friends

Whether your phone dies or refuses to work because the airwaves are clogged with the voices of the lost crying out to be found your phone’s going to be unreliable at best. Most of us barely remember the days when setting a time and place to meet was the prima facie rule of socialising so feel completely at sea without a mobile phone to hand. Let me suggest a bizarre alternative: Talula The Head On A Stick. Visible from extreme distances, and more recognisable than yet another rainbow flag you’ll never lose your friends in the crowd again. In fact you’ll even make new ones on the day as Talula is often approached by attractive strangers who usually introduce themselves with some variation on the line “do you wanna give me head?” Score.

2) You cannot predict the weather

Well before the X-Factor Vs Strictly Come Dancing divide, before even the battle of the sexes, there was an older much deeper schism in society. I’m talking ponchos Vs umbrellas. I’ve never had much faith in umbrellas. You either forget them or leave them on the bus so they’re not with you when you need them. Or it’s so windy they blow inside out and you almost lose an eye. I am firmly in the poncho camp. Sure you might not want to look like you herd alpacas for a living but you’ll be safe from the hordes of angry dwarves who can’t get a glimpse of Tina Cousins because yer broller is blocking their view. And if you’re lucky enough for the sun to shine all day long the poncho folds neatly next to that bottle of suncream you were clever enough to pack. Still not convinced? Well they’re also good for facilitating erotic dalliances in public spaces – just make sure yours isn’t the see-through kind. Sold? Thought so.

4) You Will Bump Into Your Ex

You may think the odds of meeting anyone you know in a large crowd are infinitesimally small.  For a crowd of straight people maybe, but we all know gays have a habit of knowing each other, often in the biblical sense so on pride day when we all amass, this bubbling cauldron of impending drama inevitably boils over in a chance meeting on a street corner.  The solution is simple: you need a disguise.  My personal fave is a throwback from my Halloween 2008 ensemble, The Sarah Palin Death Mask, but a classic false nose and glasses combo would do the trick. Though if you don’t want to wander round looking like a wrong’un in a trenchcoat, do yourself a favour and prepare a short speech about how wonderful you’re doing now, look twice as fantastic as usual and if that doesn’t work, always be prepared to turn and run.

5) Look after your feet and your feet will look after you

Back in the First World War when trench foot was common, a major priority for any soldier was the care of his feet.  If you can’t move anywhere, you’re pretty useless on the battlefield and the same applies here. If you cripple yourself with stilettos, your friends may cry “man down” and run to your aid initially, but they’re not going to cart you about all day like a sultan on a troupe of elephants. So, take a change of shoes. If underage drinkers on a night on the tiles have figured this out, you should really have thought of it too. After all if you do end up stranded out in cow country at 6am your feet are the best friends you’ve got.

6) Save the cheerleader: save the world

Photo thanks to Tariq Chadury.

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