Wednesday, July 05, 2006

EuroPride 2006 Parade

The weekend was hot and sunny. The temperatures were around the 30°C mark (that’s the high-80s Fahrenheit.) Despite all that, though, for the first time in years, I managed to complete the EuroPride March without sunburn, dehydration or losing my voice; it was actually a really good day.

It was a late Saturday morning call to the assembly point where we proceeded to hang around for an hour or so for no readily apparent reason before moving off. This year, I think partly because we are helping organise lots of stuff, the Chorus had paid for a float in the parade, so we were following that. As a choir, people are always expecting us to sing for them en route and this year (because we had a gig the following day) we especially didn’t want to (not that we want to any year, as outdoor singing is very hard on the voice!) This year though, someone had come up with the idea of pre-recording several of our numbers and playing them from the float, to which we could gently sing along. It worked quite well, although some of the arrangements were new to us and hard to follow as they’d all been redone to a pretty up-tempo beat.

The crowds were all appreciative as we paraded through London’s major streets and they all liked the music. It probably took us a couple of hours to reach the Embankment were the parade ended and we were finally able to sit down with iced coffees. (Actually we took them into the gardens near Embankment Tube and watched some dancers of Eastern European extraction, decked out in delightful Austro-Hungarianesque costumes. If they hadn’t clearly been a mixed straight troupe on tour, they were camp enough that they could have qualified as part of a gay pride show!)

After our break, we headed into Trafalgar Square with John & Rich to listen to the Manchester choir sing on the main stage. We had to listen to an overlong speech by Ken Livingstone about what a great guy Hugo Chavez is first though. I wouldn’t have minded so much if it had been half the length, but Ken is nothing if not an old-school political ranter!

I also felt the introduction that the compère gave to the Manchester Chorus could have been more positive; it was a little in the vein of “The LGMC couldn’t sing on stage today so here’s the Manchester L&G Choir instead.” Which I felt was a rather insulting to them. We stayed and listened a while before finally heading home.

Although tired, we were in pretty good shape when we got there, so after a shower and change of clothes I sat down and started editing together a montage of the video footage we’d taken during the day, over a cut-down version of the ‘Proud’ track we are backing at the Albert Hall tomorrow.

Unfortunately I didn’t have enough decent footage to cover even the cut down version of the audio track, so in the first cut there’s an awful lot of jerky crowd footage; you actually feel rather sea-sick by the time it finishes. I think I’ll wait until a few people have put up their photographs of the day and include some of those instead before publishing it for your delight and delectation…

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