Culture Corner

CULTURE: DARRYL W BULLOCK

A gamut of prides, plonk in a box, an 80s electro group’s retrospective and a gay rabbit taking a shot at the Trump administration. It’s all in a day’s work for cultural connoisseur Darryl Bullock.

Hot, isn’t it? It’s been the warmest, driest summer in more than 40 years - and yes, I am old enough to remember queuing for water at a stand pipe in 1976!

My poor dog is suffering in the heat; the fields we usually walk in offer little shade and pavements are too hot for him to walk on. But on the plus side, this weather makes it ideal to take advantage of outdoor events, of which there are many at this time of year.

The Manchester Pride Festival, taking place this Bank Holiday weekend (24-27 August) is Manchester Pride’s flagship event with its roots in the heart of the city’s world famous Gay Village. The award-winning four day event is made up of The Big Weekend, The Manchester Pride Parade (Saturday 25th August), alcohol-free space The Superbia Weekend, and the Candlelit Vigil. In a recent survey revealing the 50 best Pride destinations around the globe Manchester topped the UK destinations, ahead of Brighton, Birmingham and Bristol.

Featuring over 5000 participants, this year’s Parade is designed to remind the people of Manchester, and visitors to the city, that acceptance is a vital step in the continued progress of equality for all. As well as the parade there are dozens of live acts playing over the weekend including Rita Ora, Jake Shears and Bright Light, Bright Light.

Mark Fletcher, chief executive for Manchester Pride, said; “The circus is coming to town and all are welcome. This year’s Manchester Pride Parade will be a great opportunity to see many different types of LGBT+ people, each with their own individual quirks, skills, differences and fascinations all walking together in celebration!”

As one of the leading LGBT+ charities in the UK, Manchester Pride campaigns against homophobia, biphobia and transphobia and, through grant-giving, it supports LGBT+ community groups, events and causes in Greater Manchester. Since 2003, Manchester Pride has raised and distributed over £1.5million.

There are, of course, plenty of other Pride events taking place over the next few weeks, including Cymru Pride (Cardiff) on August 24, Cornwall Gay Pride on August 25th, Leicester, Reading and Totnes Prides all take place on September 1, and other events are happening around the country all the way through September.

Even if you can’t make it to a Pride event over the next few weeks you can still show your pride with a pair of snazzy Pride Rainbow socks from SockShop for just £3.99, with 20 percent of the sale of each pair is being donated to the LGBT Foundation, a national charity delivering advice, support and information services to lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) communities.

www.sockshop.co.uk/products/sockshop_bamboo_1_pair_pride_rainbow_love_is_love_socks

If you are out celebrating, it’s worth noting that When in Rome, the premium box wine company, has launched a fundraising campaign with leading LGBT+ youth charity Just Like Us, supporting its work empowering young LGBT+ people to promote equality in education and the workplace across the UK.

When in Rome will donate the profits from every box of Falanghina white wine sold in Waitrose stores and online between now and the end of August to Just Like Us to help the charity to enable teachers and pupils across the country to tackle homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying by organising activities that celebrate LGBT+ equality in education.

When in Rome Co-founder, Rob Malin says of the partnership: “Just Like Us is doing great things for young people who can find it tough navigating through a subject that still has stigma attached to it. We just want to show our support and help raise a bit of money for a great cause. Our Falanghina is a best seller over the summer months and has received some great reviews. We’re hoping the wine will continue to be popular with consumers over the next few months and enable us to raise much needed funds.”  

Boxes of Falanghina are available from over 230 Waitrose stores across the country. The boxes can also be purchased online at waitrose.com.  Find out more about the partnership at www.wheninromewine.co.uk

On September 7 Universal Music is releasing Keychains & Snowstorms – The Soft Cell Story a comprehensive 10 disc box set that tells the story of one of electronic music’s most thrilling and pioneering acts. With over half of the 130 tracks previously unreleased, Keychains & Snowstorms is a genuine treasure trove of art-school experimentation, huge pop hits, ground-breaking club tracks and piercing introspection.

With nine discs full of music and a DVD stuffed with long-unavailable videos, live performances and TV appearances, there are also remastered versions of the band’s legendary hits, new remixes by some of today’s top DJs, demos, a previously-unreleased (and only recently discovered) live concert from 1983, BBC sessions, new masters created especially for this project by Soft Cell’s Dave Ball and loads more.

Some readers might be too young to recall the man himself, but your parents will have swooned to the sultry voice of British crooner Matt Monro in the 60s and 70s. Touring the country from the last week of September until the end of November, The Matt Monro Story celebrates the life and music of the man that Frank Sinatra called “one of the finest male vocalists in the singing business.”

Get prepared to be transported in time by this tribute to one of Britain’s most popular and endearing singers, given by his son, Matt Monro Jnr. The tour starts in Bournemouth on September 25th and ends in Bishops Stortford on November 22nd, taking in Cheltenham, Reading, Brighton, Liverpool and over 30 other venues around the country. www.mattmonrojnr.co.uk

Marlon Bundo is a happy, but lonely little bunny rabbit who is looking for love. Sadly, Marlon lives with the Vice President of the United States. When Marlon meets Wesley, another boy bunny, he believes he has finally found his special one, but the VP’s boss, the Stink Bug, tells them that “Boy bunnies can’t marry boy bunnies.” It is then that Marlon, Wesley and their friends get together to exercise their democratic right, vote out the Stink Bug and declare that love is love, and “Love is forever.”

After the runaway success of this charming and funny book in the United States, it is finally available here in the UK via Chronicle Books. This children’s picture book beautifully explores the issues of marriage equality and democracy.  As well as taking a satirical pot-shot at the Trump administration, the book has an important message for all LGBTQ youth: That they are worthy of love and should be proud of who they are. A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo is available now from all good bookshops.

 

 

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