Last gasp stab or third time lucky? After the last two wash-outs in Hackney and
Hyde Park, OutUK's Adrian Gillan asks all the questions you want to ask
organiser, and glutton for Pride punishment, Jason Pollock (right) about this year's event
and whether London can regain its reputation on 3rd July 2004.
OutUK: What is the theme in 2004?
Jason: Many Communities: One Diverse City.
OutUK: Post-Devolution, in what sense does Pride London still claim to be national?
Jason: We believe that this is the national Pride Parade - we go right past Downing Street and Parliament. And we are - frankly - the one UK Pride that gets the media coverage nationwide and world-wide. Last year - with Police marching in uniform - we got dozens of TV crews and all mainstream press, even the News of the World. The free Rally in Trafalgar Square is also likely to have a national focus.
OutUK: What media stunt this year then?
Jason: Maybe a uniformed division of all professionals, not just police, but also firemen, traffic wardens, nurses, doctors, prison officers - even judges!
Jason: In fact, we now have several clear Parade sections: as well as, 'uniforms' there will be 'trades unions'; a vibrant 'youth' section; a very athletic 'sports' section; several leading clubs and bars in a 'party' section, and finally, what we anticipate to be the most colourful of all, the 'world' section, reflecting our global community.
Gay Police on the 2003 Parade.|
Photograph by Fred Pieau.
OutUK: Were you jealous of Manchester EuroPride's success last year?
Jason: I think they did a great job. I was actually on the Board of EPOA (European Pride Organisers' Association) when we appointed them.
OutUK: Might you pitch London to host EuroPride soon?
Jason: Indeed, I resigned from the Board of EPOA recently just so I might then be allowed to pitch London to host EuroPride - depending on the co-operation of the authorities here - in 2006.
OutUK: Aren't most large Pride events now just money-spinners for host cities?
Jason: I'm all for large cities using Prides to promote themselves to LGBs around the world. If it brings in money to a region, that can only befit everyone.
OutUK: What other plans do you have for Pride London in the future?
Jason: Pride will now happen on the first Saturday, every July! Eventually, we want to establish a routine that's the same every year - also the same start time and same route. And we're keen to evolve a 'Pride Month', although we won't be branding it as such just yet. Soho Pride is on Sunday 1st August this year, so maybe Pride London could start the month and Soho Pride could end it!
OutUK: Will you ever stand aside Jason?
Jason: I'll play this role for as long as I'm useful. I'm sure, eventually, some bright young spark will come along and completely upstage me! Until then…
OutUK: In ten seconds, pitch Pride London to a wavering punter contemplating a day-trip on 3rd July.
Jason: It'll be an electric atmosphere. It'll reinforce your sexuality and it's just such a big boost to know - so demonstrably - that nobody's going to stop you doing anything, not on that day. We literally take over the streets of London, bring it to a stand-still and leave it screaming.
Pride London will take place on Saturday 3rd July
11am Hyde Park - 30,000 people assemble on football pitch, along with 30-40 floats|
12pm Parade starts from Hyde Park - past 10,000s of people lining the streets - FREE
3pm Parade ends at Victoria Embankment
3pm - 6pm Trafalgar Square Rally (LGB singers, charity stalls, blessings tent, speakers) - FREE
Thereafter disperse to Soho and any other 'Pride Parties', official or otherwise, although none will
be organised by Pride London itself.
Full details at www.pridelondon.org.
For details of the Big Gay Out at Finsbury Park after the Parade & Rally