23 November 2014

Peckham: No Fools Or Horses!

Only fools and horses? Peckham showed me something quite the opposite, now who's the blinder fool?! How many times, how lies? I must put the blame on the media and the lack of exposure on lesser known parts of London especially in the South East of the city. I know full well that London has many different sides but Peckham opened up my eyes for sure! 

Tower Bridge and Oxford Circus are okay but I challenge myself constantly each time that I visit London. After a recommendation I trusted the 78 bus to Peckham to see the fictional home of Del Boy and Rodney from Only Fools and Horses but was I mistaken? Yes! A fusion of Nigerian, Ghanaian and Jamaican culture fronted me without any warning, you know I favour some flavour in my life! I was left hungry after my visit to Woolwich in June 2014 so no one could test me! Absorbing the pumping Naija beats along the high street corner shops I loved life because that's my jam! I wasn't looking for a perfectly gentrified area because I know what that story looks like boy! Peckham, gave me nothing less than what I wanted. The new library looked swish but I was all about the unique shop fronts that are full of African fashion houses fit for the West African bride to be. SE15 this is the New Africa! 

My inner African queen knew where to go for a new fashion forward hairpiece or weave, save your drama for this South East London town to serve your legendary style! Someone told me a big fat lie, the television show Only Fools and Horses was actually filmed in Bristol but that didn't make any difference during my time in Peckham. The high street towards Peckham Rye served South East London realness with its infectious beat of people making their way around the town, I didn't see many yuppie types so that impressed me much! Compared to Woolwich I felt a more laid-back vibe even though the streets resonated a vibrancy that Woolwich possessed. Crossrail and the Docklands Light Railway has unevenly transformed that SE18 part of South East London so I saw the difference in Peckham for sure. The landscape changed so much from my Bermondsey beginning to Peckham High Street, its always good to see the message unfold that alternative London is cool. Step outside?

I worked up a hearty appetite when I saw JB's Soulfood and Jerk Chicken Takeaway, it was a done deal. I ordered Jerk Chicken, rice and beans served with a side of coleslaw. Being greedy I opted for the large portion because I loved my soulfood! Captured to the right is my food, I didn't fancy any juice so I went for a vanilla Nourishment can. As I unassumingly enjoyed my Jerk Chicken I couldn't help listening to the conversations that were going on around me. Let's just say that Peckham mom raises her boy with a non-nonsense parenting approach! One lady just wanted Peppered Prawns! She was told to chill and come back a little later to get her desired dish. I tell you I couldn't finish my dinner but I made damn sure I enjoyed the rest a little later on that day. I appreciated the uncomplicated vibe of JB's Soulfood Takeway on Peckham's High Street, who really needs fancy food? It's all about JB's!

Peckham's other foodie options consisted of a selection of Nigerian takeaways and Persian infused cafes but I wasn't on that hype one bit. Flashing back to my experience with Nigerian food in Woolwich I have to say I had my adventourous palate to cope with the spice! I was served an intense plate of  Jollof Rice and Beef at Tasty African on the Plumstead Road. Peckham came to the rescue with my Jerk dish because I wasn't up for trying something called 'Suya!' If you need some food therapy I say get down to Peckham for a wide choice of Caribbean and West African dining options. Have you tried anything daring from the Caribbean or the African continent? It doesn't take a mug to see London's West is getting more costly to consider property, a new movement of living has transcended upon neighbourhoods such as Peckham. I think a spot of regeneration would push Peckham in the right direction. See what happens when I  blog about places that have flavour! It's all irie SE15!

Peckham had me spoiled for choice when I was looking for some Jamaican Spice Bun! After pacing the high street and having some lunch I took a chance on Zara's Tropical market. I knew exactly what I was looking for, I'm no un-educated fool! Not lying, Zara's reminded me of a South American bodega with the selection of Hispanic food and drinks products. Finding my bun didn't take much thought because it just looks like a dark loaf of bread. Do I wish that I lived closer to one of these Afro-Caribbean food stores? Of course I do because I'm a lover of a wide range of foods from around the world. If you're used to your weekly humdrum shop to ASDA then I suggest you step away from the International aisle and get your life by choosing somewhere like Zara's. That wasn't a question! Thanks Peckham for reuniting me with my favourite Spice Bun! I just needed some cheese to go with my Bun loaf!

My day in Peckham left me with a feeling of hope and expectation for the future of the SE15 area. I adored the original Afro-Caribbean vibe that engulfed the busy high street that chilly November afternoon. The energetic and infectious Naija beats that filled the main road to Peckham Rye made me want to Azonto! Going hungry would of been a crime, that being a testament to my delicious and spicy Jerk Chicken dinner from JB's Soulfood and Jerk Chicken Takeaway hit the spot! I have to say the conversations I listened to gave me jokes because I've heard that real talk before! Get your lives together whilst in London, I don't have time for your feeble excuses that you don't trust places in London that are off the tourist map! Peckham just gets on with its grind! Who needs Del Boy or Rodney because those jokers haven't got a clue! Like I said Woolwich has its own hype but I still feel blessed that both SE London communities serve a flare of West African realness!

Peckham Is Only Getting Started! 

Joseph Harrison 

21 November 2014

My Birthday Flashback: 2012-2014!

Happy Birthday to me! Birthdays are cool but I got bored of a cake with candles, after all its one day that deserves a few strong drinks as time goes by! Seeing a new place sounds cool to me rather than asking for x,y or z for that b'day? Yes! I'm going to flashback over my over last three birthdays but did anything stand out?! Where will my next birthday take me?! 

Feeling reckless I booked two Canadian trips in 2012 to Toronto and Montreal so I could celebrate my 22nd birthday twice. October brought my whirlwind weekend in Toronto, touching down at Toronto's Billy Bishop Island Airport  was a comfort to say the least! I saw the CN Tower from top to bottom, I was almost tripping from the viewpoint because I don't have a head for heights. Getting lost afforded me the chance to see Toronto's Chinatown and Harbord Village, offering me a fresh vibe compared to my New Jersey morning. Toronto took me by the hand, reuniting me with my Disney co-worker Alexandra who showed me a stellar night out! After our meal at Jack Astor's we pre-drank some more then hit Fly nightclub in the heart of Toronto's vibrant Gay Village. I had an amazing night but I'm not going to be trashy because a gentlemen never reveals that kind of information! Oh I also saw the Niagara Falls! 

November 14th 2012 arrived, I boarded my Air Canada Jazz flight from Newark to Montreal, Quebec. French Canada called me for a reason, the language didn't sound very modern but the French that I heard sounded good to me. Staying at L'Hotel I had booked a luxury room with a budget price tag that happened to be located in the heart of Montreal's Old Town known as 'Vieux Montreal'. Contrary to belief certain parts of Vieux Montreal date back to the days of 'New France' you know I'm all about a vintage vibe! Getting to know the city didn't take long for I had discovered the Metro so getting to Rue Sainte Catherine took a quick minute. My birthday celebrations were great if not a little random, well no one ever passes up a free dinner at a lovely Italian restaurant so yet again Canada loved me good! The Notre-Dame Basilica took me away from the North American continent if only for a moment, American life had got me crazy to see something European. Merci Montreal!

Time doesn't have to be an issue, I see those turning hands as a challenge to see as much as possible. My 23rd birthday beckoned as I had almost finished the first semester of my final year at University College Birmingham. I embarked on an overnight trip to Liverpool and Chester to catch up with my favourite North West city. That time Liverpool showed me the RopeWalks and the historic Chinese Quarter opposed to the iconic sights like the Liver Birds or the Albert Docks. I returned to Liverpool because I love that Scouse city, I always make time for my Disney friend Kat who lives in Southport. Her Disney Princess is growing into a beautiful girl, making our Disney summer seem like a while away! Liverpool sure brings the comedy!

Fresh from my second Scouse outing I took the Merseyrail down to Chester for the afternoon. As mentioned previously my previous birthday had been spent in Canada so I wanted it to be quintessentially British. The Clock Tower reminded me of the time element of the day so I made damn sure I covered as much as I could whilst in Chester. St Werburgh Street and the area around the cathedral took me back to the United Kingdom Pavillion at EPCOT's World Showcase. The Medieval architecture gave me a sense of disconnection with the city hype of Liverpool so I appreciated that tonnes. With the Welsh border close by I took a slow walk along the waters of the River Dee, I fancied seeing the borderline! Through my time spent in Liverpool and Chester I had a really good birthday! Yes!

London called me for a second time in 2014, I had something to celebrate this time though. My 24th birthday was very fast approaching and I had nothing planned so I was packed off to London. I'm not one for shopping but I really enjoyed getting spoiled by my mum with my Primark fashion purchases I liked that shopping trip. My actual birthday started with a terrible hangover but that didn't dampen my day one bit, or did it? Chinatown called for my usual Soho Bubble Tea and Dim Sum fix but that hangover was returned like a reoccurring nightmare! Piccadilly Circus called me, I was on a mission to get some snaps because the early November sunset worked for me. Yeah my birthday was cool but I treasured the time I spent with my mum, we don't see each other as much now because of her work so that time was nice. With my new threads I had some work to do! Trust and believe London!

So my official birthday had been and gone but I saw my London trip as one complete celebration so I had a plan to execute! Dressed to impressed in my new city chic threads I made it to London's former Olympic Stadium to see what was going down, followed by a gourmet pie from Borough Market and finally a stroll down Bermonsdey Street to be with the yuppies. The sun had set, I was ready for the night and I didn't plan on returning home anytime before the morning light! The London Underground took me to my kind of London, you've already guessed Soho haven't you? Hitting up the Village in the heart of Soho I made the most of the cheap drinks, I wasn't going to take that for granted on a Saturday night in London! If you're not ugly then you should recognise your good looks so I made the most of my genetic gain whilst at Village, mama didn't raise no fool! Were you at the National Theatre? No but I'm glad I looked cultured enough boo! Let's just say 24 is working for me B!

Keep Your Cake & Candles! I Just Want The Party!

Joseph Harrison  

20 November 2014

London With The Lights On!

London is the late night lady that you won't recognise, with that prospect I got myself down to London last week without hesitation. Within the madness of the capital I always return to London with a new thirst for adventure, intrigued to see what the next hype is! The Tower of London planted the poppies to remember the fallen, so London what's good treacle!? 

London put on a fine show for this years Remembrance to recognise the fallen and heroic souls who fought in the Great Wars. I got crazy when those volunteers started uprooting those ceramic poppies, I hadn't been on my travel grind properly so I booked a train without haste to see those specials. I was determined to get a few snaps with my new camera and to give respect to the fallen. My Great-granddad Tom fought in World War II in the British Army so I took a moment to remember him. It didn't take a fool to see that millions had come from far to see the sea of blood red poppies as they rested around London's Royal Tower. I wasn't about in the Tower of London because I had done that all before. As I took my photos I got speaking to a couple that were admiring the open air exhibit to think how much revenue could have been generated if a charged was taken to access the site. I hope the cause is served. 

Every time I love your design, London is a shady lady who dishes out some dangerous love! From the poppies I didn't have a lot in mind to see because I had been down in the big smoke just a couple of months ago in June 2014. Would I be seeking for the New Africa again or something more hipster? Yes, please! Having no plan is better than having great expectations! If the truth be told I never thought I was going to see the poppies at the Tower of London because funds have been low and the monotony of applying for jobs in China had got me down! 888,246 ceramic poppies were planted to remember the servicemen of the British and Commonwealth Armies so I guess the endless sea of red justified the queue I had to wait in order to see them. Londoners generally don't have patience to wait but when tourists are blended into the mix I got mad B! Let's take more than two minutes to remember those servicemen, those poppies brought something lovely for the cause! 

Ready for Olympic gold I wanted to see the former Olympic Stadium in Stratford, East London. Yes, the games didn't last for very long back in 2012 but the Stadium is being modified to become the new home of London's own West Ham United Football Club so that impressed me that a new tenant for the gargantuan sporting facility had been secured. Aptly located in E20, a postcode that is shared with the fictitious EastEnders set from the BBC soap. The whole Stratford complex had me from the moment I stepped from that Docklands Light Railway train at Stratford International, that station had body for sure with its many platforms. In the midst of a reboot the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park has reportedly become the largest park in England? Nevertheless I did feel a sense of belated Olympic pride for London secured the bid and that probably won't happen again! Keep that E20 torch burning bright! 

Seeking something new I closed my ears because people had said Stratford lacked in excitement since the games closed but I was amazed by the expansive Westfield shopping complex, that huge lifestyle development took some going to walk around but I couldn't help feeling a number of the stores weren't meant for the average person? Call me critical I sensed that a new wave of living is coming to Stratford with a more business type vibe so I guess time may only be the test? Getting to and from the city to Stratford International didn't take much thought, I took the DLR from Canary Wharf through the heart of the East End of London then returning on the Jubliee Line to London Bridge. London is throwing a new kind of shade to the East End, reigniting a new alternative to city living without the insane rents of the central locations. Whatever happens I suggest a jaunt over to the Olympic Stadium and Westfield complex in Stratford because its major! Just go for Gold already!

I just can't resist the bright neon lights of Piccadilly Circus, the iconic logos just make me say 'Wow!' Embrace the electric love of London's mid point with Theatreland on one side and Regent Street beckoning close by its a hectic centre of energy. Part of my birthday trip I made sure I got a few close ups of the Coca-Cola infused lights for the November sunsets worked with me not against me. I wasn't looking for no million pound girl because London, she serves up something special unlike her American sister! New York City offers the craziness of Times Square, yes its an advertisers paradise but its overwhelming in one respect. London has to be my chosen city this time around! Yes, I remember now of course Leicester Square stands a short walk away from the vibrant shadows of Piccadilly Circus I love that side of town muchly! I spent my 24th birthday in London, I didn't want no cake with candles I loved LDN! 

Respecting the poppies gave me some focus to the cause and on a more personal level so I appreciated that to the highest. Being a part of my passport I regard London as a special place, it never leaves me no matter how much time I spend away from our English capital city. Going for Gold wasn't that difficult because I was fortunate enough to see the former Olympic Stadium in Stratford. Comparing to my last visit I felt more chilled out, I didn't have the summer temperatures like in June to guide me for long periods of time before the sunset. South East London will be on the cards, with a serious flashback to West London so keep your eyes peeled for my next installment of London blogs! London with the lights on sure looks pretty splendid, she's strong and a winner but above all London shines brighter than a diamond! Gentrification is happening in London so we need to shine a light back to the beginning. Piccadilly Circus you better keep your lights on all night long! Yes!

London ... She's A Shady Lady! 

Josep Harrison

6 November 2014

2014: Do You Want The Truth or Something Beautiful?

Don't worry about me, in this very moment I'm plotting my next move in life. This year has been crazy and confusing but I know greatness has been achieved so far. 2014 has been the year that I rewrote the book in many ways but difference is showing me to embrace life in the moment. From Manchester to endless job interviews, its time to set the record straight. 

Manchester signified the beginning of 2014, I had some research for my Dissertation to carry out and I wanted to love life that January weekend. University was coming to the final frontier with a 10,000 word Dissertation keeping things interesting I used the experience to my advantage. Let's just say that Canal Street hasn't seen the last of me! I wanted to graduate with honours but I was on a mad travelling hype during the final semester of my closing uni year in Birmingham. Bristol and Bath impressed me much with its realness, those Roman Baths served up exactly what I wanted. Birmingham life got me crazy, into the flow of my uni work I couldn't control that urge to shake my cakes on the dancefloor at the Village Inn within Birmingham's Gay Village! Nicki that's just the way I am! Downing another drink at the bar on a usual Saturday night I wasn't ready to give up my Cider fueled nights out! No! 

It was a family affair due to my younger brother loving life in his first year at University College Birmingham, he enjoyed his first throw of university life but we turned it up every once in a while! The fire was burning bright in my eyes, I had a dream to become a Flight Attendant for Emirates. I obsessed with the application, driving everyone near me to distraction with the fine details because I wanted that gig so much. My friendship with Kelly grew with our Chinese New Year celebrations in Southside, she knows I will throw shade on others. February and March took a change for this blog, I fancied myself as a hotel, food and theatre blogger with the small writing gigs I secured during the first throws of my final semester at UCB. I stayed cool at the Rotunda, ate well at Coast To Coast and critiqued a show at Wolverhampton's Grand, endorsing those businesses through my independent hype! Graduation was in the back of my mind but I should have just stopped stressing!

Modules kept me going, it was a celebration to hand in the next assignment. I chilled my approach towards lectures because I had my game on! Cheltenham and Dursley took me away from Birmingham to reunite with a dear friend from freshers 2010, I will no longer desire the taste of Pear Cider. I don't brag, I serve and inform and if you don't like then get gone! OK, I got my European hype on because you know I was tripping when I got that bursary fund. Berlin, Hamburg and Bremen showed me a full packed five day city experience. I bow down to Germany, she's a fierce competitor who has a story I listened to. It wasn't a joke that I didn't get a job with Emirates, I'll stay nice for I had a plan to execute. I knew that 2013 afforded me the summer of experience with multiple foreign trips so I took a trip down to Stonehenge with a pit-stop visit in Bristol, yes I embraced my situation.

No I didn't regress to no high school student I loved my life down in Birmingham's Southside. After joining the UCB LGBT Society at the beginning of my final year at university I worked it out in the clubs that I approved of. Intermission, I hit Coventry and Lichfield for the afternoon to prove the haters wrong! Handsworth and Benefits Street opened my eyes to a side of Birmingham I had ignored. We celebrated the advent of the legalisation of same sex marriages in our rainbow style, donning our hen attire whilst marrying the night because we rejoiced. My workload from university needed some let up, I would work on 4,000 words then turn it up on a Friday and Saturday night at the Village Inn. Birmingham Pride 2014 beckoned, filling my cup I enjoyed my Pride weekend to the fullest with a class act hangover that lasted three days after the weekend. I wasn't looking for any approval, the hands of time moved faster than words could say, I was on with the grind!

Looking for the main attraction I took my life down to London for a quick minute, reconnecting with my parents and seeing another side to the city of my birth. School was out, the bags had been packed and my Thomas House room had been locked. London gave me some breathing space to seek that adventure out! My summer took me back to Bilston, living with my Grandparents until the next phase commenced. I called upon some sources to afford me a summer to remember. I got my 2;1 degree from UCB, I booked up a shameless weekend to Blackpool. I reported on the first arrival from China into Birmingham Airport, memories sure did reignite from my Newark placement year! Life changed so much but I wouldn't let it go up in flames!

I returned back to Birmingham in August prior to my Geordie getaway, I missed that trick! Student life disappeared without any warning! The Angel of The North showed me which way to go, her cast iron self instilled some strength within during that Newcastle time. I snapped a shot with Beauty Killer at Eazy Street and appreciated the Tyne Bridge with time burning like a raging fire. Feeling free for a small period of time I silenced the crazy with an afternoon in Shrewsbury, you know I was on that Ramen Noodle hype! Autumn pounded the alarm, I owned the streets but didn't break any dishes in Stoke-On-Trent. I had to challenge the ordinary because I was getting crazy as the month progressed. London I thought we had a deal?! You know there's always something new in my life!

September brought my time, I had a duty to 'sissy that graduate' making my way across the stage at Birmingham's Symphony Hall to collect my degree. I had kicked up some fuss to get my paper sooner to get my ass onto the next hype. Striking up the band I said farewell to my university journey, making peace with Birmingham to realise the wait was completely worth the drama. Feeling like dancing I returned to Wolverhampton for Wolves Pride 2014 to enjoy a day and night of celebration for my home city. Since July I have blogged about the comeback city from my own perspective. Blogging has been hard due to my location and lack of funds but I have made my mark no matter what! This year might not be over yet and this entry isn't a sweeping judgement of whats already happened I just want to recognise whats gone down because I have a whole lot more in the pipeline! I've got this!

The time is now for a change, I want to challenge myself with a move to China. I worked in America without the knowledge of creating this blog so I have every intention of taking this blog to the Middle Kingdom that is China. I have been looking for jobs teaching English since July but I couldn't apply with a serious intent until I had a copy of my degree, That's why I got mad! Why on earth did I decide to make such a choice?! Either I am mad or I will unknowingly have another stellar year abroad. I have love and admiration for Bilston but that West Midlands town doesn't inspire or give me life so I've got to fly. I don't want to tempt fate but I'm interviewing at this current moment to hopefully embark on my next chapter in early 2015. I don't want to jinx anything but I've worked for this and I have waited impatiently for this moment. I look to the stars with a passion and drive to take my life to the land of Pandas, Neon cities and chopsticks or whatever screams China. OK, I'm done!

Trust and Believe!

Joseph Harrison

30 October 2014

Next Stop . . . Oxford, England!

Queue me up for a day in Oxford! I wanted to see how the other half study, I was so starstruck because it was a regal university city. Home to the oldest university in the English speaking world the University of Oxford surely stands above the competition! Unknowingly, Oxford's grand libraries and institutions showed me a few Harry Potter filming locations. 

Like my usual pre-trip routine I didn't do much research for my day in Oxford but I found the Bodleian Library to check out. Rocking down to Oxford from Wolverhampton didn't take too long so I made it to the library within enough time to book up a tour. Might I say Oxford, you look amazing for a medieval city! I prefer to visit places that have an element of danger but Oxford's regal flare impressed me much! A students paradise? Only if you have the money for it honey! Back to Bodleian, returning for my tour that afternoon I was ready to catch a glimpse at the bookshelves of yesterday. First opened to scholars in 1602 this vintage house of books could only be accessed if one had a masters degree! I was astounded because I've only got a undergraduate degree but that was in the 1600's. Religion affected this aged library, precious materials were destroyed by King Edward VI in 1550. The shade!

Photography was strictly prohibited in the upper library to my dismay but I took knowledge from the tour, we have a history to be immensely proud of in England so let us teach and prosper from it. Every cloud has a silver lining, investing financially was Sir Thomas Bodley who had been a informant for Queen Elizabeth I and wanted so badly to help the library recover from its trouble. Replenishing the books and materials and working towards a larger extended space of learning. Under new rules the books were not permitted to leave the library, even royalty were denied to take books from the Bodleian Library. I didn't do much academic reading whilst at university but the stature of the Bodleian Library would put the pride back into the books, I need that masters degree first. Housing sculptures, manuscripts and much more this Oxford library is a wealth of knowledge. Talk's cheap but the oldest artifact is a Egyptian marriage certificate dating back 2,000 years! Big up Bodleian! 

Who said Harry Potter? From the Bodleian Library I checked out Christ Church College and Cathedral to find myself in the Great Hall that was featured in the Harry Potter films. Opened in 1546 this college has been teaching Oxford's elite since the break of light, something told me that you would need some serious student funds to pay the tuition fees at Christ Church. To have your own Cathedral at uni? That's crazy Oxford! Without a shadow of a doubt the feel of the Great Hall and main courtyard had a feeling that wouldn't of suited me whilst I was a university student. Don't get me wrong it was out of this world but I was born with no silver spoon! Essentially, Christ Church sets the tone for Oxford due to its remarkable architecture but give me back the Maltings. Take what you want from Christ Church, it is quite bizarre to think I've seen the Great Hall from Harry Potter up close and personal. Yes Oxford!

Making my way around Oxford I felt a quintessentially English feeling with the bicycles passing through the city centre roads it really didn't feel like a conventional city. Famous for its university and colleges this South-Eastern city of education has taught some of the greats including Oscar Wilde and JRR Tolkien. I suppose great people deserve exceptional universities? Away from the universities and colleges of Oxford I couldn't helped loving the open green spaces of the Christ Church Meadow as it merged with the winding streets of the city. Choosing to have a pub lunch for my dinner I didn't waste any time for I only had a few hours in Oxford to see as much as possible. An international honey pot? Yes, like London and Cambridge I saw hundreds of tourists who of a foreign nationality so that could of explained the appeal of this middle class study mecca. Correction, I haven't been to Cambridge but in the stakes of the original university cities I had to use it as a prime example. 

Did some mention punting? I didn't think so! I stumbled across the quieter side of the River Thames quite soon after my train arrived in Oxford. Being on a budget I wasn't looking to spend a whole lot because I just don't have it right now. Anyhow, I returned to the canal towpath to round of my day of discovery and historical education to be met with a serene setting that felt faraway from the tourists. After stumbling upon a sign that I saw by one the main canal bridges I learnt that Oxford benefited from the canals, being located close to the beginnings of the River Thames may have helped trade be navigated to London easier. Weather wise Oxford had served some warm temperatures with no rain, a rare sight for the October that we've experienced so far in the West Midlands. Canal or no canal it was lovely to take a quiet stroll past the narrow-boats, a was nice way to end the day. Choose Oxford already B! 

If you are ever short for somewhere to visit, I suggest you trust in Oxford because no one wants to be stuck in a bad circumstance. I have expressed my allegiance to my working class upbringing due to the feel of Oxford's exclusive student price tag and visual being but I'm not a hater one bit. I didn't marry the night but the afternoon I spent in Oxford showed me the wonder of a library and the lengths people would go to educate themselves. The shear passion for a place that Sir Thomas Bodley had for Oxford to invest and empower the aptly named Bodleian Library. I'm not longer a university student but I saw how the other half study within the confines of Christ Church, yes you would need more than mommy and daddy's allowance to fund that champagne lifestyle! Oh the shade! I have been saved a visit to the Warner Brothers Harry Potter tour because I saw two filming locations that day in Oxford. You're next stop should be Oxford! Thanks for educating Oscar Wilde! 

No Shade Oxford! 

Joseph Harrison

19 October 2014

England: Coventry & Warwickshire

England is full of wonder, let's celebrate some more shall we? People have very different opinions about three places in Warwickshire for many reasons but one of those places brings us some serious paper! Don't be a snob because that style doesn't stick with me, I said we need to see the wonder! Coventry, Stratford-Upon-Avon and Warwick you best be ready!?

Coventry is a city that is seriously misunderstood, I kept my opinions to myself and trusted the city of Lady Godiva. Once the manufacturing powerhouse during WWII this Warwickshire city took a battering by the Nazi German Army, leaving the 14th century cathedral in ruins. Upon visiting the remains of Coventry's original cathedral I had respect for the city of Coventry during that bleak time of destruction, if truth be told the new cathedral didn't impress me much! From rags to races, I paid a visit to the Coventry Transport Museum to be enlightened about Coventry's rich past, present and future contributions to the automotive trade and manufacturing. Since 1896 Coventry has been working in the motor car industry like many other central regions in England. I noticed that Muriel Hind was the first woman to own and ride a motorcycle, she must of been Coventry's 19th century female boss? Start your engines!

Talking about female role models, Lady Godiva rode her horse naked through Coventry's city centre in the 11th century because she didn't agree with a tax charge her husband had introduced to the county. In my book Lady Godiva is another female boss! Get out of the city limits! I had been to Coventry once or twice before so I had a place in mind that I wanted to explore. I chose to visit the Foleshill area of Coventry for some Indian food, I tell you the Foleshill Road showed me a variety of grocers and interesting looking eateries. Doing my research before my visit I had the Panjab Sweet Centre & Curry Hut in mind. I left my comfort zone! Above is Broadgate, Coventry's main shopping realm where you can see the statue of Lady Godiva, I loved the concrete appeal that Broadgate served to me but its a controversial topic. Could regeneration be the key to Cov's future? I reckon the concrete facades will be replaced with a futuristic plan! You should all be 'Sent To Coventry!'.

Stratford-Upon-Avon must be the most famous place to visit in the county?! Being the birthplace of playwright William Shakespeare its a clear winner for foreign tourists who are seeking some culture, let's face it we have some great people and places to thank for bringing some serious cash money to us. Tourism may be the biggest draw for Stratford-Upon-Avon but I was just looking for an alternative day out, yes to take in the Shakespearean tones of the town but to laze beside the River Avon had to be done. Have you seen the birthplace of William Shakespeare? I have! Chill your beans because we all can do that! Like Coventry its easy to reach Stratford-Upon-Avon due to convenient and fairly priced day return tickets from Birmingham Moor Street and Snow Hill Stations. Yes, we live in a very celebrity orientated world but was Shakespeare himself ever hounded by medieval paparazzi in the 1500's?

There's Anne Hathaway's Cottage & Gardens, which is a fair walk from the centre of Stratford-Upon-Avon's town centre but its worth the trip because its really quite something special. I didn't play the fool by purchasing the Shakespeare pass because I was only there for the afternoon, plus it didn't agree with my student loan either. Me and a friend rented a rowing boat but it looked easier than it actually fared to be! Pay your respects at the Church of the Holy Trinity for its the resting place of William Shakespeare, he many have been buried there on the 25th of April 1616 but its still a place of  great significance today. I took one day in the town of Shakespeare's birthplace but you could easily spend two days there nonetheless I was impressed! There's also New Place & Noah's House but I didn't get to that Shakespearean house because I wanted to capture the essence of the town rather than just 100% Shakespeare, you can't judge me! Get your life, visit Stratford-Upon-Avon!

Who's got that castle? That must be Warwick?! Take a chance on Warwickshire's most famous castle because there's more to know! Managed my Merlin Entertainment the modern day castle acts as a wannabe Disneyland but I was more interested in Ethelfelda's mound because that Anglo Saxon princess slayed here corner! Check out Warwick Castle for yourself to find that invasions didn't really happen so that explains why the castle walls still look in good condition. I appreciated the castle for I had been there twice before but just wanted a simple day out in Warwick. The main castle buildings have been preserved and the showcase staterooms make it look like Downton Abbey! Yes, I could live in a house like that! Get to the castle early because those tourists do drag their feet, plus nobody likes to wait in line! What else is there to be done in Warwick? Lord Jesus is that a fire?

Aside from Warwick Castle the town of Warwick deserves a look in, I took some knowledge from the Market Hall Museum in the centre of Warwick to learn about the Great Fire of Warwick. The 1694 blaze started from one spark, hurtling through the town at a great pace destroying a large part of the town centre. The Sheldon Tapestry showed me the expanse of the four counties aside from Warwickshire. I also learn that the city of Coventry was once spelt 'Coventrie' and was walled city that was protected by the River Sherbourne, which has down been paved over by the modern layout of Coventry. The Lord Leycester Hospital showed me something different, once a military hotel that was best known during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I to house certain injured military to aid their recovery. To learn something different about Warwick I suggest a visit to this unconventional hospital, visit than just the castle! Coventry and Warwickshire never looked so good?! OK you?!

Who Said 'Royal Leamington Spa?'

Joseph Harrison 

15 October 2014

Europe ... My First Love!

London, Paris or Milan? I'm not going to serve those destinations any attention, let's save those pennies and enjoy four destinations within the European continent for a lot less money. I'm a city boy at heart so if you share that state of mind then stick with me! Will you let me show you the way? Newcastle, Amsterdam, Istanbul and Hamburg are all waiting for you! 

Newcastle, some call it the Geordie Shore but I won't allow that chat! As a city Newcastle keeps it quiet throughout the day so the city can party all night long, she knows how to throw a party for sure! Resting your head in this North Eastern city will not bankrupt you, just choose the Backpackers Newcastle to make the best of a cheap bed in a spotlessly clean dorm that's has the location factor fulfilled. I stayed in Newcastle in August 2014 for two nights to really enjoy the whole atmosphere of the city. Get on that Hostelworld hype to find your dorm with ease, I even got a cup of tea made for me on arrival! Newcastle is accessible by coach, rail and air so getting to the Toon doesn't have to be a chore, I took the Megabus from Birmingham city centre to Newcastle within six hours because I wanted that £6.00 bargain. Trains take the biscuit so don't bother with that business if you class yourself as a backpacker! 

Take what you want from Newcastle! Grey's Monument demands your attention for the Tyne Bridge thinks it better than the rest! Take the city in at your own pace because the Geordie vibe isn't of a rushed nature, I had put off my visit to Newcastle for so long I just had to break free! Sydney might well have the same bridge but Newcastle's Tyne Bridge came first, it still stands strong as the prototype for the once growing Australian continent. Built from cast-iron is the Angel of the North, she stands strong like a glamazon over the peaks of Newcastle and Gateshead. Take the 21 bus from Newcastle city centre to bow down to the North East's female phenomenon? Newcastle has a compact Chinatown but you can grab a tasty meal for a few pounds to save your paper for the nighttime. Dress to impress B, the Pink Triangle brings the beat when the sun sets. Promise this, Newcastle's a keeper! Yes, London might have the Queen but you can see Beauty Killer at Eazy Street pet! 

Hallo Amsterdam! Spend a day or two in the liberal city of Amsterdam where the grass is greener on the other side. Tulips might not be the native plant because they are Turkish but this Dutch city has enough canals to last a lifetime! If your travelling from the United States or further afield then trust in Amsterdam's Schiphol International Airport to get you to the Dam! My September weekend in 2013 served me and my brother a glorious sunny weekend. The Red Light District really deserves more respect so show it some appreciation because those working girls command their windows like a businessman would run his office. I must say it was really quite something to see some of the women wave at me and my brother, trying to suggestively coax us to their windows but that's not my cup of tea. To the left the canals along Oudezijds Achterburgwal looked every inch the Amsterdam scene I wanted to see. 

The sale and consumption of Cannabis may be legal in The Netherlands but stringent rules must be abided by otherwise its curtains for you! Me and my brother favoured GOA, it had a young and current feel with a low drone of hip hop music playing whilst the customers blazed throughout the day. It's no joke in Amsterdam you can legally buy an abundance of kooky looking drug paraphernalia but we left the habits of Coffee Shops in the Dam. Nieumarkt and its square is cute and hispter at the same time, lined with lovely cafes and restaurants its not difficult to find a tasty Full English Breakfast in a fully Dutch environment. Take a canal boat trip to experience the life blood of Amsterdam's famous canal ways, its best when the weather plays ball because its a sight to treasure. Get Dam Square to go, morning time serves this Dutch focal point because people flock to that Amsterdam sight. Take a deep breath, Amsterdam doesn't do stress so blaze the day away! Dankuwel! 

Istanbul, Turkey is where east meets west with its inter-continental connections its a sure winner! Take Istanbul on, embrace the craziness of the Grand Bazaar because nothing else really matters. I'm not a shopper but you can try for yourselves. Be greeted by a former Catholic Church that also served as a Mosque, the Hagia Sophia puts the cat amongst the pigeons when places of worship are concerned. Sultanahmet takes you back to the days of the Ottoman Empire where the Blue Mosque rubs shoulders with the Top Kapi Saray, words don't do it justice but I'll do my best! During my two visits to Istanbul I managed to capture the same amount of craziness, Istanbul doesn't waste time! Are you intrigued by this Turkish mega-city? 

Taksim Square calms the crazy down, its a modern yet authentic hangout for the young Turks of today with the usual Turkish tea shops and Topman fashion stores. Istiklal Caddesi is the international infused streets that I'm introducing, its completely bizarre if I do say so myself. My hostel was located in Taksim Square on a side street that oozed Istanbul city realness not for the faint hearted but life is all about drama. Going hungry in Istanbul is a lie because the International pallet can be satisfied with the small Kebab cafes on one corner next to a KFC restaurant, so all parties can be happy. The Bosporus Strait defines the European and Asian borders, separating the two continents. Take a stroll along the Galata Bridge over to Beyoglu, barter the best price for a fish supper!?

I don't do Hipster but Hamburg, Germany sold that sub-culture to me good and proper. Hamburg stands as Berlin's little sister close to the North Sea, take a detour from the next one to spend some time in this Hipster like dwelling that plays Industrial regeneration just right. Embrace the Rathaus, Hamburg's council house serves face in all respects with its grand chandeliers and onyx bathrooms. Getting around Hamburg can be done by the city's Underground system that has links with Hamburg Airport so from beginning to end you can ride on time! HafenCity stands strong, breaking the dawn with its changing dockyards that are being transformed into trendy dwellings. Don't be a hot potato in Hamburg just have one for lunch, dine out on a hot Kumpir for a few Euros to fuel your sightseeing quest. You can rely on Deutsche Bahn to get you to Hamburg on-time for a great price. Germany, I'm so jealous! 

Even though Hamburg's city centre had be at 'Guten Tag' I wanted some down time, choosing the St. Pauli Backpackers Hostel I made the best of my time in a trendy and historically rich part of Hamburg. Located close enough to a Underground station I was still connected to the action, anyway I embraced the Hispter charm of the outdoor bar/cafes and restored clothes stores during my early evening discovery. Lamachun anyone? Germany is the second Turkey so that boded well for my search for Turkish food on the run. Dining alfresco with a ice cold jug of Ayran suited me just fine. I can endorse Turkish Hipster life completely! Whether it be England, The Netherlands, Turkey or Germany I love my continent and then some B! Travelling on a budget in Europe is number one, you know it's my first love! Hostels hold the key to a comfortable, compact and affordable stay wherever in Europe, don't be a hater! Don't just think about London, Paris or Milan! Let us love Europe! 

Europe Shows You More! 

Joseph Harrison 

6 October 2014

Pride: The Best Of Three?

Somewhere over the rainbow? With the skies becoming blue I dare say we can dream further than we first thought that we could. Before my lifetime it wasn't a bunch of roses to be a friend of Dorothy but now we celebrate what equality has been achieved with Pride. So, here goes my best of three! New York City, Birmingham and Wolverhampton are you ready? Yes!

NYC Pride 2012 turned up in May for me to experience my first Pride celebration. I had never been to a March before that beautiful sunshine afternoon. Meeting up with friends in New Jersey, we made our way over to Christopher Street in New York City to wait for the NYC Pride March. Pop icon Cyndi Lauper acted as Grand Pride Marshal for the 2012 Pride event, yes girl she was out to have some fun! I had turned up two chances to see Birmingham Pride for myself before I embarked on my Industrial Placement in 2012 so I wasn't going to let any work schedule stop me from seeing that Pride parade in Greenwich Village, NYC! I am telling you that I wasn't going anywhere, I stood in my space before the barriers waiting for the parade to begin! Honestly, I really did not know what to expect but I knew it would be worth the wait in the heat! New York City Pride 2012 was ready to come out in all of its glory! Love it!

Cydni Lauper opened the parade as we could see her car bring here closer to Christopher Street, she was looking good but her rainbow flag was dreadfully plastic! Drag Queens of all colour and style graced the parade, commanding the pride goers with their beauty I tell you no woman could look better! The lavish Pride floats that made floated down Christopher Street possessed colour and creativity, each blasting a iconic Pride anthem for the crowd to practically Vogue to! Flaming Saddles bar made their way through, serving Cowboy realness in a fashion I loved! Could this really be?! I was amongst the beautiful people of NYC for Pride is just like a Gay Christmas falling only once per year. Puerto Rico did it so much better! The Enchanted Island served Boricua realness with their booming music and Transgendered ladies all curvy and beautiful! I didn't go to 'Dance On The Pier' but the March itself served enough sass and excitement! I saw Manila Luzon and her Drag daughter! 

I didn't celebrate Pride in 2013 but I vowed to attend at least one Birmingham Pride before I concluded my studies in Birmingham. Through the rain we danced on, being a part of UCB's LGBT Society enabled me to walk in the Parade during the 2014 event. We celebrated and then some but we remembered the true cause of the day, to understand that not everyone in this world has the freedom of being true to who they are. Big name acts performed throughout the two day Bank Holiday May weekend, I viewed the event from a critical point of view. My Dissertation topic lies close to LGBT tourism and the attitudes of Pride. Stooshe and Fuse ODG both played blinding sets, I left my judgement there. I didn't appreciate the Monsoon weather!

Drag means a lot to me, it makes Pride that little bit more camp! The Village Inn Cabaret Marquee turned it up with a top billing line up of class Drag acts. Sandra worked the crowd with her cut throat comedy and side splitting gags that I belly laughed to! 90's pop icon Angie Brown made a comeback with her chart topping single 'I'm Gonna Get You', she was amazing! Security was at the forefront of Birmingham Pride 2014, I had no problem because yes I behaved myself. Manchester duo 'Queens Of Pop' performed their 'Atomic Kitten' themed set at Eden, I especially loved their Girls Aloud tribute to Cheryl and Nadine. My Birmingham chapter has finished now but I'm really happy that I experienced one amazing Pride celebration in Birmingham! Keep on celebrating Southside! Yes B!

Wolves Pride 2014 came around in late September, I had to know was going on in my home city! No, I'm not going to throw shade on Wolverhampton because she's rising like a phoenix! Pride celebrations raise funds for worthy causes so a £5.00 donation was more than OK with me, don't be shady because that's ugly! Wolves Pride served a favourable March with several supporters showing their rainbow Pride, I tell you for Wolverhampton that was inspiring for me to see. In its third year Wolves Pride had the voices of Gay activist Peter Tatchell and Wolverhampton City Council so kudos to you WV! The ethos of the event screamed 'community' and for a modern day Pride I was thrilled to see that one event hasn't sold out to the big name acts and Disney like commercialism, let's remember those activists who sparked a Gay Pride Liberation in the 1980's! Wolverhampton, I'm a supporter for sure! Yes B!

Entertainment was served upon the Main Stage for all to enjoy, I've been missing Birmingham's Gay scene so I couldn't wait for Sandra grace the stage with her scandalous sense of humour along with Drag duo Glitter Lips. Headlining the event was X Factor finalist Lucy Spraggan, she arrived on stage to a rapture of applause and adoration from the audience. Aside from the big names a range of upcoming artists and groups showcased their talent, Little Jack and Vois impressed me much! Drag performer Baga Chipz made an appearance, singing a few tracks with a certain swagger she wasn't too far from her hometown of Wednesbury. The Voice finalist Jenny Jones performed her heart out, she was amazing on that Wolves Pride 2014 stage! Pride in Wolverhampton was crafted by the hard work of LGBT Network Wolverhampton, in its third year I know that with continued power of support the event shall prosper ever more! That's my Pride best of three, where will the next Pride be?!

Let's Have Some Pride! 

Joseph Harrison 

30 September 2014

Those September Days . . .

Summer has gone and autumn now stands before us, the month of September has continued to be a treat. Those September days from 2012 to 2014 have been eventful yet relaxed so for your entertainment I'm going to throwback past months because I can! From Wolverhampton to Amsterdam via New York City are you ready for this? How were your September days?

Let's rewind back to September 2012 a time that seems a world away, yes a world away! Throughout my eighth month working in Newark, New Jersey I got up to quite a lot of exciting things indeed! I showed my love for the theatre when I saw 'Evita' on Broadway at the Marquis Theatre, there's nothing quite like the bright city lights of New York City's Times Square! Pop sensation Ricky Martin played the part of Che but I wasn't bothered what part he played because he was in the show. Madonna called me to the Yankee Stadium to 'Get Into The Groove' for her MDNA 2012 World Tour, she sung 'Holiday' and 'Like A Prayer' amongst her new material but her original hits made the night unforgettable! Apart from my fun times I want to look back at my time working at Newark Airport when I was a Passenger Services Agent for Virgin Atlantic, I hated the hours but I loved the drama. Oh Brit, those September days in the USA! 

The North East coast of America can get mighty cold in September so I packed my carry on bag, trading the autumn chill for the sunshine of Old San Juan, Puerto Rico. I missed the birth of my two youngest cousins that summer so I wanted a little holiday to recharge and to take the stress away from having no sleep whatsoever. Discovering the old forts of San Juan's colonial past, finding out the 'rich port' was fought over viciously I appreciated the time capsule atmosphere of the Spanish architecture that has been preserved. Taking a trip to Escambron beach I encountered some San Juan realness, I was in the hood for sure but I loved it really! My placement year in New Jersey afforded me the chance to experience some sketchy neighourhoods, it meant I didn't have a problem upon my arrival back to Birmingham for the new university term. I know in my heart I'll return to Newark and New York City in two years for that September enriched my life no end, I'll be back soon!

What difference a year makes? Tell the truth! September 2013 took me to the greener side! Getting our lives together me and my brother spent a mint weekend in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. We spent time at the Coffee Shops and even took a river cruise through the winding canals of the Dam! We saw what wanted from the Red Light District, don't be no fool! It could of just been an illusion? Wolverhampton served some serious fashion faux pas but I'll let it off the hook only this time. Back to reality, back to Birmingham for the final year of my university studies was a sobering moment, I had peace to make with my student city. I wanted to be back in the Dam! Starting a fresh me and a friend took a chance on Cannon Hill Park for the afternoon to catch up after the break. The Indian summer vibe transcended on Birmingham that Sunday afternoon but I guess some friends don't deserve my time!? Bye Felicia! 

I said 'hello' to my final year at University College Birmingham, I had the chance to be a Fresher one more time! My younger brother had started his studies and was out on the student scene so I had to join the brotherhood out on a few nights out! September 2013 gave me the boost to see a new side of Birmingham, after trusting a Google Map I managed to reach Birmingham's famous Balti Triangle that's in Sparkbrook, Choosing Shabab Balti Restaurant for a Kashmiri food experience. Being a frugal soul I dined on a sumptuous Balti three course extravaganza. Getting back to the Village Inn September 2013 and onwards gave me the chance to serve some fierceness on the dancefloor to my favourite dance anthems! Back to Wolverhampton for one moment, I had a mooch around the town in between changing the Euros for Amsterdam to find that WV needed some love! Amsterdam loved us and Birmingham embraced me for my final year of uni. Yes, I was down for that!

The efforts of yesterday brings me back to today, what do you say September 2014?! Bringing some royal highness to my life I discovered Warwick and its Medieval Castle, I had to see what my inner Queen thought about it! Ethelfelda's mound stood as the original barrier for Warwick, that Mercian Princess began the fight against the Vikings! Slay! Warwick had several endearing qualities with its market square small town feel, I was impressed! Trying not break any dishes I chose Stoke-on-Trent for the day to see the Pottery legacy of the Industrial Age getting to know the Gladstone Pottery Museum suited me just fine. You know I was craving a Staffordshire oatcake with bacon and cheese! Hanley served me with a whopper of a oatcake that I fell in love with! I'm easily pleased! Concluding my day at Trentham Gardens, I appreciated the grandeur of the gardens but hadn't I seen you before T?

Stepping back in time to experience the Back To Backs in Birmingham's Southside showed me how Hurst Street's finest used to live, I was astonished by what had been bought back to life by the National Trust! Memory, I wasn't alone in the moonlight because I had booked a ticket to see Cats The Musical at Birmingham's Hippodrome Theatre. The feline themed show didn't impress me much, I had seen it better done in the West End when I was a boy. Donning my graduation cap and gown on the 22nd September it was time to graduate from University College Birmingham with a 2:1 Honours Degree, I worked! I said 'Sissy That Graduate' as I made my way to the stage to accept my degree certificate, I had waited for that mother for a long time! The summer of 2014 took a lot of waiting but September made its appearance eventually, the house down! Wolves Pride concluded my September 2014, it was a day to celebrate LGBT power! Let's be all proud! Yes, I'm proud of you Wolves!

September ... Not Just Any Month! 

Joseph Harrison 

29 September 2014

Wolves Pride 2014: Rising Like A Phoenix!

Wolverhampton have some pride! Like a phoenix rising from the flames, its been a long road but out of the ash came a celebration for Wolverhampton's LGBT community. Wolves Pride 2014 being in its third year put its best foot forward, showcasing a worthy day of entertainment, reflection and empowerment. Wolverhampton didn't throw any shade for once! 

With the Pride summer calendar coming to a close it was time for Wolverhampton to bring it! Wolves Pride was first unleashed on this West Midlands city in 2012 so I wasn't going to judge, its staggering to think that the whole value of Gay Pride has been transformed into a cash cow but let me finish. Set up in all of its rainbow design the Community Stalls brought a sense of simplicity to the LGBT focused event, can you see what I'm trying to express? Ranging from information from the University of Wolverhampton, advice stalls from the Terrance Higgins Trust right through to the sweet treats of 'Sally's Sweet Oasis' a mix bag of local faces served the event with a pride. My most recent Pride was back in May 2014 in Birmingham, a Pride weekend that's been going for seventeen years so I looked at Wolves Pride from a neutral view, its my home city so we support WV1! Wolves let us all be proud! 

Who do you think you are? I thought I knew Wolverhampton before the 27th of September 2014 but something changed for the better, in one way I was happy to be known as a Yam Yam and that's not easy for me to admit. Wolves Pride 2014 made me realise that it's OK to be from Wolverhampton? Thankfully there was a trusty burger van within the Community Stalls area, I was hungry! Whatever's said about the Black Country its been a tough road for our communities due to the recession, but we all love a bit of rainbow power even if you can't admit it! My university days might be over but it was great to see the Birmingham LGBT network present at their respected stall, I promise to stay away from the Birmingham Pride hype. Was it your first Wolves Pride? I had been in contact with Martha Bishop, the Manager of LGBT Network Wolverhampton to see about publishing a blog about the event. The level of communication was ace, I appreciated that to the hills and back again!

The clock struck 1pm, initiating the beginning of the Wolves Pride 2014 March through the streets of Wolverhampton. Beginning from the Main Stage area in Fold Street around the city centre the procession made their way with some serious colour and vibrancy! Leading the way was the 'Someone At The Door' samba group, followed by LGBT Network Wolverhampton who are the driving force for LGBT awareness in WV. Like any fabulous Pride March the famous rainbow flags fluttered proudly within the procession. Gorgeous Club showed their support for the cause as well as Wolverhampton Homes representing their division. The key part of the March was that everyone believed in the cause, raising the awareness of our modern day fight for equality. After my Dissertation I don't agree with the term 'LGBT' its a sweeping statement that categories a margin of society, I don't want to be classed by that G! No!

The Pride March matched the progression of the event, in its third year Wolves Pride 2014 had an energy that gave the onlookers hope for the future impact of this Wolverhampton Pride event. It didn't cost the earth to be part of Wolves Pride, for only £5.00 I was able to contribute to the Wolverhampton's LGBT Network and have a great day and night. Many Pride events nowadays make the best of the Pink pound but I didn't get that feeling because you didn't have to be a scene queen to be a part of the hype on Fold Street. People do complain about parting with their cash to attend a community event but the origin of Pride hones back to the days of the 'L.G.S.M' where funds were collected through the hard work of the Lesbian and Gay activists during the Miner's Strike of the 1980's so bare in mind that its not all about the sparkle and campery or the booze because Pride always has a cause. Wolves Pride March served Wolverhampton realness, walking proudly for the city!

Come join the party! I heard it through the grapevine that the Main Stage at Wolves Pride would be welcoming X-Factor's Lucy Spraggan to headline the event that night. Welcomed by important faces from Wolverhampton City Council opened the show, local MP's spoke their words but I'm not one for politics. Wolves Pride had nerve, built from humble beginnings to now host a formidable Pride celebration, I was proud! Packed to the brim with music acts from across the region it was a celebration! Drag duo Glitter Lips opened the festivities, I hadn't seen anything quite like it! Drag sensation Sandra graced the stage with her razor sharp sense of humour, damn you watershed! Local songstress Jenny Jones sang her heart out! Little Jack and Love Beats Riot worked it as well! Who needs pop royalty or a money hungry diva, Wolves stands above! How about another track Rose Redd?! Another pint of Cider boy!

Vois smashed their set, boy they have some talent! Above all I loved seeing the progressive acts because like the event they are all on a journey, fighting for the next level of their careers. Fresh from the Big Smoke had to be Baga Chipz, queen of the battered sausage who originally hails from Wednesbury! After seeing Baga on London Live's Drag Queens of London I couldn't wait to see her candidly honest set at Pride. Baga performed her set wearing a scantly clad Union Jack top, she represented her region with a strong drink in hand! That's our girl Baga Chipz! What Pride was best? NYC, Birmingham or Wolverhampton? That's a tough question because Wolves Pride served urban realness in its city centre location, I have to hold the torch for my home city to support a growing event that showed me a bostin' day! Wolves Pride, I have faith and wish you every success for future projects. After the show the Bond Street Tavern complimented my day and night. Yes, Wolves has a Pride!

Wolves Pride 2015 is next!

Joseph Harrison 
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