Will this weekend's London Pride events see an improvement on the trainwreck that was World Pride 2012? Let's hope so.
This time last year, what should have been one of the biggest global events in the gay calendar sunk under a quagmire of cancelled events, unused floats, stories of unpaid contractors and all events and activities — including the climactic Trafalgar Square party — being cut or cancelled at the last minute.
Most damning of all, the Metropolitan Police issued a license regulations notice to all venues in Soho, reminding them that London Pride — the then organising body — had no license for street events in the area, and therefore they should treat World Pride as "any normal day".
It is safe to say that, for London, this Saturday will not be "any normal day".
New organisers London LGBT+ Community Pride have secured £500,000 from the Mayor's Office over the next five years, which comes to around 20% of the cost of holding London Pride. Michael Salter, head of the the organising body has said that this weekend's events will be "fresh and different (combining) traditional campaigning with the partying and fun our city is known for."
Before the full-on jollity of Saturday, there's plenty to get stuck into on Friday evening. Transpose will hold a night of art, storytelling, film and music in aid of You Are Loved, a new trans youth suicide prevention initiative, while over in Finsbury Park the gender-bending monthly Save Rubyyy Jones Revue has drag, neo-burlesque and something outrageous no matter which way you swing.
The next day, the traditional London Pride parade will leave from Oxford Street at 1pm and head towards Oxford Circus. It will then turn down Regent Street and along Pall Mall, past Trafalgar Square and finally end in Whitehall at around 4pm. More details as well as arrangements for older folk wishing to join in can be found on the official page for the parade.
Those wanting to skip the parade can head straight over to Trafalgar Square at 1pm to see a packed lineup on the stage featuring The Pink Singers celebrating their 30th Pride appearance, The London Gay Big Band and a raft of rising talent overseen by four hosts headed by Dusty O.
The day's biggest musical extravaganza, though, is out east in Hipsterville. Shoreditch Park's Summer Rites Party sees Atomic Kitten headline a festival bringing together 60 DJs and 30 club brands in seven different dance arenas. Get those hoofing boots on and head down there from 2pm onwards.
UK Black Pride will take over Soho's Golden Square for eight hours of their own brand of education and entertainment; next door, the Dean Street Cabaret Stage kicks off at 4pm with a bill including Zoo Lates host Myra DuBois.
There are, of course, many more Pride happenings around London than on these two days. Check out the official Pride calendar for details.
Still bored? There's an all-girl roller derby in North London, free entertainment on Carlisle Street, Brazilian dancers in Glitterous, late night porn star action at Hustlaball, the Big Gay Bash in a South London warehouse and plenty more after parties scattered around London. Cor.
Photo credit: zefrog