Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Pride and Prejudice

I was in Manchester city centre for the Pride parade on Saturday. It was a wonderful sunny day, and everyone had a smile on their face; you don't see that in Manchester every day. You've never so many loons in one place in your life. Cracking stuff.

The parade is a pretty big event these days. It takes about an hour and a half to go past. Half the city seems to be in it, with the other half watching. My better half was sprinting around the parade route with her running club, the Manchester Frontrunners, so I was in town to watch.

As you might imagine, there was a small group of Christian fruitcakes just by the Town Hall, holding placards about how God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, and so on. This was never going to be popular, and they were surrounded by a phalanx of Manchester's finest. There was occasionally a chorus of boos as the more militant sections of the parade went past, but they were mainly ignored or just treated as part of the entertainment. Once the parade had gone past, the Christian loon-in-chief was shouting about how further Pride events would bring destruction upon Manchester. After all, God had punished New Orleans for its Mardi Gras celebrations. A small crowd of people were stood around, roaring with laughter at every new piece of nonsense, before gradually filtering away to various of Manchester's hostelries.

It seems like poetic justice that of all the people in Manchester on Saturday, the Christian loons were the only ones not having a good time.

9 comments:

Dr Aust said...

Ah yes... the Manchester Pride Parade. You've never seen so many large gentlemen clad in pink g-strings and large boots (and nothing else) in your life.

Of course, not that very long ago, and certainly within my memory, a gentleman with views not too dissimilar to your "Christian fruitcakes" was the Chief Constable of Greater Manchester. The same bearded Old Testament-ite even inspired a song ("God's Cop") from 80s-90s Madchester's favourite band of scally rascals the Happy Mondays. There is a good video of them performing it (actually from the year "God's Cop" retired, much to the relief of almost everyone) here.

Judy said...

Speaking as a Christian, I can only say that those at the parade are the kind that give Christianity a bad name.

In my humble opinion, of course.

Paul Wilson said...

Heh, cheers for those links, dr aust. I had no idea...

jdc325 said...

I always thought there was something a little, um, arrogant about Anderton. He seemed to think he had a direct line to God (cf GW Bush). Was also a bit surprised that Happy Mondays wrote a song about him, seemed a bit political for them - but then again, they always were full of surprises. Like that cover version of Stayin' Alive for a start...

Dr Aust said...

Back in the day (late 80s) there used to be a rather hard-core Evangelical troop who used to intermittently harrass / harangue the queue at the Hacienda on Saturday nights (when a 30-40 min wait was pretty typical). You know, the kind of zealots who wouldn't buzz off when you asked them to politely:

"No, I CANNOT leave you alone, you MUST hear the message, your immortal soul is damned to eternal torment unless you accept the Lord Jesus who died for you...

...and so on.

I always figured maybe the queue-preachers accosted Sean Ryder and his crew when the latter were all flying on something, and it reminded them of Anderton.

Anderton was certainly a very high-profile figure in the city and even nationally, both through his outspoken comments on the gay community ("swirling in a cesspool...") and from his general "personal hot line to the Almighty" persona. It was pretty clear by the mid to late 80s that he was a major embarrassment to the city council in Manchester, and they were undoubtedly very relieved when he retired. Anyway, at the time I moved to Manchester in the late 80s, the two best known figures in the city (excluding the football players at Man Utd) were Mr Factory Records Tony Wilson and Anderton - both massively better known, say, than the head of the ruling group on the council.

Norbury said...

I was at the R.E.M. gig in Old Trafford on Sunday, they mentioned the gay pride event and even played a few songs specifically relating to the subject. Although, as always with Michael Stipe the lyrics are so obscure that I had never previously realised they were 'gay' songs. Still, maybe I should have before now with Pretty Persuasion...

Paul Wilson said...

Judy:

I would agree that the loons are probably not representative of Christians as a whole. Then again, the official position of the Anglican church is that homosexuality is incompatible with scripture. I recognise that the church is split on the issue of homosexuality.

I assume that Rowan Williams doesn't believe that Manchester will be consumed by fire and brimstone if Pride keeps going, but he does perpetuate the belief that homosexuality is sinful. I think that most Christians would probably agree with that belief, they're just more polite about it than the raving loons I saw on Saturday.

Jolan S. said...

Please don't forget that the Quakers were just a few spots behind the Frontrunners in the parade!
I figure, if we're going to hell, there's going to be a lot of fun people there.

Paul Wilson said...

I somehow missed the Quakers, but it's great to hear that they were there.