Paula's Place

Paula's Place

Monday, 7 January 2019

I'm still looking back

Summer was fabulous, not just the weather that was stunning, but I also had a fabulous, very busy time. I spent most of my working hours wearing shorts and a sun top, I've still got a bit of tan, and even though there were some days when it was simply too hot to work on the whole I loved it. Of course it was very stressful for a lot of plants and many lawns suffered badly. It's no good watering once the drought has started, good roots are needed and that means watering lots not too often throughout the year.

Playing in Parliament Square for Processions
Apart from work I had the usual load of concerts, and activities, taking the lead amongst them this year was playing for WOW Brass for the London Processions

It was a very hot day, and I suspect that I might not have been the only one who started to regret the decision to wear black!  It was wonderful to play brass band music with so many other women, but it also underlined the simple fact that there is still a lot of prejudice in music, especially around which instruments it is suitable for a woman to play. Whilst we had plenty of trombones I was the only Bass Trombone, and for a band of around 80 we could only muster 3 tubas, and they were all EEbs.  There is still a lot of work needed to encourage girls to take up some of the instruments still perceived to be male. Instruments do not have gender they have character, they have sound, and the have roles, these can be male, female, both and neither. ~ On this note on Sunday I will be attending the first WOW Brass Development Day, I may not get to do much playing but I'm still looking forward to it.

With my new friend at Croydon PrideFest
The other big event was Croydon Pride. As I am a trustee and part of the planning committee we had lots of meetings, lots of stress, and lots of work in the lead up to the big event. Croydon Pride is very much a year round organisation with events going on most months, but of course the Pridefest is the big one.

Once again it was a wonderful sunny day, thousands of people turned out and I think everybody had a great time. Of course Pride is not just an excuse for a great party, it is still also a protest, all the time any part of the LGBT+ community is being oppressed we need to stand together and make it clear that it is not acceptable. At the moment it seems to be Trans Women who are most under attack (for any number of reasons Trans Men are not being singled out for the same levels of abuse). I have been trying not to dwell on this too much here as plenty of others are much more engaged than I am, but, when we get regular abuse in National Newspapers, Radio, TV, and Parliament it is difficult not feel picked upon. I hope that 2019 will be better, but in all honesty I don't expect it.

At Amsterdam Pride with my Daughter, 
the coolest person in the City
Croydon was not my only Pride, I marched in Pride in London (so I wasn't aware of the furore at the front until the next day), I marched in Trans Pride Brighton, and I was on the shore watching Amsterdam Pride ~ I think I have written pretty extensively about all of these at some point here so won't go on too much about them now, each was fabulous in their own way.

Amsterdam was a great trip with the fabulous London Gay Symphony Orchestra we played a great concert, we enjoyed the parade (on the canals!) we laughed so much we cried, we also discovered that Amsterdam is maybe not quite as inclusive as we thought, it was very much a Gay Pride and since neither my Daughter or I consider ourselves to be white gay men we felt a little left out and withdrew to our hotel.

To my shame I got to very few concerts I wasn't playing in, but outstanding amongst the ones I did get to was seeing "The Sweet" playing in Oxted. I loved them in the 70s and I still do!

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