> GMEN BRIGHTON NEWS BLOG
Congratulations to everyone who took part in the eight annual Brighton Equality Walk on Sunday 1 May 2011, supported by American Express (which has its European HQ in Brighton).
A record number of walkers took part, with 504 people raising over £50,000 for Stonewall, the lesbian, gay and bisexual equality charity.
It was certainly a colourful event, with everyone assembling by the Brighton Pavilion in special Equality Walk t-shirts, before setting off. It was a brilliantly sunny day and the walkers attracted a lot of curious looks and support from locals and visitors as they wound their way leisurely along a route set out by BLAGSS (Brighton Lesbian and Gay Sports Society), strolling through the Brighton Lanes shopping area, Kemptown and on to the beachfront to walk west along the Brighton seafront towards Shoreham.
Walkers of all ages took part, sharing in a great atmosphere, making new friends and perhaps working off some of the after-effects of all the celebrations for the Easter week a week earlier, not to mention the socialising over the second bank weekend, including the Royal Wedding.
The Walk was opened by the Mayor of Brighton & Hove, Councillor Garry Peltzer Dunn, and were lead by Coronation Street star Charlie Condou, Lip Service’s Heather Peace and Deputy Chief Constable of Sussex Police Giles York on the 10k Walk.
The post walk party was held at Brighton’s Honey Club on the beach, a perfect location for the prize-giving and presentation of well-deserved medals and certificates to all who participated.
‘Stonewall’s work can make an even greater difference to the lives of all young people around the country, thanks to the success of this year’s Equality Walk,’ said Laura Doughty, Stonewall’s Deputy Chief Executive.
‘Money raised by our supporters at this walk will enable us to send an essential teacher training pack to every primary school in Britain, which will help them make their classes inclusive for children from all families.’
To see the pictures in full see our Photo Album or view the photographs on Flickr at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/gmenbrighton/sets/72157626577998799/
For the more pictures by Stonewall see their website at: http://www.stonewall.org.uk/what_you_can_do/events/2606.asp
Mark & the GMen Brighton team
Brighton is buzzing this week with anticipation on two (sea)fronts – the City is hosting the National Student Pride 2011 celebrations from Friday 29 April over the May Day Bank Holiday weekend and plans for a giant seafront attraction have just been confirmed – a 45 metre high ride known as the ‘Brighton Wheel’!
NATIONAL STUDENT PRIDE 2011
Over 1,000 LGBT students are expected to attend National Student Pride 2011
this year, with a pre-Pride Party at the Revenge Club on Friday 29 April, and then a free daytime Festival at Oceana on Saturday 30 April, followed by the ‘Brighton Tour’ (aka Pub Crawl) of 12 venues.
The partying then slips into high gear with the Club Night at the Coalition Club and After Party at Revenge.
The Question Time style debate on Saturday afternoon will be hosted by Matthew Todd (Editor of Attitude magazine) with TV Dr Christian Jessen, John Amaechi (NBA Basketball Star), Aled Haydyn Jones (BBC Radio 1 DJ & Producer) and Aaron Porter (NUS) on the panel.
Harry & Sam from hit TV series ‘The Only Way is Essex’ will be making a guest appearance too and Brighton Pride Women’s Tent ‘Love Without Borders’ will be providing entertainment.
Star attraction at the night-time Club Night will be X Factor winner Joe McElderry live on stage.
Congratulations to the organisers for all their hard work and best
wishes to all those attending, have a great time and a big 'Welcome to
Brighton' from the GMen Brighton team!
It’s going to be an incredible weekend in ‘gay Brighton’… for more information see the National Student Pride 2011
website at: http://www.studentpride.co.uk
Similar in concept to the London Eye, the new Brighton Wheel should be in place before GMen Brighton’s Summer Courses
Located on Madeira Drive, Brighton (to the east of the East Pier) and expected to attract 250,000 visitors, the Brighton Wheel will give a bird’s eye view of the City, Marina, South Downs and white cliffs.
Costing £6 million, the Brighton Wheel should be open from 10am to midnight 365 days a year with the Wheel illuminated at night.
The only problem now is how GMen Brighton guests will find the time to ride the Brighton Wheel with everything else going on over a holiday weekend City-break with GMen Brighton!
THE ROYAL WEDDING
See, we're doing great... we haven't mentioned the Royal Wedding at all!
Ok, ok… neither the Royal Wedding or T-Mobile need more promotion but the 'T-Mobile Royal Wedding' is still making us smile... brilliantly done and all filmed from one perspective as though using a mobile... clever!
Whatever you're doing for Royal Wedding Friday or over the May Day Bank Holiday weekend… have fun!
Mark & the GMen Brighton team
GMen Brighton's Summer holiday Courses
don't start until July but if you are planning an earlier visit to Brighton in May 2011 there is plenty to do around the city.
Here are some top picks from Brighton Visitor's 'What's On Guide'... for more festival and event information visit their website at: www.brightonvisitor.com
Saturday 30 April to Monday 30 May - The Lady Boys of Bangkok
The Lady Boys of Bangkok are back in spectacular style with the new 2011 production of their cabaret party show: Fur Coat & French Knickers! Show times vary depending on the day. Sabai Pavilion, Victoria Gardens, Grand Parade, Brighton... www.ladyboysofbangkok.co.uk
Wednesday 4 May 2011 - Candi Staton
Perhaps best known for her massive 90s dance hit You Got The Love, Candi Staton has been one of the most popular soul artists worldwide since the age of 12 years old... 7.30pm at the Concorde 2, Madeira Drive, Brighton… www.concord2.co.uk
Every Saturday and Sunday from 7 May 2011 - Artist Open Houses
2011 is the 30th year of Artists Open Houses in Brighton & Hove, and aims to be the biggest yet... www.aoh.org.uk
Saturday 7 May - Alive & Swinging with Marilyn Monroe
Marilyn Monroe is finding heaven a bore, no drinking, smoking or sex, and worst of all, no swinging music... 9pm, Komedia, Gardner Street, Brighton... www.komedia.co.uk/brighton
Saturday 7 May to Sunday 8 May 2011 - STOMP Workshops
Global theatre phenomenon STOMP offers four individually tailored workshops at its new home, The Old Market... Sessions at 10am and 1pm on both days. 11a Upper Market Street, off Western Road, Hove... www.theoldmarket.com
Saturday 7 May to Sunday 29 May 2011 - Brighton Festival 2011
One of Europe's premier arts festivals, the Brighton Festival features worldclass theatre, dance, music, literature and performance... www.brightonfestival.org
Saturday 7 May to Monday 30 May 2011 - Brighton Festival Fringe
Brighton Fringe explodes across the city every May like a firework display. The third largest open access arts festival in the world... www.brightonfestivalfringe.org.uk
Thursday 12 May to Saturday 14 May 2011 - The Great Escape
Brighton's biggest music festival featuring the best emerging and cutting-edge rock, indie and alternative bands... www.escapegreat.com
Saturday 21 May 2011 - Olly Murs
Olly Murs - runner up in The X Factor - arrives in Brighton as part of his full UK & Ireland headline tour in 2011... 6.30pm, Brighton Centre, Kings Road, Brighton... www.brightoncentre.oo.uk
Monday 30 May 2011 - Duran Duran
The original line-up are back together for a national arena tour... 6.30pm, Brighton Centre, Kings Road, Brighton... www.brightoncentre.oo.uk
For more festivals and events visit the Brighton Visitor's 'What's On Guide' online: www.brightonvisitor.com
Mark & the GMen Brighton team
Great news to learn Brighton is the third friendliest gay destination in the world according to Lonely Planet
Brighton was paced ahead of other cities we also love like Amsterdam, Berlin, Puerto Vallarta, Rio de Janeiro and New York.
Only Sydney and San Francisco beat Brighton to 2nd and 1st place respectively.
There is no doubt that Brighton is the most relaxed and 'gay friendly' of UK cities. London, Manchester, Blackpool and other British cities have some great gay bars and clubs and a relatively liberal attitude but it is fair to say that this can be restricted to certain areas... whereas there is a level of general acceptance across Brighton & Hove that is rare elsewhere.
This is not to say that Brighton & Hove, like all cities around the world, doesn't have occasional problems with incidents of discrimination but it is wonderful to see gay men and women walking around the city hand-in-hand, as we have over the Easter weekend.
Congratulations to the people of Brighton & Hove for this recognition by the Lonely Planet
for the kind of acceptance that would, frankly, make for a better world if only we all learned to live our lives without dictating to others how they should live theirs! :-)
Book now and join us in Brighton this Summer!
Mark & the GMen Brighton team
TOP GAY FRIENDLY DESTINATIONS BY LONELY PLANET
Here is an abbreviated version of the Lonely Planet’s top ten list of gay and lesbian cities in the world, click on the link
to see the list in full on the Lonely Planet website
, and on Brighton & Hove
to read what they have to say about the city.
1. San Francisco
, USA - Rainbow flags adorn apartment windows and bar entrances in many San Francisco neighbourhoods… half a million people party during Pride Week…
, Australia - in Sydney "gay is the new straight"… Gay and lesbian culture forms a vocal, vital, well-organised and colourful part of Sydney’s social fabric… beach life reigns here...
3. BRIGHTON, ENGLAND - for more than 100 years the city has been a gay haven… The vibrant queer community is made-up almost a quarter of the total population… Kemptown (aka Camptown) is where it’s all at...
, The Netherlands - Touted as the gay and lesbian capital of Europe… Amsterdam hosts the only water-borne gay-pride parade in the world...
, Germany - Berlin’s legendary liberalism has spawned one of the world’s biggest gay and lesbian scenes… openly gay mayor Klaus Wowereit outed himself with the now-popular words: ‘I’m gay, and that’s a good thing’...
6. Puerto Vallarta
, Mexico - Do as the Love Boat used to, and dock in the world famous resort town of Puerto Vallarta. The gay scene here is pumping… glorious white-sand beaches…
7. New York City
, USA - New York’s Chelsea and Greenwich Village are synonymous with gay life, possessing a thriving out-there scene… June sees the obligatory Gay Pride parade attracting revellers from around the world...
8. Rio de Janeiro
, Brazil - during Carnaval (February or March), thousands of expatriate Brazilian and gringo gays fly in to take part in the fun… outside Carnaval the gay scene is active...
, Czech Republic - the beguiling bohemian city of Prague inspired Kafka to warn visitors: ‘this little mother has claws’...
, Thailand - there’s no ‘gay movement’ as such in Bangkok, as there’s no antigay establishment to move against...
Lonely Planet guides are also gay-friendly, containing information on the gay and lesbian establishments you can visit on your trips, click on the link
to see the list in full on the Lonely Planet website
, and on Brighton & Hove
to read what they have to say about the city.
Even @7pm last night 'Good Friday' was still delivering with people cramming the beach under blue skies and sunshine… with the smell and smoke of BBQs everywhere! Never mind starting to 'crank-up'... the Easter bank holiday weekend was motoring!
This Easter Saturday morning the sun has been hot for hours and the sea is super calm, we're promised another scorcher so it's no surprise people are already staking their claim to a bit of beachfront property on the pebbles or cruising about in their boats… or flip flops!
As well as all the beachfront bars and restaurants you can expect the outside terraces at gay bars Legends and Amsterdam to be crammed today, so get their early.
Lots happening on the gay scene this Easter weekend in 'gay Brighton'…
* the Revenge Club are at it like rabbits with the "Kinky Dangerous Bunny Party" (http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=196331797072425),
* Wild Fruit are at the Honey Club tonight with "God Save The Queens" (http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=192378880801559), and
* Charles Street are getting "Fierce" (http://www.charles-street.com/).
Whether you're in Brighton or somewhere else in the world this Easter weekend… have a great one and remember to slip, slop, slap!
Have fun, we will!
Mark & the GMen Brighton Team
P.S. We've updated our Courses and Dates for Summer 2011 - for a brilliant 'gay holiday' over a weekend this Summer (the ideal 'City Break'!) join us in Brighton and meet other gay and bisexual men and women and 'gay friendly' adults for a few days of learning, meeting, socialising.
P.P.S. Find out how to make killer cocktails that will blow the socks off the guests at your next party, find out what Tai Chi has to offer your life balance, pick up some conversational Spanish or French, learn all about Wine appreciation, have fun taking photographs of models around Brighton with the help of our Photography tutors... it's all happening this Summer in Brighton & Hove...
P.P.S. Don't miss this opportunity to make wonderful new friends, learn new skills and experience Brighton's vibrant seaside resort has to offer, on and off the gay scene! Our GMen Tutors will take good care of your daytime... our GMen Hosts will ensure you have fun nightime!
The Guardian Unlimited just published an article that might have been written by Thomson Holidays… see the article here
) or scroll down to read it…
This is our response…
Hmmm… “interviewed focus groups for Thomson Holidays”?!
Is it possible Thomson Holidays have some interest in encouraging travellers to travel abroad?
And isn’t the comment “it's hard to make a proper distinction between a weekend in Brighton and a proper holiday… but a change is as good as a rest” actually an argument for a weekend in Brighton being as good as a “proper holiday”?!
As for Thomson’s comment "our research shows that people are saying cobblers to the staycation”… well of course it does!
A great PR piece for sure… but wouldn’t it have been real news if Dermot Blastland had announced “Thomson Holidays say cobblers to holidays abroad”?!
Of course there is room for staycations, awaycations and even gaycations!
Those who can afford holidays abroad will be dodging volcano ash this Summer.
Those who can’t will be having fun getting away from it all in the UK.
And everyone has the option of a great weekend in Brighton!
GMen Brighton (
This is a response to the Guardian Unlimited’s article (click here) as below:
"Home is not where the holiday is: UK staycations lose their appeal"
by Rebecca Smithers, consumer affairs correspondent, guardian.co.uk, Friday 7 May 2010 16.22 BST:
There is no substitute for the thrill of the sights, sounds and smells of a foreign country when it comes to escaping the office and the mobile phone, a study has found.
Psychologist Kairen Cullen, who interviewed focus groups for Thomson Holidays, said consumers preferred to "truly get away" by travelling to an environment that contrasted starkly with their normal routine.
"Over the past couple of years many people have opted to have a staycation in the UK. However, they felt that they were not gaining any tangible benefit from such a holiday," she said. "This year we can see a real shift towards a break that will take people out of themselves, help them to grow and allow them to disconnect physically and emotionally from work, family and bad news in the media."
There was also evidence that long-haul holidays were more likely to reduce stress. Average stress reduction attributable to a trip to a long-distance destination was 60% compared with 20% for a British holiday, showed the study.
The findings were supported by Dr Sheila Keegan, a chartered psychologist at Campbell Keegan, a London-based research consultancy. She said: "We all travel so much in the UK that it's hard to make a proper distinction between a weekend in Brighton and a proper holiday. But a change is as good as a rest.
"There's nothing quite like getting off a plane and smelling the air and feeling the different temperature. It's almost like putting on a new skin. And there is so much excitement involved in planning and organising a holiday abroad. It still has a certain status attached to it."
Ben Williams, an Edinburgh-based chartered psychologist, added that advances in technology had become a "double-edged sword", which people had to manage more carefully when on holiday.
"The once clear boundaries between work and play have become more fuzzy," he said. "People go on holiday but insist on taking their laptops, mobiles and BlackBerrys with them. Often this is because they are insecure and feel they don't want to be out of the office loop.
"One of the saddest things I have seen was a father on a ski slope with his children, who took a call on his mobile from his office. It's not just about where you go on holiday that matters, but how you manage the time when you are there so you can relax properly."
The managing director of Thomson Holidays and First Choice travel companies, Dermot Blastland, said: "Our latest figures show Brits are determined to take a real break this summer – and it's awaycations all the way, not just sun and sand, but new cultures and locations. Consumers who hung back last year are more confident about spending this year and are benefiting from better deals outside of the eurozone.
"Our research shows that people are saying cobblers to the staycation, we need a proper holiday this year."
Whatever business or organisation you are in, whether ‘mainstream’ or ‘gay’, and whatever sector, you and your colleagues should consider attending THE
GAY BUSINESS CONFERENCE (http://www.gaybusinessconference.com) taking place in London on 29 June 2010 at London's Central Hall in Westminster - the day-long event will look at strengthening the bond businesses have with their gay consumers.
It should be a fascinating day with a long list of proven gay business leaders sharing their experience and expertise, plus the chance to meet with delegates keen to swap ideas, advice and make contacts.
Panelists include: Juan P. Juliá (Axel Hotels), Kim Watson (Millivres Prowler Group), Neil Spring (Village Drinks), Ian Johnson (Out Now Consulting), Matthew Todd (Attitude Magazine), Andrew Roberts (AMRO Worldwide) and Matthew D'Arcy (OMTAC).
Don’t miss it – see the website for information and to book:
Please spread the word and we’ll see you there!
Hmmm… May Day and thoughts turn to vacations… of course you are coming on a short break holiday to GMen Brighton this July or August but what gay hotels around the world could also be on your travel calendar?!
We were wondering if we had the money to try out some great hotels around the world where would we head to? Where would you go? We’re tempted by…
ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI
) - wow… this one is pretty special – Giorgio Armani's vision of high-style hotelery was unveiled to the world this week, taking in its first guests after a gala grand opening. Apparently every physical detail of the hotel was designed by Armani himself, “from the soaring arches in the lobby to the bathroom soaps in each room”. One journalist reported “walking through the hotel feels like living in a fashion show: hotel staff don Armani suits and dresses, walls of satin frame the clean lines and neutral tones of each room, soaring ceilings meet with sweeping views of Dubai's downtown district.” Please take us if you’re going!
Fear not, if New York is your Big Apple (we love taking a
bite) then we hear both the Axel Hotel Group
and New York-based
hospitality group G Worldwide
have plans to build there and in other US
Cities… and earlier this year New York developer Parkview
said that it
intended to build the city's first "hetero-friendly" hotel The Out NYC
in Hell's Kitchen, scheduled to open in 2011.
AXEL HOTEL BUENOS AIRES
) - we’ve dropped into the Barcelona branch of this boutique gay hotel chain that has a “hetero-friendly:” philosophy (even sneaked upstairs to check out the corridors and up to the hot tub and bar on the roof – but sad to report no naked men sunbathing - before buying a souvenir “I’m Hetero-friendly” t-shirt at Reception on the way out!)… but the idea of visiting Buenos Aires (or Berlin for that matter, where they’ve just opened another one) is pretty appealing… a chance to live it up in “designer gay style” in a country we’d love to visit.
HOLLYWOOD SIGN HOTEL, LOS ANGELES
) - okay, this one is a bit of a pipe dream and there's no guarantee it will be any more than 'gay-friendly' - but we can't help thinking it should have "honorary gay status" as there's something a bit special about wanting to turn the most famous sign in the world into a hotel! Christian Bay–Jørgensen, owner of Bay
(a Danish Architecture Firm) has come up with the concept - apparently the sign would be twice the size it is now. It would make for some increaible views over breakfast and can you image the fun they'll have coming up with souvenirs for the shop in the lobby?! But would you stay there?!
PRESIDENTE CANCUN RESORT HOTEL
(InterContinental - http://www.ichotelsgroup.com
) If a tropical resort is more to your taste then this gay-friendly hotel could be your perfect destination with comfy accommodations, great restaurants and a picture-perfect beach. Central shops etc are 10 minutes away, Isla Mujeres is just across the water, and there’s a golf course next door. In two hours or less, you’ll stand in awe of ancient Mayan ruins… or you could just stay by the Tequila Collection Bar and Terraza, the Sports Bar or sitting in the giant pool! Maybe the place to head to in May or June to get the tan underway ready for the Summer but remember to slip, slap, slop... preferably with the help of that guy lying on the sunbed next to ya!
LEGENDS HOTEL BRIGHTON
) Well we can hardly fail to put in a word for our own Legends Hotel in “gay Brighton” – recently refurbished after a fire, Legends is a gay hotel offering a taste of elegance on Brighton seafront. It is finished to the highest standards with bespoke furnishings and offers a good choice of quality rooms with good sea views. The staff are friendly and there’s a large bar with outside terrace and small nightclub underground, both popular with locals as well as residents.
If you have any other gay/gay friendly hotels you rate let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org
and remember… if you need anyone to carry your bags… get in touch!
Brighton’s clubs and pubs are getting spruced up ready for your arrival in July and August for your GMen Brighton short-break activity holiday!
The large Charles Street Bar & Envy Club, popular with a mixed crowd for a food and drink daytime and lively night times throughout the week, has been closed for a couple of weeks for a fabulous refurbishment.
It all reopens on Thursday for the start of their Grand Opening Weekend - see:
Meanwhile Legends Bar, Club and Hotel has re-opened after a fire which closed it for 5 weeks... and now its back better than ever!
The lovely people at Legends have been spending countless hours and lots of cash creating a whole new look for both venues... party on!
Not forgetting all the other great bars, pubs and clubs that make Brighton such as great place to relax and meet people!
See you in the Summer!
In the USA two online Social Networks called 'Fabulis' (just launched) and 'Gaycities' (just redeveloped) are battling for new members... see: http://bit.ly/dcZuX4
Are people joining new networks like these... or sticking with Facebook, Gaydar etc?!
Can you be a member of too many networks?! (We know a guy who is a member of 10+!)
Or is it just better to get out and meet people in 'real life'?!
Here's an idea - why not meet other gay and bisexual men this Summer on a short-break activity holiday with GMen Brighton... making new friends while trying new activities like Wine Tasting or Kayaking or Cocktail Making or Tai Chi etc!
Book now and start counting down the days to a great vacation in July or August! See you then! :-)
(The pic is of gay entrepreneurs Fabulis Co-founders Jason Goldberg and Bradford Shellhammer on the left and GayCities founder Scott Gatz on the right.)