Monday, 18 July 2011

Like not wearing underwear...

Apologies for the late update, I did think whilst driving back that I would do this earlier in the day but I have not really been in the mood.  I didn't want to have to talk to anyone, see anyone or think at all I just wanted time out.

AI guess firstly though you'd like to know a little more about yesterday. 

It started quite early, I had been up on Friday night until the early hours of Saturday morning for no good reason other than I was avoiding bed again.  I was up early yesterday morning though and realised I hadn't ironed any clothes for after the event and for today so I did that first.  Then I got shaved, the big beard and hairy chest had to go unfortunately, (I am looking forward to their return already).

Then, after showering etc i went to the dressing room and started to get ready.  It was a quiet time really.  Steve would always have show tunes on but I was happy with my thoughts.  It all went to plan and, to think I have not put a face on since August I was surprised, eyebrows looked right first time and even eyelashes stuck first time and in the right place... that's a first EVER!  I used to get stressed sometimes because they would be wonky, after the third or fourth attempt Steve would have to put them on me but yesterday the whole lot was easy and stress free.  when I finished I noticed Steve's wig to the side, on a block but sort of watching over me and supervising.

I got dressed then and set off for Sheffield, I had planned for 10am but I got going at 11am, not bad really as my initial plan hadn't included ironing and packing, it took me just over 1 hour 20 minutes from shower to leaving and that included having to iron another shirt.

En route I picked up a friend, that too could have been a drama as Steve knew where he lived and had always directed me as he was familiar with that part of Manchester, (he had lived in the area years before), but I was not.  Anyway I got there and then we set off for Sheffield.

I tried to call en route to let the organisers know my ETA but there was no signal on the phone as we drove through the mountains so I just carried on.  by the time I approached Sheffield i had received an almost frantic message asking me to call.  They were wondering where I was.  As Steve and I usually got there early morning and they had already had a string of disasters including some acts cancelling on the morning along with some of the volunteers.

When I got there the relief on their faces was evident.  I changed into costume and then familiarised myself with the running order, the new stage manager, Andrew, (conscripted that morning because someone was ill and unable to do it) and I chatted to a few early visitors.

One of the first groups I spoke to said "where's the other one... you always come with another one as well so where is she?"  The question was perfectly reasonable and it was nice they remembered that I am indeed only half of a double act.  I explained Steve had passed away but, in short that I was there for him.  the understood, they too had lost a friend recently and although they didn't really want to party they did want to honour their friends memory.

Despite that though I didn't get upset.  I just continued. A few more people arrived then more friends arrived including Stephen, (another one, not MY Steve), Stephen, or Mistress Muffy, was to be my co-host for most of the day, along with a few of our other friends too but, I was happy to step out on stage with him as Steve and I had worked with him before, being a friend firstly but also someone we have worked with before then it just made it easier, the same can be said for Dan and Heather too, as friends they understood the bond Steve and I had and it made what was looking like a difficult day a whole lot less daunting.  I also have to say though that the last minute stage manager Andrew was fantastic, a complete pleasure to work with and he just managed to keep everything running smoothly, (as smooth as it can be when we have problems thrown at us such as we did), I was able trust him and rely on him completely, (which is out of character for me being a known control freak) as I couldn't possibly keep tabs on everything whilst I was on stage.  As I said he was just great and truly an asset to the volunteer team.

Through most of the day I was fine.  There were a lot of friends there and they all kept checking if I was OK, and how I was feeling, it was nice to know they cared so much and for the majority of the day I was fine.  I did have a moment though toward the latter part of the day, stood to the side of stage just watching one of the girl groups who were on and my mind wandered, it wandered to thoughts of Steve, I can't describe it really but it was almost like having a bucket of water thrown over you, this mix of feelings and thoughts just descended on me and I started to well up.  I caught myself and reigned it in fast, I couldn't afford to lose it when I was due on stage in a few minutes and, as I had done so well all day I refused to give in to the emotion.

The picture shows just a couple of friends who I was pleased to have there for the day x

The next "moment" was being on stage with Heather, I don't remember what she said, it was nothing probably, I am guessing she may have been thanking me, (she was there doing some official thanks from Sheffield Pride) but again, it washed over me.  As I replied to Heather I heared my voice crack.  Again I reigned it in and I thanked Steve, for introducing me to Sheffield and it's people, such a warm and welcoming community, they almost feel like family and I also thanked the people of Sheffield for welcoming me and Steve, I probably rambled on a bit as I am prone to doing but we gave three cheers to Steve and to Miss Whiplash. I think most people 'got' the sentiment, especially as whiplash's picture was in their official pride programme with a write-up.

I felt and hoped Steve was there with me, I wore the bracelet I made to remind me of him, the picture shows it next to the tattoo (or at least part of the tattoo), that I had done to commemorate his life just before the funeral.  It's the date of our wedding or "Civil Partnership" as it's correctly termed.  (Thanks to "G" for the pic xxx) I also wore Steve's stage rings, they sparkled beautifully, just as he would have.

Throughout the day when asked how I was I just said I was fine.  Again, it is difficult to explain but the only analogy I can give is that it is like going out without underwear on.  To everyone else you look the same, (I had the painted face and broad smile to mask the feelings inside), but, you know something is not right and something is missing.  that's probably as good as the explanation gets.  I was doing it for Steve, it didn't feel right but I did it.  I am glad I did it though and have no regrets at all, he did so much for me, and brought me such happiness in our six and a bit short years and the least I could do was to share some of that happiness with the 10,000 or so people who were there on Saturday.

After the event closed I headed off to the hotel.  The hotel booking was supposed to be for Steve and I but I went anyway.  I wanted to change and spend some time with our friends as me.  check-in at was fine, I did raise an eyebrow or two though as I passed a wedding reception en route to my room.  A guest was heard commenting to the bride that not many weddings have drag queens at them..... Steve and I did a few but I didn't correct him.  the room was lovely but as I sat there at the dressing table taking off my jewellery, wig and makeup I looked out of the window and saw the brightest rainbow I have seen for years.
That was it, it set me off. It may have been a coincidence but to have a rainbow so bright at the end of what was supposed to be Steve's last performance.  The rainbow was seen over the stage when everyone had gone and the cleanup had begun but I could see it from my hotel window too.  Whats the chances.  You can see how limited the view was and I had it in sight.  The international symbol for gay pride is a rainbow flag so for may of the people who were there yesterday they will have identified with the rainbow anyway, for me it had extra meaning.  I took it to mean that Steve had been happy with the day and by way of thanks, to lift the gloom I felt, he sent a rainbow.

After that the night seemed to go pretty quickly. I joined a few friends at the official after pride party but chose to drive.  I didn't want to drink.  I had managed to keep a lid on most of my emotions for most of the day, I didn't want alcohol to loosen the lid as it were so I thought it best not to drink, that, and I was tired so a few drinks and I would have fallen over!

I gave Heather a lift home on my way back to the hotel and then woke this morning after a reasonable sleep and set off for home.  I had taken my camera with me to stop off en route to take some pictures as there is some lovely scenery but the weather was too bad and I had forgotten to take a coat.

Since being home I have spent it alone, in silence for the main part.  I have not wanted to see anyone or talk to anyone.  I don't know why but I just wanted to be alone with my thoughts.  I feel anti-social but on the flip side I reckon talking to 10,000+ people yesterday will buy me some credit in the "need to talk to more people"  stakes.

I'm heading to bed now, again, it's a long one and sorry but I hope you enjoyed reading nonetheless.

Until tomorrow,
 Mark x

1 comment:

  1. Well done for everything you did at Pride, it sounds like things went very well and the pictures are great! What a lovely 'sign' from Steve, when I saw the small amount of space from the window I too believed it was definitely Steve letting you know you'd prone brilliantly :-)

    (((BIG HUGS))) glad you have taken some time out today.

    Look after yourself xxx