TinaCortina's Blog

Musings of a Tgirl

Sparkle 2008 and beyond!

Hi Girls

SPARKLE UK ~tgirl weekend extraordinaire, 4th annual event held in an around Canal St Manchester, (England!). My wife (en crutch) and myself (for the most time, en femme), spent a very pleasant weekend, arriving mid Friday afternoon, and departing after the final lunch at Villagio about 2:30 Sunday. In those 48 hours, I felt I was Tina even if I did clear off the make-up Friday and Sat night, to so carefully put it back on the next morning! We live on the Hants/Surrey border, so the 180 miles there and back is not a small effort, a good 4 hours up and closer to 5 hours back ~ shattered coming back after the late Saturday night, Sunday traffic and needing a few stops for resuscitation! I mention costs a little later.

Well this is the 3rd time in 4 that we have made SPARKLE (the omission not by choice of either of us), so what did I think of SPARKLE 2008?

Was I a teeny bit disappointed? And if I was, why was that?

Well first of all, lets say that I had a fabulous w/e. My wife had made a superb effort to go despite a broken foot and crutches (thanks A-M, I love you for it, lots!). We spent the time with our great friends, Astrid & Sandra, Davina & Jackie. We all stayed in the IBIS Portland St, we shared meals, plans, shopping, and photos together and more important had a good natter because despite everything going for us, we don’t see enough of each other.

I was worried that A-M would tire easily and not be able to enjoy herself. Inevitably Saturday was an ordeal and she stayed most of the day in the hotel, while Astrid and I shopped and then in the afternoon while 3 perm 5 of us visited the Manchester Met business school for photo exhibition and then the Canal St park for bands and events. A-M had duly met us for lunch at Dimitries (ps highly recommended, it’s on the corner of Deansgate and Victoria St (I think) and does great Mezes and Tapas, half Spanish, half Greek!!). I do have to say Astrid it was a hell of a walk there after 2 hours walking around Manchester shopping centre in heels…later I was more sensible and wore flats…and while we were off doing things A-M went for a massage…. very sensible.

Sat night we had a great meal at Velvet in Canal St (we had been there before); there was this wonderful aborigine sat behind us, I swear he was only 3 ft 8 but he had an 8 inch ***** totally out of proportion…fits of giggles everywhere. We were due to make it to the Magic Theatre party night, but A-M and I didn’t make it and when we were sitting up in the hotel at 1:30 when the others got back, it had not lived up to expectations, a bit flat, especially after the build-up the Magic theatre had had at the Rivoli.

I was due to meet Nat, friendly gay 19 yr old photographer that had made contact a few days previously and we hoped to meet at the Magic Theatre. But I sent her a text to say we hadn’t made it….got one back to say she hadn’t made it either!!!

Never mind a few drinks till closure of the bar at the Ibis till 2 and drifting up a little later, I was then up at 7, alive and well thinking I need to get my make-up back on asap if not to disturb A-M and be ready for lunch. In the event, most of Sunday morning was spent packing and making a multitude of trips to the car before driving A-M back down to Canal St for the final meal at Villagios.

Parking and hotels in Manchester is not cheap. Two nights in a cheap hotel (Ibis) cost us I think £142 (for non event days it would have been £120). Petrol for the 400 mile round trip probably £80 at £1.20 per UK gallon, give or take a penny or two. Just parking 2 nights in the NCP behind the hotel cost £36…………hence the move out Sunday morning and great care taken that I wasn’t to be clamped. I wouldn’t like to add up the cost of the meals or drinks etc, but my point was more about the fixed costs of these type of events…I wonder did it put anyone off?

As said earlier, I felt there were less tgirls there this year…I felt there were less of the girls I knew had been there from previous years. The key question, I suppose is… does this matter? Well from my point of view I find it disappointing especially if the accepted idea is that each year the event should grow until as big as ‘say’ Gay pride’ or similar events.

I know 1,000 tgirls were mentioned at the first event 4 years ago…..was this bigger?….difficult to say but I would say not, based upon crowds in Canal St while recognising for the last couple of years the event has been extended to the park area.

Does anyone know better?

Of course the Miss Sparkle and pageant events have been run rather differently in recent year making use of day and evening outdoor stages in the park; that has to be an improvement from the 1st year. This year Kim (Angel, God rest her soul) took a back seat and Bella took the reins. And please this is by no means a criticism of Bella or Kim cos in my view they are both the bestest…but I do wonder in which direction the event is heading, over the last several years not just the latest.

I felt there were loads of girls I knew from previous years that had not made the effort this year….is this true or was everyone hiding in the bars?
If it was true, why did they not go?

As an annual UK event, THE EVENT, I can’t think of anything that should more get us galvanised, Ok I know everyone can’t make it beacuse of other commitments, costs or any number of reasons, but the question is, how much of target should i be for UK tgirls?

…..and subject to confirmation of dates, even my wife agrees that we should book asap to get advantage of best rates for next year….but is that it? Has SPARKLE reached a natural high based upon Hotel accommodation in the area? Will it ever get any bigger? Do we even want it to be bigger?

I know there are much bigger issues concerning marketing and privacy that stop the event from gaining momentum. After all, my wife will happily come with me, but she would not be keen to be photographed to appear on the National or even Local News. Most others would probably feel the same way…. How do you publicise and expand ion the one hand and keep the tabloids away on the other?

I would welcome the wider debate…….. Is Sparkle going forward, does it want to or need to move forward or is it happy being what it is?

After all, my wife said we had fun, spo who am I to complain? Granted, we didn’t spend a lot of time in and around Canal St, but we could build future events around what is going on elsewhere? Maybe, why not? My wife seems keen to book for next year, assuming it goes ahead, so why should I worry?

But is SPARKLE truly sparkling?

I would be interested to hear what anyone else thinks, whether you went to SPARKLE, have read elsewhere of it or more likely (!)) have never heard of it!!

Take care,

Love TinaCortina xx


July 4, 2008 - Posted by | musings of a tgirl, sparkle | , , , , , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. Hi Tina,

    It sounded like you had a good time and I saw that you met up with Davina and Jackie. I was just about to write to Davina, whom I met last year, to say that I’ll be back in the UK for a few weeks in November. I almost went to Sparkle last year but it conflicted with my conference in Bonn so I had to go to the latter!

    And yes I have stayed in the IBIS in Portland Street too as I was at a conference at Manchester Uni in 2003.



    Comment by NikkiNZ | July 6, 2008 | Reply

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