BLAGSS Winter Pride Bowling

From the BLAGSS Web site:

Annual 10-Pin Bowling Challenge - Results

The annual BLAGSS ten-pin bowling challenge took place on 1st March at the Bowlplex at Brighton Marina. Nearly 200 players in 25 teams competed against each other, including BLAGSS sports groups and a wide variety of other LGBT community groups (music, professional, students, etc.).

At the half-way point the Rainbow Chorus were showing a small lead over Kickass, followed closely by BLAGSS Ishigaki and Tennis. In Game 2 Kickass regained the lead whilst Switchboard and BLAGSS Golf surged up the field. The overall result put Kickass in top place with Rainbow Chorus marginally beating BLAGSS Ishigaki into second place. Fourth place was taken by BLAGSS Tennis. Final scores can be downloaded

The whole evening, as always, was a lot of fun with the place packed with LGBT teams as far as you could see and a really great atmosphere. Here’s a little bit to the choir from Michael:

Just to let you know that our magnificent bowling team did the Choir proud by coming in at a scorching second place in the BLAGSS annual Bowling Challenge last evening, 1st March. To slightly paraphrase what Liam said, "I normally don't have a competitive bone in my body but when it come to the annual bowling challenge, I don't know what comes over me but I really want to win!"

Well, as you can see below we slipped from our brilliant start but remain the highest placed non-sports team taking part since our first outing way back in 2005. As they say, it’s all about the taking part (well, someone said it was about the winning!) and here’s the team that did it (sadly Gill had to go before the photo was taken):

Clockwise from the left:- Rob, Liam, Simonne, Michael, Adam and Stephen

Stephen staggered everyone, including himself, by scoring four strikes in the first session including three in a row! This was unheard of so let’s hope the same thing happens next year!

You can see the final results below. We will be back ...

Bowling with BLAGSS

From the BLAGSS Web site:

On Tuesday 9th March BLAGSS hosted the 2010 Ten-Pin Bowling Extravaganza. 180 players took part in 25 teams representing the LGTB community across Brighton.

This year’s winners were Brighton Bandits and the runners-up were BLAGSS Tennis closely followed by Rainbow Chorus.

Well, sad to say we lost our winner’s title from last year but we remain the highest placed non-sports team taking part since our first outing way back in 2005. As they say, it’s all about the taking part and we all had a great time as you can see below:

The Rainbow Chorus team
Clockwise from the front:- Stephen, Kezia, Michael, Liam, Rob, Adam, Tanya and Gill

Gill gave us some star playing as ever with some great strikes (all 10 skittles felled with one ball). Again. Michael also did us proud too as you can see in this blurry photo (sorry, no flash!)
Michael's 3 strikes
This was taken during the first set of 10 games and during our 2nd set we definitely upped our game but not enough to win. So, who knows - we may slip in some extra practice to keep our collective hand in until next year. Win or not, it’s a load of fun and thanks as ever to BLAGSS for organising the whole thing.

Spooky social

Well, it was a bit of a day on Saturday.

There was a midday
attempt to get Brighton into the Guiness Book of Records (and Melbourne out!) by having the most number of people dancing the Time Warp in once place. So, 5 of us from the choir went to boost the numbers down by the remains of the West Pier; dressed suitably of course, we jumped to the left and then stepped to the ri-i-i-i-i-ight, with our hands on our hips. You can see us larking about below and some links to bigger picture videos appear when you get to the end of this short movie:

The result is not yet official as of the date of writing but we're pretty confident :-)

As if that wasn't enough, more joined our well dressed band later to meet for drinks prior to our trip to the Rocky Horror show on stage at the Theatre Royal. To say we had a great time would be an understatement - we were great, as were our outfits as you can see and the show was huge fun with so much dressing up on and off stage. So many suspenders, basques, gowns, gloves, boas, high heels and more.

Here we were during the interval

Here's Frank 'n' Furter himself

And the entire cast (I think)

After the show we went to a nearby restaurant and continued our evening with some lovely food, drinks, conversation and general 'bonhomie'. After that, it was off to the PV at The Jury's Out for a suitably Halloween themed nightcap. Michael even managed to peer into his future with a visit to Madame Fanny but he's not revealed to us what was revealed to him. Yet.

BLAGSS Winter Pride bowling - OMG!

For the 3rd time, we entered the annual BLAGSS Winter Pride Bowling extravaganza at the Marina Bowlplex. This year there were 24 teams taking part.

Here we were ready to take on all comers ...
(Stephen, Adam, Michael, Gill & Liam)

We began in lane 15 and Michael and Gill were doing great stuff with Liam and Adam close behind, doing sterling stuff with strikes and high scores and all sorts of goodness. At the end of our first set of 10 rounds there had been some impressive play, with a scattering of strikes and a quiet warm glow inside that we were doing fairly well.

After a brief pause for a refreshing beer, it was back to the serious business of bowling, only this time we were in lane 3. Things did not begin too well, but after a while scores began rising again and things were looking good.

Things went very spectacular at the end when Gill scored a strike for her penultimate round and then, gobsmacked us all (we expected it really, ahem ...) by scoring 3 consecutive strikes on her final round as you can see here:

Totting up our score and running off to the master scoreboard, it was clear that we were ... err ... in the lead!! We had a one serious rival though in the shape of GIGS. All the results were in bar theirs and at that point we were in the lead but with Stephen frantically pressing keys on his calculator it was clear that they were coming up fast behind us. As they had 8 members it took a while to complete a round and consequently made the finish even more nail-biting.

Finally, the results were in and ... well, there we were as the Winners with 243 points (it’s averaged out so that you can’t win just by having loads of people in your team). As Anna, our chairperson wrote to the choir:

“For those of you not at last night's rehearsal, big congratulations are due to the Rainbow Chorus bowling team, consisting of Michael, Gill (soprano), Liam, Steve, Adam. They came FIRST in the BLAGGS winter pride ten pin bowling competition, beating 24 other teams...are we proud of them or what!!!! Not only that, but Michael and Gill were among the top 10 scorers of the night! Fantastic result, well done you!”

Here we are receiving our prizes - a small trophy, two bottles of bubble and a funky “Winner” pendant each. Sadly, Gill had to leave early so she was unable to bask in the glory on the night, but had deferred gratification at next week’s choir rehearsal.

You can read some more about the event
here and see lots more photos of the entire event here.

Film Night Social

The choir, and friends, had its first ‘Film Night’ round at the home of two members of the choir on Saturday evening. We showed two ‘appropriate’ films, namely “Breakfast on Pluto” and “But I’m a cheerleader”. The films were both very funny in places, but the first of the two had some very dark moments.

Film Nigh group

There were fairy lights (of course) plenty of wine, crisps, homemade soup, chocolate, pizza and enough popcorn to supply a small cinema and plenty of chat! Everybody thoroughly enjoyed the evening and I’m sure there will be repeat in the near future.

Both films are available to hire from
Brighton & Hove libraries.

BLAGSS Winter Pride Bowling

Yet again, the keen Rainbow Chorus team braved the wind and almost rain to reach the Brighton Marina Bowlplex to 'go for gold'. Ahem. This year our largest choir posse yet was represented by Adam, Michael, Ewan, Gill, Liam and Stephen.
Rainbow Chorus Posse

Although we didn't have such a cracking run of strikes as last year, and we're sure lane 23 was rigged so that we ended up with one 'pin' (to use the jargon) standing far too often, the team average was up considerably on 2007 and as you can see at one point here we were doing very well, though admittedly before all the scores were in ...

Bowling score card

It was all great fun with all 26 lanes taken up with all sorts of local LGBT groups and even the four members of the Stonewall team who had come down from London just for this event. Stephen amazed himself (and everyone else I think) by actually scoring a strike for the first time in his many, many years! Remarkably, the BLAGSS Bowling Team did not get the title, which this year was awarded to the BLAGSS Tennis Team - a little hard for Liam to swallow as his partner was in their team. However, there was much noshing of sandwiches, wraps and dips and not forgetting some little pancakes as it was actually Shrove Tuesday to help forget that we didn't waltz home with the title.

Finally, where were we placed? Well in a beautiful piece of unplanned inter-choir harmony, we finished joint 8th with the
City of Brighton Gay Men's Chorus. Ahhhhh.

We'll be back next year and maybe we'll see you there.

Pokeno pies Christmas social

This time our social was at Pokeno Pies in Gardner street where they kindly let us have the run of the whole place for the evening. When we arrived we all had a good mingle, aided by a glass of bubbly for everyone.

A glass of bubbly on arrival

After a while it was upstairs for pies, drinks, good conversation and obviously a good laugh as well

After we’d made our way through all the lovely nosh there was a song spot where we had the opportunity to sing in groups or solos. Here we had Sharon and Anna providing a duet for Edana. History does not record what the song was ...

It’s safe to say that we all had a great time but we only just about managed to fit, so I suspect we’ll sadly have to skip it as a venue in future.

Paris Pride

On the 28th of June most of the choir arrived via Eurostar in Paris as guests of
Podium and after a brief wander around Montmartre we went to rehearse with them in preparation for Sunday. They were very welcoming, kindly supplied us with food & drink and we ended the evening with a wonderful and moving singalong around the piano.

Their accompanist Antoine knew all of the accompaniment for such diverse songs as Hey Jude, While My Guitar Gentle Weeps, Supertramp's Downstream(!), The Power of Love by Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Otis Redding's Dock of the Bay and so on. Antoine's a star. We then wandered back to our accommodation so generously provided in the homes of our hosts - they are all so lovely. Aaahhhhhhh.

Next day we did our own thing but several of us met for lunch and then that evening went to enjoy "
La Nuit d'Equivox" (this link may not be permanent but they're on our links page too) - well, I just cried tears of happiness watching them. They were a sort of theatrical choir and sang around the theme of night and dressed appropriately as burglars, temptresses, sheep, vampires and more. Utterly inspired!

Saturday was Pride and we were on the first float with
Podium and each choir took it in turn to do a little singing/lip-synching to our various pre-recorded hits along the parade which began at Montparnasse and wound it way to Place de la Bastille.

The weather was fine, the crowds were out in force, the speeches were spoken and we had a wonderful time, though some of the songs did tire just a tad after the 10th time ... The evening involved dinner in the Marais with friends from the other choirs, a fabulous South American cocktail bar for some of us and a late bed. Zzzzz ...

So, to Sunday. A picnic in Le Jardin de Luxembourg followed by the concert.
Melo'men were first on, then us and then Podium. The songs we sang were Let the River Run, Steal Away, My Funny Valentine, Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps, Will You?, In This Heart, Some where and Tonight. We also performed Will I Lose My Dignity (from Rent) with the other two choirs.

At the end we all came together to close with Comme d'habitude (My Way) which a friend of mine now living in Paris said "gave me goosebumps".

We had an large and appreciative audience who enjoyed this free open-air concert whilst sitting under the lovely trees around the bandstand.
Then most of us walked briskly to catch the Vedettes du Pont Neuf
for a little Seine sightseeing, again kindly organised by Podium. Sunday evening was our last time with our hosts, so a lovely dinner again (Parisien Pizza I think) and then off to do our own thing on our final night.

For those that had stayed the whole time, this was a last chance for a little browsing, wandering, gift purchases and perhaps a little more food and then finally off to Gare du Nord to catch the Eurostar home. It was a fantastic weekend for all of us which we will all remember for years to come. We hope to return the favour next year, so point your RSS feed
here to make sure that you won't miss it and have a browse through some more photos here.

Au revoir pour maintenant.

BLAGSS Winter Pride 10-pin Challenge

The crack Rainbow Chorus team headed down to the Brighton Marina Bowlplex to to battle it out for the winning title.

Rob 'The Nazz' Collins, Stephen '26 Years since I last bowled' Watson, Liam 'Thunderball' O'Shea and Michael '3 Strikes' Gough poised for the challenge

Here you can see Michael's impressively high individual score

The whole event was a lot of fun with all 26 lanes taken up with all sorts of local LGBT groups. The scores are averaged over the number of team members so that having 9 members in the team doesn't give you an unfair advantage. We did very well in the first of the two games, but whether we were a little blasé or a little the worse for alcohol on the 2nd we didn't quite keep up our original momentum - having said that, Michael, as you can see below, managed a stunning 3 consecutive strikes (all the skittles down with one ball) and was obviously 'robbed' of some super special prize.

Ultimately, we didn't win, but if the BLAGSS 10-pin Bowling team hadn't done so well (as you would expect!) we would have been 3rd which isn't 'arf bad eh?

Al Duomo social

It's not all singing you know, sometimes we go out and have a convivial time at a local eaterie which in this case was Al Duomo.

Basil's just been told he will be paying ...

Team during Winter Pride event at Brighton Marina

We took the opportunity to go bowling at the Marina during Winter Pride - and two of our number won prizes.

The team

Relaxing at Russell and Michael's hotel

Russell used to sing in the choir and he and his partner ran a hotel and they very generously invited the choir around for a summer social with loads of lovely food and drink. There was even a bit of singing later...

Christmas Social

We had a party with food, drink and a bit of singing for ourselves, friends and partners. It took place in the hall where we still rehearse.

Bit of a natter

Bit of a sing song thing going on.

Matthew, Michael (in the days before being clean shaven) and Liam