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TGI Paul

Monday, September 11, 2006

Gaydar Day @ Thorpe Park

As you know from a previous post, I was really looking forward to this day out. It was a birthday gift from G & V, so we started the day early at theirs with champagne and a smoked salmon breakfast before heading off to Waterloo station.

On the way there we were discussing ideas of how we thought the day would go. The website (which has now been changed!*) had originally stated that the park would be exclusively gay, but we knew that was highly unlikely at a park this size on a Saturday. In fact, there had already been rumours it would be open to all. That was ok, I felt, so long as they stuck to the 'Strictly Over 18's' rule that was printed on our tickets; lets face it, half the fun of the day was that it would be kid free, no stupid teens arseing about and no tiny ones crying and screaming! More personally though, 'exclusivity' gives gay men and women the freedom to hold hands and kiss if they want to without feeling stared at or fearful of abuse.

How wrong we were! That was EXACTLY what we got for our pink pound... a park full of straight teenagers and families! It was hardly any different to a normal day EXCEPT we were given a nice little wristband that would not only get us into the 'exclusive**' areas, but it would also let all the baseball capped lads know exactly who they could hurl abuse at. Inspired!

Apparently there was a Gaydar VIP Tent, with a buffet, DJ's and private loo's. We could use that at an additional cost of £50 per head ("WHAT!?!?!"); that must have been where all the Gaydar staff were... we didn't see any all day. In fact, I don't recall even seeing the tent!

If Gaydar could not sell enough tickets to fill the park as they originally had hoped, I understand they may need to come to a compromise with the park so as not to lose a fortune. However, we SHOULD have been told and offered a refund, or at least some bloody free queue jump tickets as compensation, (which we actually paid £7 extra for!)

In fact, seeing as there were so few poofs there, why not give us all access to the VIP tent?!

The Salvation 'tent' took place in the Dome, but not until 6pm, and up until 10pm. If you've been tramping round a theme park for 7 hours, you're knackered by then and fairly close to just wanting to get home, especially as there was no special shuttle bus to get us all back to the train station for the rides back to London.

To add insult to injury, we found out that regular tickets were being sold on the day for £33.50 for TWO, when we had paid £32 EACH!!

As it happened, I quite enjoyed my day anyway, as I was out with my mates doing something we don't often do together, but the feeling of being ripped off totally ruined it. We didn't get anythin extra for our cash, it was poorly organised, and when they knew things weren't going to be as they promised they did bugger all to compensate or even to communicate to us!

If you have tickets for the other event at Alton Towers personally I'd ask for a refund, but if you do go along don't expect the special 'Pride'-type day that I was looking forward to!

*changed to say: "(is) open to gay men and women and anyone else who is friendly and accepting of the gay and lesbian community." Now tell me this; a group of kids, 'lads' and 'ladettes', arrive at Thorpe Park, they're handed a leaflet saying that there is a gay event on. Is this going to make them turn on their heels and flee? Or, just give them all a good laugh?!

**exclusive area; A cafe with a DJ in it, but no Gaydar reps or hosts. Can also be accessed by anyone else for an extra £5.


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