This weekend just gone was the Planet Awards, for which I was shortlisted in the LBQ Business category. I was up against Pink Lobster Dating, Square Peg Media, Pretty Pink Pearl, Barberette and my old bosses, Sh! Womenstore.
The awards were held at the Catford Broadway Theatre in London, a gorgeous Victorian Theatre. It was round the corner from the house of a good friend of mine so I thought ‘may as well make a weekend of it’ It was my birthday the day afterwards too, so I decided to stay in London a bit longer to celebrate it there.
The awards started at 3pm. I decided to wear a dress for the occasion! My wife came along with me, we were later joined by my friend who’s house we were staying at, and upon arrival we spotted our friends Slamsisters who had made a special journey from Cheltenham to be there just to be a part of the awards. Not long after that, we spotted Alicia Eyo – Denny from Bad Girls and apparently she was in Emmerdale too? We also spotted Sarah Waters! She had been nominated for a couple of awards. I was really impressed that such a star still stays in touch with her queer roots – and she did indeed tell us how winning a Planet Award which was mainly voted for by the queer community meant so much more to her. I even got to chat with her too, for proper – she asked me about my business and didn’t try to shoo me away…I ended up shoo-ing myself away!
The new and first ever LGBT Poet Laureate Trudy Howson was there hosting the awards, and we heard some of her (naughtier) poems at the after party later that night!
I didn’t think I was going to win but every time somebody won an award and gave a speech, I would daydream about what I would say! They had been giving honourable mentions here and there to nominees who hadn’t won but they feel deserved recognition, and that is exactly what I got. I was presented with a certificate and had an opportunity to give a little speech. I could have said loads and could have promoted myself but no, I got there and said something about being a small business from Cardiff and mumbled a couple of thank yous and left…confident Rhiannon had disappeared for 60 seconds! The winners were Sh! Womenstore and I was genuinely happy for them
There was plenty of time to network afterwards though and despite that, I still didn’t get to talk with all of the women I wanted to. I got the opportunity to speak with performer Helen Oakleigh who had written a poem on Gay Pride (I had tweeted about it but my autocorrect decided to call is ‘Gaydon Pride’!) and she performed it for the first time on Sunday. It was bloody great! When we chatted, we remembered each other from the ‘Gingerbeer days’ – an online forum for LBQ woman in London which I joined in 2006 when I moved to London and to make new friends. I made loads of new friends through Gingerbeer and recognised Helen from a few social events from ‘back in the day’ and we have many mutual friends.
I chatted with a lot of lovely people and was lucky enough to have Carrie hang out with me and my wife and friend for a while. Carrie is one of the editors for Diva Magazine, and despite me having written for them since November, I haven’t got to meet any of them yet – ah the joys of technology. It was good to chat with her for a while and put a face to a name.
I also bumped into Caitlin Maggs, somebody I used to work with back in Cardiff in 2011-13 who was a bit of a shy one back then and once drunkenly whispered to me that she was bi but is now all loud and proud and living in London, yay her! She is a freelance writer, you should check her stuff out and hire her – http://caitlinmaggs.blogspot.co.uk/ She was the one assisting with the social media around the Planet Awards.
It felt great to be a part of the Planet London community. It is great to have them there online but when you are in it in real life, it is amazing. I feel blessed to have a good relationship with them, I love that I can write sexual health content for them but my god – being around that many LBQ women on Sunday has made me mourn the lack of this scene in Cardiff. I’m lucky enough to have a few queer lady friends around me but wow – a space for us all to go and have a drink? Nowhere to be seen.
Anyway, I digress! If you want to see the full list of awards and all that goes with them, head over here
Congratulations to Planet London on a great day and for bringing some great people together xxx