!960's CLUBS FROM RICH
Reading Stradivarius, I was struck be the lack of info regarding the
gay clubs of London in the 1960s! "La Duce" was mentioned in D'Arblay
Street which I first discovered in 1964, but not the "Subway" which was
almost opposite! It was bright and modern and in a style which was to become
the type of decor of the bigger clubs to follow! Even older than those
clubs was the "Huntsman" under the Coffee Pot coffee shop in Berwick Street,
which I was taken to by a friend when I was 17 in October 1963! The Huntsman
was owned and run by 'Nick the Greek' (who also owned the "New Lido Club",
a filthy place open 23 hours a day, just off Tottenham Court Road). There
was no fire escape in any of these clubs and all were accessed by a flight
of wooden stairs from the street! The "Huntsman" had a special light, which
the staff of the "Coffee Pot" upstairs used to flash on and off when police
or any other danger was about. The jukebox was turned off and the manager
begged everyone to remain silent until the light stopped flashing!
I remember one Saturday night the light flashed and a phone call from
upstairs warned us of a group of leather clad 'Rockers' threatening the
clients in the coffee shop, they had already smashed up the "Fright Train"
coffee shop on the next corner. Moments later we heard them coming down
the stairs and they started beating on the heavily bolted door! The
next thing was an axe blade came through the wood, as they tried to hack
down the door! The crowded dance floor of some 200 patrons mostly
under 21 suddenly cleared, as we all huddled around the jukebox and held
our breath! The staff in the Coffee Pot had phoned the Police and
eventually the Rockers were all arrested and taken away! But the
Police never came down to the club! Funny that, but we were all too
fucked on Purple Hearts to ask why!
In all these 'coffee clubs' the young gay population of London used
to enjoy their time, dancing, taking soft drugs (available from behind
the counter) and passing the nights away until around 9am! Soho at
that time was littered with all-night venues, none of which were properly
licensed! The beat Policemen used to greet us in the street
as we left with a polite "Good Morning!", never realising we were all fucked
on soft drugs and speed! I think it must have been just before the
Police understood what was happening and we literally lived and partied
on the fringes of society with impunity!
and other venues
The Lost Gay Scene...what memories of my time in London in the 70's
& 80's you have awakened! No mention of "Mandy's" in Henrietta Street,
At the CC I saw Lorna Luft, Diana Dors among others, but Wayland Flowers
the Gay American puppeteer was the show that really sticks out. He
used to appear on the Andy Williams TV Show at the time.
I saw Gotham at a "copy cat" cabaret restaurant in Camden Docks...but
I can't remember what it was called.
ps. I once went to a restaurant in a Mews near Harrod's called "April
and Desmond at AD8"
Run by April Ashley and her gay friend Desmond.
It was at 8 Egerton Gardens Mews off Brompton Road.
I'd love to know if anyone remembers it. However, I think it
was very short lived.
THE REHEARSAL CLUB
From Jo Purvis
Hi! Keith. I notice in your sixties stuff there was no mention of the
"Rehearsal" Club which opened in July 1967 at 3 Archer Street,Soho,coincidentally
around the time of the Wolfenden Report. Because it had a large dance floor
unlike the other gaybars (The Rockingham,the A&B,The Regency etc) men
could dance together with gay abandon and the most popular song on the
jukebox was "This Guy's in love with you". It was a mixed club so nobody
could easily see who was dancing with whom in the darkened atmosphere!!
It also featured drag acts before they become generally known.Perry
St.Clair and Leslie Warren before they became Hinge and Bracket,Mrs.Shufflewick,Lee
Sutton,Marc Fleming,Lee Tracey,Tommy Osborne,Jennifer Scott,Melitza The
piano half of Topping & Butch)The Misfits,Steve Francis(later the star
of Madame Jo Jo's in its heyday) and many more.Oh!Happy days,we still had
one foot in the closet but who cared.
The Rehearsal closed in 1973 due to the end of the lease so I moved
to the "Vortex" in Victoria. The jukeboxes in both of these clubs supplied
the beginning of the Camp Sunday Tea Dances at "Stallions".All my memorabilia,from
the "Rehearsal" is now in the archives of the Brighton Ourstory project.They
re-created it for one night as the Lavender Lounge. I still meet people
who say the "Rehearsal" changed their lives. I love your website and have
recommended it to so many people.
Love you for what you are doing.XXX
Just paid another visit to your site, as I have done periodically
in the past. About 4 or 5 years ago I wrote to you about been a teen
on the mid-70's gay scene, and I felt honoured when you put my article
up on the website. Now the site has even more relevance to me, as
a couple of weeks ago I turned the magical age of 50!! I still wonder
where all the years have gone, and how I got here, but there you go...............!!
I always look back to those days (the 70's) as the golden days of
the gay movement. OK, so we've now won most of the battles we were
fighting for back then, but I find the scene today very commercial, and
lacking in that "close-knit" feel that the scene seemed to have back in
the 70's. I used to go to Tricky Dicky's clubs on turning 16, and
enjoyed the fact that they were in these small rooms above pubs - nice
and intimate! By contrast, I went to G-A-Y once many years later
and hated it. I never went back.
Having been born an East End boy I love London, and Samuel Johnson's
words are still relevant today. Although I now live a fair way out
of London, I still work in it. If I might be allowed to lift the
lyrics from Charnin and Strouse's "N-Y-C", I think they apply to London
too: "You crowd, you cramp, you're still the champ".
I was clubbing until I was about 46, but these days the thought of
conversation over a good pint is much more appealing! One consequence
of turning 50, which was a revelation, is a wonderful feeling of being
"free" - you don't have to try, you can just sit back and let the world
go by!! I wonder if this is a common feeling? Certainly on
the youth-orientated gay scene it gives you a freedom all your own.
I'm perhaps fortunate that I seem to have worn well - people at my
workplace were shocked when they realised my age, and someone told me he
thought I was around 25-ish! Perhaps he was just being nice (!),
but someone else said that I came over with a very youthful demeanour.
I think it's all down to self-attitude - I had my mid-life crisis (!!)
around 38, but since then have accepted the years gladly - I was actually
looking forward to being 50. I think we all should, as it's the younger
gays who worry so much about getting old who end up looking the oldest
Anyway, forgive my ramblings. Just wanted to say I'll try and
drop by a bit more regularly that I might have done in recent times (after
all, I feel that the passing of this particular birthday milestone gives
me an entrée onto the site!). Great articles, great pictures.
By the way, the Pin-Ups selection is great too! I recognise some
of the models on the page as having appeared in magazines at the time -
especially the work of Mike Arlen. Oh, and that lad in the jumper
with the rings on it - I was NUTS about him, and yes, I still have a few
pix of him stored away in a cupboard somewhere!!!!!!!
Thanks for a great site Keith, here's to many more years of success.
Reading it give me that nice cosy "we are family" feeling again!!
"Boys Plus" From Jon
I am the last surviving member of ‘The Boys Plus’. We were
a drag dance group resident at the Union Tavern on Sunday evenings, The
Vauxhall Tavern on Saturday evenings, The Black Cap on Monday evenings
and other venues on other occasions. The four of us were originally in
the Roy Alvis revue at the Union Tavern on Sunday Lunchtimes. If you would
like further information for your site and some photo’s of the group please
let me know. Our manager was the late Bryan Derbyshire, a wonderful guy.
We kept in touch in the years after the group’s demise right up to his
death in 2002. I look forward to hearing from you soon.
My name is Craig and firstly well done on your website.
It has been most helpful to a newby in town.
I have a question please to which I require expert assistance
and I am hoping
that might be you, and I do hope you do not mind the intrusion.Usually
in a new town I am able to sniff out cottaging areas like a bloodhound,
one of my few talents developed of years of growing up in South Africa
where sniffing was the only way to get any action, back in the day.
> But for some reason I am at a complete loss in this city. I live in Earls
Court, and whilst the main street could be considered a cottage in it's
own right I was wondering if there was something I was missing.
I work in Hammersmith and between the cemetry in Earls Court
which is just impossible, I recall it used to be quite an adventure, and
the lack of any public facilities where does one go when in the need for
quick anyonomous sex here?
>Picking up in the street is one thing but I would like to pick up
ad do something but that seems not to happen anymore. What has happenned?
Have people been driven underground and if so where
are they all going, I cannot imagine they have just given up
just that I do not
know where to look anymore. Can you assist please.
Internet certainly is an outlet but the need to meet in a area which
is not a
sauna still must hold it's appeal for many as it always has.
Getting every gay man who enjoys a bit of quickie outdoor sex to
Hampstead Heathseems a little troubling, but I beleive there must be
other places I am
just yetto find them, although yesterday..........
Just to add to your list the cemetary in Barnes and surrounding parklands
found out yesterday is a very busy little spot as well, although being
near thewetlands centre seems getting bitten by mosquito's will be
part of the
experience.Barnes, if like me you have never heard of it, is just over
Bridge.The cemetary is just behind the Barnes tennis courts.
am loving your website , bringing back
very many memories,a friend put me on to your website , so many memories
, but will start with The Odyssey, I was there at the opening
night and indeed it was very ambitious for its time , a guy named
Adrian Sullivan from Swindon was involved , (he had been at
school with my brothers ).
The Odyssey was a largish club cheaply
decorated with very cheap fabric hanging from ceiling to floors and
had a large stage and dance floor, as I recall it had been painted
black throughout , they had live music every weekend on one
occasion we saw The Equals there , which was a dream , The Equals
playing a gay club , not sure if Eddie
Grant was still with them, possibly, but
being very young pretty and androgynous we got the come on from the
band when they were loading up after the show , or maybe they were
just being genuinely friendly. The Odyssey ran into financial problems
within a few weeks and only lasted two months max , which was a shame
, we were 17 at the time and it had offered something totally different,
but wasnt big enough to sustain
the overheads , can still remember dancing
to Rebel Rebel by David Bowie in there .
I moved to London in 1972 aged 15, and
after a year in Turnham Green where I frequented the Robin Hood on
Chiswick High Road , The Royal Oak in Hammersmith which was in those
days mainly a straight pub, with drag entertainment and gay friendly
, and The Green Room at The Wheatsheaf on The Goldhawk Road in Shepherds
.After some nine months I moved to Vauxhall
Bridge Road , where The Vortex was still open on Tachbrook Street
and memories persisted of The Collage Club in Churton Street around
the corner .We were regular frequenters of The Royal Vauxhall Tavern which
was two bars around a kidney shaped bar which was cleared by the
bar staff for the drag artists to dance along in their stilletoes
from the tiny apron stage at one end .
The public bar was always full of rough
docker types and the pub was run by a very miserable woman named
Peggy who didnt pay her staff but allowed them to live in , they
were more or less her slaves . She also encouraged coach parties
to come and ogle the poofs .Great acts I recall seeing their were , Carla
who did a mean Barbra Streisand impersonation, The Great Lee Paris
who brought the house down on a Saturday night with Land of Hope
and Glory , and there'll always be an England .
Across the road and under the railway arches
was the smaller Elephant and Castle pub which was run by Charles
or Charlie , (who had previously run The Father Red Cap in Camberwell
Green which boasted "The Gayest Pub in Town" emblazoned across the
corner of the building,this was the home of the first gay discos in the
1960's).The Elephant and Castle pub had a resident lesbian drummer named
Linda and an organist who played for the visiting drag artistes ,
the greatest and most popular of whom was Charlotte who had been
a member of the Trollettes when they were three , but like Diana
Ross had chosen to go solo, Charlotte would appear on Sunday lunchtimes
dressed as Queen Victoria complete with sash and tiara and treat
us to Gracie Fields songs, she was a legend and packed the small
pub out .
We used to trot between the two pubs
and catch acts at both .Other clubs, in Wardour street were The Le Foyer
Club, which is now trash palace.The Apollo Club , In Berwick
street La Douce,The Paintbox in Foley Street, (popular with
chinese and oriental boys and their admirers)The Toucan in Gerard
Street.The A and B (Arts and Battledress Club) had apparently been a
longstanding drinking club on the top floor (up three flights of
stairs ) reached from an indistinguishable door on an alley off
Wardour street , it was quite plush and the bar staff all wore white
shirts black trousers and waistcoats and bow ties it was a very popular
place and had the smallest dance floor in London in what can only
be described as a lean to /conservatory type affair on the roof ,
we often jived to Bette Midler here and there was only room enough for
one couple on the "Dance Floor".Geoffrey would change his hats every twenty
minutes or so and at 11.oo p.m. he would don his policemans helmet
and whistle and trungeon and notebook and usher us all out , if we
were slow drinking up he would threaten to take our phone numbers
and hit us gently with his hollow plastic trungeon, a lovely man
and very sweet.
My manager at John Lewis a married man
and ex marine , informed me he had drunk there after the war .The
A and B was egendary, and a sad loss to the London gay scene.When Napoleans
opened its restaurant and bar in an alley off of Bond Street (half
way down ) we thought we had died and gone to heaven it was so elegant
, we paid a monthly membership which allowed us entry , or you could
pay a nightly door charge , these were the days of the bump and the
hussle wehn gay men still danced in each others arms and do so with
such gusto and finesse and high camp it was a joy to behold
There was also Chaguaramas in Neal street
in covent garden , a no go zone in those days after dusk , the carts
from the market cluttering the streets, it was a very swish club
and clientele and boasted its own record label, it went on to become
The Roxy and gave birth to the punk rock movement .The Catacombs
in Earls Court was a coffee and soft drinks club which always had
a queue to get in after the pubs closed . the music was cutting edge
import disco from USA ,Instead of a membership card the Catacombs gave
you a key which changed every year with a C inscribed on it
, a much loved venue .The was also
The Masquerade in a side street off the
Earls Court Road behind the Boltons.On Kensington high Street was
Yours or Mine in the basement of The Sombrero Restaurant , it had
a circular dance floor lit from beneath . and it is rumoured that
David Bowie , Brian Ferry and Freddie Mercury were frequenters here
tho I never saw them .Louise on Poland Street was mainly a lesbian dream
tho atleast 30 per cent gay men were always in evidence , the walls
were carpeted and mirrored and you were greeted at the door
by "Louise " a woman in her late sixties in full length black velvet
evening gown trimmed in white ostrich feathers very elegant woman
, who spoke in a foriegn accent some said she was a german countess.
Louise was one of the trendier clubs .
Mandys was a small after theatre club in
Henrietta Street , ( owned by Bill Addisson who later opened Adams
in Leicester Square , a former ballroom where Queen Elizabeth and
Prince Phillip had danced together when courting ). I
worked at both Mandys and Adams for Bill.
all for now
I am so pleased that you are running
a 'gay memory' website. I'd like to tell you about some of my memories.
First 'Modern Books'. Your site
has already mentioned 'Zipper' of Camden Town. This started off as Modern
Books, located just south of the canal bridge by Camden Market. I
first passed it after visiting a girl friend in Chalk Farm in the early
seventies and saw some modest but obvious magazines in the window. After
walking past a few more times I plucked up the courage to go in. It was
wonderfully relaxing to do so. Here I could be gay and let my gay
fantasies run free. It was mostly magazines such as the ones featured
on your website. There was still pretty heavy censorship then - no
erections! But they also sold lovely sets of handmade photographs.
For a long time I had a set of photos of two beautiful naval ratings (identifiable
by their anchor tattoos) lying together having sex but also looking in
love with each other. The seven photos showed the boys snuggling
up through various positions until the last one showed one of the boys
ejaculating over the other's thigh.
The shop also had a notice board for
personal ads. There was one particular ad I kept looking at and taking
down the details but I never had the courage to pick up the phone.....until
the day I was having the boiler serviced: the gas board sent a beautiful
lad, who lay at my feet in the bathroom (with his head under the hot tank).
I had to hold myself back from unzipping his flies and I was so randy by
the time he left I picked up the phone and got myself round to Swiss Cottage
where I had sex with my first rent boy (a young violinist needing some
Modern Books became Zipper and carried
on trading from the same site until it closed a couple of years ago, presumably
a victim of the internet. I was sorry to see it had gone.
The Cinema in Camden
Further down Camden High Street there
used to be a gay cinema (Charlie Brown's?), where you could see films in
which men actually got screwed. Quite risky in 1980.
The Sauna in Old Bond Street
Another memory is the sauna in Old Bond
Street, which I think was called the Burlington. (Can anyone confirm
that?) I remember seeing its little ad in Gay News in the late 70s
and soon afterwards I sought it out. It was in a basement beneath
a barbers and I remember going downstairs and seeing all these men wearing
nothing but towels and gazing up at me. I shot back out the first time!
But plainly I was going to go back. The next time I went in and got
my locker key. Inside the locker was a warning that any misconduct
would result in you being thrown out. I stripped off (what a fabulous
feeling that was, the very first time, and still is!) and walked down a
narrow winding corridor to a small area where the showers were. Originally
there two little saunas there, each for about three men abreast (a double
row in one). I boldly dropped my towel and walked in and stood naked
in front of two men, who couldnt keep their eyes off me (hardly surprising,
since I was mid-twenties, slim and hairless, and excited to be doing this
for the first time). I will let you imagine the rest.
I went back to the club regularly.
A little steam room later replaced the smaller sauna. That was good
because it was darker and,yes, steamier but also because in those days
everyone naturally left their towels outside. I can still remember on one
occasion I was sitting on the bench and a beautiful chinese boy was standing
nude right in front of me. It was crowded and he had to press forward towards
me. Bliss. We both loved it. On an another occasion an old chap from
my office saw me there. I let him watch and stroke me while I showered,
which kept him quiet - and delighted.
The club was always obsessive about
no misconduct (I suppose the council or the police were harassing them)
and you had to be careful, not least for fear of police agents. For a few
months the club even installed CCTV across the premises but that was soon
taken down, presumably because the clientele walked out. The club
must have closed about 20 years ago.
I found your website by chance, and
the article 'Seduction in the cinema' awoke many memories of my faourite
venue, the 'Biograph' Cinema in Wilton Road, Victoria, London.
Even over 40 years later (I’m 62) just
thinking about the cinema is a turn on.
I’d heard about the place, was still
having troubles coming to terms with being Bi-, and, after once buying
a ticket and then being too scared to go in, finally went in one evening.
After standing at the back, watching
the continual place changing and getting used to the darkness, with my
heart racing, I found a seat towards the back, in the middle.
I’d just settled down when the first
knee pressure came, first gently, but getting firmer. A searching hand
crept over my knee, then further and further up my thigh. With help from
me I was unbuttoned, pulled out and pleasured. I lasted all of 30
seconds before exploding, my whimpering moan causing the men in front to
look round. I didn’t return the pleasure to my “partner”, or even say thank
you. I buttoned myself up and quickly left, stumbling over legs and knees
in my hurry to get out. I almost ran out of the cinema, around the next
corner, and stopped to catch my breath.
It had been gorgeous! The horrified
joy, excitement and ecstasy!
After that I was a regular, going at
least once a week up for about 12 years.
The moments of giving and taking pleasure
all seem to roll into one. The men who deliberately would not move their
legs to one side as you moved along a row to a seat, making you have to
step over them, enabling them to firmly grab you – aaarrgghh! Heaven!
The visits to the toilet, usually ending
with a grin on my face, knowing that during the next encounter back in
the seats I’d be able to last to the end of the film.
Persuading men to come with me to the
ladies’ toilet for some better action, because there were no women in the
cinema and we wouldn’t be disturbed. I was the only one to do this!
I’d bought a series of motorbikes and
was therefore justified in wearing shiny knee-high boots, a thigh-length
black jacket, this helpfully concealing the fact that my one-size tighter
jeans were held up by braces, and were thus already wide open when I sat
I often think happily about the ‘Biograph’.
It was a wild, horny, fun time.
I am not a guy over fifty I'm am afraid
am much younger at 27yo, was doing
research on funny enough Jack the ripper
and the more I dug down in police
files the more I started to find the
Cleveland Street Scandal and the more
I dug I ended up finding more and more
links to that brothel and what
looked like a few more dotted around
then doing a bit of research online
came accross your site. And have to
say a big WELL DONE man its great and
it gives an insight into a world
that many of us younger guys have forgotten
what it was once like and now
we seek comfort in our plastic fantastic
But just wanted to say that your site
is really full of such useful info
and such a good source of what we were
all once before it became just a
way of life.
But going through your entire site I
came across the section where you ask
who were the gorgeous go go dancers
in the John Bull in Chiswick, well the
dark haired one is nice.....
But just wanted to say thank you for
the brilliant website and if and when
I get published will defo add you to
Gay history is something that interests
me - to learn and appreciate how
free we are now.
I dont think young gay men are afraid
of getting old, funny its just that
period of unrest and most of it sexual.
Well I have to admit your site is an
First may I congratulate all those many gay couples who have tied the
knot under the new Civil Partnership . I will not be doing so although
my partner and I have lived together for many years. We do not feel it
carries any benefit for us, we have wills which lay out what hapens if
one of us dies, we have a tenancy in common on our property, we have a
joint bank account for day to day expenses and our friends and families
know we are a couple. We do feel that any couple straight or gay should
however be able to opt for this arrangement if they wish rather that a
At the end of the day, the more alternatives we have for people
to live together the better.
I have just been to a friends committment ceremony and it was one
of the most moving occasions I have ever attended.
Years of persecution are drawing to a close but we still must keep
our defences especially with the rise of religious fundamentalism both
Christian and Muslim. They would happily turn back the gains we have made
over the years.
I am 75 and have just registered my partnership with my partner of 38
years. It was one of the happiest days of my life and I never thought I
would live to see it happen.
HAS CHANGED MY LIFE
I am in my late sixties and for many years
have adopted a passive role in sex due to erections just not being strong
enough to penetrate my partner. A couple of years ago I tried Viagra and
while I got good erections, they still were difficult to maintain at the
50mg dose. I had been wary of swallowing a whole tablet for fear of side
effects. However recently I took the plunge so to speak and used the whole
100 mg tablet. I did notice one small side effect in that colours
went a little weird but I had the hardest erection I have had for years
and enjoyed active sex with a partner which went on and on. I can't tell
you how much that mean't to me. Apart from the colour change, there were
no other effects so now I'm looking forward to an extended sex life of
the kind I really enjoy. The only drawback, I get only 4 tablets a month
on prescription so now have to buy a few extra !
I too had a huge crush the minute I saw Sabu when I was a child, had
yellow fever from the git-go. He died at a very young age, (early thirties)
and someone that worked in the biz way back then told me they shaved his
body every day as he was somewhat hairy.
wanted with Gay Cabaret information
Busy "burning" (I believe that is the term) CD's of Lee Sutton and Mrs
Shufflewick and needed some details of the recordings and stumbled
upon your site and of course it all came flooding back to me.
A few omissions: (I think) The Escort Club in Pimlico - just round the
corner from the Barracks. At that star struck age I was more interested
in meeting and chatting to a regular there - Richard Wattis (stalwart of
English comedies) than taking advantage of the military clientele. Youth
wasted on the young was it ever so. Also a pub I missed by months The Colville
on the Kings Road; I wonder what that was like.
You mention Rods. I did go several times but was not impresed. Did it
come after Country Cousin or before (also a Christopher Hunter enterprise)
We went many a time to see various cabarets. Frankie Howard (and in the
audience Des O' Connor was given Tom O' Connors table.) The food was dire
the atmosphere electric. i think we also saw Barbara Cook (but I may be
wrong on that one) An Act I never forgot was Wayland Flowers with "Madame"
catch phrase from Madame..... as you can see Wayland is no ventriloquist
... and I'm no fucking dummy either. Well you had to be there....!
I finish with a request. I am trying to collect archive material of
cabaret on the gay circuit - mainly drag but not neccessarily, and we have
NOTHING on Marc Fleming. There must be something out there.
Keep up the good work Stradivarius
Tom Hough (BatfamTom@aol.com)
for information about Noel Mewton-Wood
I am an Australian writer currently writing
a novel based on the life of the London-based Australian classical pianist
Noel Mewton-Wood (1922-53). Mewton-Wood was gay and spent a lot of time
at the bars and parties around Soho/Chelsea etc in the late 40s and early
50s. I am looking for some older men willing to share some of their first-hand
stories and descriptions of the London bars and parties at this time. Anonymity
(if requested) is assured. I would be most appreciative to hear any tidbits
and tales from anyone.
ILGA - International
Lesbian and Gay Association
to the United Nations.
our petition on http://www.brazilianresolution.com
forward this message to your friends.
Next March, 53 nations will
sit at the United Nations in Geneva to discuss, argue, vote and then publicly
declare if they believe sexual orientation and gender identity are human
rights or not.
In other words, they will
say if being Lesbian, Gay, Transgender or Bisexual is a human right. This
will undoubtly "make the news" next March because it is such a controversial
What can you do about it?
ILGA plans to use the internet
to mobilize as many people as possible. A website has been set up: http://www.brazilianresolution.com/
Pleave sign our petition
and leave your email address if you wish to receive more information.
ILGA will present the petition to the press and the United Nations.
I Love A Piano
Way back in the Olden Days, when Soho was still raunchy and disreputable,
I was a late-night regular at a tatty little joint called the Piano Bar.
You'll have seen it. In the 80s, every video, every telly, every single
photo ever shot in Soho at night, seemed obliged to show a glimpse of its
Look! There it is now! On the corner. See it? Its name outlined in flashing
pink neon. Past the hot-dog stand, next to Madame Jo-Jo's, across the alley
from Raymond's Revue Bar (Live Bed Show! Exotic Dancing Girls! Full-Frontal
Come on. Don't be scared. Just hand over your one-quid at the door and
either Bill the bouncer or his missus will let us in. Sometimes, Bill turns
people away. Not us. He knows me. Bundled me into a cab once when I was
too drunk to stand.
Whoops! Watch that step. Yeah, it is dark in here, isn't it? Mind that
sticky patch of carpet. No, it’s nothing special. Barely the size of your
mum's living-room. Look, here's a couple of quid. Go over to the bar and
get us two cans of Pils from Gloria Passage. Yeah, guy in the white satin
shorts. Oh, and don’t forget the straws.
Cheers. Kind of empty, but, it's only half-ten. The background muzak?
Sondheim, I think. Kander & Ebb? Could be Rodgers & Hammerstein.
Hard to tell when your sound system consists of two manky speakers and
a beaten-up cassette deck, isn't it?
Those two? Seen the one in the leather jacket before. Yeah, him with
the acne and the bum-fluff. Comes in with a different "uncle" every night.
They never stay long. Can't imagine where they get off to.
It 's only just gone eleven, but I reckon you ought to grab us a couple
of them stools by the piano. Me, I'll get more Pils. Geezer in the white
jacket who just waved at us? Bob, the toilet attendant. To make sure people
don't shag in the loos, of course.
Filling up nicely now. Comptons and the Golden Lion have chucked out,
you see. Nowhere else to go. All the lost and wasted of Soho wind up here
eventually anyway. Camp queens and their fag-hags. "Theatricals". Skinheads.
Film editors from Wardour Street clocking off for the day. Even Sharon
from EastEnders was in here the other night. Neil Tennant, too. Had a really
cute boy in tow.
See that guy in the camel coat with the gold jewellery and the cigar?
Stay clear of him, mate. Just in case, you understand. Three years in Pentonville
for aggravated GBH. Nah. One of the nicest blokes I've met in here. Usually.
No, that's a man. Madame Jo-Jo herself. From the Philippines. Killer
legs, aren't they? Runs the posh drag club downstairs (strictly for tourists,
and overpriced, at two quid a drink, but, if you want, I'll get you in
for free later). One-time porno boss turned property tycoon, Paul Raymond,
owns both places. He slips in here now and again to listen to the act.
Always polite. Keeps himself to himself, nursing a whisky and coke.
Told you. Those stools get taken really quickly, don't they? Already
fifteen of us perched at the piano. Though him next to me, well, he looks
like he's going to fall off any second now. There. Told you he would. Yeah,
get two more Pils in, will you? It’s midnight, and the show's about to
Ever since the early-nineties, due in part to the pink push eastwards
from the Earl's Court Road to Old Compton Street, London's Soho has been
the centre of metro-hip, darlings. With that status have come ever-rising
property prices, and the disappearance forever of one-off pubs and family-run
businesses which have been around for generations.
Much as I enjoy the delights Queer Town has to offer me, I find it sad
that, pretty soon, much of Old Soho will have gone, and all we'll have
left is some sort of sanitised gay theme park, where everyone will fit
in perfectly as long as they're wearing the right label, flicking through
the right mags, snorting the right drug, and holding a membership to the
But look hard enough, and you can still spot bits of old Soho peeking
out through the glitz, valiantly holding their own against the Costas and
Prêt à Mangers. Caffs and nosh bars, delis and drinking dens,
still existing in a time-warp of the 1950s where Tommy Steele's playing
the Two I's coffee house round the corner.
read more please click here
MORE CRUISING MEMORIES
Found your web site and references to the
Bridge In Putney and the two Cottages, Fulham and Putney sides of Putney
Bridge. Brings back fond memories for me, then only in my teens. Now 36.
I hope it's okay to contribute via this
e-male service the fact that Putney had the Tow Path and the Heath cruise
grounds which as I recall from my youth were very well frequented by many
of us local gay lads and a few gay tourists alike.
On a point of interest, the tow path alledgedly
had one very famous visitor, which it is alledged caused the tow path to
lose it's popularity. I'll say no more as it alledegedly involves our royals.
I mustn't forget, Battersea park cottage
and cruise ground, Tooting bec common(TBC to us locals) and Clapham Common(CC)
again very popular for many like myself in the 80's.
I hope the above is of interest
to visitors to your site and look forward to having a look again at your
web site soon,
LIFE AS IT WAS AND IS
I used to enjoy gay "discos"
back in the 1970's. In those distant days, licensing laws were stricter,
London Transport finished before midnight, music was tuneful, and still
played (in some places) at a level permitting conversation: even if only
"My place or yours?".
I have a local gay pub
just half a mile from here: but go there very seldom.
-- The atmosphere is smoky: my clothes and hair are
impregnated with the smell after a visit, and my breathing can be affected
for a day or more. At the weekend it is very smoky, with music so loud
that you can't hold a conversation; during the week it is generally as
lively as a mortuary!
Travelling further afield
by motorbike, I generally have only one drink, (occasionally two). I am
not interested in late nights: certainly not in anything that starts
And I have no wish to socialise with people who are mostly high
I am uncertain about the
merits of advertising an "Evening for the ver-50's/60's/70's".
It might work, it might not. How/where do you advertise to
attract this group?
I hope this may be of some use.
IN THE CINEMA
First things first. As a newcomer to your site, congrats! Great
site! I only discovered it a couple of nights ago and quite a numberof
memories were stirred up as a result of browsing through. Not all
of them good ones, mind, but most were! They had my old fellow stirring
into life again quite soon, I can tell you. I had the stiffest sheets
next morning I've had in quite a while!
Browsed with interest the pages about past cottages in Ealing and Acton.
I did wonder if you would think about putting a page on the site reminiscing
and reflecting on being picked up as a teenager in small local cinemas.
That is where I was properly buggered for the first time.
Browsing the interesting recollections of your intrepid band of cottagers
made me wonder whether you would consider adding a brother page?
I have many memories of being picked up in small local cinemas as a teenager
and I am sure there would be a number of older men who's first encounter
man-2-man sex was in their local picture house. I loved sitting
in the dark, waiting for that exploratory hand to begin fondling my thigh,
the gentle pressure of a knee pressing into my leg. Becoming emboldened
when I did not push the hand away, and returning the knee pressure, I can
the hand encroaching into my crotch, fumbling with those blasted fly
buttons in my grey school flannels and then - Bliss! - as he reached into
my underpants and found my hot, hard, throbbing dick!
Go on, give it a try!
Interesting Idea. As someone who ran a mile when first groped in a cinema
at about 13, What do others think. was the cinema your place of seduction
and possibly regular pleasure. Send us you memories and we will create
a new page.
OF SHEFFIELD RESEARCHER SEEKS GAY MEN OVER 50
Are you a gay man aged 50
or over, living in England or Wales?
If so, Richard Seymour, from
the University of Sheffield's Department of
Sociological Studies, needs
your help in completing research into ageing, as
experienced by gay men.
You would be required to
participate in an in-depth interview at a time and
location of your choosing.
All information given is confidential and
If you think you would like
to help e-mail for more information to
MEMORIES OF SOMBREROS
I recall in 1969 a club opening in High Street Kensington under
what is now the Abbey national building, but was then a restaurant called
The Sombrero. Some thought it a piss elegant gay scene, and they had to
serve a lousy salad to everyone in order to sell alcohol. However it became
a very hot place. Celebrities loved it, as it had a mixed crowd, mainly
gay men with fag hags, and some lesbians. Dusty went there a few times,
Rudolf Nuryev would take over a corner booth and ordered, via the waiters,
the boys he
wanted to meet. And one memorable night, not long before she died,
Judy Garland visited. The music was real disco, the lighting flattering
to all and I missed it
when it disappeared in the mid 70s, being taken over and ruined by
straight guys going there to pick up the fag hags. Sorry that is a terrible
expression, but that¹s what most people called our straight female
Keep up the good work. I am certainly not an oldie. In fact my Brian
still thinks I¹m 25! Oh I wish!
CARRY ON WANKING
For many, many years, churchman, moralists and parents have
tried to scare the living daylights out of everyone by insisting that those
who masturbate will a) go to hell or b) suffer all kinds of medical horrors
or c) go mad.
Now it seems that they were all totally wrong.
Of course most of us knew this all along. As 99% of males do wank and
99% of males are not mad or suffering terrible medical problems, it's pretty
obvious that parents and moralists told us a few porkies to keep our hands
off our genitals.
Of course priests may still insist we will go to hell but if that is
the case, Heaven will be deserted.
The news that wanking is not only harmless but could actually be beneficial
comes in reports that those who don't wank may suffer a buildup of cancer
causing chemicals in their prostate.
The prostate produces most of the fluid in semen and it is rich in potassium,
zinc, fructose and citric acid. Wanking on a regular basis flushes out
cancer triggering chemicals.
So the advice is carry on wanking especially if you are between 20 and
FOR OLDER GAY MEN
Yes, its absolutely what is needed - but although The Quebec
may be right for some people's tastes, it gets a big thumbs down
from almost everyone I know and replicating this kind of place would just
be a waste of time as far as we're concerned.
I am one of a group of a dozen or so gay guys - all 50ish upwards -
who meet up regularly in pubs/bars around London - at gay, mixed and straight
venues, it doesn't matter to us which and nowadays the bar staff/other
customers don't seem to get fussed either - for a social evening and to
arrange other social meetings elsewhere - theatre cinema, restaurant etc
So what would we suggest for a specialist pub/club evening?
1) Reasonably central location or at least with access to a tube -
not a worry for us as we don't mind travelling - but many potential members
2) A nice cosy place preferably serving real beer rather than the usual
chemical piss offered up by most gay establishments.
3) Preferably no TV, fruit machines or loud disco music - something
more in keeping for the clientele is surely smoochy b/g music (not muzak,
for heaven sake!) so it does not drown out almost all conversation- which,
of course, is a key part of the exercise. If this is not poss, then a quiet
area is essential.
4) Regular special events - cabarets (not just dismal drag acts), themed
evenings etc help keep up the interest.
If you do get it off the ground - well done!!! - and with luck you'll
have the first dozen members lined up by return email!
It is true that there are very few places for
Gay men 50 plus to visit and socialise. I was wondering if a premises can
be found either to be provided the council or through a generous provider
who might have a spare premises use as a drop-in centre. Like a "Coffee
House" with social group meetings. I am willing to offer my time to setup
this venture. Do you know of who we can approach?
As the writer of possibly the only
comprehensive guide to places for mature
men around the world I am probably
uniquely qualified to give some
suggestions of what the ideal place
for seniors AND ADMIRERS should be like.
I emphasise "and admirers" because
I think it's a mistake to have a place
than only caters for the older crowd
as it won't attract some of them who
want to meet a younger partner (for
the night or a lifetime).
Here are my suggestions/wishlist:
Like the Townhouse in NY
This manages to be full every night
and they have a separate room with a bar
which attracts a mixture of people
to be entertained by the pianist or join
in as he opens the mike later in
the evening. Always popular and attracts a
mixture of ages. West 5 in Ealing
had a piano bar until recently when the
pianist left for another job and
hasn't been replaced.
You could also add the entertainment
of places like Brandy's Piano Bar in NY
which has a mixture of professional
entertainers and locals singing on a
small stage. Or the Piano Zinc in
Paris where the waiters come and do a turn
during the evening.
A restaurant like the Vagabond in
Paris, the Rainbow Cactus in Palm Springs
or Tropics in Ft Lauderdale
Not too pretentious or overpriced
but reasonable fresh food at a reasonable
price and a mixture of nursery standards
and new dishes.
Nice waiters - both older and younger
- without the attitude
With a bar (even a small one like
the Vagabond) where you can have pre
Brandy's in NY and the Twin Peaks
in San Francisco are what I would describe
as a gay "Cheers" - with entertaining
barmen with a personality who can mix
a cocktail and talk to the regulars
as well as welcoming newcomers. A bar
with seats around it to enable you
to chat to regulars as well as corners
for private conversation.
If you remember Napoleons you'll
know what a great success that place used
to be, just like the Napoleon Club
in Boston which combined a restaurant,
piano bar, bars and a dancefloor.
The main thing these places need is a
separation between rooms/levels
to enable you to get away from the noise if
you want to.
Alternatively there is Tatu in Barcelona
has a small bar and a huge dancefloor
in separate rooms. It starts about
midnight (read 10pm in the UK) and
they play samba, salsa and other Latin
rhythms until about 2 (midnight
UK) they play the local Catalan music and
dance the Seviyana (flamenco line
dancing - has to be seen to be believed!).
Then they play disco.
I'm not suggesting you have a dance
club every night but it might be an
interesting idea on a monthly basis.
The venue has to be a central venue
near a tube station and/or night bus
route and also offer parking not
too far away for those travelling from out
of town. Soho is not a good location
for this reason.
If it's a non-gay venue now, I would
have thought Baker Street, South
Kensington or areas on the North
of Oxford Street would be good. If it
doesn't have a restaurant it would
help if there were a few nearby. Possibly
also worth thinking of finding somewhere
near the Quebec since it means
you'll get more people going initially.
However, don't even consider 3
Greeen Street (site of the old Townhouse)
- the venue is awful and so is the
I would suggest once a month to
start with and then more frequently as the
numbers build up
This enables you to test the concept/venues
and to spread the word.
This is my day job and I can help
through my contacts and mailing list but
you should also issue a press release
Gay Senior Groups (Caffmos etc)
Gay Professional Groups (e.g Gay
Gay Professional Networking Groups
International Gay Travel Media
International Gay Travel Websites
Happy Hour to get people in early
Have you thought about forming
Prime Timers group
since this would get you International
recognition and contacts?
I have been to a group called MAX
(www.maxonline.org) in San Francisco
organise twice monthly social/networking
meetings in San Fran using a
non-gay venue. The organisation
has a committee of 7 which runs the events,
membership, promotion and finances
and this helps to spread the workload.
Hope this helps and if anyone want
to meet to discuss the idea further then let
Editor of GrayGay.com
The place for mature gay men, their
admirers and the GrayGay guide.
INFORMATION WANTED ON
PUBS IN SE LONDON IN THE EIGHTIES.
I found your site on an aol search and
at last I found a site worth looking at. I have been interested in discovering
the gay history of my area for ages haven't been able to find anything
out at all. I live in Abbey Wood and I remember being about 7 or 8 and
hearing my older brother talking about a gay pub in Woolwich called (I
think) manceni's. This was in the mid 80's. I wonder if anyone could throw
any light on this pub and any others that were in the SE London area.
Love from Perry
DONATIONS WANTED FOR CRUSAID
I work as a volunteers for a charity shop
in Pimilico which raises money for Crusaid. The shop always need donations
of good quality clothing especially your cast off designer gear ! Donations
of videos, CD's, DVD's, bric a brac, curtains are also welcome. At present
we are a little overloaded with books.
(IF YOU ENJOY READING GAY NOVELS ETC WE
HAVE PLENTY FOR SALE !)
If you run a clothing shop, we are always
glad to receive donations of seconds or end of lines which are unsold at
the end of your season. We already have several retail outlets helping
us in this way.
You can get details of the shop at The
MAN ALIVE AND THE TEA DANCE
I was interested to come across your site, and wanted to see if anyone
remembers a magazine called ‘Man Alive’ that went through a few issues
in the mid eighties. I don’t have my copies anymore, and would have
willingly provided a couple of scans! I was also interested to read
David’s recollections about Stallions – I remember Jo Purves doing the
Sunday Tea Dance at The Bell in Kings Cross, and one of the memories was
the doorman who always had an extravagant hat and ear-rings, who I guess
must have been the Geoffrey that David mentioned.. It wasn’t until
much later (2000) that I came across Jo still doing the Tea Dance at The
White Swan in Limehouse, again playing the same tracks as David mentioned!
I think Jo gave up the Tea Dance recently, unsure why – but the travelling
must have been a big part of it.
OF EARLS COURT
Couldn't resist the page as I've
just been listening to Pink Floyd "Dark
Side of the Moon" the theme of the restaurant
I used to work in from 1973
to 1977. The Hungry Years of course; can
remember finishing work at 2 am
and doing the beat in Wharfdale street
or walking up to Holland Park. Used
to live in Philbeach Gardens behind the
Exhibition and was friendly with
the guys who ran the gay hotel there.
Don't know if the same people own it.
Picked up the six million dollar man one
night on Wharfdale as well as a
few other people. My main memories are
of the restaurant which was quite
trendy; Rod Stewart used to come in as
well as Mary Hopkins. Very druggy,
but alot of fun. I believe it is now a
Macdonalds. I spent nearly ten years
of my youth in Earls Court, going down
to the cemetery for a joint on
Brompton Road. Still have a few copies
of the local newspaper from Earls Court
Have fond memories of the Catacombes, seeing
Kenneth Williams arriving with an entourage waltzing down the stairs; making
an entrance as usual. Earls Court was always a wonderful place, full of
humanity, I worked with every Nationality, Egyptians, Japanese, South Americans,
Poles, French, Spanish
and many English even a few Londoners
like Sue Ambrose the wife of Dave
Ambrose of the Trinity the backup group
to Julie Driscoll of Wheels of Fire
fame,who went around Europe in the back
of a van with Rod Stuart.
My silliest mistake was coming back to
Sydney Australia when the years
closed in 1977. Maybe it was an escape
from the greengrocers daughter and
the sterility and poverty of the 80's
Would love to hear from anyone from that
period as I have alot more
memories from that period of my life.
I got about, more than most.
I live in Santa Monica California
USA. If you're over 4O in this place forget it There just isn't a
thing to do. Once you retire its all over. One must be
to go to bars and if you do meet someone
all they want is money if you want to spend time with a young thing
it will cost you something like $IOO. or up to at least $3OO. for a drink
and maybe a little bit of the other.
I was born in Toronto in I933. Went to
see my aunt in London in I939 the war broke out and i was stuck there till
i was I8 then we sold the house in Chelsea and came to California My aunt
was getting old and didn't like it here so went to live in the south of
france where she died at the age of 98.
I worked in the movies for a while when
I was on the nite shift at the hospital it was fun I was in Sunset Boulevard,
Raintree County, Singing in the rain, East of Eden oh I could go on forever
. I live in a senior apartment building 285 units owned by
the Pres church and it cost $25O. a month rent thats for everything
and the rent never goes up. There are about I7.OOO. English residents living
in Santa monica they say it reminds them of Brigton just take away the
the palm trees we have a large pier and lots of english pubs so you see
its its allright at times but its love im after.
I know Brighton and I loved it in the old
days. I had a friend that lived in Hove it wasn't like it is to day you
must remember things were just different in those days. You would turn
a quick trick in the tea rooms hoping the bobby wouldn't come
in. Did you ever see the movie Prick Up Your Ears With Gary Oldman
it was a lot like that.
II was a male nurse and was at my job 4O years. I retired when I
was 65 and I will be 7O years old the I8th of this month I dont sit
around all day thinking about the old days. I'm in good health
and live 7 blocks from the beach and its going to be up in the 7Os today
and I get away to Palm Springs every other weekend Palm Springs is a large
city in the desert
Happy New Year. Best
Hi there, just a quick hello to say
how much I enjoyed looking at the site.
I originally found it by searching
for "Tricky Dicky" through a search
engine. Dicky's gay clubs were the
first I ever visited when I came out (and
how!) in late 1975, about a month after
my 16th birthday!
Just seeing names like "The Kings Arms"
"Fangs" etc. brought it all back! I
became a regular at those venues, and
I loved the rawness of the "back
street pub" type of venue, better than
some of the polished crass commercial
venues of today. And they were
OUR places! There was also a venue called
"The Arabian" which was on a Wednesday
I think, down Bethnal Green way.
Being born an East End boy, I knew
those places well.
I don't know if Richard Scanes is still
around, it would be great if we
could find him - he was a true pioneer.
As for me, I still go clubbing at
43, and am fortunate enough to be still
taken for someone in his 20's, but I
will always remember those mid-seventies
days with affection.
By the way, loved those classic pin-up
pics! I had a copy of "Mister"
featuring pics with the lad with the
jumper on and all I can say is WOW! I
remember it well.......
Thanks for a great trip down memory
lane. Keep up the good work.
EARLY EIGHTIES IN EARLS COURT
AND NOTTING HILL
During the early eighties I spent much of my spare time in and around
the Earls Court/ Notting Hill area frequenting the Coleherne, the Champion,
the Boltons and other gay hostelries. I went home with so many guys and
most were one night stands but I still remember many of them. One didn't
really need to go outside the area bounded by Park Lane, The Brompton Road,
Bayswater Road and Shepherds bush Road. If you couldn't find a guy there,
you wouldn't find him anywhere.
One night near closing time in the Coleherne, a rather sad looking young
man was sitting at the end of the bar. he had had too much to drink and
I started to talk to him. He was only 18 and had been working in a straight
guest house in Brighton run by two older gay guys. He shared their bed
as well as well as doing domestic work around the place but was thrown
him out because the mother of one guy was coming to stay and they didn't
want a young guy around especially as there was no spare room for him.
He was told to disapper into London for a week and ended up in the Coleherne.It
was winter and freezing cold with snow on the ground. I took him home,
fed him and spent the night with him mostly with him just cuddling up for
warmth. He had had a little too much to drink to do much else.
In the morning I had to go to work so fed him a good breakfast and dropped
him at the nearest tube station. I also remember giving him a thick pullover
as the poor guy didn't even have any warm clothes, he had been bundled
out of Brighton so quickly.
I often wonder what happened to him. He didn't appear to be renting
and maybe his story of being used by two older guys in return for a bed,
food and a little pocket money was true.
There were so many others, a black guy who was dumb and deaf who I met
up with more than once, A south american who lived close by the pub and
who again I met more than once over a period of a few years.
From Notting Hill there were a lot of oriental guys, a lovely black
guy who had overstayed his visa, another who left to work in Bahrain,
a nice selection of Indian guys, an Egyptian doctor who performed four
times in the few hours I was with him, a manager of a big store who took
me back to his medical room, a hairdresser who liked to suck ice cubes
before using his mouth to suck something else.
A small slim Sri Lankan guy with one of the largest tools I had experienced,
a black guy again with similar equipment. A young 17 year old dark skinned
guy from Liverpool down for the weekend with one shaped like a pyramid,
thick at the base and thinner, but not thin, at the top and wearing denims
which certainly did not hide anything. I still remember the looks of envy
on other customers faces as I walked out with him. I remember feeding him
egg and chips and wondering how I would ever get what he had inside me.
There were guys I eyed up for months sometimes, thinking I would never
make it with them, but usually did. The 18 year old white guy sent to the
Uk from an African country where his family lived to escape being put into
the army there. Lovely body but needing a lot of teaching which I gave
I'm older now but still sexually active and while it isn't as easy to
find guys as it was, it's still possible and I do have a whole video library
in my head of several hundred past encounters I can play back any time
I need to.
LONDON IN THE SEVENTIES
In the late seventies, I was in my very early twenties and living
in the Midlands in a small city. I knew I was gay but scared of being found
out by my family so every month or so I would make a trip to london. I
had no money and usually managed to hitch a lift at a nearby junction on
Sometimes I really hit lucky and the driver picking me up turned
out to be gay. More than once I ended up with a place to stay overnight
and sex laid on.
Mostly though I ended up on the North Circular Road junction and
just about managed to buy a tube ticket to Earls Court where I headed first
for the Coleherne. I usually took a Tesco plastic bag with just my toothbrush,
deodorant, soap and towel. I aimed to score and with luck also find a bed
for the night. I'm not boasting but mostly it was pretty easy finding a
guy but finding one who would let you stay the night was a bit harder.
Sometimes if the Coleherne didn't work out, I'd be off the Shepherds
Bush cottage where I knew I could always score even in the early hours
of the morning. I met some really decent guys in that place, guys who had
nice flats, made me breakfast and one who insisted on taking me on a tour
of London before paying my rail fare back home.
Sometimes as a change from the Coleherne I'd try the Quebec but I've
always like masculine guys. Age hasn't bothered me but Opera Queens I always
found off putting, and places like Napoleons which I went to once, seemed
to cater mainly for the rent boy trade and their genmtlemen clients. I
did meet one or two guys there who I met more than once when I was in London
but tired a little of guys assuming I was rent.
Sure I wanted a bed for the night and wouldn't refuse a meal or a
drink but I wanted sex and lots of it. I might have to wait a month for
my next real encounter with another man and had to make the most of the
Being picked up by a super looking guy in Shepherds Bush though late
one night ended my London visits. When he asked me to go to his place for
coffee, I told him straight out I hoped I'd get more than coffee. I ended
up in a Police Station charged with importuning and being fined £100.
I was so scared my family would find out, but they didn't and a distant
relative who lived in London and did know I was gay lent me the money.
I got really scared after that and didn't visit London for a long
time. I started using cottages in my home town, meeting mainly reps and
married men and having hurried sex in the back of cars. I did get caught
again for importuning and it cost another £100 but then I met someone
special and my sex life took a different direction.
I now live in London. All the cottages have gone it seems, the Coleherne
is a shadow of it's former glory but the Quebec still functions much as
it always did but perhaps a little less cruisy. When I think of all the
guys I met back then and the fun I had I have no regrets but at 50, when
I do meet young guys in their early twenties, I find it sad they do not
really understand how the freedoms they enjoy had to be fought for and
could easily be lost.
TOP OF PAGE
BOASTING BUT ENCOURAGING OTHERS
I'm not writing this to boast about
my sex life but to encourage others not to abandon it just because they
get older. I am 65. In the past six months I've enjoyed sessions with 14
different guys. Some I have known for as long as 18 years, others were
just one night stands others I have met more than once.
Not one of them was a rent boy, not
one of them was paid. I'm not a rich guy just an ordinary retired chap
and no the guys were not desperate !. They ranged from 23 to 55 in age.
Oh yes they were all decent lookers !!
There are guys out there who enjoy sex
with guys who enjoy sex whatever their age. But you have to look and it's
obviously not as easy to find them as it is when you are twenty and cute.
The internet has been a godsend but even before that pubs, contact ads,
cottages and so on provided fertile hunting ground.
The other thing is to treat your partners
right. Concentrate on their pleasure and they will respond to your needs
and they will often come back for more.
I was a late starter as far as sex with
men was concerned being in my thirties when I first plucked up courage
to admit what I was. Since them I'm not going to put a figure on it but
I have enjoyed many hundreds of encounters. In my thirties, friends told
me I was past my sell by date and I hadn't even started. I didn't let them
put me off however and have enjoyed some fantastic sex with some beautiful
guys from all over the world.
How long will it continue ? I've no
idea but so far so good !!!
KNOW HOW I SURVIVED !
I'm a gay man in my sixties. Like many of my age I was married. When I
think back to all the hurried encounters I had with guys, being scared
of being blackmailed, caught by the Police or just beaten up, I wonder
how I've emerged in reasonable shape mentally.I do have inside me however
a great deal of anger against those in Society who caused me so much ansiety
and still continue to oppose ever step we take on the road to equality
and human rights.
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I do not feel I have much of a right to comment much here since I
am in the States but do visit Britain but anyway here goes:
First of all--we need to educate the younger crowd that they too
will one day be +50 and that they have it much nicer than we did because
we helped put an end to much of the difficulties of the past beginning
with Stonewall not to mention what went on in Berlin(down with QUEENSBURY!)---to
be sure they are those who will never accept or tolerate us and things
as the result are much better than when Oscar and Bussey were lovers. From
the younger set's point of view; they have just left home most likely and
we older folks remind them too much of their parents whom thay have struggled
to be independent of.
Here in the States some effort has been done to this end but in the
backwood boonies--the younger crowd still wants to treat us older folks
as though we are not only over the hill but decrepit and have no attraction
whatsoever. Friends , lovers and partners are much more important in the
life of a gay person than in a heterosexual person. Gay people often do
have relatives to look after them as they get older the way heterosexuals
do. Getting back to the younger ones and the way they treat us older folks---
some young ugly ducklings become gorgeous as they age. Rough young wine
improves with age to become glorious.
I have always prefered older folks even when I was in my 20s and
in full bloom. My first two affairs were with guys who were 10-15 years
older than I. I have always been grateful for this experience as they helped
me with getting along in the gay world. We have much to teach the younger
crowd if they will just let us because we have been there and done that
before they did are doing or going to do. One of the things that I would
like to know is how do those of us who are foreigners get in at the clubs
which unless it has changed ---i understand that one has to know someone
to get in.
I would like to see places where one can be one's self without fear
of police charging in as they useD to in America. Where one can meet other
new friends and not have to worry if they are ok to take home to the relatves
or other friends. A place where the drug scene is out.
One thing I do not like at least in America are those places where
the music is so loud one can not carry on a decent conversation. If one
wants to dance then one should be able to do that without going home
deaf and not being able to talk with one's partner or friend.
Music can be old or new but spare me of rap, jazz of the raucous
kind, or blues (the world is a sad enough place with out having to play
psychiatrist to a blues singer) but above all it is happy and uplifting.
I do not go to bars etc anymore because most (---at least in mant
parts of America) often they are smoke filled and the age and physical
discrimination that goes on between some young folks towards us older folks.
The way some act one would think we older folks were lecherous old pedophiles
which 99.9% of are not. Then there is the smoking problem unless there
is some law preventing smoking. Gay people have enough health problems
without adding to it reventable illnesses because one smokes or is
forced to endure second hand smoke. When I leave a bar---I do not want
to wreak of cigarette smoke in my clothes for weeks afterwards and wish
to leave feeling as clean as I went in.
Here in the States we have chapters of SAGE which is an organization
for older gays.(they have a website) It unfortunately is not a large
organization but there are chapters in New York, Miami, Fort Lauderdale
(where you should visit if you are seeking other gay people as it is the
San Francsico of the Southast Coast.) as well as Dallas, Los Angeles and
San Francisco---perhaps one could be gotten together in London.
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