www.Stradivarius-London.co.uk
 FORUM
views and opinions of older gay men
Your views welcome. E:Mail them to the link below. We do not publish names or addresses.
To send an E:Mail use this address
    .
MAIN
INDEX PAGE
STRADIVARIUS
INDEX 
PAGE
STORIES
HUMOUR
LINKS
ARTICLES
TRISH
  .....
 

FORUM INDEX

TURNING FIFTY

REMEMBERING BOYS PLUS FROM JON

MEMORIES FROM DAVID

MORE BIOGRAPH MEMORIES

COMMITTED

GAY CABARET INFO WANTED

Request for information about Noel Mewton-Wood

PIANO BAR MEMORIES

UNIVERSITY OF SHEFFIELD RESEARCHER
SEEKS  GAY MEN OVER 50

MORE MEMORIES OF SOMBREROS

FACILITIES FOR OLDER GAY MEN

MAN ALIVE AND THE TEA DANCE

MEMORIES OF EARLS COURT
.
NOT BOASTING BUT ENCOURAGING OTHERS

FROM THE STATES

BARS FOR OLDER GAY MEN

CHALLENGES AND COPING. HELP  WANTED FOR RESEARCH PROJECT

PAYING FOR SEX

LOOK 56, FEEL 18

GOING GREY BUT WANTING TO STAY PINK

!960's CLUBS FROM RICH

THE REHEARSAL CLUB

FROM CRAIG

MEMORIES FROM GUY

VIAGRA

FROM ROY

CRUSH ON SABU

PETITION TO THE UNITED NATIONS

MORE CRUISING GROUND MEMORIES 

SOCIAL LIFE AS IT WAS AND IS

SEDUCTION IN THE CINEMA

CARRY ON WANKING

INFORMATION WANTED ON PUBS IN SE LONDON IN THE EIGHTIES.

FROM SANTA MONICA

MORE MEMORIES

I DON'T KNOW HOW I SURVIVED

LONDON IN THE SEVENTIES

MOVING HOUSE

HOUSING FOR OLDER GAY MEN AND WOMEN

WHAT DO I WEAR ?

AGE GAPS

MANDYS AND OTHER VENUES

FROM JAMES HALL NOVEMBER 2014

NEW PAGE HEALTH
NEW PAGE TRAVEL

FROM JAMES HALL NOVEMBER 2014

Hello, I’ve been looking at your website & you may be interested in some vids I posted on my YouTube page. I live in Tyneside & in 1990/91 I started recording things on my first Sony 8mm video camera. I made a 60min vid called Cottage Queen ’91 where I went around the cottages in the Newcastle area. I just posted an 11min vid of the toilets I filmed on YT http://youtu.be/EgTfXEoYdNc which may be of interest to you. History indeed. My partner of the time (sadly deceased) also filmed London Pride 1996 which ran to 5 sections which I also posted on YT. The first is 2-3mins with the rest 5-6mins long, the quality is pretty good given they are 18yrs old & filmed on old technology ! Get back to me if you are interested in linking them on your page as I’m most keen to share with the big wide world.

Leslie James Hall
Date: Mon, 17 Nov 2014 

The pride vids are in 5 parts with part 1 being a short intro with the train trip down to London complete with some faces from the Newcastle gay scene in the 90s. It was filmed from a personal perspective rather than an attempt at some historical event recording. I’m sure you’ll be able to make a judgement on whether they are suitable for inclusion in your website!

LP1 – http://youtu.be/QLAw2p8YUyM

LP2 - http://youtu.be/1Up-oOJJgl0

LP3 - http://youtu.be/yhk_U8v0QhI

LP4 - http://youtu.be/t8WnH2JViVc

LP5 - http://youtu.be/vJ8aUX0hhN
 

Leslie James Hall


!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!

Sincerely,

Rich



Mandys and other venues
From Maurice

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, Covent Garden! 

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.

Great stuff

Maurice 
 

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
JO PURVIS


TURNING FIFTY 
By Ian

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 of all.

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!!

Yours,

Ian



 

Remembering "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.
Kind regards
Jon


FROM CRAIG
Hey Keith
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 I
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 Hammersmith 
Bridge.The cemetary is just behind the Barnes tennis courts.

CRAIG


MEMORIES FROM DAVID

hi Keith
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 Bush 

.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
regards Dave
xxx



 

Memories from GUY

I am so pleased that you are running a 'gay memory' website.  I'd like to tell you about some of my memories.

Modern Books

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 cash).

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.

Keep remembering
Guy


MORE BIOGRAPH MEMORIES

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 down. 

I often think happily about the ‘Biograph’. It was a wild, horny, fun time. 

Chas.



FROM ROY

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 london.

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 world.

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 the credits.

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 educational experience.
 

Roy



COMMITTED
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 marriage. 
At the end of the day, the more alternatives we have for people to live together the better.
Graham


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.
David

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.
Alistair


VIAGRA 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 !
Klaus


CRUSH ON SABU
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. 
Stuart

Help 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.
Heres hoping.
Keep up the good work Stradivarius 

Tom Hough (BatfamTom@aol.com)


Request for information about Noel Mewton-Wood
Dear Stradivarius,
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.
Thank you,
Sonia.
sonni@pacific.net.au

ILGA - International Lesbian and Gay Association
Petition to the United Nations.
 Sign our petition on http://www.brazilianresolution.com and 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 issue.
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.
Thank you.
PIANO BAR MEMORIES
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 tacky façade.

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 Nudity!).

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 start. 

POSTSCRIPT

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 right club.

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. 

The Invisible Stranger
To 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,
Thanks, 
Steve.



SOCIAL 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 after midnight!
And I have no wish to socialise with people who are mostly high on drugs.

        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.

                        John H.


SEDUCTION 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 with
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 recall
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!
Great show!
Anon

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.
keith


UNIVERSITY 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
anonymous.

If you think you would like to help e-mail for more information to
sop01rgs@sheffield.ac.uk



MORE 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 friends then.
Keep up the good work. I am certainly not an oldie. In fact my Brian still thinks I¹m 25! Oh I wish!
Paul 

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 50



FACILITIES 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 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 will. 
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!
Yours,
David


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? 
Philip.


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:

Piano Bar
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.

Bar/Restaurant
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
post-dinner drinks

"Cheers" Bar
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.

Dance Club
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 (www.gragay.com/spain.htm) which
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.

Location
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
management.

Frequency
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.

Marketing
This is my day job and I can help through my contacts and mailing list but
you should also issue a press release to:
Gay Press
Gay Media
Gay Websites
Gay Senior Groups (Caffmos etc)
Senior Charities
Gay Professional Groups (e.g Gay Lawyers and
Gay Professional Networking Groups (e.g. Jake)
International Gay Travel Media
International Gay Travel Websites

Promotion
Happy Hour to get people in early

Organisation
Have you thought about forming  Prime Timers group
(http://www.primetimersww.org) since this would get you International
recognition and contacts?
I have been to a group called MAX (www.maxonline.org) in San Francisco who
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
me know.

Regards
Paul

E pewit@compuserve.com
Editor of GrayGay.com
The place for mature gay men, their admirers and the GrayGay guide.
www.graygay.com



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 SHOP
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 Crusaid Shop




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.
Brendan



MEMORIES 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.

Regards,

Michael 


FROM SANTA MONICA
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 young
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 regards Ron. 



MORE MEMORIES 

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.

xxxxxxx

Ian


THE 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 him.

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.

JIM



VISITING 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 the M1.

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 short weekend.

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.

JOE

TOP OF PAGE


 

NOT BOASTING BUT ENCOURAGING OTHERS

Hello,
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 !!!

Ken



I DON'T 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.
MALCOLM
TOP OF PAGE

FROM THE STATES

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 not
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.

LUDWIG

TOP OF PAGE

BARS FOR OLDER GAY MEN


Hi, I got your contact details from a friend.  When I go to a cafe or bar, I'd like it to be like First Out but with no music.  The main problem with current venues, gay or mixed, is that there is too much loud music.  The staff always turn it up louder and louder.  No music would be best! 
Good luck with your enterprise. 
Gerry

If you're ever in Hamburg, visit the
Picadilly Bar 
Silbersackwiete 1 
Tel: 319 24 74 
8pm-4am, Closed Thu, Fri & Sat 8pm - ?
which is in a side street, just off the Reeperbahn (1/2 way down on the same saide as the police station!).It's very cosy with light operatic music in the background, and friendlier older gays.
If you're after a little (or a lot of) raunchy sex, go to the Homo Gay Kino at no. 8 Talstrasse (a side street off the other side of the Reeperbahn). It's dark and funky.
Best wishes,
Tom

MOVING HOUSE
I've lived for many years in a part of London with a partner where our sexuality has never been a problem. We would like to move to a new house in a quieter area but are very afraid of ending up surrounded by homophobic neighbours. We have known friends who have ended up in a 'family' area taunted by kids etc and who have been forced to move again.
Have others experienced problems moving from 'gay friendly' city areas to outlying parts of a city ?
Don

Challenges and Coping-UK
A team of  lesbian and gay  researchers at York St John College are looking for volunteers to participate in a research project focusing upon the highs
and lows of living as a lesbian, gay man, bisexual or transgender man or woman in the UK today. The project's aims are to better understand the ways in which we cope with the challenges we face on a daily basis and to have a record of our successes as members of our local communities. 

The project is run by Dr. Ian Rivers, a psychologist at York St John College who has done a lot of work around homophobic bullying and the protection and support of young lesbians and gay men in schools. 

Participation in the project is voluntary and the researchers are asking people to give up an hour to complete a questionnaire about their experiences of growing up and living in the UK. There is the opportunity also to participate in a long-term study which follows  people over 3-5 years  and who will receive a quarterly newsletter updating them on how the information they provide is being used. If you are interested in finding out more about either or the projects, you can contact the research team at ccuk@yorksj.ac.uk marking the email FAO Ian Rivers or write to: 

Ian Rivers 
Challenges and Coping-UK 
York St John College 
Lord Mayors Walk 
YORK YO31 7EX 

Absolute confidentiality is guaranteed to all participants 
TOP OF PAGE


HOUSING FOR OLDER GAY MEN AND WOMEN
 

The following was received from a reader who recently attended the Age Concern conference for Older Gay people and where housing was an issue.

San Fran To Build Nation's First Community Housing For Elderly Gays

23 May 2002 A non-profit organisation in San Fransico is proposing to build the nation's first community housing for GLBT senior citizens

If plans go ahead it will be the first in the US to provide subsidised housing for elderly gays on low and moderate incomes. 

"It's well past time that we do this," Marcy Adelman, one of the founders of  the non-profit Rainbow Adult Community Housing, which is working toward  opening the gay senior housing complex by 2007, told the San Jose Mercury  News. "Gay people don't feel welcome in traditional mainstream services. There are some who live in retirement housing now, but the perception is, if they come out and identify themselves as gay and lesbian, they will be threatened in a way that's too risky, so they have to return to the closet. Even in San Francisco. This is a terrible price to pay." 

The Rainbow group recently received a $250,000 grant from the state to plan the project, a proposed $50 million, 225 flat development. Rainbow organisers estimate there are at least 35,000 gay men and women in San Francisco who are over 60.

TOP OF PAGE

PAYING FOR SEX
I was interested in the article on paying for sex. I live in a small Midlands town and am in my sixties. My partner of many uears died a couple of years ago and frankly seeking out casual sex in bars and cottages doesn't appeal. Financially I am comfortable but not well off but once a month I am visited by a very nice guy with whom I have very satisfying massage and sex. and for which I pay.
It is one of my small luxuries in life, expensive but worth every penny for the satisfaction I feel afterwards. I met the guy through an ad in a gay magazine and he is genuine, delivering just what he promises. I understand he has other older gay men as 'regulars' It may not work for everyone but it certainly does for me.

H.W.

TOP OF PAGE

LOOK 56, FEEL 18

I am 56, I look 56 but in my head I'm still 18. Why ?

Gin and T

TOP OF PAGE

30 YEARS TOGETHER

I've been with my partner for over 30 years and I am now in my late sixties while he is still only a youngster of 50. We have never lived together, both having our own flats and perhaps this is our secret of staying together. We  do most things together, spend most of our free time together but there is always that little space which is private. It works for us.

Frank


WHAT DO I WEAR ?

Re your article on what to wear I am 60 next years and wonder if the time has come to stop wearing my favourite white T shirts and faithful old 501's. but I really don't fancy a wooly green cardigan from Marks and Spencers. Also why do I feel OK wearing a baseball cap in Florida but an idiot wearing one in London ? Perhaps Stradivarius should have a fashion page !!

G.H.

Now I am older (67) I find my dressing getting more and more outrageous. I may even be turning into a Quentin Crisp ! Is this normal ? Frankly I just no longer care what others think. I spent my life being cautious now I think "what the hell"
Great web site
Bill

TOP OF PAGE

AGE GAPS

Some of my best sex has been with older guys (I'm 29) but if I see an older guy in a pub I fancy, I can't chat him up as my mates will pull my leg about fancying pensioners. So I have to meet mostly through the internet and without seeing guys in the flesh so to speak it's not that easy as it's cracked up to be. Now I have my mobile number on a card and I try to slip it to a guy I fancy. Problem is the older guys think I'm jerking them off and don't ring. Life can be very complicated.
Daren

One of my best friends is just 25 while I am in my sixties. I've known him for four years. We have never had sex as such although we often sit with our arms around each other often while he has his shirt off. That's as far as physical contact goes. He sometimes stays overnight but we don't share a bed and never have. He wanders round the house wrapped only in a towel after a shower with no shyness but I have never seen him naked.
He talks to me about guys he meets, things that worry him etc and I'm equally frank with him. It's a good relationship and I wish it was more common in the gay world. We all learn from each other and have a lot to give each other.
I have other guys of varying age from mid twenties upwards as sex partners. Some I don't know their surnames or where they live. One or two are married, others have girl friends. Age again doesn't seem to matter, it's the person and whather you fit his needs and he fits yours.
If I am ever unfortunately given only a short time to live but am still sexually active, I will take money from the bank and spend it on the most beautiful guys I can buy and go out with a bang. I know my 25 year old would miss me but he would totally approve !
John G.

At 55 I met a guy just turned 18 and after knowing him for some months eventually slept with him ( at his request !) Over the years we have enjoyed the warmth of each other's bodies many times but it was never a love affair or partnership. Today he is 27 and I am 65. We don't see each other very often now but last week he turned up and just wanted to go to bed, hold me and be held.
I think the relationship is good and healthy. I'm happy he leads his own life and content to see him when he wants to see me. I probably give him a sense of security at times as well as physical satisfaction.
I'm not sure he is even gay and I have other regular partners anyway but the age gap just doesn't seem a problem.
Grant

At 20 I fancied other 20 year olds, at 30, 25 years olds, 40, 30 year olds and now at 50 I find my ideal is around 35 to 40 year olds. Will I fancy 45 to 55 year olds when I'm 60 or will things go into reverse ?

JT 

I am only 21, I go clubbing and have sex with guys I meet there mostly around my own age. But occasionally I spend a whole night with a guy in his 50's I've known since I was 16. I love cuddling up with him and the lack of urgency I love the fact I stay all night and can enjoy breakfast and a shower before I leave unlike the wash and go of my club partners.
My club friend would be horrified if they knew my 'secret' and would never understand and I'm not sure I do myself. It's not love but it sure is something !

Bunny

When I was in my twenties I loved older men. Maybe I had a Father Figure fixation but guys in their forties and fifties always turned me on. Now I am fifty and I just love guys in their twenties. Dirty old man ? I don't think so, I know what I felt at twenty and I have no guilt feelings about being with younger partners.

Name supplied


GOING GREY BUT WANTING TO STAY PINK

I am a gay man in my seventies and dread the thought of going into a rest home full of narrow minded straight old biddies. I know not all my generation are against gays but many are. The last thing I want to do is end my days in an atmosphere where I can't be myself, unable to invite mty friensds round for tea or talk about my partner who died some years ago. Too much of my life has been a lie already.
I advocate fully gay retirement homes for people like me. 

BI 

TOP OF PAGE

REGRETS
I was married for some thirty years despite being gay. At the time of marriage, gay sex was illegal, the newspapers were full of vicars getting into trouble with choir boys and that sort of thing and I wanted company. It worked although the sexual side was undemanding and we did not have children. My wife died two years ago and I found myself very lonely in my sixties and I found myself craving for the male company I had denied myself for so long.
There is a happy ending, I met another chap with a similar history and although it's early days, we get on very well. 
Although I loved my wife, I now realise what I had missed all those years and if I could only put the clock back how different I would have made my life. To the young I just say, you are lucky to live in more liberated times but pressures are still there, just ignore them and do what your heart wants to do. I didn't and I do regret it.

Alfred
 

 TOP OF PAGE
   .
MAIN
INDEX PAGE
STRADIVARIUS
INDEX 
PAGE
STORIES
HUMOUR
LINKS
ARTICLES
TRISH
To send an E:Mail use this address

www.Stradivarius-London.co.uk
Material copyright Stradivarius2009/ 2004/2005/2006/2007/2011