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2004
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It's 2004 already and time to add some new thoughts to the site. 
INDEX
So Many Men !

A place for us

Threes a crowd but a crowd can be fun

With all my worldly goods

Goodbye Pink Paper
and Hello New Pink Paper

Makes one Think. Why are we still victims

Bland conquers all

So many perverts around !!

All Copyright 2004 Stradivarius Web Site

GOODBYE PINK PAPER
Autumn of 2004 saw the end of the Pink Paper in the United Kingdom. 

The Pink Paper first appeared in the eighties as a competitor for Capital Gay. It looked more professional than the long running Capital Gay and when that free newspaper disappeared after a series of fires and break-ins. It was published in tabloid style using newsprint paper.
Neither paper , however came up to the standard of Gay News which had disappeared after the jailing of it's Editor following a vindictive court case brought by the infamous Mary Whitehouse.
The end of the Pink paper was probably signalled with the arrival on the gay scene of Boyz Magazine published by the same Company. Pub ads and contact ads drifted to it's pleasure orientated stablemate. Eventually a clear division was made with escort ads and nude pictures being dropped from it's pages in a bid to attract more mainstream advertisers. At the same time it turned into a smaller format.
An attempt to turn the paper into a paid for publication failed totally and was quickly dropped but the paper got thinner and thinner with less and less worth reading and less and less advertising until faced with continuing losses the publishers pulled the plug this year.
Boyz magazine continues with strong competition for club and pub advertising from QX magazine. Both magazines have however virtually lost their once lucrative contact ads to the internet sites such as Gaydar.  Very explicit escort ads and contact ads using expensive premium phone lines abound but long term whether London can support magazines whose content differs little week to week and which have no 'serious' content.
We are left with the paid for Gay Times which while excellent in many ways suffers from the same problem as many magazines. Half the magazine each month is virtually identical with the previous month. There are the same ads in the same place and readers sometimes stop buying on a regular basis.
So for the time being, choice of a magazine reflecting news items of interest and importance to Gay men is very limited. Perhaps the American magazine such as the Advocate could produce a UK edition or maybe a new publication will appear, cheaply produced but with content worth reading.
 
Pink Paper to be revived 

Chris Tryhorn
Wednesday October 20, 2004
The Guardian 

The Pink Paper, the weekly gay newspaper which folded three weeks ago, has been revived by new owners.  Millivres Prowler Group, the company behind the monthly Gay Times, has stepped in to buy the 17-year-old paper, which is distributed free at bars and clubs. 

It will be relaunched as a fortnightly paper on November 5, with 40,000 copies distributed in 500 venues around the country.   MPG said it was committed to "major, long-term investment" in the title, with a "radical" revamp planned for the start of next year. 

The Pink Paper was closed at the start of the month after its previous owners blamed competition from websites such as Gay.com, but other commentators blamed a lack of investment

2007 THE PINK PAPER IS NOW GOING FROM STRENGTH TO STRENGTH  USING IT'S ORIGINAL NEWSPAPER FORMAT.

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SO MANY MEN
Articles in the national press have drawn attention to the growing imbalance of the sexes in countries such as China and India.There are now millions more males than females and the situation is growing. The authorities are worried that millions of males unable to find female partners will cause trouble as their sexual frustrations give way to violence.

One suggestion is to stick them in the army, then have a big war with Taiwan, for example, which will kill off huge numbers of them.

The problem with this is that modern wars tend to kill more civilians than soldiers.
In some rural parts of India, brothers are it seems sharing one woman but paternity of children is an issue and sexually jealousy rears it's ugly head.

As I see it, the answer is to legalise homosexuality where it is currently illegal and encourage same sex partnerships. Most men are to some degree bi-sexual, if the number of married men I have knowN is anything to go by, and as long as they found an outlet for their sexual needs and 'bonding' needs, a new kind of society would arise. It would also help to control the population growth.

In the meantime certain countries seem doomed to have huge numbers of sexually frustrated young men looking for relief. Perhaps some could be shipped over here. I am sure their needs could be met by many of  the growing numbers of older gay men newly aroused by the viagra revolution.

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A PLACE FOR US

I think it is great that elderly members of ethic minorities are being catered for in the provision of old peoples homes. I'm sure they enjoy swapping memories with people who share their background, enjoying a diet they are used to and being cared for by staff aware of their needs.

It would be nice to think that the same applied to elderly gay men (and our Lesbian friends, of course) 

Some years ago Age Concern held a conference about the needs of older gay people including housing.  The rather strange minister Barbara Roche came in and gave a cheery speech about how concerned the government were. ( She soon stopped smiling when asked difficult questions by the audience but then that's politicians for you !)

Across the pond there are some stirrings but here private enterprise does not seem to have realised that a home for elderly gay men might be more profitable than running a gay bar.

I hope I won't need such a place, we all do, but it isn't possible to predict our future needs and it would be reassuring to know that such places might exist. 

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MAKES ONE THINK
Why are we still victims ?

One fairly regular news item in the national and local press is a report of an older man being murdered in his flat. Usually the report mentions that the victim lived alone but rarely mentions any possible motive.

Every time I see such a report, I always thing "this man was probably gay"

Most of the time, if any follow up is printed, this more often than not proves to be the case.
Only this week, a 60 year old school teacher was murdered in Pakistan. Now it is suggested that he may have had sexual contact with some of his male pupils.

A man is murdered in the East End. A respectable man, literary agent for many well known writers. Without stating his sexuality, one report refers to his long standing male partner. Now a young man is arrested in connection with the murder.

It goes on, a steady stream of older gay men murdered because of their sexuality.
Is it because we become desperate and careless with the partners we pick up, less choosy, less street wise ? Perhaps we are targeted as suitable victims, if not for murder, perhaps for robbery, perhaps with violence. Perhaps the violence goes wrong.

It would be interesting to have some statistics for the number of older gay men murdered each year and which way the trend is going. is it increasing, decreasing or pretty stable. 
The decrimilisation of gay sexual acts should have led to less fear of blackmail, less fear all round, but perhaps as a generation bought up when fear of discovery was real, we still seek our partners in a covert manner, prepared to run risks rather than be open in our search.

But even if we are careful when we meet someone new, can we ever be sure they mean us no harm ? I know that if I have even a slight doubt about a new contact, I just walk away. I'm sure I miss out one some great sex but better safe than sorry.

But perhaps some of us are lacking a sense of possible problems. Some years ago, an acquaintance in his late 50's was constantly having problems with the guys he met including having both knives and guns drawn on him, but he never seemed to learn. he even visited some of his would be attackers in prison. He was murdered eventually.

Another friend loved the danger of rough trade and died at the end of a knife attack by a young drug addict he had picked up outside a straight pub.

None of us deserves such a fate, but It's something we should all think about.

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Bland conquers all

Recently I visited the Coleherne pub for the first time in many months. It was a Sunday afternoon, a time when twenty years ago it would have been heaving with leather clad flower arrangers all looking for a suitable guest to invite back to their bed sit for cucumber sandwiches.

The first impression I had, apart from the fact that it was almost devoid of customers, was the blandness of the decor. 

It looked a little like the lounge area of a chain hotel. Even the pictures on the wall appeared to have come from the wholesalers who supply Holiday Inns and Travel Inns.

It was very clean, very neat, well lit and totally without any character.

I thought about this while toying with my Stella in it's designer glass. It's happening everywhere, I thought. Blandness is taking over. Building societies look like coffee shops. Coffee shops look like doctors surgery waiting rooms. Hotel rooms look like....well other hotel rooms.

One of my favourite pubs in Amsterdam used to be the Monopole. Located alongside a canal, it was tatty I will admit. Over twenty years I knew it it never changed. there were an odd assortment of bric a brac hanging from the ceiling, a mix of unrelated posters and pictures stuck on the wall, a worn look about the whole place.  Around nine in the evening they served small snacks on a large plate which the barman handed around. It had atmosphere.

And yes it was always busy with customers spilling out onto the road outside. Not only was it busy it was friendly.

The last time I visited Amsterdam, it had gone. In it's place was a rather twee little bar, very thoughtfully decorated by some queen on drugs. All the clutter had gone, everything was very tasteful. There were no customers and I quickly finished my beer and left, a bit like the old time investigative reporters exploring brothels.

Now I'm not against swish, modern, soulless places. They have a place in the world but it really would be nice to have some individuality in the places where we socialize. I fear that things will get worse as everything we eat, drink, buy, watch comes from a large multinational company without a spark of tolerance for any deviation from a centrally issued manual.  The downfall of M & S and Sainsburys owe much to their blandness while Tesco has always managed to retain a colourful buzz despite being a huge centralized company.

These companies have made visiting a cinema a joyless experience with no pre show atmosphere creating music or lighting, no curtains across the screen, endless trailers and adverts, a small of popcorn wafting through the whole complex, and all but the US made block busters kept out. The few independent cinemas which do survive slowly disappear one by one or are swallowed up by the large chains. 

There is one cinema in London I go to whenever I can because it never shows adverts or trailers, it's straight into the feature film. I can't name it as it might attract the attention of the movie police as I'm sure they must be breaking some kind of contract.

Having said that the presentation in the modern, bland cinema is technically good and screen visibility excellent. But let's have a bit of a 'show' as well.

So back to the Coleherne. Times have changed, we all know that. The customers of twenty years ago lived in a different environment. Gay pubs were scarce and choice limited. Punters had to put up with breweries spending no money while raking in the cash.  Now though, they probably spend too much. the target for every pub is the 20 year old and he is fussy about where he puts his designer trousers.

There are places which get it right. The Birdcage in Chiswick is clean and well kept but cleverly designed to feel intimate and cosy. Perhaps one day the owners of the Coleherne will have the courage to reinvent, a pub bringing back a sexy, exciting  atmosphere. Somehow I doubt it. More likely an era will end as it did with Banana Max, another Earl's Court venue which went from one of the most popular bars in London to one of the worst, and the straight crowd will take over and it will become a bland gastro pub or some other horror.

We shall see

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So many perverts around !!

It seems to me that the word pervert is one of the most misused in the English language. It is hurled as a term of abuse at gay men especially by the bible thumpers, right wing verging on lunatic, politicians and fundamentalist clerics still living in the middle ages.

But surely the real perverts are those who take the teachings of so called prophets and twist them around to become messages of hate, death and destruction. Jesus, if he every existed, would today be a member of some kind of socialist party preaching against the excesses of the rich and supporting the rights of minorities. He would be a kind of Robin Hood, taking from the rich to give to the poor.

In Sunday school which I was forced to attend as a child, I was taught a lot about love and the stories from the bible were all about helping others and being kind to people. Strange how when you grow up you find that a different kind of religion takes centre stage.

First there are the catholics with their inquisition and don't do as I do, do as I say philosophy. Stories of paedophile priests, sadistic nuns, mass murder of innocent people through bombings and a pope who condemns millions to die of aids by refusing to advise the use of a simple rubber sheath. Oh yes and preaching that all gay men will burn in Hell. Not a suprise then that the Catholic church faces shrinking congregations in this country and world-wide great difficulties in recruiting new priests.

The Protestants for the most part have a softer side in the Church of England but the extreme edges get pretty nasty. They turn up, especially in the USA, at the funerals of murdered gay men with banners rejoicing in the death of a pervert and confident also that the poor victim will burn in hell. Christian charity ? Forget it. Fortunately in the UK, church attendance is at an all time low with the average congregation being about 14 people.

The other people of the book, the Jews don't say a lot except to condemn gay men as perverts who will....well by now you get the picture. They of course solicit great sympathy, and quite rightly too, for what Hitler and his thugs did to them but forget they were not alone in suffering. Gay men were there too in the camps, killed simply because of their sexuality. The violence in Israel also shows that Jews too are capable of great inhumanity towards their fellow men.

Islam at it's extreme edges would of course crush us under large stones, throw us off cliffs or stone us to death. A merciful god ?, I think not ! I leave you to judge who is practising perversion.  Strange too that in my life I have met so many of this faith who are gay and don't see a conflict with their religion.

I define perverts as those who take a creed, a political idea or a religious book and distort it's content to reflect their own fears, hatreds and uncertainties. They pervert the message and in doing so destroy the whole message and any good it may contain.

There is a quote from Blaise Pascal 'Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction' As gay men we can never ignore this. If there is a god, we are his creation too. The perverts should remember this and reflect on their motives for their perversion. 

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THREES A CROWD BUT THREE CAN BE FUN !

I have to admit, as a young man threesomes did not figure much in my life. Nor did sex as it happens. What I understood about sex boiled down to the fact that there was respectable sex, the sort which happens in a marriage sanctified in church and therefore somehow holy and spiritual and the other sort, nasty, dirty and perhaps even dangerous or disgusting.

The 'Screws of the World' (News of the World newspaper for our overseas readers !) loved the second kind of course and published pages of shocking details every Sunday featuring scoutmasters, vicars, titled ladies and gentlemen, politicians, judges and even bank managers. When I say details, of course, I don't mean details, these you had to use your own imagination to fill in from the clues given by the paper. This probably turned fairly mundaine if a little out of the ordinary sexual activity into something wild and perhaps even a little exciting.

Threesomes are much like that. If two can enjoy sex together, why not three. Of course three people having sex together can be dull and boring, just as sex with two people can be. But it does extend the possibilities of enjoyment, it has too, there are three brains at work and three imaginations. If two heads are better than one, three must be even better.

Strangely even in the so called 'gayworld' there is some reluctance to accept threesome. Guys who will have sex with a total stranger in the toilet of the 6.30 from Euston to Birmingham come over all virtuous with a 'I don't do threesomes' when the subject is raised. Why is this I wonder. perhaps they are afraid of coming off third best in a situation they see as competitive. Maybe it's a size thing. being smaller than one guy is OK but smaller than two guys, well it's not on is it ?

I have to say some of my best sexual experiences have been with two other guys. I've never really found one guy getting ignored or left out but perhaps I've been lucky with my partners. I still have some wonderful pictures in my brain I can bring out on a cold winter night if I'm sleeping alone. Strangely, I've also found that threesomes tend to be repeated, some over many years whereas one to one casual encounters more often than not tend to be just that, one offs.

Perhaps the fact that they are just about sex means repeating the experience doesn't carry the danger of getting involved emotionally whereas one to ones could be dangerous if they happen too often with the same person.

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WITH ALL MY WORLDLY GOODS

With all my worldly goods I thee endow. Quaint old words from a quaint old ceremony. Just at a time when more and more straight people are rejecting the idea of marriage as a prerequisite for living together, gays and lesbians seem to be jumping onto the abandoned bandwagon.

For heaven's sake why ?

Having friends and perhaps a wider society recognising that you are a couple, I can understand. This seems to happen at present without the red tape or pink ribbons of marriage. There are, to be sure, a few corners where difficulties can arise. Often quoted are problems over access to information in hospitals if one partner is ill. In practice, of course, while this may happen and does indeed sometimes happen, common sense usually prevails.

A simple change in the law where the person in hospital gives permission to divulge information to a named person could get rid of the problem overnight. Politicians, or rather their Civil Service masters are not, however,  into simplicity. Complexity creates jobs for the boys.

Tenancies in common sort out potential home ownership disputes and even 25 years ago my partner and I had no problem getting a joint mortgage despite being a pair of unmarried poofs. Clearly drawn wills also avoid many problems.

Inheritance, tenancy and pension rights are perhaps areas where there could be benefits but partnership registration seems a perfectly good way to approach these legalistic concerns. And yes the sex of the two partners should be irrelevant, why special rules for gays and lesbians and only the option of a full marriage for our straight friend ? Some of our continental neighbours seem to have worked out pretty good systems.

As someone who has been on both sides of the fence so to speak in more ways than one, I've experienced marriage and non marriage as it were. Undoing a marriage was a pretty horrendous experience and only seemed to benefit the lawyers, making enemies of two people who left to theirselves could have parted and stayed friends. It messed up contact with the children involved, upset families and is not an experience I would want to repeat.

So there you are, put me down as against gay marriage but quite happy with either a simple registration of partnership for everyone who wants it or a do it yourself living together arrangement. Not that it will happen, the politicians are sure to find an answer which gives everyone the worst of all worlds, they always do.


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AGE HITS BACK !!!.