Sunday, 6 November 2011

Changing the World

These are the Oxford Street "Christmas" lights albeit that we not yet close to Advent - never mind bloody Christmas - from an angle I have never seen them before. Allow me, if you would, to explain. It's a largely self indulgent story, but no more so than anything else I put up here and it is, after all, a "blog" and apart from writing for a national newspaper or masturbation there are few things that are more self indulgent.

So on your own head be it.

Stop now and go and read porn instead if you don't wish to indulge me..

It's not every night you get to spend the evening thirty two floors up, on top of the world, with people who changed it. But tonight I did. And golly gracious, wasn't it fun. Let me take my younger readers back a year or two. You will find this hard to believe but Once Upon A Time there was...wait for it, no such thing as the Internet. "What?" I hear you cry. "No such thing as the Internet?" But how did homosexuals meet? How did they organise themselves? How did they ever discover there were other homosexuals? And how for heaven's sake, did they ever get a shag?

Well one of the things they did was to go here. They can't anymore because it's like, well, shut. As of last Saturday. It's not bad photography my darlings. The place is in darkness. Like - there are no lights on, and nor will there ever be again. That in itself is worthy of a Requiem. I am grateful to my friend Annie who asked "Who was the last in to First Out?" - and if anyone knows the answer please do tell. But I'm not going to dwell on sad things today. Because today we partied. We rejoiced in friendship and shared history. We renewed aquaintance, we restored friendship, we recalled old battles and told each other that we 'Had Done Good'. And what prompted this outpouring of mutual affection, respect and love?

The answer is - this did. Capital Gay changed our lives forever. It gave us a voice. It gave us an identity. It gave us permission. And (if you carried it where it could be seen on the tube), once in a while, it got us into bed.

And tonight we celebrated it with all the muster we could muster. It was its birthday and the people who made it happen thought it a jolly wheeze to throw a party. And how right they were.

We are going back to the days when I'd been to every gay bar in London - and there were five of them. To this day I feel guilty that when the sixth (somewhere called 'Bolts' - in Haringey of all places) opened I decided enough was enough and I didn't have to go. Nowadays of course, I haven't been to all five gay bars within half a mile of my house - but I don't feel guilty....

People like this

And this

And this

changed all that forever. A couple of weeks ago two young men walked passed the bookshop. They couldn't have been more than fifteen or sixteen. They were holding hands and believed themselves to be in love. And it mattered not a jot to them, who in Bethnal Green either knew it or cared. They will never know, (and nor should they) the stories of the people gathered on the thirty second floor of Centrepoint tonight that made it possible.

But hey guys, we did it. We fucking did it.

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