QUEER LIVERPOOL(NOW):A REFLECTION ON HOULBROOK:”QUEER LONDON”; AND IN ANTICIPATION OF HIS FORTHCOMING TALK ON THE BOOK AND THE ACCOMPANYING CRITICAL DISCUSSION. BY STEVEN BENSON

Inspired by this quotation from Matt Houlbrouk:”Queer London”(2005);”…a complex spatial poetics…”(p.46).

Reading a gay male history book, wonderfully detailed and alive, about the way in which gay men configured, re-configured and negotiated their vexed, but sometimes joyous, communitarian ways through London’s public, semi-public and private spaces, pre the enactment of the Woolfenden Report(in 1967):-I am sitting in the “Fact ” “Garden” café, Liverpool; and

1.two gay men sit in front of me(many years ago I tried to “cop off” with one of them in a gay club-unsuccessfully!)He is still pretty and sylph-like; the other I do not know but my gaydar jerks into life, registering mannerisms.I ignore them; they ignore me.

2.There are a possible same-sex couple also sat near; they are looking at each other searchingly and intimately, intermittently intensely so.

3.This café is (mainly) a safe/safer space to be publically/socially(not sexually!) a gay man or woman; “Fact” has occasional lgbt film seasons and links up with Homotopia etc. I am rarely 100% relaxed into it being 100% safe, however.One man , in particular, looked a bit threatening: I may be stereotyping.

I HID “Queer London”; I revealed it: sometimes, even now, in an urban UK city centre, we as lgbt people, are STILL negotiating what we gauge to be safe, safer, or unsafe space. Lgbt book turned with title on display or , for protection, upsided. A much less less fraught but, nonetheless not wholly UNfraught, mirror of the characters Houlbrook brings to life from various records he has had access to(pre 1967).

I could go on various rhizomes  here….suffice to say, for now, the above issues round space are one of the reasons I started 2 lgbt groups, where we visit venues that are as lgbt- friendly as we can realistically ascertain(away from the official gay scene), sometimes ensconced in a corner/separate space, sometimes not. There is still a need for separate lgbt groups,with a broad social “remit” or a specialised one, eg a book group, (however that need is contested in the people that use these spaces/groups{and the gay scene}). And it is obviously fine to contest that need; because most of us want a level playing field and full acceptance  rather than separatism(or, if used pejoratively, as it sometimes is)”separatism”.

…………………………………………….

So the inter-textuality of then and now; the INTRA-textuality of me sitting in “Fact” reading “Queer London”. Things have improved(in the UK anyway): laws embodying human rights for lgbt people are now (mostly ) in place or about to go into place(equal marriage), at last. Liverpool is getting there in the acceptance sphere: certainly in its central, urban spaces and, for example, Lark Lane(but not so much in working-class estates and middle-class suburbia, where isolation and anomie still often reign); so Houlbrook’s queans, and “straight-acting” masculine heterosexually (self) defined men, (queer only in sexual acts),are still being enacted in today’s 100 differing degrees of outness, visibility, safe space issues.Not to the same extent,mainly and fortunately; but still so, to a degree.

…………………………………………………………………………………

Its a dance

In space

On a

Tightrope

……………………………………………………………………………………

I want everyone to have the human right, as long as they are not harming anyone else, to have the right and safety to be their WHOLE selves, self-congruently, in EVERY space. We are on a journey but that journey is not ended yet……

…………………………………………………………………………………….

Thanks Matt, you made me think of the trace of the past in the present and how far we have come; and have yet to go.

……………………………………………………………………………………..

FURTHER READING:

“Strangers”(Robb)

“Fanny and Stella”(Neil Mc Kenna)

Advertisements

About decayetude

ENTHUSIASMS: CLASSICAL MUSIC, ESPECIALLY OBSCURE ROMANTIC COMPOSERS; BACH/HANDEL LITERATURE, ESPECIALLY THOUGHTFUL, WELL-WRITTEN(STYLISTICALLY)NOVELS W G SEBALD WALTER BENJAMIN THEODOR ADORNO(JUST BEGINNING!) AESTHETIC PHILOSOPHY GAY MEN'S WRITING;QUEER THEORY STIMULATING DISCUSSIONS(EMOTIONALLY AND INTELLECTUALLY) GOOD RICH THICK ESPRESSO MICHAEL PONTI SPRITUALITY/LIFE'S "AURA"(BENJAMIN), WHATEVER TRANSCENDENTAL THING YOU WANT TO CALL THIS MEMORY-the elusiveness thereof. LOST TIME AND AN ATTEMPT AT ITS REDEMPTION(NON THEISTICALLY/RELIGIOUSLY)
This entry was posted in alterity, Cafe, cafes, gay, gay literature, Haiku poems, life mirrors art, my poems, other, psychogeography, queer, queer geography, queer theory, safer spaces(guidelines), safety for marginalised groups, Self-actualisation, SPECTRAL PSYCHOGEOGRAPHY, Utopia, working outside hegemonies. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to QUEER LIVERPOOL(NOW):A REFLECTION ON HOULBROOK:”QUEER LONDON”; AND IN ANTICIPATION OF HIS FORTHCOMING TALK ON THE BOOK AND THE ACCOMPANYING CRITICAL DISCUSSION. BY STEVEN BENSON

  1. decayetude says:

    Thanks, Gill and Lesley:)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s