GAY LIVERPOOL IN THE 1980s: MY REMEMBERANCES.VERBAL SNAPSHOTS(PRE DIGITAL!). BY STEVEN BENSON

inspiration/catalyst: “Gay in the 80s”(Clews,2017).

I have written (here ) about my part in the anti-Clause 28 campaign and two other campaigns with that activist group  https://towardsutopia.wordpress.com/2015/09/05/section-28-the-fight-against-it-in-merseyside-reportagelgbt-archiveunwritten-histories-by-steven-benson/

But I also lived a somewhat hedonistic- though running parallel with a good deal of angst!-life in clubs, and social groups- between 1984 and 1989 in Liverpool:

Came out in an EXPLOSION; little flat in Princes Gate East, mainly a crashpad for 3 /4 nights per week in

Sadies

Jodys

Pacos;

DANCING,

Thinking I was God’s gift(pretty boy),dancing to HI-NRG/EURO/GAY disco{ I still have the 12″(!) vinyl of some of those obscure(now) but popular(then) gay,upbeat “we are what we are(deal with it!)” anthems; “Ski-ing in the Snow”, “First time I had you..”,”The Night(Valerie Dore): (anyone remember those?); and, of course “Body Rock” and “Loves Gone Mad”(most still on U-Tube)}

I danced my tits off: in front of the mirror in Sadie’s , requesting tracks; basically showing off! With lots of friends: clubs were not just about dancing and the (rare!) copping off: they were( to me and my friends, anyway) about solidarity (in a heterosexist world; worse in those days), camaraderie, sharing thoughts about crushes, lust AND our feelings.

The evening usually started with ( a longforgotten bit of gay Liverpool history here!)a visit to the “Link” centre, which gravitated from a top floor climb in a ramshackle old building in Colquitt Street to, well, a top floor semi-desuetudinous building in Bolton St. In both, breathlessness, by the time you got to the top of four flights, was de rigueur, plus a large dose of anticipatory anxiety!(I think the Bolton St premises were extant from the early 90s, (because I had an 18 month interval in Manchester); but memories are, sometimes, hazy(and my madeleine is, only, this act of {re}writing). SO, got to the top of the stairs: a little group huddles in a small room(in both venues), with a decrepit coffee bar. But what matters is that we are friends; we share and talk; and it is our base from which to hit “the scene”(often via “The Lobster Pot”, still extant in Ranelagh St, when I last noticed)

{Tenses; past=(partly) present; at least it is via memory; Derridean traces and Benjaminesque constellations}.

Anyway cod(and chips!:P) philosophy aside, we usually hit Sadie’s early, 10.30 ish

{Gosh, I can feel my present life slipping away a little: I am so ensconced in these past memories; and the past is,sometimes, safe, where the present is not(always)}

I am ashamed of my allegiance, nay obsession, with this club because Sadie only allowed women in if he knew them.

WE often used to sit opposite the front room bar: Steve, Ian, Neil (where are they now?), others and myself; as someone entered up the stairs {gay/lgbt venues in Liverpool are usually, even now, underground, or ABOVE ground} we turned our heads in case he was “the one”( though I am not sure how much I really wanted a boyfriend but, more likely, wanted validation of my attractiveness by sleeping with more men). Joky competitiveness over cute ones would ensue……. Sadie stood, always, by an open window, askance for homophobes, I suppose, silently vetting{when he died, the club endeavoured to survive, for a while, sans him, but collapsed; early /mid 1990s}.

After much uproariousness, dancing with a Stella in one hand, gossip, mixed with emotional sharing, we would wait (even on a Monday night) to the bitter end,as the slowie came on and you had either copped or not(usually, the latter; though I had my moments, occasionally); then comfort eating from a chippie and sometimes back to the flat of one of us(and work at 9 am; how did I manage that??!!). Well, I was young….

Sometimes it was Jodys, which, to me, was more intimidating; people were more cool(ok, basically I was not the big fish!); grimy, be-stained walls, sweating with, well, sweat, and sheer undergroundness


I feel I have come to a (natural)halt there… let us say, these rememberances are to be continued… and will continue in a higgledy-piggledy fashion, in the way memories hit us or or are conjured up(by metaphorical madeleine moments)…………

 

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 a la recherche Benjamin gay queer archive assembalge, gay, gay affirmative writing, other, psychogeography, queer, Queer wrting, Uncategorized, Utopia. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to GAY LIVERPOOL IN THE 1980s: MY REMEMBERANCES.VERBAL SNAPSHOTS(PRE DIGITAL!). BY STEVEN BENSON

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