It yearns

It longs

For a



Of once


Ballrooms(then); NOW: deserted, rodent-infested, SHELLS of the dead grand edifices: on piers, in old hotels….so that






Through the

Debris, As the



For one



In this


See the source image

See the source image

Posted in alterity, Benjamin a la recherche spectral psychogeography bargain LPs Hatto Barrington-Coupe Assemblage Constellation, blurred captures, Hauntology, psychogeography, Quirky captures, Re-envisionning, Rememberances, SPECTRAL PSYCHOGEOGRAPHY, uncanny other, Uncategorized | 1 Comment



It beckoned…it (temporarily, anyway, cos I went there afterwards, in the end!:P)SUBVERTED my wish to go to THE Bookshop Café {https://towardsutopia.wordpress.com/2017/04/12/bookhopssafe-spaces-queergay-library-by-steven-benson/ and

https://towardsutopia.wordpress.com/2017/04/20/bookshop-stories-part-2-re-invention-a-meditation-by-steven-benson/ }; it almost ruined my ritual pilgrimage!

Sadly, it promised more than it delivered (is not that the emotional quintessence and central emptiness of capitalism?); ok, it was cutesy/quirky/a bit queer….

Mooshi La La

(Ersatz)Parisian-style glamour

Vintage Chic/Retro.

It pertained and strived towards these constructs.


But NO ESPRESSO; filter coffee………..

I realised, in this café tailspin, what I was endeavouring to do: re-invent the Ivanhoe Rd past of the Lark Lane (FORMER owners!) Illuminated café https://towardsutopia.wordpress.com/2011/07/29/the-illuminated-cafephotographs/

{This blog is now commenting-backwardly glancing- on its OWN past,as it has built up its self-history of eight years}.

We try to hold on to our sense of selves as we age; TRACES of our (past) selves, projecting them into the present/future, for continuity/security.

Being an (out, predominantly)) gay man in a heterosexual world, this is particularly arduous and requires skill/practise: for instance, there is no(in any sense) formal gay male community in Lark Lane( no groups that I know of or overt meeting places); but we are ALL AROUND( as we are round Sefton Park, close to which I now live); so again (see part 1 of these reflections) we have re-gather our fragmented selves and MAKE communities of friends/relationships/chance and planned meets in these vaguely anti-hegemonic Boho (or sometimes just “Boho”) cafes, of which Lark Lane is full.






Were we, once, all together?


We, also, divide OURSELVES (further the work society starts for us).

Let us UNITE





Posted in alterity, cafes, ecriture cuir, gay, gay affirmative writing, gay hermeneutics, Phenomenology, queer, queer geography, queer hermeneutics, Queer wrting, Re-envisionning, Rememberances, Self-actualisation, Uncategorized, Utopia, working outside hegemonies | Leave a comment


Gay male diaspora…gay man’s psychogeography…..cruising (in the city)…..city connection/city DISconnection.

Pace Mark W Turner’s averring(in “Backward Glances:Cruising the Queer Streets of New York and London”,2003) that gay men/bi men/men who have sex with men make a (?loose) community of sexual comradeship via signalling(glances/THE look) and one-off sexual encounters: despite this, I think there are parallel(dare I say) DEEPER communalities between these men, particularly amongst those who (relatively) strongly identify as being a gay man( i.e as a strong signifier back to themselves-the signified- AS the gay man,  the “gay man” signing being intrinsic but not exclusive to their self hood).

These (stronger) links between us(which point to a more secure, less diasporic sense of individual-wholeness-in-community) would include:

social groups

relationships/relational affects, be they longterm or for one night or friends-with-benefits

shared enthusiasm groups( sexual fetish to book/walking groups!).

Gay men walking the city, sitting in cafés, making municipal spaces THEIRS (again), creating safe(r?) spaces, right there in front of their eyes/down their throats.

Gay male space, therefore, INCLUDES sexual meeting places-cottages,woods, parks- and clubs (“the scene”) but it is also these additional, sometimes transitory but REAL and empowering, places/spaces where we can be ourselves and work towards community. They do not just happen , however; we have to CARVE them out.

Posted in "Pride", ecriture cuir, gay, gay affirmative writing, gay hermeneutics, Hotel, psychogeography, queer, queer constellations rememberances straightqueer, queer geography, queer hermeneutics, Queer wrting, Re-envisionning, safer spaces(guidelines), Self-actualisation, Uncategorized, Utopia, working outside hegemonies | Leave a comment


Thought association…..

Tree of life

Staff of life




Climb the shakey tree of the free market economy/capitalism?

A tree which is


GNARLED, with WHORLS of mass incompetence and greed; which aspires upwards, but is constantly battered and buffeted by its own volatile winds.

There was a tree in my front garden; it leant at 45%; it became unsafe. It was cut down to a STUMP. The tree was bringing itself down under its own weight; just as capitalism collapses under the  burden of a quick buck, a quick fix, money above people, and a failure to invest in its own base and superstructure (roots and trunk and branches).


Can we plant the seed of a NEW tree?

The only (realistically achievable) alternative-in the UK- is Corbynomics. If it is given a chance to be planted, will that tree grow and stay upright, will it sway a bit in the breeze; or, will  it collapse in a different way(as the economic panic doomsayers so confidently – and sometimes disingenuously-predict in their “it is a watered down version of a Soviet command economy dead ideology, or-less severe- a “harking Back”,( a sort of ostalgie for Callaghan’s failing last fling of NON neoliberal economics{ridden with Trade Union barrons bringing Socialism into disrepute and ruin through their greedy, self-focussed demands; no burial of the dead, no rubbish collection; I lived through that}?


Let us see… I will HELP plant that unknown new seed; and hope, with all my heart, it shall grow into a big, strong, straight, upwards-thrusting(!) new tree, that works for all, with branches of infrastructure re-building, equality,social justice and more rights for minorities. Trees take aeons to grow; but we shall have to be patient and see if Jeremy can make a start… This OLD tree is defunct; it has leant TOO far. Let us have a new spring.

Posted in alterity, intersectionality, Jeremy Corbyn, other, parlous loftiness, queer, Queer wrting, Re-envisionning, Uncategorized, Utopia, working outside hegemonies | 1 Comment


Why/for whom (but myself) do I write?  If it were JUST to be for myself, I would write in a private notebook; not on a public blog(however sparsely read!)………

This thought has been brought to a head, recently, by the publication of 2 of my pieces in an Anthology, “Made Up:An Anthology of new LGBTQ+ Writing from Liverpool and Merseyside” {available here https://www.amazon.co.uk/Made-Up-anthology-Liverpool-Merseyside/dp/1542462959/ref=sr_1_1? and https://www.amazon.co.uk/Made-Up-anthology-Liverpool-Merseyside-ebook/dp/B078XRT94P/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1518643390&sr=1-1&keywords=made+up+lgbt+kindle

ie=UTF8&qid=1516655579&sr=8-1&keywords=made+up+lgbt }.

This was produced by eight writers in our local, Merseyside LGBT Creative Writing Group; produced by the group facilitator; and edited by him and others (of the published writers). I am the Organiser of the network of groups of which the Creative Writing Group is part. These are the 2 pieces of mine  published in that anthology: https://decayetude.wordpress.com/2012/05/05/the-hotel-and-the-guest-a-story-of-sebaldian-malaise-and-an-essay-in-psychogeography/ and https://towardsutopia.wordpress.com/2015/05/22/terra-incognita-by-steven-benson/

I had already had another piece-memoir dressed up as (performative) third person (called “Steps to Freedom”)- in “What’s Your World Pride Story” (2017): https://towardsutopia.wordpress.com/2017/06/28/for-pride-story-writing-group-steps-to-freedompauls-gay-start-in-life-reflections-by-steven-benson/

In 2016, I had my first (hard copy) publication: a cyclostyled Liverpool 2016 Biennial workshop zine called “If these Walls Could Talk:Writing from ABC Cinema”. Any copies of extant are probably very few(it was a small print run); but versions of this piece are here https://decayetude.wordpress.com/2016/07/18/the-smell-of-mildew-in-movie-theaterseugenides-middlesex2002-an-odeelegy-to-the-abc-cinema-lime-street-by-steven-benson/

and here https://decayetude.wordpress.com/2016/07/10/biennial-2016-part-1-what-has-been-formerabc-cinema-lime-street-by-steven-benson/

My very need to advertise these pieces, again, on this, in effect, reblog, testifies to some need to get my writing public!

So what is social construction and/or status angst; and what is genuine self-motivated internal need? Or, is the ACT of publishing -blog/hard copy/whatever- ITSELF a non-binary manifestation of the fact that it is neither EXternal forces nor INternal ones; but, BOTH.

Well, firstly, as an out gay man in a predominantly heterosexist and heteronormative society/context, the need for {“words are slippery, Eliot} self-promulgation (remember Thathcher’s evil “promotion{of homosexuality} line?) is there to tell the world who I am/I am here; in a structurally different way to the fashion in which non lgbt people announce{Oh dear, I used the “announce” it word:P} their heterosexuality by dint of their constant references to (obviously opposite sex) partners/spouses/children; because we are often hidden, we have to “promulgate” (yeah, LET US promote it !!!:):)). So, I want it out (or “out”!) there, including my writing (by a gay man, lgbt content or not; it is a BIG-yes, big{deal with it!} part of me). That said, exhibiting myself thus, as a gay man, CAN, sometimes (oftimes?) be dangerous, in physical or psychological ways {another post or 100} so a safe space/forum is needed to express myself, sans fear/reality of judgement, marginalisaton or-every gay man ‘s fave!- being accused of “shoving it{sic} down their/our throats”{!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!}. Hence, my friend and I set up the LGBT Creative Writing Group as just such a (successful!) safe space https://towardsutopia.wordpress.com/2015/05/27/freedom-written-on-forming-an-lgbtq-creative-writing-group-a-sort-of-poem-by-steven-benson/


In other words, writing in a jotter is lonely; as an lgbt person, in the closet, or in the wrong gender, it is, well: beyond words: annihilating. So, definitely, an extra need and urge in a member of a marginalized/invisibilized group, to publish… ” I am here; I am queer/gay; so I WILL publish(myself and my writings)”.


So, this is ANOTHER parallel thread in the tapestry of social construction/status angst versus(or, more accurately-and queerly- ATHWART) personal catharsis or self-expression.

There is something POWERFUL and reclamatory(of self and voice) in reading aloud in a supportive (but not without constructive feedback!) group :). Actually, even the lgbt safe space issue cannot be taken for granted: in a group co-run by an lgbt organisation and a non-specifically-lgbt one, the editor (from the non-lgbt-specific) organisation recommended I strike out my word “hetero-normative”!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I figure they worked out the layers of (homophobic) irony because they upheld my complaint and let me leave it in the published text (“Steps to Freedom”).

Of course, there is the stab against mortality thesis/argument: the privileging of writing (particularly getting it, in some form, published) over speaking/reading; like a relic , or, more positively, a trace or inheritance: sort of metaphorical reproductive futurism. I get this; and I FEEL some of it, personally.

The above has been quite freeform/freefall; and in that (anti}structure, there is a kind of effective  setting down of one’s complex, often contradictory thoughts/positionalities.

Freeform/”freeform” gives me a rhizome: the importance( or not) of “clear”/clear language, correct/”correct” punctuation; how much this matters to the reader and how much to the writer… which leads me, by a circular route, to:… getting it out there(or not), viz{archaically parlous useage} who is this, and my other writings, written FOR; is the style/format a barrier? It certainly isn’t to me, but then I am consuming my OWN creations; does it matter for the reader? which reader?Do I care? NO………


Posted in "Pride", alterity, Barthes, Birth of reader, Death of Author, ecriture cuir, gay, gay affirmative writing, gay archive, gay hermeneutics, gay literature, heteronormativity, parlous loftiness, queer, queer hermeneutics, Queer wrting, Re-envisionning, safer spaces(guidelines), safety for marginalised groups, Self-actualisation, Uncategorized, Utopia, working outside hegemonies | 3 Comments


{Catalyst: “Heterosexuality” (ed Hanscombe and Humphries, GMP, 1987).}

Imagine the following world:

  1. the dominant, prevalent sexual orientation was lesbian, gay and bisexual
  2. NON lgb people had to occlude their orientation because it was illegal/discriminated against/socially frowned upon.
  3. Straight people had to dig deep to find their own world hidden amongst the dominant homo/bi sexual discourse, be it in the world at large, literature, art et al.
  4. LGB people said that straight people’s need to, “repeatedly bang on about” their sexual orientation was tedious/(even) oppressive to them; it marginalised THEM. I hope you get the point…. If not, think carefully, long and hard….To say the above four points is neither more nor less oppressive than to say it,as has historically and societally occurred, to lgb people(A separate piece on trans people will follow because the issues are of gender identity; and cis as hegemony as opposed to trans as minoritarian. But there are some parallels.)

I  have written , here, about Queer/Gay hermeneutics https://towardsutopia.wordpress.com/2017/09/29/gayqueer-hermeneutics-barriers-and-transformations-by-steven-benson/

Though the latter post tries to wrest positives out of the difficulties and oppression, it is written, primarily, from a defensive position of constantly having to unearth queer/gay/trans subtexts from APPARENTLY(used advisedly!) heterosexual/cis texts.

Again, I won’t point out, overtly-thrust it in your face:P{irony!}- what this CURRENT/NOW post is doing/trying to do……. If you don’t receive the message , via irony(and, ok, some light sarcasm:P), then, again, you need to examine yourself…..

“Their can’t POSSIBLY{outraged emphasis!} be a straight sub/parallel text in this very definitely and categorically lgb(ONLY) novel/poem; “you are always imposing your agenda”(straight rights); “class is the most important oppression not straight rights”. Again, I hope you get my drift…..

Of course, you don’t fight oppression by utilising (reversed) oppression: I am aware of that I, like the old GMP book, am trying to walk a very narrow tightrope… but the point needs making: to make non lgbt people think; SOME of them anyway(not our fabulous allies). And,as detailed in previous posts on this blog: I, Steve, have PERSONALLY been on the receiving end of   at least two of the above three aggressive remarks.(The “Philosophy” group, the Continuing Education class et al).

I am trying to construct and inhabit a world were I have more chance of being FREE from these types of comments: impossible in a homophobic/transphobic(to varying degrees) world, I know. But I don’t want the latter anymore. I want a level playing field for lgbt people: level with that of straight people. So, then, in that scenario,an ironic, slightly snarky double-take exercise in reversal would NOT be necessary. But I aver, as things still(largely) stand, it is…


Regarding hermeneutics(principally, interpretation of texts), in particular: I really cannot be bothered to do an exegesis on, eg, a work of literature, for a queer meta/parallel/”sub”{how that word says it all: cf subaltern=inferior} take. Well, that’s me making this very point: I actually ENJOY it, usually; it is not unanalogous to detective work (currently reading “Magpie Murders”!); it is necessary, from a historicist and reparative (in true, non-bastardized sense of recuperative) sense; as I have also often written. It is rewarding to re-gay and re-queer and re-trans these works, dug in the deep earth of compulsory heterosexuality and cis-normativity. It is also tiring. Interestingly-and there is a segue here- someone said to me, after attending a wonderful LGBT History day, that, whilst they really enjoyed it, it left them with a sense of being overwhelmed because of the constant struggle for lgbt recognition and rights . LGBT history is notoriously difficult to garner the wider community of lgbt people’s interest: for complex psychological and identarianism reasons around internalised homo/transphobia and the need to re-invent-and dwell in a (more) equal world. The aporia is that the (lgbt)past MADE our present and future; and, if we are not vigilant, things will return to former horrors{Trump’s U.S being a current scary exemplar).

So, just for now, I should like to put on one side the valiant and necessary work of lgbt historians/literary critics and Queer Theorists, and pretend we ARE in an equal world, where “debates”, like tonight’s on “Newsnight”(ineffably ironically chaired by a gay man), do NOT happen: disingenuous arguments that liberal identity politics has been a “strategic” mistake(at least arguably so); because, in their terms, it has led to the resurgence of, at worst, the “alt-right”, and, at best, a re-alignment to class-politics-should-be back-at- the-top-of-the -oppression ladder (it most definitely should be there; but EQUAL to-rather than obscuring/conquering sexism ,racism, ableism and homo/trans probia; cf with Corbyn’s intersectional rainbow coalition of marginalised/oppressed groups working together; cf Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners). So we gays and women- by their “argument”- should be less “self-obsessed” and have sublimated our struggles to the greater good(whatever that is….)…..

Nor, of course, should lgbt struggles trump{no pun intended} everyone else’s : just be equally recognised…..

So, thank you to those GMP writers of 30 years ago, for planting this seed… and to my friend who is writing on Queer hermeneutics,as do I sometimes:). Here is to a world of TRUE equality, where we do not jostle; but we WORK TOGETHER….


Posted in "Pride", alterity, ecriture cuir, gay, gay affirmative writing, gay hermeneutics, gay literature, heteronormativity, intersectionality, Jeremy Corbyn, Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners(LGSM), Miners Strike, Phenomenology, queer, queer hermeneutics, queer theory, Queer wrting, Re-envisionning, reader response theory, revolution, Self-actualisation, Uncategorized, Utopia, working outside hegemonies | 1 Comment



Hotel liminal

Hotel du Lac

Hotel de la Spinster

Hotel Brookner.

Anita Brookner’s protagonists LIVE in hotels; women (occasionally men) of “private means”, they can afford to, economically that is. Psychologically, they inhabit the inner (psychogeographically mirrored by the OUTER{hotel} carapace) space of the spectral self, wandering and waiting… what for?: the man {IS it a man; or is it a woman?}to rescue them from their liminal “spinster” state… he/she comes but he/she goes. This is their self-fulfilling melancholic fate.

Visually, I think “Last Year at Marienbad”(Resnais); the invisibilized gay couple, Ambros and Cosmo(Sebald “The Emmigrants”), the Flying Dutchmen, fated to linger, forever, in the interminable hinterlands of (semi) desuetudinous (spa) hotels, gambling their selves and lives away, as society (as it does with the Brookner women) invisibilizes and chameleonizes them (as the abject subjects which were homosexual men of the era); the Deauville hotel(Sebald, again; semi-defunct hotels are a recurring, dark motif) sinking gradually into the sand, “transformed” into apartments (cf Zetland hotel at the eerie half-built Durham “resort” of Saltburn-by -the- Sea);the former Great Eastern hotel (now Almaz) at Liverpool St station, where both the sebaldian narrator and myself sojourned, when it was half shut off, and next to the empty shell of the remnants of Broad St station.

Dereliction, a sort of antique subtopia; a motorway through (a) life which is unstable, unfixed, in-between and apart(and thus queer, in its wider sense, of difference/non-hegemonic); a world where you move BETWEEN identities, you MEDIATE your selfhood, at odds with society’s straightjacketing norms and policing (cf a a hospital in this sense).

Conversely, hotels can be safe(r) spaces, from the hotel of the body we temporarily inhabit (if it is problematic); from the systemic longeurs of the NHS {I write this in the middle of the worst January crisis yet, and as a user of crumbling, overstretched and under-resourced services}; from the incompetences of Sanctuary{sic} housing association. My bookshop stories, obviously, to an extent, inhabit these places and spaces, eg https://towardsutopia.wordpress.com/2017/04/20/bookshop-stories-part-2-re-invention-a-meditation-by-steven-benson/

They are a place APART from place, inner and outer; they are sanctuaries in the true (not the bastardized, bankrupt “sanctuary” housing association) sense; retreats; havens. Cafés (“Café”))have/has always been metaphorical hotels and sanctums for me; though, like the actual hotel, they can be insecure and transitory (“Greendays” got new owners and was not the same again). My (current ) favourite café becomes a gay/queer café (space) once a month for 90 minutes, hewn out of the hard rock of heteronormativity.

Ryder, in Ishiguro’s mesmeric “The Unconsoled”(1997, a classic spectre of a book about many things, including dementia, alienation, lostness, a hotel space in itself; he also LIVES in hotels) constantly chases himself and others’ expectations of himself(as we all do, looking for meanings and self-definitions in this absurdist existence). Fritz-a scary, unlikeable character (not that that matters; it is fiction)-in Reve’s absurdist, dark work “The Evenings”(translation), 1947, is in a peripatetic wander around a Dutch city, aimlessly attempting to fill the evenings(the days do not exist as he has a meaningless job where he LITERALLY pushes paper about!); his life is a hotel, as he briefly and repeatedly(in that merry-go-round that is insecure hotel life, and existence itself) sojourns with friends, is unpleasant for the sake of it, and comments, phlegmatically, on his parents’ moribund relationship. His temporal body disgusts him (especially his anus). In fact, the whole absurdist/existential lit tradition of Camus et al is a development of the hotel (life is transitory and meaningless, so let us create our OWN individual/collective meanings, even if they are sublimated, recherché hotel/”hotel” life).

This subject, like the ailing Grand Hotel in Scarborough, (https://decayetude.wordpress.com/2012/05/05/a-photo-collection-of-abandoned-and-decaying-buildings/)

is endless in its labyrinthine passageways, its metaphorical arcades of faded glitz (of language, as much as of hotel content);so much so that Koestenbaum(as do I, in this fragment)relates the hotel symbol to more or less tout le monde……


Posted in alterity, blurred captures, Cafe, cafes, ecriture cuir, Hauntology, heteronormativity, Hotel, life mirrors art, other, parlous loftiness, Phenomenology, psychogeography, queer, Queer wrting, Quirky captures, Rememberances, safer spaces(guidelines), safety for marginalised groups, Sebald, Self-actualisation, SPECTRAL PSYCHOGEOGRAPHY, Stream-of-consciousness, uncanny other, Uncategorized, working outside hegemonies | 1 Comment


He cycled, wearily,  towards the Club, unaware/undiagnosed. He felt like willpower(alone) was forcing the pedals around. (One night he just could not hack it, and sat in a surreal subtopian McDonalds near Ancoats, throwing a sickie; the carapace of the artificial bubble of the fast food outlet gave some sort of {fake} security).

The Club was starting to fail. After being one of Manchester’s premier trendy gay clubs, the levers of capitalism were sinking it towards a state of semi-desuetude; and- to mix metaphors-the metronome of the pink market economy was ticking remorselessly on, in its constant searching to move on, from minims to quavers. Boy George coming.. and charging the earth( for two songs!) didn’t help . (He remembered  always parking his bike in the tiny “dressingroom” and being-summarily-asked to remove it for the jumped-up singer)

When he first got a job in the club( after an endless tramp round Manchester, for work, which would have done the protagonist of Butor’s “Passing Time proud),he was, uncharacteristically, cocky: he announced to the queans that he had been a barman,thereby instantly raising their hackles and he was relegated to humble glasses-collector; and later: what was perceived(at least) as the lowliest of the lowly: cloakroom attendant.

He had undiagnosed M.E; and was drinking vast quantities of Lucozade(cheap Superdrug variety) just (barely) to function. Short-term memory loss, caused by prolonged exhaustion, caused him, one night, to mix up two punters’ coats(one was expensive leather!). He was nearly sacked, being warned he was lucky to be kept on as this wasn’t “Social Services”.

The Club was frequented(often) by attitude-ridden types( he lived with one of them, a supercilious pretty boy). Gosh, it made the Liverpool scene (Sadie’s, Jody’s et al) seem a hot-bed of friendliness and kindness. There was one single perk: the only decent bar staffer was the kindest AND the cutest(sadly, he had a bf!)….

He thought back: how DID he work in the Casa (erstwhile {in}famous Casablanca Club) and this so-called premier club in Mancs?. What a different world to civilised lgbt groups, now, back in Liverpool. It felt unreal; another world…It had seemed depersonalisation incarnate even at the time he did it…

He felt bored of this subject and era (Manchester September 1989 to March 1991); it was horrific. I{stress} felt bored. I CAN write in the third person; but don’t really enjoy it. What is “creative writing”? what is “fiction”; what is “life” but-to some degree or other-inventing our own tales about ourselves?{Discuss:P}Third person insulates you from painful memories.


There is little to be gained by escaping a painful present into a (differently) painful past…but part of me WANTS to re-capture the oddness and surreality of this nasty life-phase……


Posted in a la recherche Benjamin gay queer archive assembalge, alterity, blurred captures, Cafe, ecriture cuir, gay, gay archive, gay hermeneutics, Hauntology, other, Phenomenology, psychogeography, psychogeography urban life village life village in the city, queer, queer geography, Queer wrting, Quirky captures, Rememberances, SPECTRAL PSYCHOGEOGRAPHY, Stream-of-consciousness, uncanny other, Uncategorized | 1 Comment


3 a.m: Anson Road, Manchester, 1990: all night (taxi) café…comfort chips…. making flapjacks till 5 am.

“Get off that floor to collect some glasses. Why did you give the wrong coat out?Your heart is in the right place but you have no common sense”……

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New beginnings can be at ANY time not just January. I like to space self re-invention over the year(sometimes I physiologically NEED to!).

Poem? Steam-of-consciousness? ok: mixed genre…

Here are my self re-alignments(in historical order); then some future ones…And, perhaps, this is of limited interest to others but yet, I hope, it may serve as some kind of (adaptable) template…

TECHTONIC PLATES( the interfaces and shifts of self-reinvention):

  1. health (issues)
  2. Coming to terms with the world coming to terms with me being an openly gay man (mainly). Cf this https://towardsutopia.wordpress.com/2017/09/29/gayqueer-hermeneutics-barriers-and-transformations-by-steven-benson/ and this: https://towardsutopia.wordpress.com/2017/09/08/the-lgbt-diaspora-by-steven-benson/ and this: https://towardsutopia.wordpress.com/2017/08/25/institutions-for-merseyside-lgbt-creative-writing-group-mixed-genre-by-steven-benson/ You get the gist.
  3. Money: aka living in a predominantly failing/scapegoating -the poor-capitalist society.
  4. Politics: micro and macro. see 3.
  5. Mediating my love of Corbyn and his policies with people who cannot stand him. see 4.
  6. Housing. “Sanctuary{sic} Housing”.


1.Tortured, repressed gay teenager

2. (Sublimated) partial self re-invention: talk like a Radio 3 Announcer: even posh is more acceptable than being gay in this school. A re-directed way of expressing difference

3. More sublimation and self-occlusion (self UNre-invention) at Uni: into academia, this time; 12 hours per day unremitting study. Result:nervous breakdown, vallium addiction. Thanks, heterosexist society….

4. temporarily breaking free, in last year at Aber: painful love for (repressed gay? NOT ANOTHER ONE) Catholic man; then back to the closet for two years then

5. FREEDOM FOR REAL in tail-end of 1984 (Your own place is crucial   https://towardsutopia.wordpress.com/2017/06/28/for-pride-story-writing-group-steps-to-freedompauls-gay-start-in-life-reflections-by-steven-benson/

So I transformed into an out gay man, with a strong network of gay male (and straight female) friends, a father figure:Armistead’s “Logical Family”:( I would have struggled to do it sans them!); a more-than-accepting(after a short while) fab mum; all in an era of AIDS (untreatable-with concomitant massive stigma- and, shortly afterwards, Thatcher’s evil Section 28). Oh how we NEED this supportive role-model lgbt culture, failings and all; it is rich, nourishing and essential (deny it as “stereotyping” tho we sometimes do). Oh and a Gay Centre (could do with that now).

6. Career:Flew too high too soon; didn’t see the whole of the moon. Yuk. Manager. Victim of Victim Support scheme: closet queans x 2. Shite job anyway. The only gay in the village at Liverpool Age Concern… “I am Steve and I am gay” at the Greenbank Project…I like to call it my “Jeremy phase”, helping others, though, like him (and my lovely mum) I did not always help myself; middle class philanthropism is frowned on nowadays, but I am proud I WAS a middleclass philanthropist.

7. M.E plus second nervous breakdown.. amidst moving to and living in Manchester, a mainly unpleasant experience (of which some fictional renditions later:)).

8. Back to Liverpool and (re) settling amongst nice friends; and my felt-right PROPER career (albeit unpaid) at the Citizens Advice Bureau in Toxteth: Advisor, Guidance Tutor, Guidance Co-Ordinator, eventually prototype regional trainer. Proud of that: it felt right:). I miss the C.A.B (:

{I haven’t even got to the present and the future!….} You get the picture, however: be it conscious, semi-conscious or UNconscious, this changing of the skin, into a new creature that can survive (and sometimes thrive) pace the exigencies of poor health and other factors is re-born and re-born and re-born….

So, what OF the FUTURE: a medical interregnum(I hope shortlived) hies upon me; but that is a mere hiatus:

financial survival

Maintenance (and growth) of the lgbt groups I set up nearly 6 years ago(well, two of them anyway; the third-for which I write this piece- is of recenter provenance but proving no less successful)

Living in my stylish(if I say it myself:P), and selfstyled flat- social housing, dear!-beautiful as it is, despite the “issues” (polite word) around “Sanctuary Housing Association), a flat with a view (currently mediated by scaffolding!)

Maintaining and developing current friendships and adding new ones

Working on my relationship

Continuing archiving my gay/queer library

Continuing to visit bookshop havens; and to read and write



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