All this talk of Freshers week has dredged up a few things in my head. Mainly my thoughts have turned to just how ridiculously young I was when I left home. I was seventeen. Not that young you think? No? Well, I was younger than today’s seventeen year olds precisely because of these two facts:
Fact One: I was seventeen in the Eighties,
Fact Two: I was seventeen in a small country village.
I knew nothing of the world. I particularly did not know gay. Gay wasn’t a thing. Not in my little corner of existence. Or if it was it was John Inman or Larry Grayson. Or maybe that bloke out of Give Us a Clue. I dunno, I never, in all honesty, ever really thought about it. Except to defend the honour of Nick Rhodes, keyboard player of Duran Duran, when my brother would bait me by questioning his sexual orientation. For Nick and I were to be married and I would not hear malicious gossip about my intended.
I was one of those folk who thought that Boy George was a girl for a good few weeks before someone had to tell me.* And although the eighties was all about that whole gender bending thing, I never really sat down and thought it had much to do with bottoms. Yes, we had Frankie Goes to Hollywood, but that theatrical gay stuff all seemed so far removed from my life. Yes, I knew what gay was, but it all seemed to happen somewhere else. In leather. And with make-up. In Liverpool mostly. (Girl gayness didn’t really occur until there was a storyline in Brookside. Again, Liverpool: None of my business).
Goings on in Liverpool: none of my business**
I was not and never have been homophobic. But I was homo-clueless. I was gayblivious.
If I did know anyone who was gay, it wasn’t apparent. Turns out quite a few folk I knew at school are gay. In fact, one lad I actually kind of went out with once or twice is now gay. He maybe turned after going out with me. Who knows? Gay men, think of him as my gift to you. He was quite the looker. Ah isn’t it always the way? Not that I would have known that then.
So, off I went to Uni with my twee country ways and my lack of knowledge of anything other than German verb conjugation and the history of the chart positions of Depeche Mode. I roomed with a similarly clueless country lass, who is still my buddy (and who appeared on the Misssives, much to my delight, to comment on the last post). This fellow country wench relied on her older sister, who was two years ahead of us in Uni, to give us the heads up on what was cool and what was not. A mistake, as it turned out. For she was evil.
Two weeks into our time together, we asked the aforementioned sister for advice on where to go in Glasgow of an evening for a night out. Our first trip out of University-land into actual Glasgow. The unsaid, but quite apparent, undertone to our request was that there must be a chance of meeting fit blokes. For although clueless, we were, after all, still seventeen.
And did the besom not send us directly to Glasgow’s Premier Gay Nightclub?
Yes she did.
And did she mention that her recommendation was in fact, Glasgow’s Premier Gay Nightclub?
No, she flippin’ well didn’t.
Next part in the story here.
*Right, hands up the blokes who saw George on telly that first time and thought he was a bit of alright? C’mon, every lad did. You all thought he was a girlie! Fess up!
**Yes, that's Anna Friel. She's dead famous now.