The mid 1980s was an intense time to come out. AIDS – Dont Die Of Ignorance was the slogan accompanied by eerily lit shots of gravestones on TV. Gay men out on the scene were enmeshed in a confusing, heavy mix of lust and fear, we were not necessarily so nice to each other as a result. I took risks sexually every time I found a man with whom I shared feelings of love. My first boyfriend back in London was 13 years older than me, a previously married guy with two young children in Newcastle (I even went to meet them once). We were soon having sex without condoms. Things turned nasty with him – he was very jealous, but I was new to gay life, and irrepressibly flirtatious and sexually curious. Our relationship ended in a fit of jealous rage, he painting graffiti all over my room above the Wood Green Wimpy burger cafe and I calling the police to get him thrown out. They would not intervene in our domestic fight of course, but their appearance was enough to make him leave.

chapter continues in the book….



In August 1990 I took a month off to go around Europe on an Inter Rail ticket with a great friend, Tim Dutton, whom I had got to know while working at the Black Cap. We travelled through Germany to Austria and Hungary, checking out the sights and the gay scene wherever we stopped – Cologne, Nuremburg, Salzburg, Vienna. In Budapest we visited a country just opening to western ways, with its first gay club recently open, tucked away invisibly in a suburban street. We came back through Italy and the south of France before parting company for a while. I went on to Barcelona and Ibiza, spending a week in Ibiza town, loving days on the beach and nights out socialising and cruising in the bars and Anfora disco. As a music lover I was keen to also experience something of the big Ibiza nightclubs, but my one visit to Ku appalled me. There was little atmosphere, it was massively overpriced, and in the toilets I witnessed gangs of pilled up straight lads being noisily homophobic. I felt safer with the queers, even if the music was sometimes a bit too cheesy for my liking!

Somewhere there in Ibiza I hit a low of loneliness and confusion about my life. I remember walking along the beach on a downer, wandering aimlessly and feeling weak. Suddenly I felt the presence of my soul, and I knew something. I knew I was HIV+. I just saw it, clear and certain. I knew I had to return to London and face facts. On the way I met up with Tim again in Paris, and we finished our journey in Amsterdam – visiting bars and saunas in these cities confirmed the feeling of soul loneliness in me, and convinced me my life had to change.

chapter continues in the book….


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