1990-92: The social linchpin years.

I’ve been feeling listless, melancholy and generally out of sorts today. These photos – none of which I’ve looked at in several years – cheered me up a bit, in a wistful sort of way. In particular, I had forgotten just how young I looked for my age, for a brief spell in my late 20s and early 30s. Still, that painting had to come down from the attic some time.


London Pride, Jubilee Gardens, 1990. The chap on the far left is Grocerina, who first introduced me to K. The chap next to him was his partner for ten years – they got together two weeks after K and I became a couple, and the four of us held a joint 10th anniversary party in 1995. He moved to New Zealand with his new partner in the late 1990s. The chap standing next to me wrote the UK’s biggest selling single of 2000.


Oh God, white denim. And beaded “ethnic” baseball caps. (That one came from Camden Market, and I was very attached.) O tempora, o mores.

A picnic excursion to Calke Abbey. We flew kites, and someone played wildly inappropriate grunge music on a ghetto blaster. The lady next to me was our lodger for a couple of years, during which time she met her future husband. The two of them acted as witnesses for our civil partnership registration in April.


Back in those days, the Derbyshire Peak District was a place to wander about in for a couple of hours on a Sunday afternoon. Any longer than that, and I started getting city withdrawal symptoms, longing for the womb-like embrace of the buildings and the cheering glare of the street lights. In this picture, I defy all known medical science by giving birth, feet first.


Our New Kids On The Block tribute act never really got off the ground…


Stumbling towards the North Norfolk coast, somewhere in the vicinity of Burnham Overy Staithe, in whose windmill we were sojourning.


Such innocent pleasures. The hardcore all-night clubbing phase had yet to kick in…


Photos of people dancing are great, aren’t they? Inside the aforementioned windmill, nearing the apex of one of the most gleefully debauched weekends that any of us had ever enjoyed. (We booked the same windmill a year later and tried to repeat the experience, but it wasn’t quite the same.)


Adored and explored. A-hum. Every dog has its day.


A friend brought me back this Keith Haring T-shirt from New York; I think it was printed especially for that year’s Pride parade. Naturally, I treated it with the reverence normally reserved for holy relics.


London Pride, 1991. Photo taken by Chig, who scribbled a caption on the back: “I always flare my nostrils when I’m having a w@nk…”


Chig’s caption: “Yes, you in the shades, there is a camera pointing in your direction!”

Next to it in the photo album, there’s a “candid” long-lens photo of a shirtless hunk, who is revealed to be deliberately sucking his stomach in. Oh, how we giggled. The cruelty of youth, etc. I’d scan it and upload it, but the photo doesn’t have ME in it, so what would be the point.


I was about to say: Chig looks even younger than I do. But then, he was. And still is, for that matter.

I do miss the home-made charm of those older Pride festivals. Not a sponsor’s logo in sight.


Yes, I know what you’re thinking. But there’s a perfectly innocent explanation!

Chig had been cast as a gay dad-to-be with a penchant for rubber wear, in a Birmingham “community drama project” or some such frippery. The wardrobe department had duly sanctioned the purchase of a singlet and shorts from the local Clone Zone, and Chig had come over to Nottingham to “get into the role”, method-style, down at our local club. (That would have been Nero’s on Saint James Street, then.)

Naturally, an early evening photo-shoot ensued – and naturally, I couldn’t resist squeezing myself into the gear, and having a mini-prance round the living room…


…and pretending to be K’s trashy trade, in another shocking mis-representation of our power dynamic. Oh yes.


My “Mogwai” dance was legendary, and here’s a rare sighting.

Compare and contrast with the distinguished “man of letters” figure that I cut today…

nep-blurbt nep-portraitt

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