THE guide to the whole gay, lesbian and bisexual scene in Scotland.
Ian Dunn is Dead
Pic: Ian enjoying the opening of his Stonewall Café
Ian Campbell Dunn - 1st May 1943 - 10th March 1998
Dun-Dèagh - castration
Dun Eideann - a new voice
Glaschu - ghettoisation
Inbhir Nis - the vibrating cucumber
Obair Dheadhain - pic frenzy
Boxes - the Meet Market!
Venues - what and where
Talk of castration was one of the options being considered as the formerly gay nightclub Blundertek cancelled the International Women's Week disco with only seven days to go. Chief Librarian Bugsy Malone feels he did nothing wrong and promptly booked in some hard house/techno DJs in the hope that straight people might not notice how cold it was.
Laughter all round as the lesbigay community read English paper Boyz' report on Dundee. The issue which reported on the three bars and two nightclubs which are all supposed to be full to capacity and "really jumping" arrived in Dundee on a weekend that the aforementioned club turned straight and the other venues were quieter than usual. Crawling to venue owners to get a slice of their advertising budget is industry standard, but misreporting is not.
Our community in Tayside continues to grow and become more confident. The most important thing as we strive for more acceptance is that we do it with good humour, no militancy and a large helping of democracy. Fortunately my comments about the Menzieshill Mincers was laughed at by those with even a hint of humour.
Bar XS is running a quiz night on Mondays and if you get 100% correct you win the jackpot which increases ten quid each week someone doesn't win. Currently at £50, the 'rollover' has a limit of £100 and they promise to make the questions a bit easier. I might try that. Classic gay favourite Bingo (as they say) is on Tuesdays and it's a rumour or fact they bought a bleedin' karaoke machine. But apologies to my critic of last month as I can't pretend karaoke is a "positive aspect".
Liberty Nightclub had a PA by ICON but I don't remember what they sang as the feedback on the sound system spoilt it. My wimmin friends drooled over the female dancers. Also spotted with the group by my much older sister was Tony Cochrane, who along with Gwen, his Missus, ran our former gay club Beez Neez. Nice to see current venues working with the former scene.
Scene queers were queueing up for the slinky silvery catsuits worn by promo girls from Snapshotz one Friday recently. More drinks promos are in the pipeline with some Italiany orange drink at Easter but can't remember its name.
Dundee Outreach Team is 3 on Sunday 29th March and following the huge success of their first show held another cabaret in Liberty. Rehearsals are underway and prima donnas being made. There is talk of karaoke hosted by Jimmy McGinger (he of the "number one" pub) now he is a good singer.
Not so many down from Aberdeen these days. Is it icy roads or has the scene got better? Brilliant scene in Glasgow these days, my recent visit made the harrowing job interview more bearable. I can almost hear the Dundee venues breathe a sigh of relief. Perhaps I could write about the Glasgow venues that Minerva has been barred from - it's always better to remain anonymous my dear. Just the same as the columnists in the Dundee Queerier!
In Edinburgh spring is in the air and a new scene reviewer takes ScotsGay's helm and yanks it sideways. But what new can be said about top spot CC Blooms? It's a meet market right enough. Upstairs we're treated to the frequent din of Karaoke. If you're into such noise the best time is Sunday evening. It can be a giggle - but be prepared to be abused if you get up on stage! Down stairs it's dark, loud and smoky. Passive smoke ago-go in CC's. But the dance floor's down here and if you're into happy housey chart type guff - this place is for you. Friday and Saturday nights after midnight are the busiest and best times to be here. Tuesdays go retro and can be fun - check out those sling backs! And keep an eye out for frequent special events,
If CC's ain't your idea of a good time, check out the plethora of one nighters doing the rounds. Bent is a good bet with Tachno's Trendy Wendy and Joy's Maggie. The music's housey, and the atmosphere's funky. Upstairs Mr Guy Christmas goes retro with some truly terrible Forth AM playlist tunes. But do go for a vada in the touchy up feely room. Oh yes. Open 11pm - 3am it costs £5 before midnight and £7 after. Bent's at the Shooting Gallery intermittently. Call 0410 467 2551 for more information.
Joy, with travelling DJs Alan and Maggie (again), is still going strong. Very mixed as ever, you'll be rubbing shoulders with flamboyant hetties who are there to party - not to cop off. Joy is my favourite night out in Edinburgh - and if you're a serious clubber you won't do any better. The doors open at 10pm and they throw you out at 3am. To get in you part with £6 before 11pm and £8 after. Members save £1. It runs every fourth Saturday at Wilkie House, Cowgate, and you should call 0131-467 2551 for details.
So away from the one nighters and into the pubs. Route 66 is chirpy cheerful with happy sexy staff. The bar is less expensive than the other venues and the air is breathable. This is the place to meet, drink and chat before the short trek up the street to CC's. For the staff, the bar prices, the decor, and the general atmosphere, Route 66 is Edinburgh's premier gay bar. Open 7 days - busy at weekends.
Elsewhere - the Stag and Turret could be any local pub. Placed outside the gay triangle, it's a great place to get away from the crowd. Endless coffee refills are forthcoming if that's your poison. Also out of the way is The Newtown Bar. An old favourite., with a good selection of keg beer - many people have forgotten this place exists! Check it out downstairs if you dare! Caters for a slightly oder crowd.
Back in the triangle is Caf Kudos, probably the most expensive gay bar in the capital. It gets busy at night, but Kudos is at its best during the day. If the weather is good, sit in the sun, drink pots of tea and watch the boys go by. It's like sitting outside in Manchester's gay village (minus the canal). The food's good, but a little pricey. The staff are always helpful - even if they look like lost actors looking for a Levi's ad.
The Blue Moon is another great place to eat in Edinburgh. The food is good, not too expensive, and the staff have sped up the service too. Award for bar person of the year (and every other year) goes to Ian. Simply the kindest, most helpful, smiliest person in the world! Ever! (- with added dress sense...)
Another year. A new caf. Since the Blue Moon vacated the Lesbigay centre on Broughton St., no less than four proprietors have come and gone. Yours truly's The Edge lasted longest totting up fourteen months of trade. Volker and Frank's Caf Streuselkuchen went almost as soon as it came due to licensing problems as did the late Ian Dunn's Stonewall Caf. Then, at the end of last year, NEXUS appeared. Finally the centre has a caf you can depend upon. The least expensive of all the gay eateries, the selection's good and tasty. The place to eat in Edinburgh. Tell them ScotsGay sent you!
4pm. Well, I've finally managed to prise myself out of bed, promising never to touch alcohol again. Sound familiar does it? Anyway, time to gather up all the flyers, bits of paper and other assorted scribblings, and get this month's column written.
At last the scene is getting back to normal after the post-Christmas lull - seems to take longer each year, but most places seem to be back to their old levels, and it's business as usual.
Once again, the scene has been reduced to only two clubs (and neither of them are 7-day/3am venues) with the closure of Flamingos. Despite choosing the worst possible time of year to open, I had hoped more of you would have supported it, but it seems like too many of you are just too bloody lazy to get out of the Pink Ghetto and support those venues that are a little further out of the City Centre. Shortly after the closure of Squires, I predicted that Austins would be the next place to have problems in getting the trade. Well, it seems that I was right. The scene's not supporting it as much as before, and the boss is now looking at getting another bar nearer the Virginia/Glassford Street area. It's easy to see that this knock-on-effect has also reached Sadies, which has also been getting steadily quieter for a few months now, and more than half the evening trading period is a happy hour. OK, these are fine for pulling in the punters during the quiet times, but it's a bit worrying when they start getting longer and longer. Opening up Sappho's as a games room seems to have helped a bit, and hopefully might help stem the drift towards the Gay Ghetto. Although there is now the possibility of another club opening in the city centre, I think it's time the scene started to think about whether it's really in their interests to desert the pubs further away from the Pink Triangle, just because they can't be bothered to walk a few hundred yards further along the road. Remember this next time you get refused entry at the Poo or Bennets, just because it's your turn to make up the "Knock-Back" quota. I've had a lot of complaints about this recently, and it's going to get worse, as more people are told "Sorry - not tonight. Come back another time". Like, when it's quiet and they really need your money. It's funny how all this "image and attitude" bullshit has changed over the years, and people like me, who've looked like a dog's breakfast for years, are suddenly considered to be "fashionable" - Scary or what?
Stella has decided to change things around a bit down at Tin Pan Alley, with the club music night now getting moved to Tuesday and Monday being re-launched as "The Handbag Factory". The idea is to give all you disco dollies a break from the harder clubby stuff you've been force-fed over the weekend, and strut your funky stuff to all the poofy old classics that currently go down so well on Tuesdays just now. The long-awaited refurb is still in the pipeline, but I really wish Tin Pans would get their finger out as far as the running of the bars is concerned, bloody awful state of affairs!! Every week, there's confusion about prices, bars running out of change, stock and glasses. Come on guys, it's been like this for months now, shows no sign of improving and is pissing off a lot of people. Get it sorted out!! And as for £1.20 for a can of coke, how come that's only 5p less than a pint of lager?? Only costs £6 a bloody case of the stuff from the wholesaler after all!! Overall, though, Tin Pans is getting back on its feet after the post-Christmas lull, and the Handbag night should soon be moving back upstairs again. Stella is also currently negotiating for another club night in a different venue but he's not telling me anything more at the moment, until things are definite!
Interesting to see that Cruise columnist Ms Davenport was complaining about the crap service in Delmonicas last issue. Who does she thing she is, expecting prompt, efficient, friendly service?? This is a King venue after all, mind you even Dels would have a long way to go to match the defunct Club X, where shit-awful service seemed to be part of the mission-statement. And while we're on the subject, certain members of staff round in the Poo could be reminded that "Any person using offensive language to the annoyance of others in licensed premises shall be guilty of an offence" - LSA 1976. It's not clever, especially when the place is quiet, and the suits and ladies who do lunch can overhear the on- and off-duty staff discussing last night's shag!!
Would somebody in the GGLC please get rid of all the old flyers and leaflets for club nights and stuff that are no longer running? I spoke to somebody about this before, but there's still stuff lying around for events that stopped months ago!!
Snippets: Spoken to quite a few people recently who've been saying that they miss the Waterloo echoing to the screams of "Shag a lassie!!" now that Ms Hutton's not shrieking her tits off seven nights a week!! -+- The shrub removal over in Queen's Park seems to have stopped (not a lot left). This little exercise, which has left the top of the hill looking as though the council has been out with the Agent Orange, seems to have pissed off quite a few cruisers who had moved to the south side due to the increasing presence of Mr. Plod over in Kelvingrove Park -+- Recently a lot of the bars have decided to get the paint out and do a bit of decorating, with Austins, Tin Pans, Sadies and the psychedelic bogs in the Poo all getting a going-over. Amazing what a quick touch-up will do (not that I can remember) -+- Seems like ex-Squires manageress has won her industrial tribunal, and got a nice little cheque for two grand - nice one!! -+- I see Tom (Daily Record) Brown has been taking a swipe at lesbians and Jodie Foster for wanting to become mothers. Can't help but feel that the old fossil would do more good by having a go at all those straight bastards we keep reading about in the papers who make for worse parents than any of the lesbians with sprogs that I know -+- It finally looks as though the ridiculous 1am curfew is about to be changed or scrapped altogether. About time too!! With all the CCTV cameras we've got all over the place, and Plod stopping and searching people in the street, I don't really see the point of it any more, and it really pisses me off to go into a club, find it's dead, and you can't go anywhere else, coz you won't get in!! -+- All you Sauna Queens will be glad to know that Centurion's gym equipment has now arrived and should be installed shortly. Also, over at the Lane, the sunbed has now arrived and they've also reduced the entry price for those of you who don't want to hire a cabin.
Right, that's all for this month - see you next issue!
Hello there folks. Well for the second time this year I find myself writing this column whilst on the train heading towards Edinburgh and the bright lights, however this is a more sombre occasion than the last, for today is perhaps the final chapter on a part of Scottish gay history, for today we say a fond and sad farewell to our friend, colleague, mentor and brother-in-arms, Ian Dunn. Much has been said about this dedicated and dare I say occasionally controversial man, and no doubt much more will be said, suffice to say that what equality and rights we do have as lesbians, gays and bisexuals, not to mention the transgender community, is perhaps in no small way down to him. Thank you St. Ian - you were a blessing.
So what's been happening in the far-flung frozen North? Well, speaking to "Peter" of the Moray Switchboard, he informs me that a highly successful cheese and wine party was held recently with (despite severe weather) a great turnout of 31 folk from all over the Highlands & Moray (just goes to show that even the weather can't keep a good queen down!!). The event was held in aid of the switchboard and an excellent £144 was raised to help them carry on their vital service. Highlights of the evening included an alternative Pass the Parcel with... wait for it... a vibrating Cucumber!! (I'm not sure I want to know more, besides, I've searched the fruit and veg aisle in Safeway and have not been able to find one... any ideas Gus??). Peter has reminded me to let you all know that the pub nite at the Cat's Whiskers in Elgin has now gone fortnightly, and continues to be a success with members averaging around the forty folk mark.
Recently I've been tottering along to the Station Hotel in Inverness to pay homage to the infamous and affectionately named Clashmore Knitting Circle, who meet Mon to Fri around 15:30pm in the bar/foyer area of the Hotel. It consists of a group of ladz of various ages who meet for coffee and a chat. Anything in excess of 12 ladz can turn up, to have coffee, gossip and a laugh. Their frivolous agenda is as follows:
Monday - Knitting Partners
Tuesday - Quiche Recipes
Wednesday - Household Hints (what to do with a feather duster and 101 uses for a tin of Pledge)
Thursday - Bargain Basement
Friday - Store Detective Recognition, followed by Practical!!
The ladz are very friendly and new quiche recipes and crochet tips are always welcome!
Read Miss Paula Ivyson's comments in her latest edition of Gay Scotland. Good coverage of the RoH Ball I thought, and thanks for mentioning me and my little... notebook. Tell me Paula, you know what they say about some men and why they drive Big Cars, is the same true about those who use Big Cameras? (oops sorry Paul did I spell your names wrong, tut tut, silly me - your name-spelling capabilities must have rubbed off on me !!!)
Met Bill Walker (ex-Conservative MP) at a recent TV debate, and from what I saw of him I reckon he drives a Big Car too!
My apologies to Out & About, the North's lesbian group, for not using material from the copy of their newsletter they recently so kindly gave me - please do keep me informed of any activities you are doing that you wish to publicise.
That's about it for now folks, and remember, if you feel like Chicken Tonight - then contact Gus coz he could do with some as well.
Oor Gussie is taking a short break, so it falls to me to cast an eye over the Aberdeen Scene.
The opening of Club 2000 has spread the scene out again, but as both venues have free entry, it seems that the same people wander between the two establishments in search of something different.
A recent Friday night visit showed Castro and Club 2000 reasonably bustling and produced the following photos (including a tired and emotional Gus!).
ScotsGay Main Index
Boxes | Venues
© 1998 ScotsGay Magazine