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Pic: Belle of the St. Valentine's Ball
Venues - what and where
Dun-Dèagh - is it or isn't it?
Dun Eideann - capital stuff
Glaschu - toblerone man
Inbhir Nis - the valentine ceilidh
Obair Dheadhain - exclusive/inclusive
Boxes - the Meet Market!
Is it or is it not open? The troubled new venue Bloody Heck closes when they feel like it despite having decorated their windows with opening hours. Boss Andrea is telling friends she has sold it and it is advertising house music nights on posters across town. Multiple errors led to it failing to attract its target crowd ensuring that the existing venue survives the second challenge to it in as many years. A door entry change to £15.00 allowed those who could afford it to drink free pints and nips in an effort to warm up the venue. Ambulance crews who attended the inevitable fights were not so warm.
The Deva refurb has not yet started so perhaps it will be in March. The pub, still owned by Karen, is managed by Kerry who makes the place a lot more welcoming. Still keeping a good number of mixed clientele during the day, the evenings are a bit quieter except for karaoke on Wednesdays.
Bar XS appears to lose out on Wednesdays to Deva's Karaoke but is getting busier at other times. Quizzes, Bingo, drinks promos are attracting people, but mainly later in the evening. They stopped opening daytime due to lack of customers on Saturdays many have questioned whether 6 or 7 weekends was a long enough trial period. Recently the owner was spotted flying down the spiral staircase (haven't we all) to recover the bar's GQ magazine from a chicken who kept it thinking it was "free" despite the cover price of almost three quid. Probably he is so used to getting the quality magazine "ScotsGay" for nothing he thought all good things in life were free - not so young man, not so!
Congrats to Dundee Outreach Team who made a brilliant Valentine's Night at Liberty with their message passing service. For just twenty pence you could pass a love message anonymously and many were. Happy shags were had that night and the novel passion pouches which contained condoms and lube were put to good use.
Pride Scotland is in Glasgay this year and DOT are planning to run a bus again from Dundee. It's a reasonably cheap way to get there and back (if you come back) and hopefully it will be nice weather this year. Still some doubt as to whether Virgin are providing a dance tent so Liberty's DJ 'BP' doesn't know if he's on or not. Some brave souls are thinking of having a Dundee Pride - we don't know if that's on or not. My natural wish to live will preclude one from marching along the High Street shouting "We're queer and we're here" or similar. The Hilltoon Huns & Douglas Shams need little excuse to batter the shit out of the Menzieshill Mincers!
Liberty is busier with the successful XS opening - even on the quieter nights. They seemed little troubled by the rise and fall of Bibliotek - as they predicted!
Highlight of the month was the successful ceilidh ball held by Switchboard in the Assembly Rooms. Kilts galore and snogging on the stairs - with a packed house full of dykes and pooves (plus a few of our straight friends just to show how tolerant we can be!).
At the ball, I bumped into Jean Reid who tells me that her proposed gay complex has come unstuck due to problems with landlords. It was supposed to have featured a Health Club, a Night Club and a Gay Men's Sauna. Shame, but you can't win them all.
The recent spate of queerbashings in Edinburgh led to major coverage in the straight press, but what hasn't helped has been the suggestion that a "gay vigilante force" would start patrolling the hill. Stuff and nonsense - but just about what you'd expect from the Evening News who can't quite work out if gays are good, bad or even read the newspaper!
It's almost time for Mr Gay UK again, when the small but perfectly formed Terry George packs his toothbrush and takes to the road for a month - this year with a film crew in tow! The Edinburgh heat is on Thursday 5th of March in CC's (Glasgow's chance is on the following night in Bennets). If you want to enter, the number to call is 0870 1200 600. And may the best man win!
Up the road in Dunfermline, Jamie at the Cellar Club tells me that what started as a one nighter and expanded to include a pub night as well has been so successful that it's changing its name and going totally gay from 6th March. The place will be called Club Xs (apparently Brian in Dundee is taking this as a compliment). This is a first for Fife and, as it is set in a quiet street with plenty of parking right outside the club, it makes it the perfect venue for anyone worried about being seen going into a gay bar - something us Big City Lads often forget is important to some people. There will always be security on the door and inside the club for members' safety. Free membership can be obtained in the club (or the pub upstairs) in person or by dropping them a letter.
Back in Edinburgh, just space to remind you that JOY's March 7th bash at Wilkie House will feature guest DJ Dave Randall from Chug N Bump records. JOY aficionados will recognise Dave's tunes instantly from constant airing at the club. He also appeared at the JOY Gender Bender Weekender in May last year so it's about time he popped up again.
Catch you next month when I'll be talking again about people of whom R Donaldson of Dalkeith has never heard!
A well, time for ScotsGay's Glasgow writerist to get his pile of drivel into the mud-shacks of my international fans, so, in the words of the Divine David (Coverdale), "Here I go again".
February - the worst month of the year as far as the licenced trade is concerned, so I wisnae expecting tae huv an awfy lot tae write aboot this issue. However, you'll be glad to know it's not been too quiet. This year's Gay Ball attracted a record crowd, we got landed with all the usual St Valentine's Day crap that all you soppy queens love and, even worse, Friday 13th theme parties! How eighties! "Scary" cocktails, bar staff in fancy dress, and slosh around some tomato sauce to add to the "atmosphere". Yeah, right! And I thought all this theme night bollox died out fifteen years ago! It was naff then, it's even naffer now. Actually, do you know why bars make up "special" cocktails for theSE nights? It's usually to get rid of all the stock that's been delivered by mistake. You know the kind of thing: somebody orders a bottle of something obscure, a whole case of it gets delivered in error and it lies around the cellar until it's too late to send it back, so somebody decides, "Hey, let's have a theme party and get rid of all the crap that's lying around gathering dust!". I once had to do this with a case of Green Chartreuse and one of Benedictine. It was a beach party, so we served it up in scooped out pineapples, charged a fortune and shifted the lot! Tasted absolutely fucking awful, but throw in some fruit and umberellas and the bimbos will fall for it every time! Maybe that's why I think theme nights are crap, but if you've ever had to scoop out 200 bloody pineapples, you'd probably agree.
Anyway, since my last outpourings, the scene has lost one venue and gained another. Penelopes finally lost the Pink Pound after pissing the punters about over the festive period. Charging people to get in to what was supposed to be a free night and letting all those rat arsed bloody straights in didn't go down too well with the Janets who promptly finished their drinks when the fighting started and buggered off to Tin Pan Alley! No sympathy for them, they chanced their luck and fucked up big time! DJ Boff was getting the run-around too, and has now left the club, but all you Abba fans can still catch him doing his 70's and 80's handbag stuff down at the Waterloo on Saturdays.
The Lane sauna opened late last month and is currently open 1-10pm every day. Although they're still waiting on getting the steam room and sunbeds fitted, the sauna, video lounge and private cabins are fully operational and free tea/coffee and soft drinks are available. I just wish I'd remembered to take my toolkit with me on my visit, 'coz us headbangers need a small engineering workshop to get our jewellery off (and out), and the combination of hot ironmongery and my long hair was making it uncomfortable to stay in for more than a few minutes. Maybe all you sheep with your Number One crops have the right idea! Meanwhile, over at the Centurion Health Club, Gordon, Alex and Derek have been dreaming up new ideas and promos to keep all you sauna fans happy. The gym equipment will probably have arrived by the time you read this - for which there's no extra charge, sunbeds are currently on special offer and they're giving out free breakfasts, soup and rolls. The Saturday all nighters are proving increasingly popular and the club has now brought out a loyalty card to give cheap entry to regular customers.
Now you've probably all seen the stuff in the press about the Polo and Bennets winning their Boyz awards, but what's this story about it being the first time that any of them have been awarded North of the Border? I'm afraid not! The first Boyz award to go to a Scottish club was actually made in 1994! And I should know, 'cos I was the first Scottish club owner to get one! Sorry to burst your bubble, King and Gibson sisters, but it's nice to see you following in my footsteps.
I see we've now got another two gossip columnists on the loose with the appearance of Cruise magazine. Should be interesting to see if we all end up slagging off the same places and people which generally used to be the case when other mags were on the go. I see that one of the Cruisers in Residence, Ms Hutton, is as critical as I am of the piss-elegant Merchant City queens. I think the right term is "fur coat and nae knickers". Well, ruff trade like what I is may not have the fur coat, but at least I wear knickers - they keep my ankles warm (I wish!). Oh, by the way Betty, if a Merchant City queen tells you she's in PR it actually means they stand in Argyle Street handing out leaflets for Burger King and the ones who tell you they're in retail merchandising really mean they're a ShopJanet!
Flamingos (What do you mean, I've drunk all the Furstenberg?) have just had a few good acts up recently including Toy Boy who did some interesting things with fruit and vegetables. Not that there's anything wrong with shagging vegetables: you should see some of the trade I've had recently! Sassy Stryker also appeared and spent a fair chunk of her act slagging off Dels, where she seemed to have had a bad experience. Hopefully, now that January and February are over, the club should start picking up as Chris has some more acts lined up for March. I've always thought it a pity that so many sheep on the scene are too bloody lazy to walk a little bit further out of the Pink Triange, prefering instead to pay higher prices, put up with the arbitary dress codes that depend on who's on the door and whether it's a quiet night or not. And don't forget to kiss the bouncer's arse on the way in - this hows that you've got the 'right' attitude.
The South Side Sluts are having a right old moan just now about all the tree-felling that's going on 'up the hill'. The park-keepers have been cutting back the foliage and digging up the bushes that so many cruisers know and love. Bloody marvelous, isn't it? The Council Tax is going up, services are getting cut, but they've still got enough dosh to go chopping bushes down to spoil things for those who like their trade 'al fresco'. And for those of you out cruising for a shag, avoid the path up from the duck pond 'cos it's arse deep in mud and you'll break your neck - you can't have a good shrub-trembler if you're in plaster!
The Bear's Club had a good turn-out for their Valentine's Day disco with over 40 fur fanatics coming from as far afield as Edinburgh and Dublin. Organiser Robert was very pleased about how the night went and asks me to pass on thanks to Des and Robert for doing the catering. Further Bear's Club meetings will be held in the Court Bar on the second Saturday of the month at 8.45 and the date of the Mr Bear UK contest will be announced shortly.
Well, that's about it, so I'd better get this off to the Great Bald One for publication. But finally - PLEASE, no more comments about me looking like Jon Bon Jovi, Taylor Hanson, Joey Tempest or Jennifer Ariston. We don't ALL want to look the same as everyone else with a nice fake designer shirt, ShopJanet haircut and Caterpillar boots!
Keep on rockin!
Hi there folks, how are you all?
Way back last year a Scot abroad namely "Roy" e-mailed me at ScotsGay HQ. Roy is an ex-Invernessian, now living in America. He was surprised to hear about "the scene" up here, and asked to find out more, so details were duly e-mailed back. Roy said he would be returning home to visit his parents in Feb 98 and wanted to be shown round and meet some of the gay locals. Well, I'm happy to report that this has now happened, and a pleasant night was had by all last Wednesday. It just goes to show you what can be done!!
Well now, ROH. Their by now highly successful Valentine's Ceilidh on Friday the 13th Feb was a very well attended and successful occasion with in excess of 150 folk attending from all over including some strange places, including Birmingham, Yorkshire, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Wick (not to mention Ullapool (sorry Jackie!)). The clean, foxy, hygienic (plucked and moisturised) Highland looking young Miss Ronald graced us with his presence and the newest "couple" in Inverness, Ian and Dan, were there too, looking very good together. Good luck, Ladz. Many groups were represented, including Highland Gay Men's Group, Highland YGG, Out + About Lesbian Group, Moray Group and the Highland T Group - though the attendance of the latter was down on last year - but speaking to Julia, my contact with the T Group, she assures me all is well with the group and they continue to enjoy events and group meetings together.
Had my first meeting with Out + About at the event and was impressed with their obvious passion and spirit. However, I did get left with the feeling that if you happened to be younger than them or have different experiences then your opinion was worthless. I hope I'm wrong, but that was the impression I was given. I also met some of the Girlz from Moray and what a lovely, warm friendly crowd they are. I'll be in touch, Girlz!
So, all in all a highly successful evening and, as usual, full marks to the staff at Reach Out, also sincere thanks to the owners and staff of the Station Hotel for their friendly and efficient service. I wish there were more 'friendly' establishments like them. Also, before I finish, it was good to experience the co-operation between reporters at this event. Apart from myself, the gorgeous Andrew from the Moray Gazette was there and also the slightly less gorgeous but definitely more infamous Paul Ivison of Gay Scotland was there too!! (Nice to see you again Paul) (Claws away, John!).
Well, that's it for now, except to say that there's been no writ or summons to Court for defamation from Gussie yet!! Besides, it's true, so it can't be defamatory!
Take care, folks.
Hi Y'all, how's it goin'? Well, the time has come once more for my monthly ramblings again! Unfortunately, it's time to jump onto my new soap box (CalMac jumped up and down so much on my last one that he broke the bloody thing!). Y'know, the one thing I hate in this world is homophobia. Don't we all, but imagine walking into a nightclub, somewhere like the Ministry or Zuu, or even Amadeus. Then imagine being told that because you're gay, you're not allowed in. Then imagine how you'd feel. Angry? Upset? Depressed? Well, imagine that the shoe is on the other foot, and it's a straight guy, perfectly open-minded and willing to accept people for who they are, walking into a gay club. Would you like to be in the same situation, where someone walks into a pub or club and gets told that they shouldn't come in simply because their sexual orientation isn't the same as most of the other people in the place? It's pretty ridiculous, isn't it? The other night I observed a similar situation. Some poor straight guy, who used to frequent a couple of gay venues, walked in and was more or less told that he wasn't welcome. What the hell are we striving for here? A gay ghetto, or equality? We're not going to achieve the latter unless we accept other people for who they are, in the same way that we want to be appreciated in the same way. Anyway, that's just my little thought for the day.
So, what's going on in Aberdeen then? Well, quite a lot compared to what's been happening in recent months. After the announcement that a new gay venue was to open in Aberdeen, Castro promptly closed for a week and had a redecoration exercise. It was quite tasteful I thought. It looks a lot brighter, and the upstairs bar actually looks a lot bigger. However, the paint was still tacky on the opening night, and much of it has since flaked off as a result, including that on the floor tiles downstairs. Having said that, the changes certainly do make the place look a lot better, and the kitchen utensils on the ceiling downstairs are a nice touch too!!
Club 2000 opened on the 6th of February, as planned. As I walked in, I didn't really know what to expect, but what I saw was a lot better. Although the venue itself is fairly small, and doesn't really rank alongside bigger nightclubs, the somewhat plush decor does make for a fairly relaxing atmosphere. The first night featured a free bar, and though I'd love to report on that a little more, I did end up somewhat worse for wear towards the end of the night. At first, the drinks prices, and the daily fiver entry fee seemed a little bit prohibitive, but changes have been made to both. It's now free to get in every night of the week, except Friday and Saturday, and it costs £3 between 11pm and 12am, and £4 after midnight. At the time of writing, the entry fee was being dropped for one week. Entertainment is promised on a regular basis, with regular cabaret on the agenda. Bottled beer prices have been reduced to £2, and spirits prices have been reduced accordingly. A nice place to visit, and the competition can only be good for the scene in Aberdeen. One other change has been made to the opening hours. As of Monday 23rd February, the opening hours will be 9pm until 2am.
So, there's a little more there to digest than normal, so I shall let you get on with it. Hopefully things will continue to look up for our scene. At the end of the day, the more choice there is, the better, so please people, support both venues and we'll keep them. Right, I've got to go away to work now, so take care and have fun. Don't do anything I wouldn't do!
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