“The Queers Will Go To The Queer Spaces” (with Chris Pureka)

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There’s a really interesting conversation in this week’s episode about the ‘we’re all in this together’ mentality that queers in small towns have, supporting queer spaces even if they don’t particularly enjoy the music or the events held there.  

And, to show us the way is singer/songwriter Chris Pureka, who took time from promoting their new EP, The Longest Year, to talk all about Diva’s, the only queer bar in the small college town of Northampton, Massachusetts.

In our chat we talk all about post-university uncertainty, the loss of mass-cultural milestones, and how truly terrible they think that the original The L Word tv show was…

Chris Pureka  00:00

I don’t want to be talked to in a public restroom like ever by anybody. Especially not like straight ladies telling me that I’m in the wrong restroom.

K Anderson  00:12

Hey, hello, I am K Anderson and you are listening to lost spaces, the podcast that mourns the death of queer nightlife. Now every episode, I talk to a different person about a venue from their past, the memories that they created there, and the people that they used to know. This week’s conversation has got me thinking a lot about small town queer bars and how at one time, they were the only place that you could go to and so it didn’t matter if you didn’t like the music, it didn’t matter. If you didn’t like the vibes, you just kind of had to suck it up and go along, because that was the only space that you could access and how that’s not really the case anymore. But I’m getting ahead of myself. So let me introduce the venue we’re talking about and our guest. We are headed to the small college town of Northampton, Massachusetts, to visit divas nightclub, which closed in 2016, after 15 years in business, and it’s also the second venue with the name diva in it this year, which is trend, a trend I’m spotting a trend to show us the way singer songwriter Chris Pierre Rica, who took time from promoting their new EP the longest year to talk all about Post University uncertainty. What am I going to do with my life, the loss of mass media and shared cultural milestones, and how truly terrible they think the original L word TV show was. Chris moved to Northampton in the early noughties, after a big career break in doing a three month cross US tour with the folk poet Alex Olson and started a new job got dumped and wrote a breakup album so you know, good times. But it was in divas that they were able to connect with their community, meet new people and try out cheesy pickup lines, which we’re gonna hear more about, let’s get into it.

Chris Pureka  02:44

Within like a couple of weeks of being there, I got broken up with. And so I was like moving to a new place. I didn’t know anybody. And then my girlfriend broke up with me. And so I was like, okay, like, I’m really like on my own right now.

K Anderson  02:58

The sequence of events is you moved there, and then you got done.

Chris Pureka  03:02

Yeah, like, really quick.

K Anderson  03:04

What’s the requirements? She would come there to?

Chris Pureka  03:07

Um, no, that was I mean, that’s the thing. Like there wasn’t really a plan. So it was kind of like, she moved back home to Minneapolis. And it there wasn’t really like a long game. So, I mean, it was probably like a thing that was gonna happen anyway, but I didn’t think it was gonna happen right then. At all. I was really blindsided by it. Yeah.

K Anderson  03:29

Um, so you’re okay. You’ve just told me that you didn’t really have a plan. And I’m gonna ask your question, what your plan was just to go with me? Yeah. So your plan in terms of being a singer songwriter, being a musician? What was kind of going through your head at that time when you just moved to Northampton?

Chris Pureka  03:50

Yeah, so I, I moved to Northampton. For this job that we mentioned, which was not a not a music job. I got a job. at Smith College in the biology department. I worked in a microbiology lab, which were professor who was a great, he was great. I loved the job, honestly. And I was in charge of kind of like, managing the lab and managing the like undergrads a little bit and training them a little and like keeping the lab like flowing and

K Anderson  04:25

and how clean was your lab cart?

Chris Pureka  04:29

We didn’t wear lab coats that often. I know. A little more casual.

K Anderson  04:36

Have a pen protector in your pocket. Now. We were shattered my image but

Chris Pureka  04:42

there were there were lots of petri dishes do you like that? said

K Anderson  04:48

that’s a Bunsen burner. Yeah,

Chris Pureka  04:50

there’s some of that there’s a you know microscopes.

K Anderson  04:59

Take So, yeah, anyway,

Chris Pureka  05:02

yeah. So, so I got so that was my plan, you know, that was the plan was like, I’m gonna do this biology job and, but I was like also planning on you know, you know, immediately kind of started playing open mics in the area and getting my start in music in that way to build

K Anderson  05:19

right so in your head was music like the plan or was music something but you also did

Chris Pureka  05:26

neither of those things it was like I was like really passionate about both of those things. And I was just like, I want to see what happens with everything. You know, at that point that’s like pretty much how I felt. I think I hadn’t even I made an EP before I went on that that first tour. But I hadn’t made my first like proper studio album yet. I basically like wrote all those songs, right, right then. And I was I wrote my whole first album. It’s like a total breakup album. And I wrote it. Like during the first year or two that I lived in Northampton.

K Anderson  05:59

Lots of long, lonely nights on your own. Yeah, wonderful inspiration.

Chris Pureka  06:05

Yeah. With no with no friends and nowhere to nowhere to be just kind of just going to be home here with my guitar. Yeah.

K Anderson  06:16

That sounds like living the dream. And so with that, then did you consciously try and get out and meet people?

Chris Pureka  06:26

Did I just I mean, I guess I did. So because I worked at the college, that Smith College. And I had gone to Wesleyan, which is like just an hour away. And I had a really close friend that had gone Smith. And so there, there was a lot of overlap kind of with the school. And I knew some people that were in younger classes, but I didn’t know anybody very well. But I would like to see people out and be like, oh, like we’ve met, like, I know you through blah. So there was like a little bit of that. Yeah, I would try to meet people. I ended up you know, meeting one of my best friends and closest musical collaborators, like at the time, just like a really random house party. And we were both like the weird introverts that wanted to play guitar in the corner. So we just like hit it off.

K Anderson  07:14

And Hardy, did you

Chris Pureka  07:15

it wasn’t like a ranger party. It was just like, now someone had a guitar. So we were like, Oh, do you know this one, like, let’s play this cover song or whatever. It was really kind of cute. We still talk about it. Yeah, that’s my friend, Sebastian Renfield. And he actually plays something or sings on something on all of my recordings to this day. So he’s just like, been my longest collaborator, and even on this most recent EP that came out and in December, he sings on it. So yeah.

K Anderson  07:51

And so like when you’re a singer, songwriter, and, or like just a musician in general. And you think about the scene, often times, you’re not thinking about the queer scene, you’re thinking about the music scene? Yeah. Where did you gravitate?

Chris Pureka  08:09

Um, there was there was both things. You know, I think, like, one of the first shows I played in Northampton, was like, at this random coffee shop called java net. So, so early 2000s. And, and it would be like, a whole bunch of like, queers worked there. And so like, I like knew the people. It wasn’t like a queer coffee shop, but it was like, a lot of queer people hung out there. And Sebastian work there for a while, and like a bunch of other people that I knew. And so I ended up playing like a weird show, and like, their basement. So there was like, that overlap, you know. And then, because I like, kind of got my start, like opening for Alex, that was like a very gay audience. And so like, what, like, whatever handful of fans I had made, where we’re all going to be queer. You know, that was like, kind of where I started my fan base. But, you know, there there were two different scenes, though. And yeah. Like, there wasn’t like, there wasn’t like a queer music venue in town. But there was, there was a club,

K Anderson  09:24

club club. Wonderful name. So this is not necessarily a fully formed question in my head. So I’m going to wrap it on. But when you’re used to that musician, scene, and you’re used to going to like live music and like bars, sometimes it can be a bit jarring to go on the queer scene and not be any of the things that you’re used to. Was it Yeah, was it like that for you? Or was it just a nice Was it nice variety?

Chris Pureka  09:58

No. No, I mean, yeah, you mean that? That’s 100%? Yeah, I am also mostly an introvert and I don’t like to dance. And I like folk music. So, like, going to a nightclub is like pretty out there for me. But that kind of leads us to the whole, like, you know, if you build it, they will come.

K Anderson  10:26

Which is like, what do you mean?

Chris Pureka  10:29

Like the queers will go to the queer spaces. Like there’s not, there wasn’t like another option. There wasn’t like, oh, but there’s this really chill bar. That’s also like a queer place, you know, like, it was, it wasn’t a big town wasn’t a big city. And we didn’t have we didn’t have a version of a queer scene. That was, that was like a bar. So I’ll do it now. So when we just we just we go to the club. You know,

K Anderson  10:54

it’s really interesting to hear you say that? Because you’re an introvert. Do you struggle more in the nightclub scene? Because as someone who identifies as an introvert myself, I like the fact that the music is so loud that no one can talk to me.

Chris Pureka  11:12

Interesting, yeah. Okay. Whereas when

K Anderson  11:14

you’re in a bar, everyone’s like, Hey, let me sit with you. And you’re like, ah,

Chris Pureka  11:21

yeah, that’s really interesting. I mean, I think I get I’m like, just, I’m also like, highly sensitive. And so it’s like, overstimulating, I think the club thing. I’m just kind of like, it’s like, overwhelming. And like, I mean, that can be like fun, too. I’m not like saying, like, I never like that thing. It’s just like, I’m like happiest like in a one on one conversation that’s like, really deep and like, connect it. And this is Lincoln connecting. So like, once you’re just kind of like, I don’t know, this anonymous, or? I don’t know. I mean, like, I can get into that too. But I think probably the biggest factor there’s that I don’t like to dance. Like I never was a dance person.

K Anderson  12:06

Not even like standing on the side and shimmying. I mean, there might be a little

Chris Pureka  12:11


K Anderson  12:16

That’s interesting.

Chris Pureka  12:17

Like, there’s some definitely some foot tapping, you know, but like, it’s not. I’m not gonna, like be out there. Like, kind of getting wild. That’s never been this thing.

K Anderson  12:27

And so I’m not like, I’m not trying to convert you or anything in anything that I’m about to say. But have you ever just gone and like, danced all night and then had that release?

Chris Pureka  12:38

You ever since like, no one’s watching.

K Anderson  12:44

Wasn’t that cheap? Yes, I was getting Oh,

Chris Pureka  12:47

man. I have actually yeah, I can. I can count probably on one hand. And that was worthwhile. Like, it’s not like, I don’t regret that. It’s fun.

K Anderson  13:00

I went dancing, and I didn’t regret it.

Chris Pureka  13:07

Yeah, yeah. I don’t know. It’s yeah. It’s interesting.

K Anderson  13:12

Is there like, a fear of being seen dancing and like looking like an idiot? Or is it Oh,

Chris Pureka  13:19

yeah, there’s that there’s like, I mean, I think for a long time, it felt like there’s something hard like, that was difficult, gender wise about it. You know, like, I think like, I didn’t know how to dance like, in my gender that I wanted to be or something or

K Anderson  13:35

because you hadn’t practice like practice is not the right word. But you have I mean, like,

Chris Pureka  13:39

my gender is basically like grandpa, so it’s sort of like how does grandpa dance

K Anderson  13:45

with a Zimmer frame? Yeah.

Chris Pureka  13:52

Okay, yeah. Yeah, I mean, I’m like, I kind of do the grandpa’s shuffle like I’m not like I don’t listen to a lot of music with like, heavy dance beats. I don’t know. I think if there was like a club that was like a dance night that was just like 90s music that I like, you know, like, alternative rock like nine. Or were the foxtrot? Yeah. But I don’t wanna I don’t know I think is a combo of like, yeah, not not super connecting with the music and then just kind of being like, this isn’t this isn’t my thing. But But yeah, I’m sure like, you know, in a different alternate universe. I could have like, been a star you know.

K Anderson  14:38

Your tap cheese? Oh, yeah. Like, and I’m making lots of assumptions in what kind of bar divas was but if I am correct in my assumptions, they probably played very awful. Dance pop music.

Chris Pureka  14:54

Yeah, the music

K Anderson  14:54

I mean, that’s not why you go right

Chris Pureka  14:56

now but I mean, at the time, like I don’t even know if I wouldn’t know I’m better honestly, like, there was still just kind of like a mainstream and like they were just playing mainstream music and like, you know, the things share shrubbery a little Shania Twain just for some variety

K Anderson  15:18

so like I said, rubbish music, this point that you’ve just made like there was a mainstream? Do you think there’s not a mainstream now?

Chris Pureka  15:25

I kind of like I almost don’t. But maybe that’s just like a weird, like, I don’t think it’s as strong.

K Anderson  15:31

We’ll see I’m struggling with this and whether it’s just like that I’m now old. And so I’ve just like not like none of it’s on my brain or or whether it is that like this this watering down of mass media and there is no, there is no mainstream I don’t I don’t know what the answer is.

Chris Pureka  15:52

Yeah, I don’t really know if that’s the right language to say protocol it but I think like there is this, like, there has been this shift where I think it used to be like you could talk about a band, and like everyone at least like know who you were talking about. And like, that’s not even, like, everyone’s the same two completely different things. Like, I find it difficult to connect kind of like I think I’m not like a fan. I certainly don’t write mainstream music. I’ve never been in the mainstream music industry in any way. But I do like having like, common grounds that we’re all like, kind of like experiencing a cultural thing together. And I miss I miss that I miss like having, whether it be shows that we’re watching or music we’re listening to, um, like, I feel like we’re all in our little like bubbles like watching and listening. And

K Anderson  16:43

yeah, yeah. I mean, I definitely agree with that in terms of music, but I think that there are still those shows that everyone seems to be watching.

Chris Pureka  16:53

There’s so many shows now, though. It’s, It’s bonkers. I’m like, it used to just be like the regular networks. And I mean, I’m not saying that was better options. Yeah. And so obviously, you just knew everyone had seen it at least once and either liked it or didn’t like it, you know, opinion, to offer? Yeah, there’s so many shows like I, I mean, I think like, I still talk to people about that. And I’ll be like, Oh, I like saw this really cool thing. And it’s interesting. There’s not like, there’s not like a focal reference point, like a central reference point for everybody anymore. Yeah.

K Anderson  17:28

The thing that I think is really interesting is how much this has exposed. How mass media controlled all of our film. And like, it used to be like, Okay, everyone, we’re moving on from disco now. Yeah, we’re into this. Now we’re into this. And everyone just went along with it. Yeah. And now it’s like, oh, no, I’m gonna keep listening to punk. I’m gonna stay over here. Myself. Yeah, that’s really fascinating.

Chris Pureka  17:56

Yeah, I mean, it’s obviously like, there’s obviously great, great benefits and like freedoms that have come from that. And I’m not like, I’m not like saying that. I’m just, it’s just different. And

K Anderson  18:09

you miss those cultural touch points. Yeah, we used to have in common.

Chris Pureka  18:13

Yeah. Like, I don’t even know how we would talk about like, right now, like, culturally, like, I don’t, I have no idea. But I’m also damn older, like, in the same way that you’re saying. So it could be that I’m like, a little, you know, little tuned out to like that stuff. But

K Anderson  18:29

anyway, so dancing, not your thing. Right. Yeah. But so then what would you do when you go to a club?

Chris Pureka  18:37

Well, you know, watch people watch and drink this. So divas. It was a I mean, I lived in Northampton for eight years. And so and then I guess I heard that the was closed in 2016. And before I saw it kind of evolved the whole time that I was there. They like opened up sections that were more like a bar and then they started having like L word nights. When the first season the first season was iteration, I guess that show us Yeah, yeah. Because now it’s on like the reboot or whatever. And the first time around L word. They would do like whatever Sunday nights, they would screen it, you know, and another time it was it was really expensive actually to like have a Showtime subscription, or Niven subscription or whatever it was called, I don’t even know to like have fancy like cable thing so let people go to that. And I mean, I didn’t really love i i can’t say that. I love the show at all. But it was a cultural moment. You’re

K Anderson  19:42

not going to tell me you’re a shame. Shame the hairdresser.

Chris Pureka  19:48

Yeah, she’s a hairdresser one. I mean, if I had to pick one, I guess Yeah, but I think that she was like, I mean, it’s it was so out there. It was like so unrelatable to me.

K Anderson  20:00

Really? I have to admit, I haven’t actually seen it. Good. Yeah, don’t watch it. Was it? Was it just trash?

Chris Pureka  20:07

Yeah, as a soap opera. I mean, it’s literally a soap opera. And it’s just like, so it’s so over the top with like, ridiculous drama. That’s like, it’s terrible. But it was it was special, though, because it was like, you know, I would at the time, it was a really big deal. And this, I mean, I think I was frustrated because I’m like, here we are with a finally like with a queer show, showing like queer women. And there’s like one supposedly, like Butch character. And she’s like, wearing makeup. Like, what’s happening? Like, this is so dumb. I mean, like, they didn’t have any, like, masculine of centre, like authentic kind of characters on the show whatsoever. And I found that frustrating. Like everyone on the show, except for the we don’t I don’t know, I don’t even want to go there about the the trans characters that they like, they attempted on that show. There wasn’t good. But there’s no focus on that. Yeah. But I mean, I don’t really I don’t have a positive thing to say. So if you’re waiting for the positive, I don’t know. I mean, the positive thing was, it was a first step, you know, and everything happens kind of incrementally like, that, was it? You know, we got that. And, I mean, I’m still kind of like, cool. Like, where are the kind of gender queer non binary characters on TV? It’s still pretty few and far between. I can name like, three of them.

K Anderson  21:37

So So recognising that they’ll word was a terrible TV show. You still went to these nights?

Chris Pureka  21:44

Yeah. 100%. Why? For the same reason that I went to divas, like beggars can’t be choosers. We will take your scraps, and we will love them. And

K Anderson  22:00

how do you navigate that? How are you the person that goes there and watches it with everyone, but then judges everyone who’s

Chris Pureka  22:08

No, I mean, it’s, it’s, I’m seeing in hindsight, like, and I’m sure there’s a lot of listeners to your show that are gonna be like, what the, what the bleep like, this is like, this is a great show, like people love this show. I mean, I’m not I’m opinionated. And that’s my opinion. But at the time, like, Yeah, I mean, what I will say it was, it was still like a really big deal. It still felt like visibility in this like, tiny way. And it felt like kind of, like chipping away at something, you know, the glacier, basically. And I still didn’t feel represented on the show, but I felt like a lot of my friends and peers felt represented, and that was big. And like, just having a, like, a, like a show that was featuring women was a big deal. I mean, it this is another example though, of like how, like cultural mainstream, like, you know, it kind of draws people together. It’s like, even if you don’t like it, you’re like, Okay, well, I’m gonna go in, and I’m gonna talk about what I don’t like about it. And it’s still like a connection piece and a community building piece, I think and, and that’s definitely what it was. And so yeah, I mean, but I also will say, I didn’t say like, I was like, going every single week or something. I went at some times, and, and I definitely went to some of the drag shows, that was something that was cool was that they did have some drag king nights, which is not super common. And so like, yeah, that was pretty, pretty great. But, you know, I think there was this kind of like, there was a community piece around the club. And it was, there was a actually way more my speed kind of place that was a queer bar closer to campus that shut down. Right when I moved to Northampton, so yeah,

K Anderson  23:54

so was it one of those situations where everyone’s like, Oh, if you were here last year, there was this really great bar?

Chris Pureka  24:01

Yes. Definitely. Like literally, literally, yes, there was this really great bar, and it shut down right before I moved to town. So that kind of like once that closed, I think, you know, we really just had divas. And I was still grateful to have that. That was still pretty, pretty cool to have. I mean, a lot of towns don’t have anything, you know, they don’t have spaces. So yeah, so yeah,

K Anderson  24:25

I think it’s interesting, too. I’m going to put my words on there. So please correct me if you disagree. I think it’s interesting when you’re accessing a space where you’re kind of ambivalent about this space, but you recognise why it’s a value to you. And you know, some of this is going to be a bit complicated by the fact that you’re looking back 20 years and so you’re projecting your like the way you currently view things on to this Yeah. But what was it like entering that space with that kind of feeling about it?

Chris Pureka  25:08

I mean, I don’t think our thought it very much. I was just like, happy to meet my friends. You know, I don’t there. It wasn’t like there was a super vibrant nightlife in Northampton. There wasn’t even another club. So there were actually a lot of street people that would go. Not like a lot, but that would happen. Like suddenly, you know, because there wasn’t really another place to go dance. Like I definitely remember. Yeah, trying to chat up a couple girls one time totally like, and they’re all like, oh, well, like my boyfriend and I was like, your what? Now? Your Hey, what? Like, what this is this divas? What are you doing? So yeah, but I mean, at the time I was I wasn’t really overthinking it. I was just kind of like, well, do I want to like be in a loud, a loud club tonight or not? And you know, but I did want to mention one other thing that was really cool. Which is that, like, I ended up meeting one of my best friends at the bar, which you know, you don’t it’s not really common to meet people at bars. I don’t think we like think that it is, you know,

K Anderson  26:11

because we’re like V because of mass media,

Chris Pureka  26:13

I guess. So I definitely have like this misconception that like you’re gonna like meet a date in a bar. And I think like you can meet a hookup and a bar, but I don’t think a lot of people like me. Maybe this isn’t maybe I’m actually like, I think maybe you’re going to disagree with me on this. Because I think like it’s I think it actually might be different in the men scene. I think that might be more of a thing. But I don’t I I’ve never met anyone I’ve like dated just like randomly stranger at a bar. And I’ve definitely like tried.

K Anderson  26:46

Wait, so where are we talking about friendship are we took

Chris Pureka  26:48

me about either way. But so what and the reason I brought it up is because I actually mean, like, I started talking to like a random kind of person, kind of like a friend of someone that I knew. And we ended up talking and we talked all night. And actually in this situation, actually, we did end up dating for a little bit. But we ended up being friends. And she’s still one of my best friends today.

K Anderson  27:09

But you think that most interactions you had in bars were more fleeting? And there was no, yeah, not even a kernel. I, I don’t know, I have never been good at making long term friends. So I think in bars and clubs, I had no problem making friends that I would be friends with for three months before, it fizzled out and went nowhere. So I don’t think I had a problem making friends. Maybe there is a problem making long term friends.

Chris Pureka  27:45

I mean, I think that’s what I mean is like, the deeper connection piece, like, I think it’s easy to like, make, like meet somebody that you’re like, Let’s go dancing again. Or, you know, but to like, actually meet someone that you’re like, gonna, like really deeply connect with. That’s like pretty rare.

K Anderson  28:01

I find the whole like the whole making friends. And like it becoming a friendship, the whole the whole all of the ingredients. There’s just really weird, like, you have to be intentional in your approach. You have to be like, oh, I want to spend more time with you. But you also have to not be like, super intense. Yeah, it kind of works best when you’re like, Oh, I could take or leave you as a friend. But also, I’m going to make this effort to come and see you. So it’s a bit honour. It’s a bit weird. Because the people that I’ve like ended up being good friends with I’ve never been like, oh my god, i i totally vibe with you. I really want to be your friend. It’s always just people who I’m like, Yeah, you’re you’re cool. Yeah. And all the ones that I get really enthusiastic about I end up chasing away. Okay.

Chris Pureka  28:52

Yeah, I mean, that’s, it’s a complicated formula. I don’t think I mean, maybe what I’m just describing is, it’s like hard to meet people that you deeply connect with in general. But I think like at a bar where it’s like loud, and you’re not necessarily like, Newton, maybe talking more small talk might be a little bit harder.

K Anderson  29:09

So, straight girls, and flirting. Yeah, so So okay, I don’t care about straight girls. Actually, I care about so you’ve you’ve already admitted that you tried to flirt with people? Yeah, sure. What’s your like? What? What’s your tactic?

Chris Pureka  29:26

I was such a one trick pony on that. I was like, always just be like, Hey, can I buy you a drink? Oh, like so I’m like, it’s an immediate like, you kind of have to talk to me for the next like four minutes while your drink comes. And then like if you’re not interested, you could just like walk away. It feels like a free drink. It feels kind of like fair to me. I’m like, I’m basically paying you for your next five minutes. And I mean, I had moderate success with that. But a couple a you

K Anderson  29:57

know, what’s your approach to conversation?

Chris Pureka  30:01

Yeah, I don’t know about that one. I mean, I can’t. I don’t know. It depends on the situation,

K Anderson  30:05

I guess. Okay. No tried and tested formula.

Chris Pureka  30:09

No, not a one trick pony on that. I mean, you know, it depends on out probably ask if they lived in town or you know where they’re from, or do you come here? Did you come here off? Classic Yeah.

K Anderson  30:28

Something I just love when people ask me that, like, Are you seriously asking me this? But you’ve been

Chris Pureka  30:33

asked that and yeah, definitely never free his life. Good Lord. No.

K Anderson  30:41

Do try it. Go out and try some experiments. See? But so you were always the instigator?

Chris Pureka  30:48

I don’t know. I think those are the ones that are memorable because they’re like a plucking. Yeah, you’re like, Oh, I’m gonna do this. I don’t know. It didn’t usually go very well. As I mentioned, I’ve never really met anyone that I did it that way. But. And then there’d be like, those awkward things like that, like, boy that one person with the boyfriend like that was I talked to her for like, 10 minutes before she was like, Oh, my boyfriend. And then it like it got even like funnier, because like his name was Chris. And then he was in jail. I don’t know. It was you very jail. And I was just at that point, I was like, How do I extract myself from this situation?

K Anderson  31:30

Yeah, I mean, that is not on for her not to let you know.

Chris Pureka  31:35

I don’t know. Honestly, like, who knows? Like, I feel like some people were just like, so clueless. They didn’t know that it was a queer club or anything. Yeah.

K Anderson  31:45

We need to, like make it socially acceptable to say, This isn’t going very well. I’m going to go.

Chris Pureka  31:51

Yeah. I mean, I think like, I have a version of that. That’s like, I’m gonna go to the bathroom. I have to peel it back and never come back. You know?

K Anderson  32:04

See, I always feel like that’s lying

Chris Pureka  32:06

are like, Oh, I see a friend across. I’m gonna go say hi, Jenny over there. Oh, God, you know, and then you like tap a stranger on the back. And

K Anderson  32:15

yeah, maybe I need to just get more comfortable with that kind of, because what I always end up doing is just like, I think I put the onus on them to be the one that says, Okay, I’m gonna go now. I should just be right.

Chris Pureka  32:30

Well, even when you’re not even when you’re done, and you’re like, bored and understood, yeah. Yeah, no, that’s just a waste of time.

K Anderson  32:40

Like, you know, when you just are not connecting, and they’re just looking like, Ah, yes. And you’re just like this. Oh, the world could just follow me up. This is just awful. I could make a cleaner car at that point. And just be like, Okay, bye. Yeah, yeah. Oh, I’m gonna practice saying goodbye to people.

Chris Pureka  33:02

I mean, back in the day, actually, like, probably for like a little bit. When I first moved Northampton. I was still a smoker. You know, and that was always like, the best excuse and I go smoke a cigarette. No one can argue with that. Unless like, they’re like, Oh, cool. Let me come to and then you’re like, shit, then you really enjoy? Yeah.

K Anderson  33:24

And you can’t make the excuse of not being able to hear them over the music when you’re outside smoking.

Chris Pureka  33:28

Yeah, that’s true. Oh, gosh. Yeah, a little more.

K Anderson  33:32

A little riskier. But it worked for you. So yeah,

Chris Pureka  33:35

I still miss smoking for that reason. For the like, excuse to like, go be alone for 10 minutes. I wish I could just like, use that I’d be like, I’m gonna be alone for whatever, whenever I want was glorious. I mean, for an introvert and glorious. Yeah.

K Anderson  33:56

Always this like a business idea. Creating a bar with like, private booths. And everyone would just go and have sex in there.

Chris Pureka  34:06

Yeah, that is like, that’s just like 100% What would happen?

K Anderson  34:10

I could you like have some kind of cone? Like, you know, had dogs have those cones when you’re trying to prevent them from biting themselves? Yeah. Put the cone on and just be on your own in this like 10 minutes. Everyone knows not to interrupt, Howard.

Chris Pureka  34:26

And that wouldn’t be awkward or at all.

K Anderson  34:30

No one can see your face. Okay, all right. Well, I will workshop this idea and get back to you. Okay.

Chris Pureka  34:37

I think it’d be better off like being Linus and just like bringing a blanket and putting it over my head or something. The blanket is like it can’t see like me at all. I could be anybody. The whole the whole drapery, but then it’s your invisibility cloak. You know?

K Anderson  34:54

It’s it’s kind of stifling, though isn’t out of its covering. With my code much more embarrassing, but you’ve got the fresh air. Yeah. Well, okay, so let’s get back onto divas. Sure. So it sounds as though you didn’t know that it is closed until we were gonna have.

Chris Pureka  35:17

Yeah, you were like, Oh, do you know any like, yeah. This time I was like, I don’t I actually was like, I don’t know, anywhere. And then I was like, I do.

K Anderson  35:27

So I normally ask, how did you respond when you felt found out that the venue was closing? But

Chris Pureka  35:32

yeah, it was. I was pretty bummed, actually. Oh, really? Yeah. Why is that? Yeah, I mean, for a lot of reasons. I mean, I get sad when like, the neighbourhood sushi restaurant closes like that, like, that one. Businesses don’t succeed, you know, I mean, but I feel like it was a gathering place. It was like a crew community building place. And it was kind of a place where I think Student Life and like town life could overlap pretty well. And yeah, but I did hear that just to like, put some positive spin on it. You know, I did hear that I have a couple friends that still live in Northampton. And I did hear that there’s like a new queer space in town. So that made me happy. I have never been there. And I don’t know what it’s called. But

K Anderson  36:18

shout out to that place. Yeah.

Chris Pureka  36:19

Yeah, everybody go on down.

K Anderson  36:30

Where we’re now entering into the extra cheesy portion of the interview. So strap in. What did divas teach you about yourself?

Chris Pureka  36:43

I’m not good at these questions. But I mean, I feel like I mean, I think there was a some confidence building, you know, it was like, it was a formative time. And I think that that place was one of several places that kind of, like helped me, you know, was like, kind of, like a weird coming of age space for me. And, yeah, and like a little bit of safety. I think, like, just having a crew space does, like, feel important. And basically just having a place where you feel like you belong, I grew up in a really conservative small town. And I felt like an outsider and like a weirdo, like, my whole life. And so I really, like needed that. I feel like it was really like, it was really like helpful for just my sense of self and my confidence and feeling like, like a worthy human in the world. And that way, I mean, that’s just like all crew spaces, I think and yeah, sense of belonging. Now I think that’s been that was like really hard to find growing up. And I think that that’s what like queer bars and Chris spaces have allowed for and continue hopefully to do.

K Anderson  37:53

Do you have any memories of divas or clubbing from your own cuisine that you want to share? Well, if you do, please get in touch. I want to create the biggest online record of people’s memories and stories of queer clubbing, go to LA spaces podcast.com and find the section share a lost space and tell me all about what it is you got up to. You can also find me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter as last spaces pod. Find out more about Chris at their website, Chris pure rica.com and make sure that you take the time to listen to their new EP, I can’t recommend these beautiful folk songs enough. Love spaces is not only a podcast, but a concept record as well. I have been writing songs about queer venues and the people who used to live their lives there and we’ll be releasing songs over the coming year. You can hear the first single which is called well groomed boys and is playing underneath my talking right this very second on all streaming platforms. If you liked this episode, I would really appreciate if you subscribed, left a review on your podcast platform of choice or just told people who you think might be interested in giving it away listen to I am K Anderson and you have been listening to lost spaces