Not all queer spaces are queer. Or, at least, exclusively queer…
In smaller towns and cities, where there isn’t the population to support a full-time queer bar, straight bars can fill the gap by hosting themed nights weekly or monthly, providing a much needed opportunity for local queers to meet and interact…
I caught up with Darryl Bullock, author of ‘David Bowie Made Me Gay: 100 Years of LGBT Music’ to talk about Crackers, a bar in the south western English town of Gloucester, which held a weekly gay night on Mondays in the late 80s.
Tantrums, smashed items and picking strange men up in phone boxes… It’s another episode of Lost Spaces!Transcript
Darryl W Bullock 00:00
It felt like your community. That’s kind of what it was it felt like you were you finally part of a community even if it was for five hours a day.
K Anderson 00:12
I am K Anderson and you are listening to lost spaces, a podcast that mourns the death of Korea nightlife. Every episode I talk to a different person about a venue from their past the memories they created there and the people that they used to know. Darrell Bullock is the writer of David Bowie made me gay, a book that celebrates 100 years of queer influence on popular music. He also hosts world’s worst records on w fmu and has showcased some fine fine tunes. From the likes of William Shatner and Florence Foster Jenkins. We caught up to talk about crackheads and otherwise straight bar in the southwestern English town of Gloucester, which held a weekly gay night on Mondays in the late 80s. The town close to the Welsh border has a population of around 130,000. And crackers was the only gay themed like for it, to surrounding towns.
Darryl W Bullock 01:43
Gloucester in the 80s in the 80s was pretty grim. Although to be honest with you, it’s even more grim now than it used to be. It’s you know, it was kind of I suppose it was something in the early Industrial Revolution kind of period, but it never really made it too much. It’s, it’s got a fantastic federal, really, really beautiful Cathedral that some listeners might recognise because it was used in all the Harry Potter films, the cloisters in the Harry Potter film posters used in the Harry Potter films, and the cathedrals beautiful the docks area has been done really nicely over the last couple of decades. But Gloucester itself is a bit of a ghost town to be honest. It’s the town centre used to be bustling, thriving, it cut the good markets, but But these days, most of the businesses and moved out so it’s like most provincial times, although it’s a city, it’s just you know, it’s coffee shops and phone shops and not a lot else anymore. But in the 80s, it was, certainly while I was living Next, I kind of left and then kind of kept dipping back in and ate. It was, you know, pubs, McDonald’s, record shops, because we still have record shops in those days. Those kind of places it was it was like it was like any nondescript town. It could have been Swindon, it very much convinced Swindon are a symbol of them for just a nondescript kind of dull, slightly backwaters time
K Anderson 03:08
that you’re proud to call your own town.
Darryl W Bullock 03:09
No, not in the slightest, actually. And and then he says, No, I’m genuinely not. I don’t really have any, any ties to the place anymore. And I’m glad I left and when our parents have kind of passed on. I feel no compunction to go back there at all.
K Anderson 03:26
But so you were born, you were born.
Darryl W Bullock 03:28
I was born there. Yeah, I was born there. And the kind of move dates when I was 20. I left in 1984. And that’s 85. Sorry, midnight at five I left tonight at five. And how old? Were you at that? I would have been coming up to 20 or still 20 at the time coming up to 21. I left it Yeah, middle of 1985. I think it was and then it’s kind of at that point after I’ve had a little I tried to make it home I try to commence my my father and that hadn’t gone. Well. It’s when I was much younger, I was probably about 1314 months old. It didn’t go well at all, you know, didn’t talk about it Well, apart from the occasional round which case you bring it up quite happily then. But when I was 20, I moved out, I moved to South Wales, which Chepstow initially sharing the house with a couple of girls there. And it was kind of at that point, when I decided that from then on in, I was going to be out no matter what anybody asked me, I was going to admit, admit I was gay. And you know, that was kind of there was never gonna be any question about my sexuality from that point. Yes. Previous to that I’d had a couple of very difficult years trying to tell friends that hadn’t gone well at all most of my friends are kind of backed away from me or it kind of had actually got quite, you know, unpleasant with me. One friend stayed with me and is still my friends today. Thank God. One since then I’ve kind of made up with the rest of them. It’s kind of it’s just the provincial whitewater place. I’m kind of glad to see the back of
K Anderson 04:54
and so so you just talked about how you were living in Chepstow yet but that you moved back Why did you move back? Well, that’s
Darryl W Bullock 05:01
that’s a very long I mean, when I moved back principally it was cut is that my dad had died, my mum had become ill not massively or not debilitating the ill but she wasn’t doing very well at the time. And I wasn’t doing I was kind of struggling to maintain a mortgage on a house had balls. So it just seemed like a sensible thing to do sell the house I’ve made a little bit of money on the House side such invest in my own business. So I moved back to Gloucester started my own secondhand CD record shop, CD Shop, mostly.
K Anderson 05:33
And at that point, we back into my mother’s house, so I can’t help look after her for a while. And so you talked about your relationship with your dad, and specifically in relation to your coming out. What was it like with your mom with them?
Darryl W Bullock 05:47
Well, Russia, my dad, in the last few years of his life actually got a lot better. After I moved out of the house, he dealt with quitting. Not so much better that he had them beforehand. And actually the last three years when he was still alive, you know, I would have been away two, three years before he died. We got on very well at that period. It was okay. And he was actually helping by the highest when he died. So we were getting on Okay. Do you know why that shift? I think I think I think the issue My dad was I told him when I was very, very young. I was I was I really was 1314 years old. And so my dad, and he he just couldn’t deal with it at that time. I was I was quite difficult. teenager,
K Anderson 06:23
Darryl W Bullock 06:24
Yes. Surprisingly, I was a very difficult teenager, I was running away from home a lot. I was picked up by the police to cut the ties and brought back home. I was slacking off school I I did really well. And so kind of 1314 until puberty base. Yeah, I was doing really well at school until that point. And then everything went haywire. I’d already accepted in myself, I was gay, but trying to deal with that, you know, all the stuff that goes on in your head when you’re dealing with your own sexuality, dealing with puberty, dealing with telling your friends dealing with telling your family, everything you’re dealing with being you know, sexually attracted someone of the same sex, everything that goes on at that point. I’m struggling to cope. And although I never did anything stupid, I was finding my life in that time, very oppressive, so I was doing anything I possibly could to get out of the place. And I did. I left home at like two o’clock in the morning and tried to hitch a ride up north. And you know, and I would jump on a train jump, but we’re off to another time and disappear for car days, because I just needed to headspace you know, I needed I needed somewhere where I wasn’t surrounded by this incredibly provincial constraining suffocating environments. And that’s not really a reflection on parents. They were the people they were they were the age they were, you know, my dad, my mom had died in their 40s. But they had been I was the last of six kids that already dealt with all that, you know, they don’t don’t really dealt with puberty and everything that you know, for girls and a boy you go through. And then suddenly I come along, you know, and you know, we leap out the closet, it was a bit too much for them, I get that I don’t have any issue with it. I don’t I don’t blame them. I don’t have a problem with my parents not or my mum, my father not being able to do my sexuality because that was just we grew up in an environment where TV was full of is horribly camp men like, like Danny LaRue, and john Inman, and Larry grace and all those kind of things, which, you know, enables you probably wouldn’t. But it was not 70s TV was full of suffocating camp, mincing queens. I’m sure my dad thought, Oh, my God, I have raised one of those, you know, I That boy is gonna be you know, Glory from and I thought it must have scared the life out of you. I know. I get that. I don’t have an issue with that. But to back to your question. I’m sorry. Mario, Superman was fine. We never talked about my sexuality. And so one day I happen to say to her, I’ve met someone and she said, Oh, what’s his name? But there was never a question. We never had the big aids with I never I never had that to my mother. It was just she knew. She knew. And she was great about it. She was there was never a question. We did talk about it. She did say well, you know, I can’t say I’m, you know, I’m overly happy because I do worry about what will happen to you. But there was never anything but I love you and I saw the most from my mother. Okay. And and you know, I’m really lucky to have had that there was never there was never a kind of, you freak out my house. Never ever, ever, ever happened. We never had a row. We never, we never had much of a conversation. It really was. I met someone. Oh, what’s his name? That was it. That was that was my coming out to my mother.
K Anderson 09:26
So we’re talking about this period in the late 80s. And having moved back and living in Bolivia with your mom, what was that like for you?
Darryl W Bullock 09:34
it was a very weird time because I was I was seeing somebody that I’d been working with and living with in Chepstow. And around about that time, this whole group of friends I had in chips all split up for various reasons. We were all working in the same we were all working in a hotel together. Yeah. You know, bars and restaurants and all that kind of stuff that goes on the hotel. Right about this time we’d all kind of fractured my mind. Phil, who is still one of my closest friends and is the first my goddaughter, he moved off to pastures new. Terry, the guy was seen as kind of seeing where the very odd relationship was kind of seeing him. He moved back into the valleys in South Wales because his mother had a stroke. And I decided at that point, I was gonna sell the house and move back to Gloucester, start my own business and also helps with FM because she actually was suffering quite badly with sciatica and that kind of stuff. It was fine. You know, I was kind of I was very involved in, in this new business, I was trying to get off the ground. So literally, it was just something to separate out, you know, sleep at night and someone to eat a meal. And that was kind of it. I had no friends in Gloucester because they’d all moved on or I’d fall out with them. Because before I lived there, I didn’t really care about that, because I had friends in Wales and other parts The country was in touch with Terry and I would see each other most weekends you know, on or off and I’d jump in the car on a Saturday and drive down see him spend Saturday and Sunday with them drive back so I try to get them Monday kind of thing. And then I’ve got a job in off the job channel, running a record shop. So I had this little business while it wasn’t working out, cut very long story short, I close that down and was offered a job running a shop and Chapman. I took that and at that point, made a whole bunch of new friends still living in Gloucester, commuting Sunday or 10 miles. So driving backwards or forwards or or whatever, and a whole bunch of new people and spent four really really happy years living in that area. Having a whale of a time. Which brings us to
K Anderson 11:33
crackers. So whatever I guess we need to say crackers wasn’t a gay bar, but it had a gay No.
Darryl W Bullock 11:41
Yeah, it was it was an overnight Club, which was underneath the car park ncp car park at the packet loss the bus station. And it had it had been known in my youth. I’m sure it hadn’t been before that. Tracy’s What a great name for local traces nightclub. But I digress. I said it’s a nightclub in the back of the bus station underneath the car park. It’s nice. It’s huge. ncp car park. It was originally called traces. Then it changed hands and the people that owned it decided to to run theme nights every night was something different. So kind of weekends was kind of the usual kind of 80s Club. So you know, lots of guys in mullets and girls in rah rah skirts, whatever they were wearing, you know, those days, but during the week, Monday night was getting nice and I didn’t was getting it. And there was no gay life in Gloucester at all. There were a couple of pubs which were known to be kind of accommodating, but it was no gay pub search. Yeah. So crackers was the only place to go when it was a Monday night and a friend of mine, called Mervyn he used to run a monthly gay disco over at Charmin Racecourse and he took over running crackers on random club night on Monday nights and crackers. So that’s how it kind of came about. Okay, so
K Anderson 12:58
so and so I find it really useful to visualise the faces behind the bus tied to you through the door it’s on the main
Darryl W Bullock 13:08
road you drive past it, you know and you wouldn’t know what was it like go through the front door what happens so you go through the front doors and cut swinging doors front doors and you kind of immediately into a kind of typical plug room kind of area. And this is this is the 80s so it’s so it’s grey and red carpet. It’s it’s great carpet with red streaks and you know and and you go through that and you go through more swing doors a bit like going into a bloody theatrum in a hospital into the club itself. So very small kind of ante room which is up cloakroom and tickets place I guess it straight into the club and the club itself it’s kind of in a circle so it around the circle you’ve got I have a feeling think about never to bars but there might have been a bar on either side of them might be just one of them Miss remembering it but you’d go in and there’d be a bar and you’d need toilets rather same kind of level as the bar there’s a one room was one you know one room on one floor and then you go down two or three steps into the dance floor which was in the middle of the room watching Yeah, so you had you had almost like a natural meet right there yeah so on the on the leverage come through the doors. He probably got a space maybe six foot
K Anderson 14:30
yeah all around the room and and Windows where they were notice certainly like okay, yeah proper dingy you
Darryl W Bullock 14:38
know it’s your render car park you are you’re on the ground floor. You’re you’re kind of under a compound. No, there’s no there’s no there’s no windows open to anything. Okay, no, it’s light and it’s sweaty people smoking in those days the doors so it’s stank of cigarettes and alcohol. It really did it was it was carpet was sticky and you know, everything smelled cigarettes and alcohol on a Monday poppers, of course. You know
K Anderson 15:02
So Oh, that’s interesting. So on the dance floor people were taking pop.
Darryl W Bullock 15:06
Oh, gotcha. Yeah, things were things were not free at that point. So you know big didn’t have to worry about poppers and everyone, some people smoking the cigarettes. People dance with a cigarette now did you kind of didn’t dare kind of, you know, I don’t know, flaunt yourself too much and probably end up getting burned by somebody straight. So they’re all this kind of stuff. But that’s kind of the way things things happen in those days, you don’t start with property with a with a warm library in one hand and a cigarette in the other.
K Anderson 15:35
And your bottle of puppies in your shirt and above the opposition pocket. So you were in the middle of telling me about my mouth and movement, muscle nerve
Darryl W Bullock 15:42
when I’ve run run the gay night here run crackers on a Monday night and it was him and we had a DJ, doggy who everybody called do gay, dude, bless him. DJ, why do gay? It was dunking DJ doggies. I don’t know if he’s still around a lot. Mervyn’s is in Bristol, I see him I saw him quite a lot. When I don’t use a pub I used to drink here until recently, recently, we were freakness. so used to seeing quite a lot, we’d kind of reminisce about the old days, he’s lovely, lovely, lovely guy. But he was you know, he kind of kept things in order, there was never any trouble. There was never any trouble. And kind of because of where it was, because it was a little off the main drag, you never had any grief, though, you know, you could come outside and you wouldn’t kind of worry too much about bumping into anybody or getting your head kicked in or anything like that. I would flirt with guys and crackers on Monday night. And when it’s once or twice, I got picked up. And once or twice, I got two very straight C’s, which I almost got involved in straightaway, because I didn’t quite know what was going on. But that would never happen in my work environments. You know, we’ve never gone out looking for guys or looking for sex or anything like that. But certainly, you’d go on a Monday night. And if I was if I was with Terry, for example, although I was hoping I’d end up in bed with him when we got home. That might not necessarily happen because he was a bit more free and easy with his idea of what I really should be than I was. So I kind of learned how to read the signals there, I guess is what I’m trying to say. I learned. I can’t unlearn them the look, you know, you know, I mean? Yeah. And I hadn’t previously had the chance to learn that so. So it was where I kind of swear I’ve got to recognise the nod where I’ve got to recognise that can being plucked as we used to call me. I’ve been clocked so that if you I don’t know if the kids use that phrase,
K Anderson 17:27
will say he’s thinking I’m one of the kids. But yeah,
Darryl W Bullock 17:29
I’ve been clocked to some other means but basically was caught you’re somebody that’s looking at you and they you know, they want to get to know you a little bit better. But there was definitely a sense of as I said, release, but also a kind of understanding that if I was dealing with sexual frustration, I could hopefully find a lot less
K Anderson 17:47
story until Monday night. Yeah.
Darryl W Bullock 17:49
You could wait till Monday. You can wait till Monday. I did I met some very interesting people there and I made some interesting discoveries. And I’ve found out what certain words meant I hadn’t become aware of before and so far Well, you know, we have example that the one that sticks in my mind is I was with I was with the guy was seeing it as ontarian and he was a few years out of the beam but much more worldly wise, they’ve been around quite a bit and had been in a lot of relationships before.
K Anderson 18:19
So just a few years old,
Darryl W Bullock 18:20
do you mean he was probably at 13 years old? And I was besotted with him but it was never gonna go anywhere. It was just it was very much kind of as far as he was concerned as as casual. We were friends and I get that but i was i was i was younger i was much more personable I was I was here love as far as I was concerned. But yeah, I was I was sitting there one night and I’d kind of I just bought some new Oxford read Dr. Martens I was wearing these I was wearing I don’t wear jeans very often especially not now but to fat but I had a pair of jeans on and had Dr. Martens on and I think a polo shirt and I thought I could look quite smart for for the for the for the day. And that was at the bar getting drinks in and this guy in a very very kind of cute I’d say cute these days whether you know the bald guy leather jackets or and to me sort of looking up and down and goes, What do you know about boot polishing? And I just didn’t have the slightest idea what he was talking about. So I kind of giggled into kind of Paquette II kind of way and went back to what’s the table left area I’m giving the students I get something my pint of beer. And I said I said I think there’s somebody wants to kick my head here. I said some What do you mean? So when this coach has asked me what I know about boot polishing or polishing his boots or something, I think it was the hit me and Terry spat jet across the table into my face because he was laughing so much. Apparently it was him asking me if I be his slave to the eyes. And then he came up to me and kind of whispered in my ear. I see aside 10 minutes and I’m like shit, I don’t know. I’m really sorry, but I’d completely misunderstood what you’re saying. I’m I’m sorry I didn’t I didn’t get it I didn’t get it never know where to get that said fine and he and he went off quite happily It was no but yeah that kind of thing you know I’ve never come across that kind of remote kind of s&m remote kind of you know fetishy thing beforehand yeah that’s my first experience of any kind of you know, leather daddy SME kind of thing
Darryl W Bullock 20:20
You know apart from you know, stuff I’ve seen on TV and fantasise debates I’ve never ever been
K Anderson 20:24
what was on TV at that time, but
Darryl W Bullock 20:25
it was something if I had seen anything, it would have been you know, okay. So that was that was kind of that was funny. But it was Yeah, it was it time.
K Anderson 20:37
Are we able to talk about terrorism? Yeah, sure. I’m absolutely amazed that Nope, so we can talk away. I love So you talked before about Tony being a bit freer and looser with his loving
Darryl W Bullock 20:51
Well, I I met him when I started working in this hotel in Chepstow. He was he was actually my boss. And he was very, like, loose, loose, I think is the correct word as names or induce very kind of very open about your sexuality and stuff. Like that very funny, really, really funny guy liked to drink him. So he was you’d like to drink a lot. We got I just I was smitten by him. And then shortly after, I’d started working at the hotel, I was buying this house and he needed somebody steaks, he splits up with his boyfriend of 11 or 12 years his partner. So he ended up moving in with me and although we didn’t share a bedroom when we lived together and we kind of slept together occasionally, he’s asked to preset to sex was kind of like or to meeting people was like, he tapped anything he had the chance to. There was never any kind of idea of exclusivity with him or anything like that. And we’d never you know, in all fairness, anything I project onto that was my own naivety and my own stupidity I suppose. But I’ve kind of I had it in my head that we could be a couple because you know, I was I was younger I was I’ve never slept with it. I’ve never slept with him.
K Anderson 21:59
I was the first kind of slept with
Darryl W Bullock 22:01
so that I was 21 even though I’d never actually slept with a guy I got a you know, a little kind of fumble handshake deal with that kind of stuff. But never actually slept with a guy until I set the terian so I was kind of a bit smitten and projecting far too much onto that. But yeah, he was also about 13 years older he was kind of he was out of relationship so he didn’t want really want
K Anderson 22:24
to get back into one clearly. And then so so in terms of the dynamic because I mean, most of us have probably been in one of those situations where we are smitten by someone who is giving us all the signals right? It’s probably they probably don’t want the same thing from us that we want from them sure. But we pursue it anyway. What was the dynamic like and when you were out and he was hitting on other people what was your response or
Darryl W Bullock 22:49
I was terrible I was terrible. I got really obviously incredibly jealous and and and yeah, I I’m a terrible one for throwing things up those basically throwing a i’m not i’m not as bad as I used to be my friend. I threw a glass in his head well, so just sitting him I could tell Yeah, don’t worry, don’t worry. I don’t throw things anymore. I’m not sure I’m a mature man in my method is that I don’t do things like that. But I was a terrible one. I was I was on the plane smasher. I was a thrower actually I for crystal glasses had words. Yeah.
K Anderson 23:23
Darryl W Bullock 23:25
No, no, no, no, I missed I missed Thank God. Yeah, but yeah, I was I was a terrible one. I was terrible throwing fits and tantrums. I really did. I mean, again, you know, it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s new for me, I’m going through all of that angst and rage that you go through when you think you’re in love. I wasn’t in love. I was infatuated. I wasn’t in love, but I didn’t know that at the time. And I was terrible and threatened to break things and smash things and throw things and do all that kind of
K Anderson 23:51
stuff after their relationship with Terry was kind of up and down and
Darryl W Bullock 23:54
lots of broken barrels of people is very up and down. And it lasted for about 11 years on and off. Yeah, yeah, it was it was a big We had lots of up and down times. And eventually it finished when I when I finally had enough of what I saw as being kind of basic be used. I just thought I was kind of being used. I was kind of like I was the go to gay kind of thing. Yeah.
K Anderson 24:19
In that 11 years where you were monogamous. No,
Darryl W Bullock 24:23
no, no, you had other I wanted to be but it wasn’t happening. So birth is came along. I would daddy. Okay. Yes. But but like
K Anderson 24:32
physically and not emotionally or both.
Darryl W Bullock 24:35
It was almost all physically It was a very, I was emotionally tied to Terry completely. And if he had just given me the nod and said, You know, I want us to be monogamous. Everything else would have been the window. Yeah, no, I wasn’t. I wasn’t you know, I wasn’t sleeping around with every every everybody but occasionally, sorry, I’m not gonna put some there were occasionally other people that came along, and occasionally we would have sex But that was it was having sex. It really was. It wasn’t there was nothing emotional there. Okay, I was very emotionally tied to this ratio. I was having a Terry and as that kind of Peter dates and it became more and more obvious that nothing was ever going to come from this. So that I started then to have more and more experiences of the people, I guess. Yeah, yeah.
And 11 years, so, yeah, kind of it was, it was 11 years, maybe.
Darryl W Bullock 25:29
I can kind of time it, I can tell it. And it was 1986. When I bought I kind of I started buying what I bought a house that was at six, but that don’t make you six I was working outside 96 I must have known him at that point. Because Because he’s my boss. So. So that’s nice. eight, six is a start point. And the end point was around about the time that REM is doing ventures in hi fi connection. So I think that’s I think if I remember correctly, that’s 1998 might be 97. Because I know it was after monster because that’s not in 85 which super with him live. And I was about the time to invest in hi fi come out, because I went to visit him and he was at this point in. He’d gone back as a mature student to university and I was visiting his digs at uni. I take in a copy of the rest of the hi fi with me to give to him. So he was up buffalo Daria, and we had a massive blistering fight that night. And even though it was very drunk, I stormed out of the flatline never saw again from that day. ever again. No, I was watching once on the phone about 10 years later. Oh, wow. I never saw him again after that take massive, massive, massive fights and that was it. That was at that point, so I can’t do this anymore. This every time we get together. We just get drunk. We fight and I can’t do anymore. I need to sit my own sanity and I walked out and I never saw him again.
K Anderson 26:47
So we talked a lot about Terry and every time we start talking about Mervyn we changed the subject somewhere.
Darryl W Bullock 26:52
I can’t be too much of a movie. It’s a lovely bloke. Are you still alive is living in Bristol. He’s you know got by got by free charm. You know, he was he knew everybody and it was always at all and it still is to this day. Always absolutely lovely to everybody. He’s very he’s very good at building relationships. And those relationships stay with him for a long time he sees his much loved because he’s very very easygoing, very loyal.
K Anderson 27:18
So shall we talk about dukey? I’ll tell you the danger Daddy.
Darryl W Bullock 27:23
just couldn’t do guy. His name do you GA Why do you do no Do you GY I can’t remember. It’s too long ago but it was always he didn’t spell duggie and do your double j as you’d kind of think of it was dmg Doug a but Neil should come do get a fangirl. So do so do gay was very you know, he was kind of your typical 80s dj kind of blonde mullet
K Anderson 27:48
and any songs that stick in your mind that you
Darryl W Bullock 27:52
know I kind of I can’t remember the kind of the obvious floor fillers of that time. It was always you know, it’s always it’s reading man and you know, those kinds of things. It was lots of high energy stuff, wasn’t it at that point. So lots of Hazel Dean he was very interest High Energy Star Citizen. So as Hazel Dean a nice guy guess we might be talking about Sunita. There was nothing It was nothing. This this guy he was, he was great. He was he was he was good at what he did. He was he was this is not one of the superstar DJs mixing you know, mixing records or doing anything and yes, this isn’t this isn’t you know hi fi sitting on one after another? Yeah, this is basically is exactly what it is. It really is come on here. And it really was he was very much provincial DJ, you know, but but playing kind of high energy I suppose. What you what you call kind of, you know, handbag cheesy kind of sayings to fill the floor because you know, a lot of people that went to that club didn’t just come from Lhasa they were coming from all over. And when I went back there many years later I was living in I was living in Bath at this point. We went with a busload of people up from Bath then gay pub, the bathtub, we took a coach load of people all the way to Gloucester to go clubbing for the night.
K Anderson 29:06
That’s really interesting. So there was no there was nothing in Bath that was the same you had the bath is
Darryl W Bullock 29:12
bigger than bossa nova small and last roughly around nine cents on roughly the same kind of population. But it’s smaller town in Gloucester much more
K Anderson 29:21
but And so again, sorry, my geography rubbish above his birth not closer to Bristol gotcha. Gloucester
Darryl W Bullock 29:27
Yeah. Okay, so why then? The reason we did we, we took a couple other people up to Gloucester is because I was from Gloucester, my friend Annie, who ran a pub in Bath called the White House. We used to drink regularly at the bathtub, which is Barsky bar in time. And we thought it’d be fun to put together culturally people together and contrast with it just because we’ve Gloucester Yeah, that was kind of Annie and I became friends in Bath because we both associate with Gloucester and we used to drink at the top. We Got lots of friends there. And it just seemed like a fun thing to do one night together and go up to invade crackers. And that’s what we did. And I met this guy there. There we go again. I met a guy that called George, who was a huge, big big guy called George. And we kind of hit it off immediately that night. And I invited because that is Simeon bath and he did and sporty post Terry. Yeah, or maybe no Terry. And we kind of started seeing each other for a while. That was a really weird relationship. He had to be drag queen. I did those drag queens first. He was in catering as well. Really weird for gay people against George George and I met and hit it off, and he became quite infatuated with me. I was living in Bath and time. We had an interesting few months together. And so I found out that he was basically George had a real issue with the truth. Like he just didn’t understand what the truth was. He lived in this complete fantasy world. He did a drag thing he struggling was Bella Bella more or Bella more Bella l’amour. I think it was and I remember going out one night with a bunch of his friends he was from kind of a mission was to kind of area and when I’m with with him and a bunch of his mates one night around that kind of area, and he went off to get a drink and his friends to mentor me set up. Switch. George, tell me about his kids. Yeah. I said, Yeah, George told me he had two kids and the wife of the kids and he wasn’t like to see them and all this kind of stuff. And it was causing a lot of grief. And that’s the reason we can spend a lot of time together cuz he was broke. He was spending all his money, you know? Yeah. On kind of legal fees and stuff. So he tournaments videos about the kids is he he hasn’t got kids complete like George George would manufacture fabricated these kind of these really interesting things about himself to make him Cyborg interesting. So actually, it was it was quite dull. But it but he kind of he kind of wants to make himself more interesting than it was so yeah, so we he manufactured these two kids and an ex wife didn’t exist. Complete bullets.
K Anderson 32:07
Sorry, but so it’s fine. Yeah, sadly, not since that. I mean, we’ve kind of gone off subject. But isn’t that funny? Well, you relief, were you relieved at that boy? Or were you
Darryl W Bullock 32:23
kind of he was like, Yeah, yeah, cuz my age. I’m not very good at leaving people. I kind of Okay, so we’ve been together for about six months at that point, come see each other quite a lot. And my answer from the relationship was, he lied to me. So it was a really easy way. It was a really easy excuse not
K Anderson 32:43
to save anymore, because immediately I’m thinking, Oh, good. I don’t have to compete with two children anymore.
Darryl W Bullock 32:48
No, I’m terrible. I’m I can’t deal with being lied to. I cannot deal with people who can’t tell the truth. And if you don’t tell the truth, and you can’t be honest with me, then there’s no there’s no point in even considering having any kind of relationship here. So the fact that he was lying to me was was my kind of that was the red flag and that I ended it immediately. I I got home because we were in the middle of you know, we’re in the middle of usual somewhere. But I ended it immediately afterwards. It’s kind of gotten to them and I can’t be lied to I can’t do without
K Anderson 33:20
and have you ever spoken to Neptune now I
Darryl W Bullock 33:22
don’t know nervous cluster life I’ve no idea. I’ve never spoke to him since he’s coming conversation funny enough in both of my conversations. Oh, I remember Bella or a majority here but yeah, oh, terrible, but I could tell the truth value. Less I hope he’s listening Hello. Get
K Anderson 33:44
used talked about getting a bus from birth and coming to Gloucester to in order to go to crackers, which made me think like, on a regular Monday night, how many people that were there we’re not from Gloucester so
Darryl W Bullock 33:55
I guess when I was when I was living in Gloucester and going there it wasn’t, you know, it wasn’t massively busy. I’d say it was probably probably an absolute max amount of people there probably less 50 to 6070 people. It never felt empty, but it was never crushed. Yeah, it was kind of it was a nice crowd of people when you it was it was a healthy mix of different people, different bodies, hypes mostly gay male. There were certainly a few women around of soy assume not very much in assumption. They were either lesbian or bisexual. I don’t know that for sure. But it was very much mostly gay male mostly. Yeah, probably around about 100 people or so. Okay, cool.
K Anderson 34:43
Okay. And then and then. So the original question here is around how many of those weren’t from Guster and having well to say I
Darryl W Bullock 34:51
guess I would guess it was probably less than 50% will be local. I think a lot would come From outside the sun come back from China maybe you’re coming from the forest for the lie or probably not from Bristol Bristol on its own scene. Of course Bristol is a very you know, healthy game pub scene at that point. So, but but catchment area for Gloucester because it’s quite easy to get to on the train. So maybe from Swindon in places like Sydney down from Cheltenham, you’ve shown Worcester that kind of way. And certainly the forest and from South Wales, a very easy place to get to from from the train, or on a bus. So you’d certainly bump into quite a lot of people from South Wales.
K Anderson 35:32
Yeah. And that’s like, yeah, I guess it’s very interesting, because at the top of this conversation, I was thinking about, you know, living in a small town and having that one gay venue, which wasn’t even a gay venue one night, but actually to live in a place where there’s nothing and you have to travel for however long shorter to get there. But that’s Yeah, and that’s kind of when I
Darryl W Bullock 35:54
when I was living. At the time when I was living in chapter one I was living in Bath, that’s why we would go to somewhere like Gloucester or later I guess, into Bristol or, or also, also, you got to Cardiff we got to Swansea because there was nothing in the little villages or little towns you were living in, there was nothing in your bath had one gay pub at a bar, the green room at the Garrick of the Garrix head, which was the kind of old theatre bar which has been gay for years, but it really was, you know, little of men in dirty marks in the end the bar ogling any little boys that came, it was vile. But it was a great it was it was just viable. It really was the bathtub was the bathtub was like a whole, it was amazing, because you finally had a decent bar in time that was run by a gay couple. That was that was full of really friendly people. That was just, you know, everybody was happy and fun and an open and God it was like, it was like manna from heaven. Having that bar there really was it was like, I love that place. So much. I can live there. I spent as much time as I could in that place. Just you’d go for coffee and stay for the sake of the afternoon, just to chat to people just to be around gay people. it great. I needed that I suddenly did that. You know? Why are we talking about that face? I don’t know. Because I think we did it because crackers. I think it’s funny or weird because and it’s weird, because you know, because it was only getting once a night and it’s no longer there. And I was no longer there, I suppose. But it’s I mean,
K Anderson 37:29
we’ll have to meet up again,
Darryl W Bullock 37:30
I probably got got more stories about crackers, I suppose. Because it was such an odd place to go. And so, but it was still really important. And so when you look back on that time, what do you think about that version of yourself that version of down? He was ridiculously naive, but also didn’t really care. You know, I was I I never used to work before. But I really release relief and release I kind of embedded in this. The fact that it was somewhere to go that you did have that one place that that solace, even if it was only for one night of the week. was amazing was just just amazing to have somewhere where you could for four hours on Monday that five hours on Monday night, meet people who are like you, and who understood you and didn’t really have all that body shaming stuff that goes on all that kind of stuff. It was kind of because I guess because it was so provincial because it attracted people from all over the place. I wasn’t really aware of the kind of the disc when you’re Jim Bernie kind of ethic. You know, that never really happened there. As I said, when I met this guy, Georgia, Georgia was huge. Blokhin is colossal, you’ve probably been put it out six for about 20 studies a lot, john Goodman. But it was there was no shame if you like in that not that there should be a big fat bullet myself. But I’ve been to other gay bars and other gay clubs and other gay venues where I’ve actually felt I felt really out of place because I’m a larger bloke, you know, I like what did I never really lost that until I discovered the kind of the bear scene. Yeah, so it’s pre the bear scene is pre the bad thing happening in Britain. And it’s post the AIDS and HIV crisis. That’s still very much, you know, this is still early years for that. So that’s still very much in people’s minds, there’s still a lot of scared ness, if such a word going on the fright of you know, of meeting people that haven’t Be careful about having sex and all what and how you have sex and what you do with these people, you might be picking up infoboxes. So it’s a very, very weird time when all that’s happening, but it’s, it’s a really, really comfortable environment to be. Yeah. And so, so that was kind of I’m looking forward to that Monday.
K Anderson 40:00
Yeah. And and I suppose, you know, I’m absolutely projecting to correct me if I’m wrong misinterpreting was there I guess there’s that period in your 20s when you’re nightlife, the thrill of meeting people is far greater than it becomes because it’s because it is that escape. Yeah.
Darryl W Bullock 40:23
Yeah, very much. So it was, it was really, really important. And I know other things were working out in my life necessarily, I had that. So I had, I had, yeah, somewhere else that for a period, even if it was only for four or five hours, or however long the club is open for, I felt comfortable. I felt I could relax, I could, you know, I could just just be brief, I could breathe, the air was full of poppers, the cigarette smoke. I could breathe it in. Because I felt I could go into an environment like that. And I could stand at the bar with a pint in my hand, and not have to worry enough to think and not have to. And if somebody dared to give me the I follow that. And if I’ve done it, and if we get chatting, and if that turns into something else. And if we’re having sex, fantastic, but that wasn’t that wasn’t it wasn’t about having sex, it was about meeting people. And just finding someone to relate to someone to talk to someone to be honest with. As I said, I was I was open and I work but you don’t have those conversations with your straight work friend. Yeah. And they were my friends is worth my word. Friends, we they were very, very good. And, and thank God, I had them because I don’t think I got through life without them. But there were conversations you can have with those people. And this was one environment, one place you can go to where you could have those conversations with people. And if all it meant we’ll see all you do is coming up to the light and being a bit of a bitchy Queen and doing whatever else you need to do. You could do it. Yeah, you know, and it didn’t have to end in sex supplies we did. But it didn’t have to say and quite more often than not, it didn’t you know, I was not, I would never have that kind of promiscuous. I was always much more interested in meeting people and you know, forging relationships with people and, and seeing how things went. I was never I was never one of those people who had to jump into bed with everybody just never appealed to me.
K Anderson 42:15
And what’s the thing you miss most about crack codes and that period of your life? I miss the sense of wonder, yeah, because it was all new. Yeah,
Darryl W Bullock 42:26
there’s that definitely this kind of, you know, it’s almost like you know, Christmas Day rolling a box, you know, it’s, it’s ripping the paper off something, it’s I kind of missed that. But that’s experience you have and you go through and you move on, don’t you that I don’t I don’t miss the person I was. I I’m a fuller a better person today than I was there. But I probably had to I had to have that experience to be the person I am today. It taught me a lot. It taught me I it taught me how to be comfortable my own skin. And that was a credibly valuable lesson to learn, you know how not to be ashamed of the fact that I was overweight and you know that I’m a big guy and you’re hairy and I didn’t I didn’t fit into that, you know, sequin hotpots look, you know, Kylie waving, you know, thing that that was never me and actually finding an environment where I didn’t have to fit into that thought was really, really valuable lesson to learn. And then you know, post that to meet a bunch of people in bar for the top and figure very couple of those. And then discovering the whole kind of bear scene where there’s even less kind of worrying about your body dysmorphia, body shaming, all those kind of things. Get one which was really read. That’s a really healthy thing for me to discover. So I don’t miss anything about it. But I’m really glad I had it because it helped me become the person I am and it was really important to the person I
K Anderson 43:55
did you ever go to crackers? Well, if you did, I’d love to hear from you. Tell me your stories and share any photos or silly anecdotes through social media. You can find me on most platforms with the user name K Anderson music. And if you’d like to find out more about Darrell including some of his questionable music tastes, then visit his website at world’s worst records.blogspot.com. La spaces is not only a podcast, but a concept record as well. I’ve been writing songs about queer venues and people who used to live their lives there and we’ll be releasing the songs over there next year. You can hear the first single well groomed boys playing underneath my talking right now on all streaming platforms. If you liked this episode, I would really really appreciate if you could tell people about it. So either share it on your Facebook wall All right, someone in email. And if you’re feeling particularly generous, I would really appreciate a review on the iTunes Store. I’m K Anderson and you have been listening to lost spaces.