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“As A Vaguely Self-Hating Queer…” (with Doug Crossley)

doug crossley

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Doug Crossley is an award-winning writer and artist based in the UK (and – spoiler alert – he also recently won a baking episode of Kirstie’s Handmade Christmas which was on Channel 4 over the festive period!).

He moved to London in the early 00s to study musical theatre at the infamous BRIT school, and came with a set of preconceptions about the big city and how his life would be there.

We caught up to talk about Popstarz, London’s legendary weekly indie rock night that started in the 90s. Along the way we discuss teenage insecurities, showing up to work hungover, and Doug tells me all about the one that got away….

Find out more about Doug at his website or follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

Doug Crossley 0:00
I was ready to come out by the time I was 18. And I told a close friend of mine and she just was like, it’s just not a drama to anyone else. Is it like you’re having a really, really sort of churned up time about it? And she just was like, Yeah, I know.

K Anderson 0:14
Hello, I am K Anderson and you are listening to lost spaces, the podcast that mourns the death of queer nightlife. 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. Doug crossly is an award winning writer and artist based in the UK. He moved to London in the early noughties to study musical theatre at the infamous BRIT School, and came with a set of useful some might say naive preconceptions about the big city and how his life would be here. We got up to talk about Popstarz, the legendary weekly indie rock night that started in the 90s. Along the way, we discuss teenage insecurities showing up to work with a stonking hangover, and Doug tells me all about the one that got away.

Doug Crossley 1:39
I don’t know that they were very happy days. There’s lots that I loved and lots that I remember in nostalgia, but it’s not a pure nostalgia, there was a lot of torment,

K Anderson 1:49
because of like, interpersonal relationships or because of your own headspace at that time?

Doug Crossley 1:55
A combination of probably not not having made my own peace with my own demons. But then I guess then, as a consequence, being drawn to people that carried toxicity and drama and risk and things that I look back and think that I didn’t really go around finding apart from my friends, I always picked good friends, I didn’t really go around finding loving partners that were kind to me, that wasn’t really my bag.

K Anderson 2:22
Right? I always find this really, like hard to pinpoint, because like, maybe if you were heterosexual, you would still be like seeking out those kinds of people. And it’s not because of like an internalised homophobia or, or a shame or something like that.

Doug Crossley 2:40
No, but I think it’s an it’s it’s to do with mental health as well. Like, it’s not just that it’s like what yeah, what of my psychological issues are have been to do with being gay in this world? And what just to do with the genetic heritage i which is, which is rife with stuff. And my brothers, I’m one of three brothers, and they definitely haven’t been free of the issues that I’ve had just because they’re heterosexual. Yeah. So it’s a good conversation. Some of it definitely was though, I think,

K Anderson 3:11
yeah. And I mean, yeah, like, obviously, it will have been a contributing factor in some way. But it’s just so hard to like, attribute it. I think, like, for me, there was like, definitely, in my life at chasing of people that I knew, like, weren’t particularly interested in me and getting myself into weird situations. But like, I don’t know if that’s just because I’m a creative who wants drama and wants a story? Yeah, it’s

Doug Crossley 3:43
a good question. I do feel like it would have been nice to have older, older queens who maybe were a bit more settled in their, in their selves to sort of, I don’t know somehow guide I always felt like I was sort of longing for a bit of that, but I didn’t have a very good father figure either. So I I feel like there was maybe that it would have been nice to have people just kind of go hey, why do you why are you drawn to those kinds of people?

K Anderson 4:12
I’ve noticed you’re really into arseholes…

Doug Crossley 4:16
You seem to really go after men. And also, oh, God, I look back and he’s just like really stereotypically attractive people as well. I think that was a real hang up. It’s like because I I felt shit and ugly. I was just drawn to people that looked traditional, traditionally attractive, whatever the hell that means.

K Anderson 4:35
And they showed like enough interest in you back that that seemed like worthwhile.

Doug Crossley 4:41
Yeah, because there was probably enough avoidance on their part that they were never really going to meet me in my reality. So therefore, I could live in the longing and the chasing and the drama of that rather than have somebody turn and face me and lock me bolt in the eye and say, Yes, I’d like to have intimacy with you. Because if they have if I’d ever found somebody like that I’d have ran a mile.

K Anderson 5:02
Oh, yeah. I mean, he says intimacy.

K Anderson 5:10
Well, that mean that that’s like the whole other thing, right? Like, as soon as someone’s like, Hey, I’m kind of interested in you. I’m like,

Doug Crossley 5:15
oh, what’s wrong with you?

K Anderson 5:19
Yeah, like, you must not be paying attention.

Doug Crossley 5:22
You? I do. It’s like an immediate hostility, isn’t it? When somebody shows an interest? It’s like, whoa, stand at the door, and I’ll take a good look, what’s wrong with you? But I’m trying to I’m trying to get better at that now. No, I’m not. I’m old.

K Anderson 5:38
Ah, so then Is there anything proactive then that you do to address those thoughts?

Doug Crossley 5:44
I’ve been in therapy for at least 100 years now. Okay. So,

K Anderson 5:48
but do you have like any specific tips for me,

Doug Crossley 5:52
I in terms of build relationship building, yeah. And

K Anderson 5:55
in terms of like, not bulking and running, as soon as someone shows a whiff of interest,

Doug Crossley 6:00
PACE pace, I think is just go just go slower than you think you need to go. That would be if we were gonna get into like agony on territory. That’s the thing that I feel like I that the best relationships, I’ve had the ones that have gone really slowly. And the ones that I hate to say it because it sounds and I don’t know how committed I want to be to this, but the ones where it’s sex is the thing that is negotiated, not immediately. But that’s rare. That’s rare in our community. Because I also think there’s a I think there’s a position positions the wrong word, there’s a place for sex first, I think that’s one of the things I quite like about our community is that we are a bit like, is there a chemistry there? But I think it has its issues.

K Anderson 6:45
Yeah. I mean, like, that’s what I was gonna say, like, I think you do need to figure that out quite quickly.

Doug Crossley 6:51
You do need to know, I think, yeah, but I find that when I’ve built that intimacy with people, there’s there’s almost always great chemistry, because you’re in a kind of conversation the whole time.

K Anderson 7:05
Yeah. Yeah. Like, I guess it just all depends on the chemistry with that specific person. Like, I can think of times when I’ve had sex immediately with someone and then things have progressed naturally. And there’s been a relationship born out of it. And then other times when I’ve waited, and we’ve kind of taken our time to get there.

Doug Crossley 7:25
There’s also those ones that aren’t there that are so so sexually attractive to you that that actually, once that initial spark has dwindled a little bit, you’re like, Oh, you’re not that interesting. Experience.

K Anderson 7:41
Oh, it’s awful. Like when you finally found yourself a fuck, buddy. And they’re like, oh, we should go on a date. And you’re like, Alright, and then it’s just ruined forever. Because you’re like, Oh, I didn’t need to know that much about you. And now that I do, I can never look at you the same way again.

Doug Crossley 7:56
No, because it’s ruined the Yeah, but it’s not gonna last. So it’s like, oh, double. Double,

K Anderson 8:06
and I have to pay for dinner now. Dammit. Okay, so shall we go to pop stars?

Doug Crossley 8:13
Let’s go to pop star. Okay. Yeah.

K Anderson 8:15
So like, what age were you when you started going there?

Doug Crossley 8:18
I was somewhere between 21 and 24. I think that was in fact, that was the period I was there. So from Yeah.

K Anderson 8:27
Those years and tell you like, how do you finish school by this stage?

Doug Crossley 8:30
Yeah, I was I’d moved back to central London. And I was, I was very much trying to understand how that worked. And at the time, really, really trying to be the budding actor type thing was very much my identity.

K Anderson 8:45
So like picking up a copy of the stage every week and go into auditions and

Doug Crossley 8:49
a version of that. Really, I was auditioning for things that I I really, really laugh at some of the weird things audition for one of the auditions I have as a sort of trauma memory was the the West End production of The Sound of Music, you know, the one that they were auditioning people on the TV to be. This is how to solve a problem. Maria Kahn, Connie, I want to say Connie here, but I don’t know. Has Ernie

K Anderson 9:13
was ready. She’s kind of like clean looking.

Doug Crossley 9:18
She looked like Julie Andrews,

K Anderson 9:21
except with brown hair. That was like the distinct difference right?

Doug Crossley 9:26
I thought she had almost like the identical Julie Andrews haircut. But that’s just the way I’m remembering her will get well we’ll look back and somebody will say it wasn’t Connie at all. Like it was Joanne will both be like, Oh, it was because I was singing. I was singing Rodgers and Hammerstein song and they’re very like that. Mm hmm. Very big musical theatre songs and I and I got to the pinnacle moment of it and did one of these turned away from the microphone so it’s not to destroy everybody’s ears. But that’s a fun thing. to do in front of a really prestigious casting director in the West,

K Anderson 10:04
so did you get the job

Doug Crossley 10:06
didn’t get the job slipped away from me for reasons unknown?

K Anderson 10:12
Me Like come on in like it’s not it’s not that bad I’m sure every actor has a horror story like that. It’s when

Doug Crossley 10:17
you’re when you’re a budding 21 year old something something who thinks that the shit that was humiliating to me I don’t care now I find it enjoyable now.

K Anderson 10:27
But do you not like get into like a rhythm of like being cool with being rejected?

Doug Crossley 10:34
No. I never did. Because I’ve since gone on to focus primarily on writing and you’re forever being rejected for one thing or another and I’ve never got used to it.

K Anderson 10:46
I think I’m getting better as I get older. The one thing that what am I about to say really conflict with my core character, but the one thing I really wish that I had done when I was a child is like, participated in team sports or sport of some kind because I think then you get like, used to losing and you get okay with it.

Doug Crossley 11:10
And why didn’t you? Because Because you’re a little gay boy.

K Anderson 11:13
Yeah, cuz I was like a little fag who didn’t want to go and change rooms. Yeah. And I mean, like, I’m not very sporty person anyway, so it’s not like where my interest naturally lie. But I kind of I think I would have really benefited from that because it was just, I just hated rejection so much in my 20s

Doug Crossley 11:33
That is such an interesting, I’ve never made that connection before. Cuz I also didn’t do any kind of team sport. And it does. Yeah, that’s an interesting thesis.

K Anderson 11:42
Yeah. Cuz like you lose all the time.

Doug Crossley 11:46
Whereas when I lost I like I was I mean, everyone’s life. Hell, like if I, I was a board flipping, you know, like, when you’re playing board games, I was a board flipper. So if I was losing that board was getting flipped. A flounce was being thrown and I was stomping away. So I guess I guess I never really learned. It’s good. It’s good. Actually, it’s really helpful to make that connection.

K Anderson 12:11
Yeah. And like, you know, the one bit of life advice that I would ever give anyone is to just go out there and be free chapter of times, because, like, you know, once you get over that, you’re just like, Yeah, cool. What else I can just take improv comedy

Doug Crossley 12:27
was good for me in adult life for that because you, you have to lose all the time in improv.

K Anderson 12:36
Yeah, improv kind of gives me is,

Doug Crossley 12:39
well, you have to all try really hard at the same time, and then you all lose. If if one of you loses you all lose. So you’re not alone in it either.

K Anderson 12:50
I see that. That’s okay. Then because you can always just blame someone else. Like you can always just opt out of feeling like a loser. Yeah. Right. So what would we say? Perhaps,

Doug Crossley 13:03
Tanja? We’ve gone such a tangent now. Popstarz 21 to 2420 Roger,

K Anderson 13:08
and you are going to auditions right. Okay, we’re back on track. Yeah, that’s it. That’s. So where were you living at this time?

Doug Crossley 13:18
I was living at that time. In. Well, I live for a little bit in Shepherds Bush and then I lived in a house in Kings Cross.

K Anderson 13:28
Okay. And you were living like the full homosexual fantasy.

Doug Crossley 13:33
Full homo in the city. Yeah, cuz I lived with, I didn’t live with gay friends, but I live with stagey friends, which is kind of the same thing. And I was Yeah, I was I actually did have a real I’d like a scene, a group that I was on the scene with. And they were that was the role they served in my life. I’m not really friends with any of them anymore, but I don’t, I don’t hold any animosity towards any of them. It was very, very stereotypically gay scene group, because there was this group that I largely felt just an affinity towards, and then one of them that I loved on dying. Leah never loved me back.

K Anderson 14:13
Did you tell him?

Doug Crossley 14:14
Yeah, we because he and I went to drama school together. And I think he just I told him once then I think we came close then. And then it never happened. And I think it was just this thing for me that I sort of pind

K Anderson 14:28
just like held on to, but I think looking

Doug Crossley 14:31
back with age, I think that it’s to that was much more to do with my desire to be rejected than anything. He just wanted to feel like shit.

K Anderson 14:43
But have you ever like looked him up late at night on Facebook and pined for the life that you could have had with him?

Doug Crossley 14:49
No, I did see him at the funeral of the friend that was part of that scene. And he and it was just nice. Actually. I just was like you’re I fully understand why I would I went crazy over you But I’d feel crazy if it was just it was just kind of nice. Funeral I’ll do that for you when I

K Anderson 15:07
rip away that’s not what I’m here for.

Doug Crossley 15:11
I still love him but no he just doesn’t he doesn’t have the the personality personality to keep up with me. Oh, that’s me. Sorry. He’s really pretty but

K Anderson 15:22
he tell everyone his name. No. Okay, well

Doug Crossley 15:28
doubt he ever found this podcast full name and address.

K Anderson 15:35
So, so why pub stars? Why did you why did you want to talk about that night?

Doug Crossley 15:41
I just was drawn to pop stars because there was a crop of of men that would go there that were my copper taking your boxes? Yeah, they were they had when I would go it slightly changed over the years. We did you go? Yes. Yeah, so it had those slightly indie boys there, if you recall. And I was quite into that at the time because I have a bit of a sort of punch on for a scally or charm. And there was a lot of that vibe there. And I was definitely convinced in this window of my life when I was far more innocent than I am now that I would sort of find the nature of the football team and fall in love with him. I feel like I live happily ever after.

K Anderson 16:24
Okay, so, so language evolves. We know this. And are we like, Are we allowed to say scally and chav anymore?

Doug Crossley 16:34
I think there are their archetype isn’t allowed. I don’t know there is a stereotype is really Pawnee, I think. Looking on it. Now. It’s, that’s where I think is drawn from Azusa. I want to say kind of a fetish. It’s like a fetishisation of a certain type. And

K Anderson 16:54
you we explain what they are. I feel like there might be some people listening that haven’t heard of them. So like a scalp. So

Doug Crossley 16:59
people I get all people the people that have a working class aesthetic because I’m from Stoke on Trent. So I sort of I was just looking for looking back now I think that I was just looking for boys that looked like the boys when I was coming of age sexually, so they were slightly frightening. Okay. But yeah, tracksuits Fred Perry.

K Anderson 17:23
So is this us finding out that you were attracted to the boys that bullied you as a child?

Doug Crossley 17:29
Yeah, I think so. I think if we wanted to go for it,

K Anderson 17:31
and we don’t have nearly enough time to unpack that do we

Doug Crossley 17:35
know but I think if I if I’m honest, that’s what it was.

K Anderson 17:38
Okay. Yeah. Okay. So and is there a difference between a scally and a chav?

Doug Crossley 17:47
I always thought that scally was more northern UK child was southern UK but I think I may have made that up.

K Anderson 17:55
No, no, I can get behind this because like a chav is more than Essex see, kind of

Doug Crossley 18:01
like an Essex by Yeah, and scaly. I think of northern and under beyond. MIT, I live in the Midlands, above London.

K Anderson 18:14
That’s what you’re counting is no more than

Doug Crossley 18:15
geographic. When you ask Watford it’s no.

K Anderson 18:19
Yeah, okay, cool. I’m with you. I’m so so you were just going to upstairs to like, basically gaze at men.

Doug Crossley 18:27
With this group that I was part of as well, it was really it was it was about getting shit faced as well. I used to this is where this was fun to think back about this time, because I would go because I was working all sorts of jobs to afford my fabulous homosexual life in London that I would go to work all week, come home on the Friday work out, and then go out for the night and stay up all night and then go to work on the Saturday as well, without having been to sleep. I look back on that now. And I think is there any wonder I was like, completely fatigued because that’s the thing I used to do.

K Anderson 19:05
It’s all worth it. Good stories.

Doug Crossley 19:07
I teach kids the following day. That’s what’s funny. on a Saturday. Yeah, cuz it was like performing art school that I taught her. Okay. So I would arrive like hanging on a pure adrenaline and I reckon I was so much fun actually. These kids are probably like, this guy’s amazing.

K Anderson 19:28
Well, I feel like a theatre school. You can kind of lean in to this centric drunk thing, right?

Doug Crossley 19:34
I would like I think I was. I like to hope that you couldn’t smell the previous night.

K Anderson 19:38
They could smell they Yeah, thank you.

Doug Crossley 19:42
Thank Yeah, lots of teeth brushing and gum chewing.

K Anderson 19:48
And like, frantically rocking back and forth so that you wouldn’t fall asleep right?

Doug Crossley 19:52
Yeah, I remember it being kind of clammy as well like, really like hangover clam. I remember that really sort I have to say, I’m like, Hold on clinging on for dear life here. Trying to inspire these kids and I love actually loved. I loved all the things I did at that time, because I didn’t. I wasn’t sort of old enough that people gave me jobs in life that were responsible. So I worked a lot with kids and I worked a lot with special needs kids. It’s really amazing.

K Anderson 20:20
That’s kind of responsible,

Doug Crossley 20:22
but I was never the lead. I was, I was always in a supporting role. Okay, okay. I wasn’t the leader.

K Anderson 20:31
Sir, said like, do you remember the first time you ever went upstairs?

Doug Crossley 20:36
I just remember it being that was probably the beginning. They were the first group of like minded friends I had, there was a complete group. You know, when I was at drama school, there was a couple of us and a couple of other people that we dragged along, but they were all gay man, my age or there abouts. And there was there was just this sense of camaraderie that, that I enjoyed, and I was always drunk, which is something I don’t do very much anymore. But yeah, I was very drunk.

K Anderson 21:12
So then just like picking up on this group of friends thing. We’ve, we’ve talked about, like, the longing for romantic relationships, and, like, so growing up as a queer kid, and figuring out your identity. Was there was there also like a longing for friendship as well?

Doug Crossley 21:32
Yeah, I think there was an when, again, when I knew I’d be talking about this with you that I, I think it was a real shame, because there there was something that that group met. But looking back, I think we were all quiet, we had all had demons. And it didn’t feel like we made that much of an authentic, lasting connection, there was like a commonality that we knew that we’d be there for one another’s night out once or twice a week. But I don’t feel like we were building something that could have lasted, it was like it was it was a time sensitive thing. Looking back, though, I wonder whether I had quite a lot of moments at that time where I would, you know, I’d have these these big nights out with friends and then quite sort of messy, darker moments in private. And I wonder, looking back, whether we were all kind of doing that, and they’re not really talking to one another about it and not really communicating through that.

K Anderson 22:28
So you were just wearing like, a particular facade with all of them and just being like, Oh, I have a good time.

Doug Crossley 22:35
Yeah, I’m fine. I’m here to bring it we’re all here together for this.

K Anderson 22:40
But having like that group of friends around you, was that something that you like for want of a better term? aspired to?

Doug Crossley 22:48
Yeah, I think I think had a real pardoning from Queer as Folk, you know, loads of us did, right. We all we all had it. Like I was really I was like, I

K Anderson 22:56
want to sleep with underage people. Yeah.

Doug Crossley 22:59
No. But that that was my sexual awakening, though. The queers folk, the first British series, because that was like, I think it was right when I was maybe like, 1415. And suddenly, like, Oh, my God, there’s these really loud queens on the TV, and they’re all it built this idea that I since think, is, I just think it’s a complete nonsense that they that they were all they were fucking freely and they were living for one another’s drama, and everything was wonderful and hunky dory, and maybe there was a bit of a fantasy that that’s what I should be doing, as well.

K Anderson 23:36
But they weren’t having an amazing time on that show.

Doug Crossley 23:40
But I was 15 so they appeared to be I haven’t watched I haven’t watched it.

K Anderson 23:46
Never the same going back and watching it as an adult. That’s why neither of us can watch the Sex in the City reboot.

Doug Crossley 23:51
I’ve been watching it.

K Anderson 23:54
Oh, no. Oh, no, that joke fell flat. Have

Doug Crossley 23:57
you ever right, I can give you a critique. Have you watching it? I’ve been watching. Yeah,

K Anderson 24:04
I think well, that’s terrible.

Doug Crossley 24:06
Yeah, cuz I just, I just think it’s a bit. I just think it lacks Kim Katrell even though I think she’s a fascinating, difficult character. But I also just think it’s, it’s it’s very, very, very woke to the detriment of some of its irreverence that it used to hold. It’s a shame it can’t be irreverently woke. It’s, it seems a bit careful, I think.

K Anderson 24:31
Okay. Well, let’s, let’s move on. So you said before that you like to pop stars more than any other club? Yeah. Was that just because of the men that were frequenting the place or were there

Doug Crossley 24:45
I liked I liked being able to hop genres. I feel like you could do that at pop stars couldn’t you could go, you could go like super pop. Or you go and like be cool in the indie room and then I faintly remember an r&b room. Yeah. Okay, yeah, I quite like that. I do. We must talk about the, the one that got away as well. I feel like I should bring that in because he was I can remember his name. I’ll name him in case to be his name, your gos. Oh, and he was my one that got away and I never thought I’d have a one that got away but he was my intermittent popstars romance. So the thing that never became a relationship, but we would we would, we hooked up on numerous occasions and then would not see each other and then run into each other again and stuff.

K Anderson 25:37
And so you met him a pop stars? Yes. Do you remember the first time that you met him?

Doug Crossley 25:42
I do remember because he was very, very German. I’m sure he’s, I’m sure he’s still isn’t it? But I mean, his accent was stridently German because he hadn’t been in the UK for that long. And he was ridiculously charismatic. And, and, and a bit sort of, you know, like if I’m if I’m there as framing myself as a vaguely self hating queer looking for these men who are ultimately going to be unkind to me. He was the opposite of that. He was like a slightly geeky, blonde. effervescently handsome, really intelligent guy that just wanted to hang out with me.

K Anderson 26:22
effervescently handsome. Oh,

Doug Crossley 26:25
that’s lovely, isn’t it? I think I like that. Yeah, he was, he was great. And he, he because I remember it. Because I’ve been thinking all these things, since I knew that we would be talking and I remember him texting me one time. And it just said, babe, why you so complicate. I think it’s such a good summary of that chapter of my life. Because he just because I look back on him, and I think, bless him. He was just, he was really, like, materially successful as well. And I remember going back with him because I didn’t really I hadn’t really done much of that. But I remember the first time I went back to his place that he, he was like, because I knew that I was teaching the kids the following day. So I was like, Where the fuck are we going? Nobody knew that I’d gone home with him. It was all a bit sort of fraught with drama. And he said, You’re gonna really enjoy when you get to my place. And I was like, You’re not like a psycho or anything like that. And then I because we got to his place. And it was like, you know, like when there’s somebody on the door. And and, and then he took me up to this flat, and then he and they press the button and it opened these curtains. And it was looking over to what was then called the Millennium Dome, like the Oh to this ritzy Vaughn reds thing. And he was he worked. He was a Swiss banker, which my mom made a joke off because she’s a Cockney, and the Swiss banker is in line for something else. I said to I said, Well, I’m dating a guy’s a Swiss banker. And there’s a joke that I don’t remember all these things about time. But yeah, he did just want to he just wanted to date me just wanted to hang out with me. And I was far too far too stuck on owner. I know.

K Anderson 28:02
Okay, so you didn’t quite answer my question about the first time.

Doug Crossley 28:05
Okay. First time I met him, what was the question?

K Anderson 28:09
Like, just just tell me about it.

Doug Crossley 28:11
I think it was at the bar, I vaguely remember being you know, that conversation where you’re jostling for the front of the queue. Somebody turns around with like, drinks in hand. And then you’re like, Oh, you’re quite attractive. Let’s have a bit of a banter here. I think it was one of those. But I don’t

K Anderson 28:29
know I, I despite you busy paying attention to my position in the queue to figure out what the ball

Doug Crossley 28:36
was the ball was my one of my main flirt zones. But that being like a because I, I was I was way too shy to ever go and approach anybody. But I but if they if they stumbled upon me face to face then then I was like, Oh, I could gamble with this. I can I can bring my best flow game

K Anderson 28:55
now. No, see, I’m like, just in full on concentration mode.

Doug Crossley 28:59
Just like, you’re all objects to me. I have one function. Get the fuck out of my way.

K Anderson 29:07
Pretty much. And so. So you turn around. He was standing there with some drinks in his hand. And you were just like, hey,

Doug Crossley 29:14
yeah, I think it was that kind of thing, I think because I was one cycle going as well. Because once when I was drunk, I was super charmy. And I think that I think to that time, I look back and I bet he was just like this guy. I think he thought I was a bit ridiculous because I was kind of endlessly charming. Because once I got to know him, I thought that he was beautiful. And I would keep telling him things like that. And he just was like, You’re crazy. So things like that.

K Anderson 29:40
So So talk me through this then too. You’ve introduced yourself, do you then go somewhere else in the club?

Doug Crossley 29:47
No. So I have a feeling that we went. This is all piecing together 1213 1415 years

K Anderson 29:54
you can get creative with the truth.

Doug Crossley 29:56
I’ll make it up. I have a feeling that we had This exchange and then we departed. And then we bumped into because I remember this exchange with him being really lovely. Like I remember, I might be piecing together different time now. But I walked past him at one point and he like shoved me, but not in a gret aggressive way.

K Anderson 30:19
Oh, it’s just ever meant to remember being so nice.

Doug Crossley 30:21
When he kicked me in the head, no, he, he like he pushed me and it really made me jump. And I was reactive at the time. I was not somebody who talked to being shoved very peacefully. And I remember turning around and him and him being there. And I and I, and it was that kind of thing. I was rubbish. Actually. I look back and I think he deserved better.

K Anderson 30:42
Oh, say that, isn’t

Doug Crossley 30:44
it? No, he did not now. I’m lovely now, but he deserved better than the way I was there.

K Anderson 30:51
And so it was just one of these situations where you would run into each other every week. And then Romans would slowly build.

Doug Crossley 30:57
Yeah, there was never because he was working, he would come back and forth from Switzerland. I think he was working at the time. So he wasn’t always there. So it was one of those things where we I remember soaking up the first time and whenever we hooked up, they turn into like weekends. And he was so because I was an I was a want to be an actor. It was so overwhelming to me how rich he was. I was like, really, really like a little kid in his flat because I just was like this. It must have cost 1000s to rent this flight that he was living in. Which he didn’t know because he wasn’t paying for it because his job was being free was that that’s how much they wanted him. Doing that

K Anderson 31:38
kind of hate him now. Yeah, he

Doug Crossley 31:40
was kind of fired for that. But here there’s a love of God. I didn’t think I’d reminisced this hard, but I remember him one time having a he had a shark outfit. His house. And this was this is a good memory actually. Because and and then I fucked him in the shark outfit. No, that’s kinky. That’s not how it goes. Because it was the he was the first man that I had a sexual relationship with. But also like a loving, playful exchange with that was the first time that happened for me. I think that’s why I remember it so fondly. I wouldn’t have said that we were in love because I didn’t ever get to know him that well. But, you know, like, at one point, I remember him being finding absolutely hilarious to come back from he’d gone to get his food or something and came back dressed as a shock. When I look back now, and I think this guy was amazing. And I was way too self involved to realise how good he was.

K Anderson 32:34
So that’s the shark costume story. Yeah. How did you respond?

Doug Crossley 32:40
I, I didn’t know how to enjoy it. I was uncomfortable, because he was just being playful and nice and fun. And I think I wanted to go, Oh, I couldn’t relax. Yeah. Since this is this is yes, honest. You’re getting the real deal here.

K Anderson 33:01
And so then what, like what happened? Was it just a matter of you falling out of touch with each other?

Doug Crossley 33:08
Yeah, we did that routine a number of times he’d go off to Switzerland. He’d come back we’d he’d shoved me in a club. We did that one a few times. And then we did try to to date a little bit, but I just wasn’t I wasn’t able to I find that really sad. I think it was still internalised homophobia stuff. And I and I was embarrassed because he was I was afraid that he was too different from from what I thought I should be dating that my friends wouldn’t accept him. Which is such an insane to think but it was what I thought at the time.

K Anderson 33:42
Oh, so you wouldn’t need like you wouldn’t mix with him and your friend group at the same time?

Doug Crossley 33:47
No, my heterosexual friends? Mainly, if I’m honest.

K Anderson 33:52
Oh, so we’re not talking about this group of friends that you went out dancing with? We’re talking about?

Doug Crossley 33:57
No, because they were they were like my, they were like my party boys. But I had this other group of friends that were more longer term friends, and I definitely didn’t deem him acceptable to them. I definitely don’t feel the same way now. But I did that.

K Anderson 34:15
And so would that have just happened to like anyone that you happen to be dating, or was that about him specifically?

Doug Crossley 34:22
I think it was about me. It was about me not being okay with the fact that I was like, Hey, I’m fucking this guy. I think it’s all and that means that I’m gay. And I’m okay with that. And, and I’m happy for people to see me being gay. I think it was that stuff. I don’t think I was really okay with that. At that time. I still was quite laden with shame and embarrassment about those things.

K Anderson 34:47
And so it wasn’t about you not being out like they knew you were gay. But you were just kind of down.

Doug Crossley 34:52
Yeah, yeah, there’s

K Anderson 34:53
parts of yourself.

Doug Crossley 34:55
Yeah, there’s a difference isn’t there between telling people and then And then embodying embodying your reality. Yeah, absolutely front of them. And I couldn’t make that leap. And that is a shame. Because I don’t I reckon if I if I look back and they knew that that’s how I felt they would have definitely been like, that’s crazy. You have got to let yourself because they weren’t they there wasn’t a homophobe among them.

K Anderson 35:23
No, but it’s like it’s the way you’ve been socialised. Right. Yeah, you’ve grown up in this era where it’s like, oh, okay, well, we’re okay with the fact that you’re gay, but just don’t be gay, gay and then trying to stick around. Yeah, that means

Doug Crossley 35:39
don’t be visible Don’t be noticeably so. Huh. And you do is exactly that. And you then internalise that and manage it privately. That’s what I feel like I did I did that until I was about 27 I think.

K Anderson 35:53
Yeah, and it’s like it’s something that you’re not even conscious of as being totally fucked up. Because at that time, you don’t have any other reference point

Doug Crossley 36:01
and you and I actually think it’s because I’m in my late 30s Now that they’re that it’s a thing that I have to be mindful doesn’t sneak back in. I really just in terms of, of what I describe as a kind of like heights like self positing you’re not gonna you’re not gonna get you’re not gonna spend longer than about a minute with me until you realise my orientation, but I can definitely just sort of make it I think that’s what I was referencing when I was talking about feeling like I had surrounded myself too much with straight people. So almost a version of that

K Anderson 36:40
and and so then how did it end with with your man

Doug Crossley 36:44
and I think it might have ended with the babe Why you so complicate text message looking back? I think that might have been I don’t think I followed up I think I let it slip away. And it’s and I don’t I don’t know whether we would have anything in common or even at attraction to one another now but I I definitely do think he’s that one that I I just wonder I wonder I’m like, what if I just been allowed able to let myself because I can’t really remember what even looks like right now. But I do have consequently now like a sort of like an adult blonde or like a Scandinavian looking. You know, that’s that’s in there. And I wonder whether he implanted that.

K Anderson 37:30
And so you don’t remember his surname like you can’t find it anywhere. I

Doug Crossley 37:33
can’t remember his surname at all. Because I remember we had a lot of play around his his name because he said it with an accent which I still don’t say with to this day, but he he said because yoga said don’t doesn’t feel like a German accent German name to me that feels like a Greek name. But he would say with a German accent. We had a lot of sort of like, I definitely I never said it right the whole time that we were dating blessing. What if we ever dating I think I think we were definitely dating because I text my mom saying we were dating at some point.

K Anderson 38:05
I mean, that makes it official. Right? Like give your mom nurse?

Doug Crossley 38:07
Yeah. I did once look him up. I tried to but I didn’t find him. So maybe he’ll maybe he’ll be looking out for me. And we’ll be the first reunited love story of your podcast?

K Anderson 38:25
Do you have any memories of Popstarz or clubbing from your own queer scene that you want to share? Or more importantly, do you have any information about your business, so you can help me and Doug you track him down? Well, if you do, please get in touch. Go to law spaces podcast.com and find the section share a lost space and tell me all about what you got up to. You can also find me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter with the user handle lost spaces apart. Find out more about Doug by visiting his website, the doggie store.com or following him on Twitter or Instagram. His handle is the doggie store. But don’t worry. All of this is in the show notes for the programme. La 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 next year. You can hear the first single well grim boys which is also playing underneath my talking right now 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 a little listen to I am K Anderson and you have been listening to Lost Spaces