One week after schmoozing with Diana Fire I had the utter joy of chatting to Timberlina about living in Dalston in the 90s, how to cruise in the pre-internet days, and the perils of falling in love with a police officer.
Find out more about Timberlina and The Duke of Wellington pub in Islington, London on this week’s episode of Lost Spaces.
Update: We’ve since spoken again! If you want to find out about Timberlina: The New York Years check out this conversation.
The vibe of being in a queer community in the 90s, where you’re studying queerness and your understand difference in various cultural ways, especially when there is a kind of commercial gayness happening around you, which you feel alienated from. That in itself is a privilege to kind of go through that as Turkey and as difficult as it was to sort of feel like now it’s a place where we are dissing each other, we feel I feel like we are becoming more factionalized again, and we don’t actually have the venues and the spaces to go and collectively share our experience. I think that’s quite scary.
K Anderson 00:41
I am K Anderson and you are listening to lost spaces, a podcast that mourns the death of queer 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. Timber Lena is the world’s number one ecologically minded bearded dragon lady. But long before she was 10, billionaire, she was a university student wracked with insecurity and longing. We caught up to talk about that time in her life and the Duke of Wellington, a bar in Islington, London, which, confusingly is still a bar, but no longer a queer bar. Does that make sense?
I think I like the fact that I liked the fact that it wasn’t in the West End, I liked the fact that it was a source of local. But I also liked the fact that it was seemed very easy to pull people they’re very it was great fun to end, it was so wonderful living around the corner. I don’t think I’ve ever lived in such heaven. Just want to think about that before I say but now I think it’s true to say that I don’t think I lived anywhere in such close proximity to a venue that was so fun. And just seemed to attract sort of fun and and sexy hot people. In a way that was also very laid back seems the other thing about it was a really light for me was it was really unpretentious. And I think that what was going on in in in West End, do you know? Well, I mean, no, he had, because he basically had the opening of the opening of Soho, sort of as as as a kind of commodified kind of pink pound, only place he had the village. And then you had what was your balance, and then you have freedom opened. And that was kind of a queer alternative. But as you know, essentially, if you went up West, it was it was kind of a particular sort of hedonism and a particular kind of kind of high vibe, yes. A career that you would be be looking to attempt to mingle with and, and I was very mainstream. And I think that I just wasn’t very mainstream. So I think that you know, I like finding places Oh, my goodness. So places like out Oh, my God. Oh, my God. First out, thank you. First out, first out, you know, not only was it really not a bar until like, later on in the evening, when they’d have very carefully, sort of nuanced and was sort of looking for curated evenings. Because it was a cafe was like, Oh my god, it was like a queer cafe. So anyway, going back to the Zuckerberg, what was great about the Duke, when it was like a regular pub, it was like a pub, you know, you’d go in there and you would drink pints, and you would have a laugh. And you could take your mates and you could take your mug for that matter. But it was just very laid back. And I really liked the fact that it was just very, you know, kind of on unassuming, relaxed. I say like that. But then there was also this crazy territorial thing going on between the lesbian room at the back of the men’s room at the front, which is looking back on it quite hilarious.
K Anderson 04:28
Tell me. Tell me about that. I want to know about the territory. I think so. Did you get death stares when you walk?
Yeah, I think I mean, I probably I probably thought I got more than I probably actually did, because I was very timid this year. But, I mean, you know, also because of course, you know, we’re, again, like I said, you know, we’re studying these kind of quite austere Queer Studies and, you know, all of this sort of academic queer discourse. You know, kind of transgender isms and drag kings and you know, pilot like delegates volcano came to a talk at that university I literally thought I’d died and gone to heaven i’d You know, it was just amazing and it was very I find it all very intimidating so I found this whole this room with a lesbian lesbians resided or when I was you know was just like really trying to sort of overcompensate for my masculinity and my man Miss, or you know, by being a man by by just sort of being white I was I’ve always been apologetic in any way to to a fault. But I would say we’re gonna say so.
K Anderson 05:41
So you were playing down your masculinity or you were ramping up your masculinity
was the I would have? That’s an interesting question. I think I think because I was an apologist. And because I wouldn’t have wanted to get on anyone’s toes, I would have felt terribly embarrassed about being a man walking into a woman’s space. Yeah, yeah. Does that make sense? Yeah. So I was very conscious. And I thought it was very, it was very downright down in a very PC, I thought was very, very cool to be in this pub where there was a swim, which, you know, I would obviously, like when you can’t go in there that’s for the lesbians are. No, because that’s their spec, don’t
K Anderson 06:20
interrupt him in their natural territory.
And of course, you know, they’d come through class, but it’s not be a bit like, well, well, should I feel baffled?
How should I
respond? to look it up? I see exactly how should I
K Anderson 06:38
say I wanted to ask you made a comment before about how it was really easy to pull. So can you tell me a bit more about
I can tell a little bit. Okay, sir. I
K Anderson 06:54
mean, first of all, then, to do you, I mean, we’re just spinning out of a conversation about you being an apologist. So does that mean that you’re also kind of a bit tentative with flirting?
Oh, without a shadow of a doubt, who knows, like alchemy for me like finding some a finding somebody who I fence it then getting getting the eye contact, maintaining the icon, and then exhausting, but also capitalise it as well, but mostly exhausting to be honest with you by getting that so finding the guy events, the getting the eye contact, maintaining the eye contact and then moving in, like, you know, kind of swooping in. And that’s it, you’ve got your prey. And that was genuinely, oh, no, but
K Anderson 07:38
you’ve missed a step there. This, the next step is having an opening line that isn’t completely embarrassing.
But I was going to say, I think that that’s the thing. And that’s why sort of alchemy is because you sort of had to really kind of measure your sort of sense of, I’m going to say that I’m going to say this, take it how you want to your sense of control over the situation. Because it’s very aware then, as with I’m sure many other queers of all ages and of all proclivities. I had a tendency to fall into had to fall in love and therefore and then having very long unrequited relationships with people more often than not to be fair, okay. They didn’t even know that I was requited relationship.
K Anderson 08:24
So so you would meet them and then fall in love straight away?
Oh, yeah, that was that was that was that was very, that was something that I would do a lot, especially in my late teens and early 20s.
K Anderson 08:37
Yeah. So like, just have a relationship in your head, basically.
Oh, yeah. No, hated every minute of it, but also at the same time loved I mean, you know, Is that weird? Yeah. But it becomes that much part of your life. It’s very hard to, you know, it’s really weird, when you suddenly kind of find realise that you’re not actually living an unrequited, you know, in a relationship with anybody in your mind, you know? And so for me, it was like, it was a massive emancipation. I’m living in the middle of London. And I’m therefore being I mean, it’s absolutely wallowing in this independence. And, you know, like I said, I lived in New York. So it was the nearest thing I sort of found to that. And believe me, New York is a whole other story. That’s a whole
K Anderson 09:21
nother episode. Yeah, that’s another episode. So I want to talk about this emancipation in this freedom, but you’ve kind of just avoided my question about flirting. And no, okay.
We’ll never come back to that. I know we can come back to that. Because the bottom line was, was whilst I said it was easier to pull, it was easy for me to pull and it felt like looking back on it, it felt like it happened quite a lot. which in reality, it probably didn’t happen as much as it does for a lot of people. You know, something like I was reading down there every night of the week pulling. That’s probably down there every
K Anderson 09:51
second night, right? Every second night or every third month, every third night. I don’t know. I really want to talk about this, I’m falling in love with him, because I know that that so but like, that was something that was common to me that I’d meet someone and be like, well, there were all these floors here to this relationship. There’s all these floors, that there’s all these reasons why we’re not compatible. But yeah, I’m gonna throw myself into this, and I’m gonna make this work. And I’m not gonna tell you this, but you’re you’re in relationship with me now. And I’m going to like design. And I’m going to do. And I just think it’s really yeah, it’s really interesting. And is that something? So this is a question I’m asking, Do you think that’s something that’s just part of being a teenager part of being a young adult and growing up? Or is there something queer about that that,
then thank you for changing teenager to young adult? Because yes, I was quite young. I know, when I sort of got I’ve got over it. But I think that it is something I think that it is something that happens to everybody, I feel that perhaps it is something that happens more within a queer context, because it’s not always but Well, certainly within my generation, I think that I mean, to be honest, these young, incredibly was was a seven point, I didn’t mean that although there is an element of that as well, self confident, young queer to around today, it feels like life for them is so much easier than it was for us. Okay, I’m very happy that they appear to be having a better time than than we did. However, we’re not talking about them, which
K Anderson 11:35
nobody really tariqa
now, it’s gonna say, for me, it was really about, I mean, I would often fall in love, I mean, half palm was falling off with straight people, right. So I would fall in love with these guys who to me in invert in veloped, in capsulated, all these aspects of life, or of a being of a guy that I felt was it was everything that I possibly desire, which is obviously, you know, you’re obviously setting yourself up to fail. But then I would become totally kind of, like infatuated. And I do think that there is an element of, for me, there’s a lack of the, there was a lack, there was a timidness, which came from the lack of confidence to really kind of be who I totally wanted to be, and feel confident about that in myself. And I think that as I’ve gotten older, you know, confidence, whether or not, it’s about, you know, self belief, and whether or not it’s true, it’s about whether or not you can project it, if you project confidence, then you got you get everybody in the room, you know, everybody in the world can fall in love with you, let alone you fall in love with them. And I feel like the emancipation aspect of the Duke of Wellington was, was because it was somewhere that I frequented so much. And I give you the example of another venue that I went to a lot in New York, which was the boiler room. And it was a very similar thing. Now, because I went there more often, I became more familiar with the clouds, how I was more familiar with the space, I felt more at home now there felt more I felt more confident. So if somebody was in there that I fancied it was, it was like, it was much easier for me to kind of make that move.
K Anderson 13:18
Because it was like, Hey, welcome to my place
was like, Hey, welcome to my place, precisely. And that, for me was a revelation. You know, and a real kind of learning curve for me and it made me really want to sort of actually be more, you know, be more adventurous and seek out other venues and other places. For for the kind of men that I like, I like larger guys, and in the early to mid 90s. Or maybe even the later 90s there actually was not many places you could go specifically for that. I remember, there was a little tiny place cool little turnstile at Holborn in a tiny little alleyway. I think the last time I went there was like a vodka bar. But that was like the first the first sort of band I in in London ninten style and it’s really hard to find in where it was. And again, similar kind of thing that was a revelation. But it was also terrifying because obviously then I kind of understood the dynamics of therefore, you know, kind of suddenly being in a room with all these bears and being a skinny guy standing in your side of the wall meant that you’re only there for one thing which therefore made me feel very self conscious and then like that, probably self cosmic self conscious queer when I think
K Anderson 14:35
Well, yeah. So that’s really fascinating, though. So going to that that venue. And it being very obvious from the off way. I mean, I suppose I suppose that’s true of most queer places at most male queer places, but being very, very apparent from the off why you were there.
I remember having a conversation with a nanny. A friend of mine and when I lived in the states and we went to obviously we we lived there I lived. I lived outside of New York and I would go into New York City all the time. I lived outside of New York. So it was quite kind of province, not provincial, but it was a small town in Westchester. Mount Kisco was. I loved it. I loved everything about it. It was amazing. But I remember going out to a pub with a straight woman friend of mine. And I posed this question I said, I said, Danna, this is gonna sound like it was made sound like a crazy question. But when you go to a pub, no matter how, no matter how slyly that feeling, may may may come to you. is, you know, do you always think that oh, my God, I’m, you know, I might get laid tonight. Is that is that always something that is on your mind? When you think it’s like hell? Yeah, of course it is. I was like, Ah, okay. So straight people who like to you don’t, I mean, but it’s, I mean, you know, it’s weird, like now as I kind of believe I’m saying this, but as a middle aged person, you know, it’s pubs are really sad, they are so rude, quitting quite a big social part of my life. So there is sort of looking at the pub as that sort of constant in your life. And, you know, when you’re a teenager, you go into public, because you’re under age and you want to, you want to, you know, you want to be seen to be hanging out with the older guys, or the older women or the other peeps. And then you get really drunk, and then you don’t, I mean, it’s sort of like a work, the pub is kind of like a rite of passage. And I think also in a pub context, it’s very similarly, British, or English place to go, you know, we always, we all grew up with a local pub that we all went to as teenagers, I’m sure we can. Sure, I’m pretty sure I can say that, that safe that we all did that. Certainly, most of us unless you do some incredibly, you know, out the way and incredibly isolated. But the pub, you know, it’s and i and i and i like I just love going to pause now and feeling so much more comfortable in myself. And it’s almost like the ghost of Tim baleen our 10 past sort of is wearing around my head. And it’s just like, I sound nice to be able to go into these places, and just like, you know, command the space, or just feel comfortable in the space, not even necessarily command it. But just be like, you know, like, like a fella in a pub.
K Anderson 17:23
And do you think do you think that an age thing? Do you think that’s because you’re now in a couple?
Yeah, I think it’s an age thing has to do with it. I think the thing that it had to do with being in a couple, I think, although, you know, what we do is when we’re out by ourselves is completely different, obviously, experience and, you know, we’re very open minded relationship. But I think I definitely think there’s something to do with age, you know, and for me, it’s always been about really trying to sort of like, learn from the experiences in order to better oneself, but also to also then have a better time. For me, it’s also about giving myself permission as I get older, regardless of how old that may be, but to you know, like and dulled in what I would never felt confident when I was younger, you know what I mean? And I think that I, whilst I’m pretty sure that my happens to everybody again, regardless of their proclivity, I think, being queer, you know, I mean, obviously, being queer experiences now is devastating for me, because there are so many places that aren’t there anymore. Because we were sort of I feel sold down the river of this kind of like equality, which then made everything same. And they said, Well, of course, you can go everywhere now. So why do we need to have gay pubs? And it’s a bit like this whole thing about well, we should we have men spaces is a course, which is should we have women’s spaces, we should, we should have spaces for people to hang out with, with the people that they feel like they belong with, you know, or whether it be a cultural, you know, whatever cultural faith, age, you know, there should be spaces for people to meet their own kind, and I feel that’s one of the status things I feel about not having these kinds of these bars, these queer bars, especially the queer bars, because that was also great again, about going going back to to the Juco. Well, he was they were so mixed. So many of these bars were so mixed, like, uh, you know, yes, there was this kind of like, there’s a women’s realm and as a minister, I mean, the RBT is that a man? I think maybe seven men from the women’s room.
K Anderson 19:28
Yeah, they’re very mixed, but in separate rooms.
That’s the best. Everyone’s welcome. But just stay with your own kind of what I’m What I mean is, you know, there, there was also, you know, like I said, the woman the front was very mixed. You know, it was the fact that there was this special You know, this step you didn’t, you know, you respected the fact that the woman the bank was for women was for lesbians, you know, we’re coming to the fight and of course, you can like us to jaw you know, kind of like just all about with the big data, yeah. How come you’re allowed in here and we’re not allowed in there. It took me a long time to get the confidence to have those kind of conversations. But then you did and it was fine. And that’s how you sort of learned about like women’s spaces. And that, like I said, you know, that kind of tied into this whole kind of, like, queer feminist theory that we were studying. So we were so utterly right on it was really kind of not scary. It was great. It was really great. But it was like it was it was very well, I mean, it’s funny seeing how right on people think they are now and you just think my goodness gracious me. It’s kind of a different world, it’s very interesting.
K Anderson 20:40
Well, because people are more right on now, or because they have nothing on you that,
well, they think they’re more right on now. But I’ve kind of feel like all of this kind of like this, this queer theory, this kind of feminist theory and how it attaches itself to queer theory. At the time, when we were studying, oh, there’s a bit like the idea of being woke now, it was about just being aware of cultural difference, not even necessarily cultural difference, but just difference. You know, it’s about understanding the reasoning behind where people come from, in their set of beliefs, and having an open discourse about that. recognising and respecting was, you know, respecting them or respecting or not respect, respecting the individual, not necessarily splitting the belief, but being able to have an open and frank conversation about it. And then you know, and then disagreeing with them, like agreeing to disagree with them, like respecting that disagree. And it feels like you can’t necessarily do that now. I’m quite sure where it is, I find it very alienating, actually, I find it alienating for me and somebody who’s not even that old, to feel kind of alienated by that about, well, quite a considerable number within a community, which I spent quite a lot of time, you know, campaigning if not being out and proud and making paving the way to a certain degree, paving the way for what has come. So I just find it a little bit strange. And maybe, maybe that is a consequence of not having the spaces to call
K Anderson 22:14
home more bringing it bringing it back round. But so do you. Are you saying that because because now the way that the conversations progress is that you’re either right, or you’re wrong? And there’s no kind of, there’s no, you? Do you? I’ll do me it’s like, Yeah, no, I must be,
I find it very tricky. I find it I don’t really understand it, and. And I feel like I should be more confrontational about it. Because I do feel like no platforming. Or, you know, not allowing people to speak their mind because it doesn’t go along with them that this discourse of what people should be talking about, I just think this is an anathema to learning and understanding difference that that is, you know, tolerant, tolerance doesn’t even come into the equation there. Because if you’re not willing to create a platform that allows whether or not you agree with them or disagree, but to allow that interaction to allow that engagement and that conversation to happen. I think it’s a really dangerous stance to have.
K Anderson 23:23
Yeah, I guess it just depends where your lines are, though, doesn’t know because in some instances, I can see why. Like, if someone if someone’s belief is that you can’t be the gen, you can’t be a different gender to the one that you were assigned at birth. The young should we be? Should we even be humouring that conversation?
Agreed. But um, I mean, it’s a we’ve totally kind of gone off track there and talk about it, but I mean, it does make me think that I wonder if there was a tangible link between venues in which you can feel safe and feel at home and therefore feel more relaxed and therefore not have to Agenda size everything. And no pun intended. While there was quite a good pun. I feel like you could have much of much wider greater queer discourse when there were venues which sort of suited your your temperament and your mood and your your brethren or your sorority or just your peeps, your peeps, generally, I mean, you know, up to the elbow. I mean, like the Gary’s upstairs in the garage up to the elbow. That was an amazing club at the garriage made great music venue. Highbury tube, and it was clear as fuck, you know, it was really Queer as Folk. Like Like I said, When della della grace del la grace volcano came did a talk in our Chris stones class, that that was incredible. The fact that now it’s like, well, you know, would, would could, would that happen? To be honest, I haven’t really hung out with Delve For a number of years, so I’m not entirely sure what their stance is what his stance is now, but I just feels like a lot of the discourse is coming on now is it’s like, I find that alienating, I find it actually non welcoming, I find it I find it self isolating. And I do feel that that you know, terms like isolating, or marginalising are words that come about when there are not institutions, which can support that when I say institutions, I mean spaces that can support that kind of crowd or that kind of dialogue.
K Anderson 25:38
Okay, do you want to move on? Shall we please can you move on? It’s gonna become very complicated. So So I’ve scribbled this down, and I want to ask you questions about it. I’m taking it right back to this muddy place. And you said before that you were really attracted to straight men. And that’s something that like, that’s never never been for me. Like, I’ve never, I’ve never really understood it. So I’d like for you to speak on behalf of everyone who’s attractive. And tell me why. Yeah, like, is it? Is it a confidence thing? Is it like, What? What is it about straight man that
can I just wanted to? Let me just clarify that by saying it wasn’t like it would ever be requited It wasn’t like I went out of my way to find straight men to prove that straight men were queer, although that was something that I sort of believed in the time to somehow support my argument of my failed conquests. But I mean, for me, I’ll be quite frank with you. Okay, looking back on it, I think it probably has to do with the fact that, you know, my parents split up when I was very young. And, you know, and I would see guys have a certain type of a certain outcome, a certain build of a certain sensibility to, would it transpire then be stray? And I would, I would like, I would naturally just be equivalent, right? And I think that perhaps there was less of a winner. Whilst there was definitely a sexual interest. I think there was more about idolising people who to me had the perfect life rather than actually toward giving myself a good stern talking to say, pull yourself together. To make life miserable for the next three years. Who did Thank you, I’ll bring it down. Find somebody else who kind of like gentlemen,
K Anderson 27:27
essence. Yeah. And what do you mean, then by perfect life?
Well, I think, you know, you can start to an idea of what what perfect life I mean, for me, it was was like, the more the perfect life is there is them with me being their wife. And that was weird as well, because it never really occurred to me that that in itself was a very difficult threshold to cross. And how would that manifest itself? And how would that work? You and me? But yeah, it was much more about this person represents that which, which, which I’m in no, no. So there was definitely if it’s the physicality of it was, it was like a very kind of Reuben z, sort of, to rebbeck kind of guys, these guys you had like this really kind of, or at least on the outside, were certainly kind of like, very cool. were either the centre of attention within their peer group or listened to really cool music and bought the record. I mean, the, the funny thing about that is, is just looking back on it, and just, I mean, I, it’s embarrassing myself, but be like, I was so preoccupied with that, that I remember the advances of others who actually, if I’m completely honest, would have been wonderful boyfriends and actually fitted the bill. So totally, but I was so self absorbed with these other people that I would become completely hopelessly in love with. I didn’t even give them a second looking, you know? And I just, I just, Oh, my God. I mean, you know, so yeah, all your careers are there. I’m sure there are those who kind of still goes through this weird, unrequited strange, self loathing, understanding of who you are. But you just gotta, you know, just remember who you are. I think that thing was about the thing with with all of that was I think we’re having having such a loss of a sense of who I was doing, does that make any sense? So So by having the attention of others, look at what I do now, I’m a performer, I crave Attention all the time. I constantly need to be made to feel, you know, do I need people’s attention? I need to be made to feel away often.
K Anderson 29:38
But do you do you think that then you get your sense of self worth from other people’s appreciation of you?
I think that one can I don’t think I necessarily do that all the time. But it is a bit again, that is something which within the culture that we live in, it’s really hard to escape that and just be yourself. I mean, it’s one thing to right now. It’s like I’m living this incredible house. I’m in the countryside. I haven’t This space around me now this is something which I longed to have made a man you know made manifest and made this happen. But it’s easy to for me forget what your own assets are because you’re so busy looking for them in other people you’re so busy sort of comparing yourself to other people that you’re so busy so busy hiring others that you don’t admire yourself and I think that it’s quite good to feel good about yourself and by yourself so So is this the right time then for me to bring up the police officer? Oh my God I nearly said his name out loud them but I’m not sure if that’s not
K Anderson 30:38
PC PLO I can come up with PC plod. What what? Can we call them that or something? I
call them. JK, who can get those initials? Jk. Okay. Yeah, he was there. He was at the he was at the giancoli I met him in there. Ah,
K Anderson 30:56
so how did you any like what happened?
I think it was one of that was one of those rare nights where the universe, the stars aligned. I was feeling cool, calm and collected. were okay. Obviously. Then I met him and it all went downhill from there. There are eyes me across the bar. And he’s you know, he’s kind of got that great burly nurse. He’s got I got he’s gonna take it. Again. My sort of mental tick list out he’s got like the burly nurse. He’s got that straight looking nurse got dark hair, dark eyes. rugby player build. I seem to remember he was very tired that night. He was often very tired. But I guess he had a very challenging job. So you know, I just kind of wanted to be there to help him put his feet up. Cook him a nice meal.
K Anderson 31:38
And that was your opening line. Right?
That was my opening line. Yeah, let me let me help you put your feet up and kick you a nice transpired he lived up the road from the pub as well. So my whole thing was like Well, hey, you know, to come are often do you live locally? Well, yes, he did. And of course, that was just like, oh my god. So you have I’ve had this guy who I’ve met him lived around the corner for me. So we were sort of not only were we kind of dating each other fleetingly as it turned out, but it was around the corner. You know, it was he was young, he was a bit older. And then he worked for Special Branch, allegedly. I mean, who knows how true was but in my mind, it was it was true enough. So he worked for a Special Branch. And so the rumour mill was, according to him, he would have to go off and disappear for days on end go undercover. He works down at Kings Cross was his thing. So he would dress up as a homeless person and go down and figure out who’s doing drugs and do the kind of thing allegedly that’s how I say you know, sounds great, but of course the thing was for me it was just like you never call Where is
so cuz I was a complete drama queen and he was aloof. So that obviously didn’t work out.
K Anderson 32:48
So you never went on Iraqi to like, go around Kings Cross seeing I’ve
never even thought about, man. You could look gone down on a bus and go I’m looking for Yeah. But um, yeah, that was that was cool. And he was very, he’s very nice. But he introduced me to opera Actually, he liked the genie. He liked fine wine, fine dining,
K Anderson 33:18
but I’m still stuck on this special ops thing. So it wasn’t just him like trying to avoid you.
Well, who knows? Me I was a bit of a psycho. I’ve made no bones about that. But now I can see that that would be an issue. I could be at that level think I mean, you know, conversely, he’d call me up in the middle of the night and wax lyrical about how great he wasn’t that he was completely fallen in love and didn’t learn their play Big Love by Fleetwood Mac. Ah, you know, so he was leading me along very handsomely. And how long did that all last? literally a summer. But that’s those are the best kinds of romances. What’s kind of hot those very hot? Yeah. That vehicle by Fleetwood Mac. I mean, that’s a bit cheesy, right? Yeah, but it worked. I mean, that lasted for days. That’s all I needed. was amazing. And it was great to be able to walk up the road to his and then I bet I do remember months later that caught that dreadful moment of going into the Duke of rally and who would be in there with a bunch of guys but please, with his in inverted commas knew. And did you do that thing where you just pretended you didn’t know each other? No. No? Well, I think I possibly did. But he went, hey, Tim. And of course I then my heart sank. And I thought, well, how am I going to get him back? Oh, this is clearly he’s clearly with somebody else who I was then introduced to And there was possibly some folly of some sort of very, very, very, very rude he was very aloof anyway. But this kind of aloof apologised. And I was just all very, you know, was it was all a bit messy,
K Anderson 35:16
felt like there’s unresolved things here
as a lot of, you know, I still go past whenever I go past the house, the various houses, I always look over there and suck my teeth with disdain of what could have been, you know,
K Anderson 35:29
I can go there now and throw a brick through the window if you want just coming
off there. But he had a he had a Doc Martin boot, as maybe he had a pair of Doc, which presumably had been like the pair that he first used when he was like Bobby, and he had them by his front doors, and he had turned them into flowerpot. I thought that was very cute.
K Anderson 35:57
So I was so that was a good thing was it? I was in semester long. Why didn’t he get them bronzed? That would have been a good thing. Yeah. And, and so were there any other fumbles or little romances with people? At the Duke?
Well, they were Yes. I remember meeting this one guy, and he had a he, he totally fit the bill. And, you know, kind of like right raunchy, right, kind of like big fella quite kind of, again, the rugby player, we like I was really into what we play. And he touched me up in the toilet, and I thought I died and went to heaven. But then I said, I live on the corner. Do you want to come back to mine? And he went, and he had a very high voice and a really high pitched voice, which I wasn’t expecting. So he said, Yes, please. So we did so then I kind of sounds terrible, but I engineered the whole thing. So we go back to my place without set was saying as little as possible to that we could have our own be bumpy without him actually saying anything. Because as soon as he said something, it totally destroyed the whole. That funny,
K Anderson 37:11
so and so the terrible. Yeah, it is pretty terrible. But so though touching you up. Did that? Did he just like follow you into the bathroom? Yes, he did. Okay, he stood next to me to your own romance.
K Anderson 37:32
But yeah, isn’t that isn’t that I mean, I’m not, you know, the the pitch of his voice isn’t the thing that I’m necessarily focusing on. But isn’t it really annoying when you really fancy someone until they start talking? And then you’re
absolutely, and it’s a very odd thing as well, because sort of gentlemen. It shouldn’t. It shouldn’t. It shouldn’t get in the pony thing to hear. But it shouldn’t say so much. And yet it does. Because you I mean,
K Anderson 37:59
well, I mean, sometimes it’s the content of what they’re saying. And you’re just like, Oh, please just trude up. So. But yeah, sometimes it is just Yeah, the, the, the way in which they say,
yeah, it was a really good place to take people for a drink as well is a really good place to kind of book saying, Oh, hey, you know, like, you meet somebody say, at West or. or, you know, just I think maybe I’ve met somebody who lived in Stoke Newington. And you know, it’s like, well, hey, you know, do you want to? Let’s go to a pub, and then do that. And they’d be like, well, would you want to go there? Well, we met at Duke early bulls palm road, you know, like, are we have heard about that place? Well, you know, I’ve heard about that place. Yes, we’ll go there. And it was it was very much on the map. So you’d meet the unit. I mean, it was like it beat the you could check that the person you would close enough to home for it never to be an issue. Whether or not it’s to have an excuse to run away from them or just to be able to go white. Yeah, instantaneous chemistry. You’re coming back to my place.
K Anderson 39:00
How did you meet people then? Because it wouldn’t have been sorry. It sounds so like, tell me about the past. But it was no internet. So
how did you know exactly what this is? it? I mean, this is what was so funny looking back on it because I, I swear to God, I swear to whoever it is upstairs. I swear to mother that there are instances in my life where where I cannot conceive how we managed to make that work without having mobile phones. Oh, yeah. But I think again, again, I but I think you know, you’d leave a message and you would trust that the message was received. And you would go, you would go with it. You know, but more often than not that that was how things worked out when it was fine,
K Anderson 39:49
but I had to better How did you meet them in the first place if you didn’t meet them in the bar?
Well, this is an interesting thing. So you could meet people in this. I mean, you could I mean, for somebody that didn’t like cruising places like I was, as I said earlier, I was very intimidated by cruising and it wasn’t didn’t really suit me because I didn’t like not being able to see people’s faces. And I didn’t like the anonymous text. But I quite liked to know people before I take them home. And I also like doing it at home, rather than outside. Anyway, you didn’t get you get you get the juice. Sleeping in that respect? Yeah,
K Anderson 40:27
I just think that’s weird. I really care.
So you would meet, you know, you would say you would be embarrassed that you you would meet people, you would meet people in bookshops, or you would meet people in the street. So you could cruise people in the streets or, you know, you might meet somebody. I met a lot of people like doing say, postgraduate courses. And like I said, because there’s a whole kind of Queer Studies, contingent, there was quite a lot of sort of like afternoon dues, and tea parties and sort of like readings and things like that. So you might go to things like that, and you’d meet them. And then you’d be like, hey, do you want to go for a drink afterwards? And then be like, Oh, yeah, sure, where should we go, you know, anyway, but like, let’s go to the Chico village is really around the corner, but you don’t need to know.
K Anderson 41:13
Until I played you with a few days until I played with the future and decided that I’m better. So and it will only take a drink or two to decide if you fall in love with that.
I was just gonna say also, I wouldn’t really go out my way supply them with drinks. That’s not an appropriate thing to say.
K Anderson 41:29
Okay, sorry. Okay, take that back. But so but cruising in the street? Yeah. How How, how do you do it? I know it was good. I love that. I love that you asked me that. I love that. I love what you’re asking them. I mean,
presumably you use phone apps to find lovers, lovers,
K Anderson 41:52
Networking apps, this course when you want to network network. There’s a certain amount of kind of cruising that happens there. But it has to be sort of very highly sort of haikus very abrupt, very short shrift. vocalisation of word games, doesn’t it? Yeah, you know, you have to really kind of capture that you have to do we see cruising down the street, you know, it’s very much a kind of like, again, it’s that is the eye contact, keeping the eye contact, measuring the eye contact. And then there’s a beat where you see somebody, you catch their eyes. And then when they walk past you, you then wait. And then you turn around like you wait. You turn around? And if they turn around as well, you know, you it’s in the back. The question is, then what do you do? Do? I mean, usually, I’d be equivalent, right? by then. So I wouldn’t know what to do with myself. But um, yeah, totally, totally are in a room or I do totally, you definitely, I would definitely, oh my god. But also, you can’t buy that sort of adrenaline rush, you can’t buy the drug, if they can bottle that, that feeling that tingly sensation of when you know, you’ve got somebody in your gaze, and you know, that is not going to stop until something quite carnal happens. That is great. And also there are people with whom I’ve had that and then not seeing them again, for months. If you see what I mean,
K Anderson 43:24
what you’ve had, you
know, you get, you get the eye contact, you get all of that freestyling you get the whole chemistry, the whole chemistry set and caboodle, but you don’t actually meet them properly. Until say, weeks later. So this might happen. I mean, this is demonstrate people do this all the time. This is not an unusual thing. And I think that also it was much more frequent for gay people to do that, because they didn’t have networking, mobile phones, so of course, you had to do it, you had to do it, but
K Anderson 43:52
it just takes this leap of faith, doesn’t it? Like especially in terms of the orientation context, like
hugely dangerous, hugely dangerous? I mean, and that was, that was the thing. I mean, you know, a lot of people got queer bash, often because they had made a path that somebody who was not queer themselves. And in fact, that was something which in Dalston at the time was was. Yeah, I mean, that was about I mean, that was the nature of the culture that we lived in. I was incredibly fortunate like me and think, me and my close friends, then we were incredibly forced that none of us really fell foul of anybody. I think I got been I was that I got hustled at a bus stop and had my wallet stolen, but I didn’t get beaten up and I never, you know, touch a word. It’s nothing terrible’s ever happened, but he did. And it used to happen quite regularly. There was something that you thought about, but at the same time in the heat of that moment, all sense of personal safety kinda goes out the window. I hate to say it
K Anderson 45:00
And then so but do you just then go up to the person and be like, Oh, hi. Hi. Oh, hey, nearby.
Yeah, exactly. Yeah, you want to go for a drink or you want to get a coffee or dinner? Yeah. What
K Anderson 45:16
do you have to go and talk to them? Ah, well, I mean, you could just find a little early and then do something that could happen. That could, that could totally happen. I can’t. Yeah, I can’t imagine it. Yeah, I think I’d just be terrified. Really? I did. There was one time that I picked someone up on the bus. And I don’t even think I fancy them. I think I was just like, Oh, this could be an adventure. But other than that, I’ve never ever ever. Like, I just can’t imagine doing it. And in fact, I think when I see someone cruising me on the street, I will then get out Grindr to see if they’re on Grindr.
No, sort of like a security blanket, isn’t it? Again, so you want a bath. And it’s like, I don’t know how I don’t I kind of worked on but or growl or whatever it is. Whatever your your preferred. app is. But maybe you can tell me if you want a bus and somebody else is on that bus? Do you stay within proximity to them constantly? while you’re on the bus? I suppose you must follow that up
K Anderson 46:21
with an app on an Oh, would you be on the same? Yeah.
Same bar. If you pass somebody downstairs and you catch their eye, you go upstairs? Are you gonna then like, grab your phone and check out your preferred social networking app? listed on the bus?
K Anderson 46:39
Yeah, cuz is their location the last time they logged in? Or is it just following those last moves? Yeah, like
close to New London. I mean, like I said, it’s a great safety, you know, great safety net to have that. Oh, I’ll just see if they are online and get more of their details. So that I can then you know, follow them so Oh,
K Anderson 47:02
yeah. Find out what their high is in centimetres before I say hello.
Exactly. All of that. For what their voices you know, do they have the right tone. I, I’m gonna I’m just going to name drop by way of kind of other places and other past moments of massive titillation live and multitalented when I was in San Francisco, I lived in New York. And I went and I travelled over to the west coast, because I always wanted to go there. And again, this was the beginning of this is the early 90s. So it was still very much a kind of a well, it is I mean, it’s a Korean Mecca now, but then it was much more kind of, sort of more accessible to we say, wasn’t quite the capitalist machine in this now. So there were all these funny little places. And there’s a place called cafe No, and I’m not sure if that’s still there, but it’s a lovely cafe bar on Market Street, just just as you get to Castro. And then further along Market Street, there was a There seems to be a bookshop not there’s a famous bookshop in San Francisco. It’s not that one was one of those around the corner. dusty little bookshop. And I remember being in there, and I saw this guy in there, and we cruised each other to pieces in the bookshop. And then because of course, I had no self confidence, like I could didn’t know what I was doing wreck. So all I could do is like I didn’t know what to do and what to say. But I just knew I knew there was something there. So I’d get that trembling kind of adrenaline rush. And I walked out of the bush or maybe he walked out of the room. So he will tell the bookshop he crossed the road I came out of the bookshop, I remember finding I’ll play years ago, I use this as one of the things about meeting some of this guy, the guy that I ended up in the player end up marrying this guy, but he, he costs the bone, I come out in the bookshop, he’s looking at me as I come out of the bookstore, I then walk up the road he is looking across at me, I look across him, I kind of go past him, but I’m still passing glances at him. I then go into cafe knowing he then comes into the cafe. on two separate tables. We have two cups of coffee, like Kenny This is how ridiculous was I didn’t I still I’m still like going out my mind and know what to do. He’s they’re having a coffee. I’ve literally been spending a year being a nanny having no sexual experiences whatsoever over in New York because I was terrified and I was very, very young. I then subsequently went backwards much conversating but I’m in cathinone with this guy. He’s there on two separate tables, we have a cup of coffee. He then leaves out of one exit, and I was like, what this is it, I’m going to do this I walk out the other exit we meet on the corner, and that is when we then have the conversation. And his name is Vince Vince Quackenbush and he lives now and openly but he was that was like that he was a rite of passage for me. That was amazing. That was being you know, we cruised each other all the way up from inside the bookshop. to the cafe having this whole other, you know, I can’t tell you that the, the arousal and the crazy feeling of that, that that titillation of just cruising is is can be as fulfilling as the actual manifested sounds agonising.
K Anderson 50:19
That’s part of joy. Why aren’t you so bad at it? I’m just a bit like, are we going to do this or not? Let’s move
on. I kind of feel like that’s the sort of, I think that what as we’re talking about it, I kind of feel like that is what is lacking now. And that the sort of romance we want everything. Now we want to 10 minutes ago, we don’t even want to, you know, we don’t want to wait when after we go through any kind of like emotions. We just want to go through the act when it right here right now, none of this kind of romantic wonder last did.
K Anderson 50:53
What you did was romantic. Is that what you’re saying? Well, I think on a scale of one to gay, yes.
Because often there isn’t a lot of romance in gay. I mean, you know, no, there is no, because we just like, wham, bam, thank you, man. I mean, no, the idea that you would go into a dark cemetery, and find somebody’s body to have fatality against without even knowing what they look like, or what their name is, let alone whether or not they’re using what you know, they may also be carrying you telling me that’s romantic. Is that why? I think the fact that you could have that. I don’t know, it’s sort of it’s like the kind of, for one of a better metaphor, you know, the luxury car version of a wham bam, Thank you, ma’am. You know, it’s like it’s more, it’s slightly more refined it it arouses more of your senses. It gives you more things to play with. I just love the idea that you know, there’s a whole rounded story for that. It’s like, you know, I don’t know if you’ve ever lay in bed and think about all of your sexual content conquests, and try and go through them and how each of those went. But I love the idea that each you know, I like it. When there’s a story. At least there’s a story. There’s an expense, a bigger experience.
K Anderson 52:13
Yeah, yeah. Okay. You know what I mean? Yeah, there’s a better anecdote involved. Yeah. Well, isn’t about that. But yeah. But, you know, if you put in all this effort, and then the sex is disappointing, like, like, no, there’s something to be said about, you know, like, okay, let’s just go for it. Oh, this isn’t for me by
that’s also how maybe you make friends. I was having this conversation with some other people the other day, actually, about like, we were, we were being a was another podcast I was doing with some friends. And they, we were doing an overhead and agony and section somebody wrote in, and basically, they were saying, didn’t we’re gonna have a conversation before they have sex. And we were a bit like more, it’s like, well, you just got to let bring it down. And I was, like, have you can make friends, you can make friends. Just because you’re all gays doesn’t mean, you have to have sex before you can be friends. You know. But I do feel like there is a lot of that these days. It’s like, Oh, I can’t talk to you. Why not? Because you’re not attractive as well. We’re human beings. That’s, that’s the thing that brings us all together, whether you like it or not, you know, it’s a very different way of communicating or a different way of socialising. It’s very different way of, you know, getting a shag. And I know that he was a lot slower. And I quite like the fact that it was less low, a quiet low. I mean, I’m saying this now at a time was absolute turmoil. But I like the idea that you invested your you know, your time in, in getting that shag. And, you know, even if it was like over the course of an evening and not on, you know, not on a family chasing somebody around a venue.
K Anderson 54:02
Kind of like funnelling them into the bathroom. Yeah,
yeah. or whatever, or trying to get them away from their friends or you’re trying to get away from your friends so that you can have a little secret conversation? I definitely I do that was Yeah, that is a very nice thing, which I think maybe doesn’t happen quite so much. Now. completion of a cruise somebody down the street.
K Anderson 54:23
I just, I just don’t think I mean, maybe I have I just I just I just feel really bad. Also, I’m not very good. I think I just also don’t notice. I just assume people wouldn’t be flirting with me.
See, that’s the thing. You need to get rid of that. Stop thinking that way because that’s no help to anybody, at least of all year.
K Anderson 54:48
But I mean, it’s not a major issue. Yeah, I mean, it’s like it’s fine. But I think if if I’m in Yeah, like if If I’m in a place where that kind of thing happens, then I kind of I am expecting it. So it’s okay. But if I’m on the street, I’m like, not expecting it. I’m just like, but I hear it singing a song in my head. Yes, you’ve hit on something there. And for me, it’s always been the moments when you’re least expecting it when something has happened. And I think that’s there’s a euphoria which which is involved in that weird kind of, again, alchemy, which which is just so utterly brilliant. And makes up in so many ways for the for the times about unrequited maudlin. self loathing, being completely self isolating. But I do love that as well.
Oh, yeah, it can become. It’s sort of it’s a pleasure in the self indulgence of that can be
K Anderson 55:59
Yeah, listening to records and just had so much fun. Did you ever go to the Duke of Wellington?
K Anderson 56:11
you did, I would love to hear more from you. Tell me your stories, and share any photos or anecdotes on social media. You can find me across most platforms with the user name K Anderson music. And you can find out more about Timberlina at WWW.timberlina.co.uk. And as well as that Timberlina hosts her own podcast called Live from right, which you can hear on all good podcast platforms. Last basis is not only a podcast about a concept record as well. I’ve been writing songs about queer venues and the people who used to live there, live there, and we’ll be releasing songs over the coming year. You can hear the first single well grim boys, which is also playing underneath my talking right now on all good streaming platforms. If you liked this episode, I’d really appreciate if you subscribed, left a review on Apple podcasts or just told someone who you think might be interested in finding out more. I am K Anderson and you have been listening to lost spaces.