“Queer People Were Just Really Pushed To The Fringes” – Imogen Kelly

imogen kelly

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So, gentrification is a bit of a dirty word around here, and you’ll no doubt have heard me talk to at least one of my guests about how gentrification pushes out the queers and the misfits from areas where they once thrived.

One of the places in the world that has been totally transformed by gentrification is King’s Cross in Sydney, Australia. When I was growing up as a little queer boy in Adelaide, King’s Cross was known as a place of debauchery and sin, most famous for the strip bars and prostitution. Now the place has been completely transformed, full of yummy mummies and expensive coffee shops. 

Back in the 90s this week’s guest, (with also happens to be Australia’s first lady of striptease), Imogen Kelly, first started stripping at Stripperama, one of the clubs on the main strip. She’s written a book about those times, and we caught up to discuss what King’s Cross was like in those days, living during the HIV and heroin epidemic, police corruption, and the woman she fell in love with….


James O’Hagan  00:00

Push, push, push, push, always make yourself feel uncomfortable. Always push yourself out of your comfort zone never say no to anything, always do whatever is offered always make use of being uncomfortable shows that you’re making progress being uncomfortable shows you’re pushing away from that guy who felt completely unwelcome and unwanted in this place.

K Anderson  00:19

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. Now usually on this show, we talk to someone about a very specific time in their life when they went to a particular venue, which is kind of the whole remit of the show, right. But what we don’t do that often is look at the same venue at different time periods, and reflect on the journey and the growth that the person experienced in the intervening years. But today, James O’Hagan writer, activist and co host of the drag race recap podcast, sissy that pod visitors to tell us about. Firstly, his first attempts at going out as a scared we thing in his early 20s. And then coming back later on in his late 20s, to have a totally different experience at break for the border, a bar that was found in Ireland’s capital, Dublin. What I love about this conversation is that we talk about the differences in taking up space. And when you’re young and terrified and unsure of yourself, you want to take up as little space as you possibly can. And then when you get older, you feel more able to do that and not like cocky or overconfident but just like, yeah, I matter. I exist. And I deserve as much space as everyone else is getting here. And I really appreciated James’s candour in this conversation. And also, I can’t say Ireland that Well, I found Ireland, can anyone give me tips?

James O’Hagan  02:49

My journey as a gay man is intrinsically linked to the intersection of being a fat person, those experiences together are so completely linked that I I’ve only come recently to understand the degree to which both have influenced each other. And so I absolutely didn’t feel like I fit in with those people who are in that space at that time. And so I would go to that place because it was the only place where I could go to have people who felt like they were part of my community. But I didn’t necessarily feel like I was actually really part of that community or belonged as part of that community. It was a place where almost I could go to see other gay people to prove to myself that they existed. But I didn’t know how to integrate myself into it as I came at us when I was like 18. So sort of like two or three years before that. So you were gonna ask a question,

K Anderson  03:47

Was there no, I just, I want what you said a little bit, you said that your sexuality and your fatness are inter linked? Yes. But without putting words in your mouth. It sounds as though you’re describing them being at odds.

James O’Hagan  04:06

I think they have been adults, because I think that you as you’re growing up as a person, particularly in your teens, what you want to do is not stand out. And when you’re a queer person, you often find that you just have something within you that stands out to other people even before it stands out to yourself. Like I remember I was only thinking of a kind of this over the last couple of days as I as I knew we were going to be chatting away kind

K Anderson  04:32

of like I like someone prepping.

James O’Hagan  04:36

When it was I could read that other people were noticing something different to me that I wasn’t eating. I was thinking back to even when I was in primary school, maybe 789 We would have had these sort of class discos. And at these class discos, you know, there would have been the fast songs and the slow songs and I was always pulled up to dance during the flat songs, but then we’d be pushed to the side during the solos and in looking back in it now on understand from it, that what was being picked up on, there was a very sort of rudimentary kind of like, you’re the sort of the gay friend almost. And you’re not the person who there’s the kind of like romantic connection to, and it was like this sense of being an outsider or something you want to, you want to try and figure out what you can do change in yourself in order to make yourself fit in. As a queer person, I was standing out no matter what I did, where as I walked through life presenting myself, if I let my guard down, if I wasn’t careful about how I was behaving, people would see that there was something that made me different. And as a fat person, it was the same, but in a, I suppose in, in a in a visual way that I could touch and feel. And that could be physically point to that and, and sort of addressed. And I did have, I suppose over the course of my teenage years and into my 20s, as someone who was lacking in confidence and and overweight, you would have people looking at you and telling you, the shape of your body is inappropriate, the way your body is, is wrong. And you as a result of that are wrong. And I suppose like I then was trying to address both of these differences within myself, and figuring out kind of like, who I was, and where it was that I would feel comfortable in order to just be myself. And so when I first started going to queer spaces, what I found was that my fatness made me other than those spaces. So I didn’t feel comfortable in queer spaces, because when I walked into them, like we had, you know, we were joking about the the belly top twinks on the, you know, wasn’t

K Anderson  06:31

joking about that. I’m horrified. But no, but

James O’Hagan  06:37

there is there is when I was first engaging with the community, my first engagement with the mainstream, sort of the community of se, it was represented on like Queer as Folk was one where fat people didn’t exist in the gay community. And so I would go in to break for the border, because I had nowhere else to go to indulge the queer part of who I was, I suppose, because you always had that compulsion to meet the need of this part of your identity. And so I would go back to this space, you know, with the sort of one or two friends I had in the community. And I would always have the same experience of thinking, you know, there’s a shirt I can buy, that’s going to make me fit. There’s a hair course I can get that’s going to make me fit in there’s a, you know,

K Anderson  07:20

and if it’s early 1000s as body glitter, right.

James O’Hagan  07:23

Very much like that. That is it. Like everyone looks like Adam Rickard from Coronation Street.

K Anderson  07:32

Oh, that’s hideous. So, let’s paint in the picture a bit more in the early 1000s. Where were you at? What were you doing? Did you grow up in Dublin? Or did you had you move to Dublin what was going on?

James O’Hagan  07:48

So I’m from the outskirts of Dublin, originally, so living in North of the county, so I’m very lucky by rural gay standards, and that the sort of the trip to Dublin was just a 40 minute train. I came as when I was around 18, which was, which was in the year 2000, I had just seen Queer as Folk and just kind of had my mind blown by the fact that sort of, suddenly, there was a name for the thing I’d known I was for years prior to that. And I started college in UCD, which was over on the South sides of the entire opposite side of Dublin. But I had been, I lacked a lot of confidence in myself, when I was a very young child. I was very showboating, I was very much more as I am right now. sort of as a child, I had a lot of personality, I had a lot of, you know, pzazz I like to be entertaining and as I sort of grew up, and that wasn’t necessary, and I didn’t have the interest in sort of older boys would have I think this is a very similar sort of insert sort of standardised gay child experience to

K Anderson  08:59

seven. Exactly.

James O’Hagan  09:01

But so yeah, as I as I had grown up, like as as as I was sort of going through my teens, when I would let my authentic self out it would usually come back on me in a negative way that I would find myself being the butt of a joke I would find myself being bullied or outside find myself being highlighted or or sort of focused on in a negative way. I went to an all boys sports school. So you know, an all boys sports boarding school. Because I suppose, who knows, perhaps my parents thought a GA ball and whatever would would be able to sort me out. But what that taught me in that period of my life was that the things that made me stand out the sort of more flamboyant parts of my nature, the sort of louder parts of my voice, the bigger parts of who I was, were things that like literally would put me in danger, they would put me into a space where where I was going to be picked on and so I left secondary school to go to college with this absolute sort of like, if you can imagine this sort of, I always think about like the scene in Titanic the kind of like you’re on the door in the sea, you’re you’re floating there you’re kind of like hanging on for dear life, right? How

K Anderson  10:18

are you Leo? Okay.

James O’Hagan  10:20

I in case of course, like all good gay boys. I mean, now I’m sleeping, you know, so it’s fine. But

K Anderson  10:29

I think I’m here I was late.

James O’Hagan  10:32

I mean, probably that’s closer as well, I have to. But also I, in my last year of secondary school, I’d made a couple of friends in drama group up in a town up the road from me. And I was hanging on to those friends like that doorframe in the Atlantic Ocean when the when the Titanic sank, and there was a terror of trying to push beyond where I felt comfortable. And when I went to college, I joined the LGBT society, LGBT society as it was at the time, and made one good queer friend who remains a friend of mine to this day, but was so terrified of pushing myself beyond where I felt extremely comfortable outside of the friends I had made that I felt were hard won over over a period of a very difficult period, that I just was terrified at the idea of putting myself in a space where I could be humiliated or laughed at. And so I would go into the hot property night at the time, that Glitz nightclub down those big steps into the sort of everything covered in Chrome, everything playing, you know, spinning around by Kylie constantly on a loop. And I would just instantly clam up and be like, I don’t belong here. This is not for me, I shouldn’t be here. And every night, I would be there, I would have this. Every night I would go, I would drink too much get maudlin and end up leaving, or I would attempt to throw myself at for some poor, unsuspecting, nice looking boy who was minding his own business and wasn’t really out for a night. He’s where he was going to have to comfort me and all of my baggage.

K Anderson  12:12

Ah, well, I want to hear all about that bag. Yeah, we do it or actually, this is a really crude question. Yeah. No, it’s not going to be as simple as one over the other. But in terms of when you were at school, and when you were othered. Were you more othered for your queerness or for your cat? Well,

James O’Hagan  12:35

that’s a simple answer, and it is black and white, because it was my fatness because I could suppress my queerness ah, I have talked to I was gonna say many counsellors, but I’ve talked to a number of counsellors over the years, as I’ve managed to sort of like go to that journey of like, unpicking all of the like, like it’s I’ve opened up my brain, like that drawer that has all of the cables in us and the Christmas lights, and I’ve unpicked them all beautifully now, because I would have described myself during my secondary school period as being just completely blank, just being completely devoid of any personality, any sense of it any spark. And it’s interesting, because in the more recent years, as I have sort of looked back at that period of time, when I did start pushing myself further aid beyond my comfort, and started building more of a life for myself, within the queer community and accepting that queer parts of myself, I used this earlier part of who I was, as something of a whipping boy. And so I sort of was like, you can’t be that person forever. And I was so angry at the earlier part of myself, who had hated who he was, who had felt so much shame, who had felt so much anger for who it was, as a child, more or less. And now as I’ve kind of been able to reassess that I suppose, like, I feel so sorry for who I was at that point, because I had been conditioned over years, not to express myself not to say anything about who it was or else I wouldn’t be exposed to othering bullying, abuse of some kind or another.

K Anderson  14:19

And so is it an obviously very simplistic way of looking at it and very broad brush, but when you were starting to display the flamboyance or the queerness you learned very quickly that that was not acceptable or that that was going to get you in trouble. So you clamped down on it and then just survived for your high school. Yeah,

James O’Hagan  14:45

pretty much pretty much I suppose I had so I had when I was very much younger I lived in in Malahide with with my sort of my extended family and we moved out as sort of a rather crucial point for a child’s development like as you’re kind of in that kind Have a period in your earlier primary school period where you’re making friends, I moved from what had been sort of a bigger, more urban primary school to a rural primary school where I clearly didn’t fit in. And sort of in that period of time, I, I learned very quickly, as you said, debate, sort of the fact that the product was the flamboyance, the stuff that would have singled me out as being a different type of child, that I needed to shut that down, or it would come back on me. And also, I put on an awful lot of weight because I was no longer surrounded by people who I knew or with friends or with people I felt I could trust. So kind of it was the sort of ying and yang might not be the right word, but it was sort of the I suppose like, in that couple of year periods, I shut myself down the I shut the queerness down because it was something that had been sort of getting unwanted attention. And then the fact that grew out of us, because I wasn’t, I suppose I didn’t, I didn’t have a space to express myself. So I started so in that shutting down, I suppose I just, I confidex. Really?

K Anderson  16:04

Yeah, yeah. And so by the time you were in high school, in secondary school, you were just trying to not be noticed completely.

James O’Hagan  16:13

I went into when I went into first year of secondary school, there was only one or two of the people from the school I had been in prior to that went to the same taekwondo school. And they were the two people who had bullied me in my in my primary school. So I was very much when I walked into my first year in my, in secondary school or high school, I just was like, I need to just fly completely under the radar. And then for a base for about five years, that’s what I did. I just was, I blended into the furniture I blended into the walls, the only time I will be seen was if it would be that sort of fear of I don’t want to be seen that the absolute terror of being seen or being kind of asked a question or being noticed within within a space. And things then like pee physically, as having so many fat children and gay children, physical exercise, where you’re being placed into the thing that you don’t feel comfortable became this sort of space where it was the only place you couldn’t hide yourself, and you really stood out for all the wrong reasons. And you were just piling more and more blame on top of yourself for the fact that you were you were standing at.

K Anderson  17:26

I wanted to shift forward a bit quickly. But before we do that, you’ve just reminded me of my first day of high school. And what you’re saying secondary school, am I supposed to say? Is that like what you call it?

James O’Hagan  17:39

Secondary? Secondary school would be an Irish thing. Yeah. So Okay.

K Anderson  17:43

Well, I like my high school was called sprite in secondary school. So I don’t know why I’m calling. I was the faggy kid who only had female friends. And they all said to me, Oh, we’re all gonna meet here, on the first day, before we like, go into the assembly, or whatever, and get introduced. And they were lying to me, because they were actually all going to meet somewhere else. And they wanted to ditch me. Oh, my, and you’ve just reminded me of that. But despite that, and despite the fact that everyone was really shitty to me, I knew that I was like, fucked without them. And so I hung on to those friendships, which is what you’ve reminded me of when you so vividly painted this picture of, what’s her name? Kate Winslet hanging on to the door, or whatever came out of the boat. You know that better to you? Is that your experience as well, like people treating you really shittily but you felt as though you had no choice but to hold on to this friendship? Yes. Well, yes, I

James O’Hagan  18:48

know, in that, I suppose that there was over the course of my secondary school experience. I you know, if you imagine that that great American high school thing where just the tables laid out, and there’s like these types of people sit over there, these people sit over there. And then there’s the freaks, weirdos and sort of losers sit at that table over there, by virtue of the fact that obviously a number of people had fallen through the filtration system and ended up with the bottom of the barrel. There was a group of us that did form and I think that and this is where, you know, that sort of violet Chachki does this because he did community and so I did strength I like to think I’ve had all through my life is a is a potentially egomaniac level of self belief in some ways, and an ability to think, well, I could do better or I should be able to do better or I deserve better than I’m being treated. And obviously in the moments where I was sort of at the lowest of my abs like that was quiet and but I always felt like I deserved better than I was being given. And so I looked around at these people who I sort of ended up by default put with and I sort of felt frustrated and angry because I was like, This makes me sound like a horrible person. Because all these people within their own way, wherever,

K Anderson  20:04

listen to this, don’t worry, that’s true. We’re like all of these people in their own way,

James O’Hagan  20:09

they all had ended up in this group by default. So we all deserved better because we all deserved to have friends who we actually had a connection with, and people who we actually wanted to sort of build relationships with. That wasn’t the case. In this particular group. It was, you know, a kind of a group of misfits who were stuck together by virtue of the fact that we’d all been labelled losers. And I suppose I never really enjoyed hanging out with these people. They had interests that were completely different to mine. They listened to music that I asked I would I would then again, as you said, I did now just thinking about this and realising absolutely, I clung on to them, I dyed my hair black, I listened to new metal. I bought that live biscuit album.

K Anderson  20:56

was like, I remember you show you want to say that on the record, like,

James O’Hagan  21:00

I think I need to own us, I have to own us as well. Yeah, I had not even thinking about this. So like, as I got into kind of later, school and like that group of people had sort of formed, there’s nothing wrong with gamers and I have lots of lots of my friends are kind of, you know, gamers and, and

K Anderson  21:18

it was like, there’s a buck coming here.

James O’Hagan  21:20

But I’m not naturally like I don’t connect with those people on that level in that space. And I had to go into that space to fit in. And so I felt obligated to pick up a lot of these sort of, you know, hobbies or interests that were things that I was painfully, you know, not interested in or did it actively disinterested in and pretend to have likes that I absolutely didn’t have, like, I used to have like a box where I would hide my S Club seven and steps albums. In case in case, you know, people would like I remember like when Afro Levine emerged, I was like, Oh, thanks be to God, a female artist I can unashamedly enjoy, because for some reason, people have decided that she can get taken seriously. But yeah, so I adopted this like new metal persona for a while where I was kind of that’s what I was. And to raise an awful lot of my life, I suppose. Actually, if I look at it now, I’ve done that. Like I’m, I’m an era album, producer, you know, I went through my new metal experience back in secondary school. And then as I move into college, I went into this like extreme of extreme kind of judgmental indie music listener tying ties onto various parts of outfits carrying four or five messenger bags and wearing a brochure and as, like anything I could do to make myself look, you know, look how interesting I am going to show how interesting I am on your face. And as well as while I’ve never managed to find a like for new metal music, elements of each of those eras certainly do exist within who I am now.

K Anderson  22:57

Now, I know this is not important to this story, but I just need to ask in the box that had your S Club seven and steps. Were there any bewitched?

James O’Hagan  23:06

Yes, I would say they were quite good. I’m also going to come out now and admit that my my first ever concert was a bewitched concert. I remember with within this group of sort of misfits and weirdos, I was given responsibility for purchasing tickets for I can’t remember who was playing it might have been Orien. Potentially, we’re playing and I was supposed to be to be buying tickets for for them, or was it maybe, who knows? It doesn’t matter. I were supposed to buy tickets. And I went and the tickets were sold out. And so the days before mobile phones and being able to text it was just like, you know, and they’d said, Oh, if the tickets are sold out, just get tickets for something else. And so I was like, Oh, well, the tickets for bewitched are available. So me

James O’Hagan  23:56

me my army of Fred Durst loving Linkin Park. And all sort of begrudgingly marched along to go to this bewitched and honestly, you know, for the first time in my life I lived I lived when those girls crawled down that nests onto the stage of the point depo I was like, here I am. This is who I am. And it took me years that I suppose to be like to reacquaint myself with with the James who wants to be wished that day.

K Anderson  24:34

And the best thing about going to be wished concert is that you’re double the size of everyone exactly.

James O’Hagan  24:39

100% No one’s in your way I’m able to see over all of the eight year olds

K Anderson  24:49

right as much as I would love to keep talking about bewitched. Let’s let’s get back to break to the border. And you were telling me about the midriff toting, touting midriff bearing the midriff baring man. Well, boys twinks yeah twinks man or boy,

James O’Hagan  25:09

I would I would always go there in ways, but I suppose we are in that middle space I do. Kind of derogatory to do that. Yeah. I mean, now for me, everyone is child nowadays for me, so we’ll go man, look, go man’s everyone was a consenting adult?

K Anderson  25:26

Yes, sir. There’s Twinkie fish man, with no hair on their bodies. I’m assuming you were there. And you felt like, oh, this doesn’t I don’t really fit in here. I don’t really understand what I’m doing in this space. How can I fit in? You were saying before that you were drinking and then throwing yourself at people were you throwing at them like sexually, romantically or just like here I want to offload.

James O’Hagan  25:53

I think I would have been too absolutely too inexperienced. In order to be throwing myself at people in a sexual romantic way. It would just have been in kind of a, I know that I have an impulse within me to try and connect with people here to try and build something, whatever it’s like, I don’t think it ever at that stage would even have gone as far as in my mind of thinking, Oh, maybe I might like get a shift or kiss someone like I think there was always a sense of like, you know, getting a shift. Yeah. Have you not had the shift?

K Anderson  26:26

Now what is this,

James O’Hagan  26:27

getting the shift means like, you know, you there’s sort of like ultimate sloppy teenage kiss at a, I think you’ve drank too much disco or I that kind of like some grimy nights.

K Anderson  26:41

But it’s very like teenage or

James O’Hagan  26:45

the I would I would associate more with like teenagers and early 20s. Like that’s the time period, I think people get the shift.

K Anderson  26:52

What’s the origin of this?

James O’Hagan  26:54

Honestly, I actually couldn’t tell you, I think that’s another podcast that you could make.

K Anderson  27:01

So you you weren’t getting the share.

James O’Hagan  27:03

I absolutely wasn’t getting the shift. And I can put that down to inexperience and to a lack of self confidence. Absolutely. But I also was clearly not the sort of person that men were pursuing, you would see eye contact glances and people would be making, you know, the passes, and you would be clearly being overlooked. And I do recall, like, you would go to the George or you would be in break for the border or wherever the Queer Night was happening. And if you were dancing, you would very obviously see people laughing or pointing and like, I remember one time when I was on the stage and the George. So every good gay bar has a stage that people can dance on. And I was up there with some friends. And there was a guy standing in front of me, and he was a cute guy. And we were dancing within the same facility. And then I overheard his friend say to him, like, Oh, looks like you’re in with the whale or something like that. So like it was one of those. And I just remember the damage that that did to me, because after that I absolutely was just like, right, well, at that point, then I when I go into these spaces need to remain completely statuesque, I must not move at all, or I will be seeing to beat to be marked. But so I absolutely put my hand up to say that at that stage, I wouldn’t have had the experience or the ability to schmooze an individual or, you know, kind of make relationships. But also, I was absolutely being overlooked as a result of my way. So people were not interested in trying to get to know me or making a pass if we were romantically or anything like that. So it was sort of hand in hand.

K Anderson  28:43

But you were never emboldened by alcohol, or I don’t know your friends?

James O’Hagan  28:50

No, no, I wouldn’t have been I think that sort of the shame ran so deep that not, not even multiple blue records could shift it off in order to motivate myself to put myself out to the extent that I would have needed to, in order to try and kind of get to a stage where I was kind of like, romantically pursuing someone. And like, you know, I’ve always been somewhat oblivious as well to the signals being sent by other people. And for a while you think, oh, that’s just because I’m like, a little bit oblivious in general, but I think it’s actually because I’ve built up defences or walls to just assume that there’s a negative connotation of interest is being shown or that it couldn’t be that the intention is kind of positive. If someone is showing you attention, it’s because they feel obligated to or because they want or need something. So you kind of see looking back how maybe at the time there was possibly was signals I was missing. But yeah,

K Anderson  29:45

it’s a funny thing as well, because you I’m gonna sound really new age and crappy hair, but like, you know, the energy that you’re putting out is the energy that you get back. And so when you are in these spaces, and you’re like, I’m under desirable, I’m unattractive. Sorry, I’m sorry, I’m saying these words, like when you’re feeling that way people don’t respond to, you’re completely

James O’Hagan  30:09

right. When you are putting out an edgy, sort of obviously uncomfortable vibe, people will feel that from you. And it’s going to put people off from trying to come into your space or trying to get to know you. And I think

K Anderson  30:26

even worse, they come up to you and say, smile, it might never happen.

James O’Hagan  30:31

And then you just stand there feeling terrible, with a big fake smile in your face.

K Anderson  30:38

No, but I get that, like, I know that in my early 20s, I was going out a lot. And like wanting to connect, but then also terrified of connecting with people.

James O’Hagan  30:49

Yeah, I sometimes wonder about us, is it because your journey as a queer person is no magic for the as long as you were honest, until you you sort of come out. And in my case, I came out and I’m assuming for lots of gay men, and similarly, you come out first to a group of close female friends. And certainly, within my experience, you know, my female friends were very accepting of the fact that I wasn’t gay man. And they were very accepting of, of my sexuality, and they would have wanted me to flourish as a gay man. But they also weren’t, Ireland wasn’t at the place where they would have felt like, oh, well, we’ll bring you to a gay bar, you know, we are the people who give you that feeling of safety and security. So we will bring you to that place, and then you can express yourself or you will feel more comfortable. In fact, with a number of them, there was a sense of actually, they they let me know that they would have felt uncomfortable going into a gay bar, you know, because of the famous, you know, marauding lesbians who are looking for any street girl to just like, paint on top of that doesn’t exist at ramp, and absolutely, which is why we keep them at a gay bars, you know, send them up into the maintenance, give them a lot of Birkenstocks and let them off. And what No, so I think that you because it is kind of a nomadic experience, in some ways, that it can be hard to get to the point where you start, like lowering the defences to actually let people in, because it’s a journey you’ve been on on your own for so long,

K Anderson  32:12

or it’s just such a letdown when you built up in your mind for all these years, like, Oh, I’m gonna find my people. And then you get to a gay bar, and you’re like, oh, this, these people kind of suck.

James O’Hagan  32:26

I mean, there is definitely that, like, I certainly had that experience of arriving for the first time in this queer space. And sort of, over the course of a year or so of knowing I was gay and getting ready to go to college and whatever that was going to be and kind of thinking or like this, it gives you an opportunity to connect to people and then arriving in, and it was like, Oh, I still carry the same shames that I had outside of there. And now also, I feel as if I’m not living up to a beauty standard. And like, and also everyone is so self involved in their own stuff that no one is no one, no one has kind of like turns down the music to come over and line up and introduce themselves to me like Oh, welcome. Welcome, new gay. Are you nice to

K Anderson  33:10

let me stamp your car? Yeah, yeah, that’s definitely true of my experience of being like, yes, it’s going to be a community and I’m going to meet my people. And I’m gonna, like, make sense of myself and make sense of my position in the world. And then it’s just a whole bunch of other people who are as messed up as me and unable to connect. And from my perspective, it looked as though they were all connecting, and I was the only one that wasn’t, but that was fully self centred perspective.

James O’Hagan  33:41

I mean, yes, I am exactly there with you. Like I was looking around to be like, How are all of these people flourishing? Hi, well, my standing here in the in the middle of Stonewall, New York as it may feel, and I’m like showtimes from all of the fun and joy that’s happening. And like,

K Anderson  33:57

Are you the brick?

James O’Hagan  33:59

That’s I was Yeah, I was the first brick thrown at Stonewall by a marauding lesbian, but

K Anderson  34:09

okay, sorry. Sorry, I keep keep interrupting you. So go,

James O’Hagan  34:13

what was the question?

K Anderson  34:14

What was going on? Well, they were twinks. They were exposed navels there was you in the early noughties.

James O’Hagan  34:22

I so I left college, obviously, as you do on the job. And I think that because I had my little sort of doorframe in the ocean that I was clinging on to and it had expanded to include some friends that I had made in the course of my time in college and I was feeling kind of, you know, contented within this little world I was building and I suppose because I had not necessarily had a successful integration with the gay community. I kind of just like stuck my fingers in my ears, decided that I was going to just almost ignore it or not even think about it or just kind of go like this. Well, this is something that I you know, and so I probably over the course of my 20. So from say 2005 till 2011, I was probably only in gay venues, maybe four or five times, I just completely ignored my queer identity. I just felt as if I had my group of five or six friends, I had my job I, I was like, it would just look like too big a hill to try and climb at that time.

K Anderson  35:28

I’m sorry, the five friends, were they all filthy heterosexual.

James O’Hagan  35:32

They were all filthy heterosexuals, they’re all filthy heterosexual females who were, you know, one or two would have been similar to me, and that they also weren’t, like, you know, the luckiest romantically. So we had our little sort of tragic singleton sort of parties

K Anderson  35:49

stay in and watch Bridget Jones’s Diary,

James O’Hagan  35:52

we very much did. Or we would go to like the old man pub from like, when we were about, like, 2425, and sort of sit there until 11. And then walk home complaining about nightclubs, you know, I mean, it was, I look back at it now. And sort of, you know, you shouldn’t regret parts of your life, but it is a part of your life where I’m kind of going God could you not have just gotten a clue a bit earlier, was like, a wake up call came in the form of a friend, a very good friend of mine, good female friend of mine, who I would say was in a similar kind of late bloomer category to me, she had this sort of Renaissance moment and was like, if I don’t fucking do something about this, I’m just going to end up on the shelf the rest of my life. And so she threw herself out enthusiastically into the world of dating and boys and let the shame wash over. And I suppose I had this thing of like, suddenly seeing that I was like, what if she can do us? Why am I doing us, I just had this, like, realistic like it was, this all happened over like a Christmas period, it happened, like around New Years, and I literally have a memory of, you know, it’s, it feels too much like something constructed for a TV or a movie to actually be real, but it actually genuinely didn’t happen. I was living in an apartment in Temple Bar, which is right in the centre of Dublin City, it was maybe about 100 metres away from where the massive big New Year’s celebration was happening on college green. And so I had made the decision that I was like, right, New year, new me, I’m going this is sort of, I think 2011 going into 2012 You know, that kind of time, I was like, I’m going to start the new year, as a fresh get a fresh start, I’m going to tackle the waste by kind of going to the gym, I’m going to not go out to New Year’s Eve, I’m going to you know, really just a turn my life around all of this. And I lay in bed, sort of to get my early 90s but wasn’t able to sleep because I was right in the middle of like the biggest party in the entire country. And, and also the apartment I was living in, backed on to one of the three gay bars in the city. You know, I know, I could literally hear the distant sounds of queers celebrating and kissing and going home together and dancing and playing Robin or whatever it is gay people do

K Anderson  38:20

something Scandinavian anyway. Yeah,

James O’Hagan  38:22

exactly. And I lay there in bed, unable to sleep because of the noise with this sort of distant sense of like parties happening everywhere else except in where I was, Are you

K Anderson  38:34

about to tell me you were visited by the ghost of Christmas past

James O’Hagan  38:38

I very much was or I was supposed to Ghost of Christmas Future but what it was actually it was my my Christmas queerness or a New Year’s grimace or whatever. But it was just sort of real feeling of I am going to be lying here adjacent to all of life that’s going on right beside me if I don’t start making changes, and I think that’s when, like that sort of flame that I said that was inside me that the sort of feeling that was inside me that I was capable of more or that I had more to offer ignited that very evening, in me and from that day on, I was like, I need to make myself a home within the queer community because if I don’t make myself a home within the queer community, I am going to be very, very lonely at the point at which my wonderful female friends are all settled down and doing their own thing. And I will find myself that isolated, lonely man who was sort of just on apps trying to make connections but only looking for a sec because it’s all they know how to how to if the only way they know how to feel comfortable connecting with people and so that that was the changing point. And that actually brings me back then to the venue which now had shifted from being the venue of all of our kind of like, navel exposed twinks to the venue or Dublin bears have their kind of big kind of annual party there, the bear fail happens and break for the border was where they had the Mr. Bear Ireland pageant on the last night of this big bear event. And it was, I wouldn’t have had a clue what the bear scene was, I didn’t understand that there was a part within the community that was specifically for people who didn’t fit into the traditionally accepted sort of beauty standards. I didn’t know that this I didn’t know that this space was available to me. And I didn’t know that it existed. And it was through apps really, that I started building friendships. And it was like with almost with like, a mechanical sense of I am going to make friends. I had not wanted to download Grindr. I did not want to do any that because I felt too scared to do us. And then I was like, I’m doing it. And I’m going to use it to make friends.

K Anderson  40:50

Okay, so tell me like after you’d got visited by the Ghost of Christmas Future, and you decided I’m going to become a fully practising homosexual, what was the plan? And was it just downloading apps and making connections that

James O’Hagan  41:05

way or whether there was, I suppose it was a multi pronged approach, it was a, we’ll say it was a, basically the plan was, say yes, to every opportunity, you get, push yourself to feel uncomfortable, make yourself go beyond where you feel happy and content. So it started with simply forcing myself to go and have a drink alone in a gay bar, every so often, forcing myself in that very early parts of just going in, and sort of trying to take some of the fear out of those spaces, to just try and make him feel like places where I belonged, where I could, like, now, I suppose it’s amazing, though, thinking about how comfortable I am walking into and how I feel more comfortable now, walking into a gay bar than I do walk into into a straight bar, how I feel have that I have that feeling of like being more able to be myself. And thinking back to that period of time for walking in there. I felt almost as if the bar staff was gonna be like, no, no, not you not, you’re not you’re not for here, I want to get out. Like that sort of feeling of like, just how of how much you stood out. So that was part of it. Also, like, I mean, at that stage, there was meetup groups that were going on for like, kind of like, you know, afternoon teas. And, and I went to some of those spaces. And I always felt quite like I didn’t know how to connect in that way. I didn’t know how to kind of transform it from just a nice couple of hours hanging out in Yeah, to them being like, oh, maybe we should go to the cinema tomorrow. Or maybe we should go to you know, go for a run, you know. And it was, it was to be fair to to my my ex boyfriend. I met someone who then became the catalyst to that, and who sort of was the person who sort of ended up I suppose, pushing through the door that I was afraid to push through. So I met someone on growler, I think it was, which was an app that I had had only sort of recently discovered at the time when I met him. And it was sort of this space where kind of like the body type that I had was a desirable body type people kind of weren’t interested in me also, it was an app, which didn’t necessarily have the explicitly sort of sexual element that say Grindr had at that time. And so I met this person. And very quickly, we got into sort of a tumultuous, damaging and terrible relationship. But it was also incredibly important. I got to do like all of the like the teenage and mid 20s relationships that sort of I should have done in the space of like, in one whirlwind, but also with someone who was incredibly comfortable in their queerness and incredibly comfortable in, in their rights to occupy the space that they occupied.

K Anderson  44:03

So you were talking earlier about not knowing what bears were at some point? Yes. Do you remember finding out what it is when I do

James O’Hagan  44:14

there was in the toilet for a countermove was I think it was panty bar at the time, I can’t remember. And this was during my period of time where I was kind of going to venues for like a drink after work and I was gonna have like a brace of there was like posters for bear knights and for bear events, and there was bear failure, which happened in March and so, in that earlier stage of the year, I suppose I had realised that this this whole sub community was was going on I found information about it on Facebook, I was putting all of these things together and seeing photographs coming up from different events that they that they were doing, because I and this is I suppose where the the partner or the The axe comes into it is that where I was gearing myself up and who knows how long it would have taken me to gear myself up to go on my own. When it did meet that person, they were like, this is happening. But so I was learning that that scene existed, I was seeing kind of more average. And I think it’s actually sort of what we say, even within my day job and LGBT Ireland, we talk about the fact that connection into the community helps you find the space where you feel more comfortable to be yourself. So if you are isolated and outside of the community, you don’t know what’s available to you. So as a person who was very much on the outside of the community, who hadn’t understood what it was, didn’t know, what it made up of, it looked like a single entity that was there in front of me and sort of that was impenetrable. But then once you even started walking into it to the sort of small extent that I did at that point, I started figuring out that, oh, there’s different components and different parts to this. And there’s places where people who look like be very much aren’t accepted and aren’t wanted and aren’t appreciated. But there are places also where people who don’t have that particular body type exist. And I suppose that started becoming more heartening.

K Anderson  46:12

So then initial gut reaction, what was it when you saw that poster and bounty, but what did you think,

James O’Hagan  46:20

with a lot of the stuff over that period of time, it was an anxiety of knowing what I needed to do? It was knowing that knowing I would have to get over the fear in order to do that, and then I would have to push past that anxiety that I was feeling.

K Anderson  46:39

And so was it all fear? Or was there a smidgen of excitement?

James O’Hagan  46:42

Oh, yes. Well, yes, I think there was I think that I mostly remember the the anxiety, though, because I suppose what I would say is that it was anxiety, that would lead to something positive if that, if that makes sense. So like, I don’t think in advance of doing anything, I kind of even even today, like when I have something that I’m going to do that I even want to do. I’m looking forward to doing. I lead with the more negative anxiety or

K Anderson  47:12

fear after my own.

James O’Hagan  47:15

And then afterwards, when it’s happened, and I’ve gotten through it, I can relax in the in the enjoyment. But yeah, I do push through, obviously, with the the anxiety first. But I do think that there was also a relief, there definitely was a relief because it was this feeling of like I’m not, I’m not alone. I’m not the only person out here, I’m not that, you know, that sort of like the light started shining. And suddenly, I saw other people clinging on to other doors. I don’t know why I’ve created this titanic based analogy that we’ll run through.

K Anderson  47:49

I’m here to run with it. I have to admit, I haven’t seen the film. So we can’t go too deep into that. Well, we won’t stay on this. And so then what came first downloading ground or or going out on the scene

James O’Hagan  48:06

going out on the scene happened first. But it didn’t happen in a meaningful

K Anderson  48:12

way. Oh, and tweet your nipples.

James O’Hagan  48:14

Exactly. I didn’t buy my harness until after I’d met. No. But no, I think if I if I like jumped back to when I was in secondary school, and I mentioned how I had made some friends up in like a drama group. And it was the same problem that I had explained to me kind of these other meetup groups that I’d had in Dublin, which is that I was going to this drama group for months and months and months. And I was having a laugh with people. And then I was kind of enjoying myself and I was, you know, feeling comfortable. But it wasn’t until I sort of another person, like one of my school friends kind of decided that they were coming with me, because the thing I was going to have a load of women at it that then sort of his bullshitty kind of like Oh, I’m here Jack the lads kind of certainty of occupying the space he was in delight then sort of like with felt that I had the permission to start staying around. So I think it was that I started pushing to go out more, I started pushing my female friends around me to come with me to gay bars for drinks. And I started pushing my queer friend from college who, you know, I saw from time to time I started trying to sort of really build that relationship as well so that I was kind of able to be more in those spaces. And it wasn’t then until I downloaded growler and mess my ex that the the meaningful change started to happen. And that was just through us being out it so I don’t like using the word random because it gets used too much but I guess it is random though. Me and him happens to be out of a nice within the first two ish months of us being together. We were in panty bar and a guy who I had been talking to on growler prior to us being together, recognised me from the bar and came over to say Lo, he started talking to my boyfriend at the time. And then he invited us as a couple to hang out with him and his friends. And then they invited us to hang out with some of their friends. And then we got an invite to a party that was happening the following week. And then as a result of that, those people that I met on that night, several of them have gone on to become my closest girlfriends. And, you know, I suppose you look back at it now. And it’s like it was the, the fact that I was with someone who wouldn’t have sort of shrugged off that experience, or wouldn’t have shrugged off that kind of like that person giving an opening into that, because I think left to my own devices, that person come over to talk to me, I would have had a very pleased couple of minutes of conversation, I’m would have left it at that and would have, you know, felt as if I

K Anderson  50:52

Why do you think that because you had all that experience with a meetup groups and

James O’Hagan  50:57

you but I just I just I think it’s, I have a, an overwhelming need to feel expressly invited and given, like, not so much anymore. But certainly at that time, I needed to feel absolutely 100% certain that I had permission to be in a space that I was in. So I wouldn’t have felt comfortable being somewhere that I didn’t know, I didn’t know that I had been pre pre invited you like,

K Anderson  51:24

are you trying to say like every single person that was in that group had to make?

James O’Hagan  51:29

No, I’m not saying that. But say, I would have probably not given him the opportunity to invite me I would have shut the conversation down after a few minutes due to stress and feeling that this person didn’t want to be talking to me, they were always being polite by talking to me, they’d felt obligated. This is like this is my my, my cancer has made an offer a deposit on a mortgage helping me get to the other side of these issues.

K Anderson  51:57

So would you say that you are highly skilled in being socially awkward?

James O’Hagan  52:01

Extremely. Yeah, I think it’s probably my most my most marketable talent. As it is most podcasters

K Anderson  52:11

Yeah, this is just all then elaborate ruse for me to overcome my awkward.

James O’Hagan  52:18

Someday I’ll know how to make small talk someday, but. But it was through that interaction. And through that relationship and through kind of finding a section within the community. Dublin bears had monthly events out in a small pub in Dublin called Jack Nealon, which was an atmosphere I was very at home in because it was that old man style of pub, the people who are frequenting is also looked very much more like me felt much more like I was part of it. I could even feel in that in that period of time when I was going to those sort of nights, this sort of sense that there was a desirability of me. And I think part of that was the fact that I felt like well, this person here has decided that I’m desirable, and therefore that means other people must as well. But other parts of it was the fact that obviously there was that within the bear community, this sort of appearance I have my body type is desirable. But so what was interesting was going back the following year, going back to the break for the border space, for the bare Failla I’m not at that stage, I suppose. And add events, after subsequent to that re occupying that space. I always had this feeling going back into that venue of kind of the shadow of the version of me that had first been there when I was first eggs. And I think that I had always had this feeling of judgement of that person, when I would go back in there with my friends. And I would feel sort of secure in that space of like, I belong here. And kind of you there was an anger that existed at that earlier version of me who hadn’t maybe had the tools to, to make himself fit in.

K Anderson  54:01

So the judgement was, he wasn’t brave enough, or

James O’Hagan  54:06

yes, yeah, the judgement would have been he wasn’t brave enough. He wasn’t capable enough, he refused to push himself. And even though like I mean, you know, this conversation we’ve had now it’s been sort of rambling and sort of all over the place. You can see within it that at every stage and every decision I’ve made to a point that has come out of a place of fear and it’s been built on experiences I’ve had over my life and that like an onion shedding the different kinds of skins you needed to get down past those bases to become comfortable. I think that’s where i i am now as I look back over that journey that I’ve had, I’m able to be much more kind to that very first version of myself and towards that sort of second version where so much of the value I took on myself was the fact that I had a partner or I had someone who was vouching for me I had this sense of like, I’m able to fit in here because someone else has kind of given me You’d have permission to be here. So in that second part of my life, there was this feeling of, yes, you get to be here, but only because you’ve been brought in by someone else. And it’s taken me probably a decade past that now to get to the place where I’m like, unapologetically occupying the space and proud of who I am. And all of the rest of that.

K Anderson  55:24

I do want to hear about you being proud. But before I hear about you being proud, I want to hear more. That’s really interesting that you’re talking about only feeling able to occupy your space because you have this permission or this shepherding. And I guess, yeah, the question is pretty obvious, like why?

James O’Hagan  55:45

Well, I, I do I do wonder actually, if this is an experience that people who have experienced bullying or othering, from a very young age have, which is that you don’t feel as if what you have or what you’re offering is a value. And therefore you feel you need someone else to sort of bring you in, like vouch for you? Can’t? Yes, vouch for you is exactly what it is that feeling of like someone else is sorted to saying this person does have the value or deserves to be here, because just you being there, yourself isn’t strong enough endorsement, or just like the belief in yourself isn’t a strong enough endorsement. And also, it’s kind of selfish, because I’m self involved, because you’re thinking in this mindset that everyone is spending their time preoccupied over why that sort of chubby guy in the blue jumper is at the party instead of enjoying their own experiences.

K Anderson  56:39

But I can imagine it’s a very solid foundation for a relationship.

James O’Hagan  56:44

Oh, you would not believe it? I mean, let me tell

K Anderson  56:48

you, really.

James O’Hagan  56:51

Which is why we’re so happily broken up today. But no, I mean, it obviously like that relationship is a it’s another thing again, it’s sort of in this way, kind of where you do an awful lot of counselling, and then you look back on past times, with which kind arise, the relationship was unhealthy as you might have deduced, I certainly was tumultuous and not very good. Not a very good relationship for me to be in. But looking back at the positives, I took a diverse I can’t have anything but sort of fondness for both the memory of the time I spent with that person. And indeed that person while also simultaneously reading never wanting to see them again.

K Anderson  57:37

Well, I mean, you wanted the experience of a 20 something year old romance and I think you got it. Exactly, yeah. And how did you get from this person who needed that? Let’s say emotional safety blanket of another person. Oh, maybe? Oh, that felt very judgy

James O’Hagan  57:58

No, that’s right. I think that is actually accurate, to be honest with

K Anderson  58:01

you. Okay. Okay. So then how did you get from that to being like, I am woman hear me roar.

James O’Hagan  58:09

This, I mean, this is where it gets into kind of like, you know, I can look back on it now with the fondness of many years of counselling, but it is kind of in that same way of like a train, you know that you’ve got a television programme at the train that’s going through the the ice I’ve never been to nose anyway, in my, in my later 20s Or in my in my sort of mid to late 20s. As I pushed myself to sort of, you know, take more risks and find a way into the queer community. I was like shovelling on bitterness and anger at an earlier version of myself to sort of power that. And then I suppose, as that relationship turned more and more toxic, I started using bitterness and anger and feeling trapped and unappreciated in that relationship and feeling as if I deserved better than I was getting from that person, as a way to kind of motivate myself to push further and further into stuff. So at that stage, I made a decision to join a queer Sports Club, and did that with some of the people I had met through that sort of Growler bear scene. And in that kind of started feeling, I suppose the sports element was never for me, I didn’t have a competitive feeling. I was, by all accounts reasonably good at the actual technicalities of the game, but I was I don’t know why I’m being cagey about saying rugby, like trying not to give out the delegates that it’s

K Anderson  59:37

given qualities of the game like I know. Yeah.

James O’Hagan  59:40

But anyway, I think I wasn’t good at the sport. Sport wasn’t for me. I was not there for that. But there was a social aspect to it. And part of the social aspect to it was a fundraising aspect. And within that fundraising aspect, there was a drag show that was done once a year. And this opportunity came up But to do this, I had become good friends with one of the other guys in the club. And he said, We should do this. And I suppose like deciding to do that was a changing factor. That was what kind of pushed me that that sort of finally crossed the tie between myself and the partner in a way, because there was like a lot of strains, you know, there still remains a lot of discrimination or discrimination, right? Where it’s, like it kind of people wouldn’t like their partner presenting in a feminine way. And particularly if it’s a bear, if you’re shaving off your hair, and you’re going to no longer kind of have that look, you know, if there was an element

K Anderson  1:00:40

of that. So what you’re saying is you were going to do drag, and then that kind of acted as a catalyst for the relationship to end because he had a problem with it.

James O’Hagan  1:00:51

But I think that within that I was doing the drag, because I knew it would, you know, like, so it was like, I mean, we’re all making healthy decisions.

K Anderson  1:00:59

You’re saying about this? I’m saying that it’s being a healthy relationship. Exactly. But so I’m not going to break up with you. But I’m going to make it so unbearable to be with me

James O’Hagan  1:01:09

exactly. I’m going to adopt an entire new persona, no, but so that reconnected me to the child that was at five, who was like a performer who put on shows who loved to be the centre of the tension, who sort of enjoyed telling stories and drama and sort of, and it sort of it fits like I ended up doing drag at that show over the course of the next three years. And through that, I kind of got into podcasting by meeting some other people within the club who had had an interest in in that as well. And, you know, there, there, I was being celebrated for the fact that I could be funny that I could be entertaining that there were these parts that were just completely mine and who I was, and what was in me that was sort of was was being valued, that started building the actual solid foundations, where I sort of got a dodgy contractor in the form of my ex partner to put them in before I actually started building them property. And

K Anderson  1:02:07

then you and your analogy, I know

James O’Hagan  1:02:09

I love it. People are gonna be like following on what is going on. We’re on the Titanic. Now we’re on a building site, what is going on here, we’re dancing in the moonlight. It was doing that drag at that moment, I think connected me back to something I loved something I loved doing. And it gave me sort of a purpose, or gave me a feeling of that, that I could have that I could do something that I loved doing. And it started to give me that confidence in who I was, and the things that I had been pushing down. And the parts of my personality that I had spent sort of the past 20 years, or longer, even kind of, you know, making sure that they weren’t visible. Suddenly, I started finding that people really wanted to see them. Like people were really excited for me to be boisterous and loud. And for me to be flamboyant, and for me to be funny or me to be entertaining. I think that, you know, it pushed too far the other way briefly, you know, where I kind of was like, Oh, the only reason they want me is because I’m the hilarious and jester was, thankfully, we got a global pandemic. And I had the COVID break down, and I went into counselling and managed to do amazing work. And now I’m very centred. I say that flippantly. But in reality, I hide from say, even the stage where I first started, like, after I had my ghost of Christmas past, I had like being on this sort of push, push, push, push, always make yourself feel uncomfortable. Always push yourself out of your comfort zone. Never say no to anything, always do whatever is offered always make use of being uncomfortable shows that you’re making progress being uncomfortable shows you’re pushing away from that guy who felt completely unwelcome and unwanted in this place. And it was the space given to me by COVID that allowed me to kind of actually settle with everything and sort of properly. So they gave me a space to properly process the 20 preceding years.

K Anderson  1:04:13

And can I make an observation? Yes. May I make an observation? Yes. And I’m not I’m not like trying to make this like, Oh, this is this huge, like thing. I’m just making an observation and I’m just gonna let it hang. It’s really interesting that so much of your progression forward was fueled by hatred.

James O’Hagan  1:04:39

Yeah, no, I know this. And that has actually been the cornerstone of loss. I’ve been unpacking over the past maybe two years because like I talked about sort of looking back at things or kind your eyes but really what I have been doing that to myself and understanding that it wasn’t To the fault of the 22 year old, fat queer kid who was stood there in a space where he didn’t feel like he fit in. It wasn’t his fault he didn’t feel like he fit in. And of course, he didn’t feel like he fit in, he had spent his entire life being told that he was too fast. And that made him ugly, and that if he wasn’t incredibly guarded about how we behaved, he would become flamboyant and ridiculous. And people wouldn’t take them seriously. Like, like, I look back now, and it’s I do genuinely feel like I feel sad about how much self hatred I carried. Because you want to be much kinder, you’re like you want now I want to look back, I want to actually be able to go back to me of that age or me of years earlier, or even me of 30 and just be able to kind of like, give myself a hug and say you’re doing your best, and you’ll get there.

K Anderson  1:05:52

Did you ever go to break for the border? Or do you have memories from your own queer scene that you want to share? Well, if you do, please get in touch. I want to create the biggest online record of people’s memories and stories of queer clubbing, go to los meses podcast.com and find this section share a lost space and tell me all about what it is you are up to. You can also reach out to me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. My handle across all three is last spaces pod. Find out more about James by following him on Instagram at James O underscore Hagen listening to cc that pod wherever you find podcasts or following CC that pod on Instagram. At CC that pod. 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 coming year. You can hear the first single which is called well groomed boys and is playing underneath my talking right now on all good streaming platforms. If you enjoyed this episode, I would really appreciate if you subscribed, left a review on your podcast platform 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