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There’s nothing quite like a small town gay bar.
This week we’re catching up with Martin J Dixon, a stand-up comedian who is really into soft core porn and hard core hand holding.
He lived in Truro between the ages of 16 and 18, having moved there to live with his grandparents and finish high school.
It was here that he snuck in to Eclipse, and had his first gay bar experience.
During our conversation we veer all over the shop, and discuss what we think is the appropriate Grindr etiquette, what we even mean when we talk about the queer community, and what kind of decisions amorphous spiritual blobs would make about our lives…
But before we get in to that we talk about Martin’s very first night at the bar as an unsure 16 year old… he’s snuck in with friends from his college, the lights are low, and Destination Calabria by Alex Gaudino and Crystal Waters is playing. All of a sudden a stranger hops in to Martin’s lap…
Listen to the episode to find out what happened next…
Martin J Dixon 0:00
I went to five aside football once… gay five aside football once and then I.. because we didn’t immediately go to the showers and kiss. I just was like, this isn’t my vibe.
K Anderson 0:08
Hello, I am K Anderson and you are listening to last spaces, the podcast that mourns the death of queer nightlife. Every episode I took to a different person about a venue from their past, the memories that they created there and the people that they used to know. This week, we are visiting a small town gay bar. And that bar is eclipse in the Cornish Town of Truro. And our guide is Martin J. Dixon, a stand up comedian who is really into softcore porn and hardcore hand holding. He lived in Truro between the ages of 16 and 18, having moved there to live with his grandparents and finish high school. And it was here that he snuck in to Eclipse and had his first gay bar experience. During our conversation, we veer ALL OVER THE SHOP as is the typical way on this show and discuss what we think is the appropriate Grindr etiquette, what we even mean when we talk about a queer community, and what kind of decisions an amorphous spiritual blob would make on our behalf. But before we get into that we talk about Martin’s very first night at the bar as an unsure 16 year old. He has snuck in with some friends from college. The lights are low, and destination Calabria by Alex Gaudino and crystal waters is playing over the speakers. And it’s at this moment that a stranger hops into Martin’s lap unannounced. Let’s find out what happened next.
Martin J Dixon 2:11
I went in I said the music was much better. There was a couple of posts on the wall. But otherwise, it just seemed like a normal kind of club. And I remember a specific that song was playing and a guy sat on my lap. And
K Anderson 2:23
we’re on your rant random guy came up to you? No.
Martin J Dixon 2:27
So he was sort of friends with the people that I knew. And he said hi to me already that night as probably as I was getting a drink. And then it did feel very early on in the night, just that song was playing sat on my lap. And it’s weird because he was a bit older than me, because obviously everybody was because I was 16. But I was at his very thin and I’ve always been someone who’s not very thin, and although slimmer then but I definitely I felt weird because I felt like I felt like a giant child and very miniature man was very weird. And he went wasn’t attracted to him. And I don’t think he was particularly attracted to me. But I think he was interested that I was a new face there. So
K Anderson 3:08
even like, you know, with those types of things, even if you’re not attracted to the person, if it’s the first time that that’s ever happened, there’s a thrill to it. Right?
Martin J Dixon 3:17
i Yeah, sort of definitely. I mean, I think I was probably deathly afraid and afraid of sort of, I might have to reject Him. And I didn’t want to do that. Why didn’t want to be mean doing that. But I was also like, it did feel kind of it felt like what the right thing to have been? I don’t know, it’s difficult. It probably was quite thrilling. But overall, it was, you know, it just wasn’t the right person to be doing
K Anderson 3:42
and also totally inappropriate to just go up to someone and sit on their knee. Yeah, it was a
Martin J Dixon 3:47
bit weird. I suppose he sort of knew them. And it felt it felt uninvited. I said, it’s always weird things I always say to my friend like when you’re kind of a teenager, there these things that happened feel very inescapable and very out of your control. But I mean, someone’s sitting, your life isn’t out of your control. And it shouldn’t, obviously, and if I was nowadays I’d be like, Oh, can you hop up? I’m you know, I’d even make up a lie. Oh, if you’re hurting my knee or something. I’m like, I’m not even saying I’m massively braver now, but I just wouldn’t. I wouldn’t part with something I didn’t actively want to happen. But when you’re 16 you just kind of these things just feel like they’re happening to you. And you can’t really Yeah, so I suppose it’s ultimately not great.
K Anderson 4:25
And it’s there’s like those types of shitty situations where if you say that, it’s not appropriate for you to sit on my knee. Can you get off? Suddenly, you’re the asshole. Yeah, there’s all this kind of weird politeness that you have to get into like, Oh, I’m terribly sorry. Would you not violate my person? Yeah,
Martin J Dixon 4:42
I suppose also, I mean, definitely there was would have been an aspect to it as well, where I would have thought if you’re sat on my lap, someone’s gonna think that we’re together and we’re not and that’s
K Anderson 4:50
gonna squander my chances.
Martin J Dixon 4:53
I’d like to appear very open to everyone else who’s here. And it’s weird because I think I’ve always been Well, I certainly remember being very insecure. And I don’t think I’m not insecure now. But looking back I mean, I was a hot piece, but I definitely didn’t see any action. Oh, Eclipse. Yeah. I don’t think I even kissed him. Well, no, I know. I didn’t kiss a single man
K Anderson 5:13
interviews over interviews over this, like, what? I’m not gonna get.
Martin J Dixon 5:19
I mean, you’d have to cut forward about six years. It’s very, yes. Yeah, I think so. Well, I mean, stuff stuff, but not you know, nothing until I was probably you certainly nothing in Cornwall ever happened.
K Anderson 5:34
And okay, so then let’s dig into this. And let’s like, let’s, let’s do the Ru Paul kind of thing of like me making shit up about your psyche? So was it just a lack of confidence from you?
Martin J Dixon 5:45
Definitely. Definitely a lack of confidence. I just didn’t see myself as a sex person. Does that make sense? Yeah.
K Anderson 5:55
No, tell me more. I
Martin J Dixon 5:57
wouldn’t say it’s unsexual. Obviously, I had my desires. But I just didn’t think I didn’t think anyone else would ever see me in that context. The whole thing just felt filled with fear. And I suppose probably what I would have benefited from would have been like a more typical teenage romantic relationship. That I feel like a lot of gay people don’t really get. So you know, when you’re that age, and you’re kind of discovering stuff, and you don’t know that may come out and things like that. So you know, you end up with really inappropriate partners or people that you feel a bit embarrassed, not embarrassed by that sounds really mean. But I mean, people that you wouldn’t wave at in the street, you know, or someone you don’t know very well. And then it turns out, they’re married, and you’re like, well, that’s really annoying.
K Anderson 6:39
And or I dodged a bullet. And they said, Oh, to dump them.
Martin J Dixon 6:43
That’s true. That’s true. I mean, it’s not all so bad. But it definitely yeah, it’s definitely not, it’s not what I would have needed. Like, I think at that time, if I could go back, I remember there was a guy who I did fancy, and he was a more appropriate person. And and I still felt really, like, definitely really insecure. I remember saying to him, like, nor should we be friends with benefits, because I just didn’t think that he’d want to be boyfriends. Says that sounds a bit sad. But I mean, obviously, it’s all worked out wonderfully. And I do have full belief in myself now. So that’s yeah, it’s all good. And it’s such a it’s always that thing, isn’t it? Where like, I feel very competent now, especially like your body wise. And I am a person in a big body, I’m a fat person. And I always have always felt that I would look back now and I, there were times I wasn’t fat. But I felt very fat. And I felt that made me really worthless. And that’s not how I feel. Now, I think fat people are wonderful and sexy, and desirable. But at the time, it just that I just didn’t have any awareness of that. So I am, I felt that all I could really offer someone in a partner is my willingness to do anything to please them. God, that sounds really bad. Because actually, there’s a lot of things I wasn’t doing. So it’s my willingness, but also no follow through, really. So it was a bit of a, it’s a bit of a fun, fun little puzzle to figure out. Fun, sad.
K Anderson 8:03
Hang on. So you’re saying that you felt all that you had to offer people was your willingness to do things, but then you didn’t actually do things?
Martin J Dixon 8:11
Yeah. And I had a really strong desire to do things. But then I set up all this sort of like, you know, in my mind, it was like, I’ll never I’m trying to think batted back or put myself back in that spot. I think to myself, I don’t want to I want to do something, I want to do something. I don’t want to do some sex with someone. But what what will that be? And I used to be okay, well, I’ll kiss will kiss, that’s fine. And then maybe I’ll touch them. genitally but they weren’t touch me. And that was like, that was a hot, you know, for a few times. That was the rule. And then one day, I just that was no longer the rule. And then the next rule was, you know, only handjobs. And then the next rule was like, only oral and then the next thing was, you know, only fingers in the bum. And years passed. And then it was yeah, obviously the final barrier.
K Anderson 8:58
Oh, wait, wait, what’s the final barrier?
Martin J Dixon 9:01
What I think in my mind, the final barrier was was a no Oh, okay. I thought you were like levelling up. Oh, no, because there were other things I did did, I would have been skipping levelling all the way. I definitely feel like I skipped it a couple of days skipped ahead a little bit. And there were things that did. And you know what I mean, why would I bothered? Yeah. So then, after that incident, looking back really is there. I had this idea that I wanted to wait until I was in love and in a committed relationship, but I just don’t think then, you know, that didn’t happen until I was much older.
K Anderson 9:31
So let’s talk about this a bit more. So you said that earlier that you feel that you would have benefited from having a more typical teenage romance, which I’ve taken to mean like an innocent in school, hand holding very slow type thing. Is that what you meant?
Martin J Dixon 9:49
Yeah, I suppose just more similar to what my friends had. Which is Yeah, so you know, you’re going out with each other for six months. And you can And then you hold hands and then maybe you give each other a handjob at someone’s party upstairs, and I don’t know, just and then it’s really kind of slow and gradual and everything feels like a really big deal because it feels like a big deal. However you’re doing, but it feels like a big deal to both of you. And just on the unit you feel that you can trust and that you know, your parents can meet, and things like that, you know, all those things I think a lot of heterosexual people get to do can have not always I mean, yeah, I just think generally speaking, lots of research probably now have had that, and lots of gay people haven’t.
K Anderson 10:36
But really, like really interesting that you talk about in your own experiences, you had this idea in your mind of like, Oh, I’m gonna meet someone and fall in love. And I’m gonna wait until it’s the right time. And then you get to a point where you’re like, oh, fuck this, for a game of soldiers. I’m just gonna go out there and slut it up. Because that’s exactly what happened to me.
Martin J Dixon 10:55
It’s relatable. It’s relatable. Definitely, like you said, it’s kind of almost like it’s out of your hands, you know, something happens, and then and then it’s happened. And then you can’t put Pandora back in the box. I don’t if that’s how you kind of felt about it.
K Anderson 11:07
So my experience as a teenager was seeing everyone around me getting to do things that I didn’t get to do, and then over intellectualising it and then being like, well, it’s okay, because I’m gonna wait, I’m gonna wait. But then that’s, you know, that wasn’t actually my motivation. I just wanted to break the seal and get going. And then there’s like this period of making up for lost time.
Martin J Dixon 11:29
Yeah, absolutely. And I’ve heard lots of other gay people talk about kind of how we’re sort of almost 10 years behind some people. I got my first boyfriend when I was 26. A lot of my friends got their first boyfriend when they were 16. It’s that exact, 10 years, and then you say it, you’re kind of making up for lost time. I mean, I made up for other stuff. Just before that, anyway, yes. Starting up a little bit. But yeah, then it’s like, I was 26. And I was having like, my first argument with my boyfriend, and introducing my parents and my first boyfriend and things like that. It was very like, and then it’s weird, cuz I mean, he was, he’s gay as well. And we’ll just talk to young adults who behave like teenagers, you don’t really know. Because you didn’t union straightaway, D and D. It’s very weird. And you’re kind of in those early years of my relationship, I just would say to people, to my friends, like, Is that normal? I just don’t know. I just said, you know, I don’t know if this is something that people break up over or not? Or if it’s not, or is this you know, I just felt I didn’t know anything that everybody else had experience in?
K Anderson 12:27
Do you have any specific examples? I mean,
Martin J Dixon 12:29
just stupid stuff. Like, in the first sort of six months of being together, I felt that he would see me a lot in the week, and then not that weekend. And I think to myself, it just feels like I’m filling a gap. Rather than him waiting to want to spend time with me and do something. It was more than your hand, nothing going on. And then No, he’s busy today. And I had a really uneasy sort of sense about it. And that feeling sort of never really went away. And so it was it was a thing, and it was worth breaking up over. But at the time, I just had no sense of like, you know, I was like, This doesn’t feel right. But it’s the first my first relationship. I don’t know, if it’s normal. I don’t know if it’s going to change or if it’s, if I’m being dramatic, or you know, and then Who do you kind of? Well, I
K Anderson 13:13
mean, I had people literally isolating yourself.
Martin J Dixon 13:17
I suppose so yeah, just kind of, I just felt like I didn’t I just didn’t trust myself at all. Because I just felt like there was there was the right answer. And then there was, you know, it was just out of my mind, I had no idea. And I also didn’t believe anyone I spoke to about it. And so I tell my friends, and they’d say, Well, yeah, it’s not very good. And then I think to myself, what you’re just saying, what judo? Yeah, I just felt like, you know, you’re saying don’t break up with him, because you don’t think I’ll ever find another boyfriend. I was convinced that was kind of how people felt about it, even though I don’t think that many of them did. Or any of them. I think they’re my friends. They obviously think I’m amazing. And I think I’m amazing now too, which is great. But yeah, real lack of self belief. And kind of lots of lots of self doubt and things like that. Just and I suppose that, you know, maybe lots of people feel like that in their first relationship. But it just ideally, that wouldn’t happen when you’re 26. I think
K Anderson 14:09
you’re never too old to be filled with insecurity.
Martin J Dixon 14:12
That’s true. That’s true. Oh, yeah, no, very true, maybe. And also, it’s not 26 years old. But I suppose it’s just it felt I remember at the time just feeling like it was it was too old to be having your first boyfriend. I think it depends how you feel about yourself. And if you if you know yourself well enough, then that’s fine. I think I just
K Anderson 14:31
Yeah, and it’s that thing that we’re growing up in this particular culture, that emphasises the importance of these types of pairings and relationships. And so we’ve, you’re told that your entire life like this is the thing you need to aspire to and you haven’t gotten there at the same time as everyone else. Of course, you’re going to be like, I’m doing it wrong.
Martin J Dixon 14:52
Yeah. 100% Definitely. And I think like you say, it’s, you know, obviously that’s people prioritising heterosexual relationships. Which, you know, in a heteronormative society takes a lot longer to realise you’re, you’re gay, and then what you’re gonna do with that, but then also. But also, it’s that weird thing, which I think a lot of take me
K Anderson 15:09
long after realising that I was gay about what I was going to do with it. For that,
Martin J Dixon 15:13
I definitely think there’s a thing of I remember how sweet someone recently about, I think there’s a high incidences of poly or open relationships or just different types of relationships within LGBT communities. And I think that gets that thing where like, you know, there’s such a big kind of breaking of the kind of heteronormative idea of your life just shatter so completely. I think it makes you a lot more open to you know, that’s not going to happen. So what? And then you’re kind of like, well, this is what else am I going to have? You know, what else? Is that going to be available to me? You find yourself asking, you know, what do I actually want rather than what do people expect of me?
K Anderson 15:50
I think yeah, yeah, absolutely.
Martin J Dixon 15:51
And maybe you get that a bit quicker, because you’re, you know, because you’ve broken it. So, so early,
K Anderson 15:56
I suppose. Yeah. Because you’ve been through that experience. And you realise that it wasn’t the end of the world like you thought it was going to be? Yes. Are you kind of reliable? What? What can I do now to my parents, were just going off topic slightly here. But the thing that fascinates me when we’re talking about relationships, there’s people who marry their first ever, boyfriend or girlfriend, and then are together for the rest of their lives. And I’m not, this could very easily veer into me sounding judgmental, and I’m not I’m trying not to be, I just find it fascinating that like, that happens.
Martin J Dixon 16:32
Yeah, I couldn’t imagine it myself. I agree with you. I don’t be judgmental. Because I think I probably know a few people who have been in a similar situation. But I can’t relate. You know, if I had got my wish, at 16, and I had a boyfriend, you know, the person who wasn’t 16 Is is an entirely different person
K Anderson 16:51
to RayRay. Right? dreary, boring. Yeah, very good.
Martin J Dixon 16:54
And I just think, no, I think I’ve, I’ve gotten so much better. And I suppose people do grow together. I imagine probably when I look back, and I’m 60, I won’t feel that I’m the same person. Now. So it’s probably not too dissimilar. And I’m sure you know, people do meet when they’re in their 30s and then marry and then you know, the 60s, they’re still very happy together.
K Anderson 17:14
Yeah, but you’ve done lots of figuring now on the way like, you’ve kind of seen what different relationships are like, what fits what doesn’t fit. It’s like going into a shop and being like, I’ll have that dress, and then just wearing that dress for the rest of your life. Yes, I
Martin J Dixon 17:28
suppose. And I suppose also, because then you miss out on some of the I mean, I do, obviously, my stand up is a lot of dating jokes. I mean, obviously, what stand up isn’t like that, especially when you’re single, it’s that, you know, it’s such a rich pool of stories. And some of them I wish hadn’t happened. But ultimately, that, you know, they do form who you you, you know, they form who you are, but also, that you look back and they are fun to look back on and to, you know, to cringe about or to laugh about whatever. And I think, you know, I’d hate to not have those. But I suppose that you know, that’s, as far as you don’t, you don’t miss what you never had. So I’m sure there are people who met their first love. And they’re very happy with the stories that they have. But I also don’t I feel that I wouldn’t change it for the world, Jamie? So I think it’s kind of I probably will do that a little bit. Don’t worry, you kind of you have you have the life that you have. And then you pretend that you picked it.
K Anderson 18:19
Or that like, yeah, there was some big learning. And yeah, it’s helped you become the person you are.
Martin J Dixon 18:26
I mean, I often say to people, okay, if I wasn’t, you know, if I could could have picked, I would have picked to be gay, because I love the things in my life that that has led to sex, then majoritively. But if I was this kind of spiritual blob, he was, I don’t know, deciding what to be born into? Would I’ve picked it?
K Anderson 18:46
I don’t know. Like, what? No,
Martin J Dixon 18:49
I don’t know. Well, I didn’t, because actually looking at looking at my life. Now. I feel one of the things that, you know, I think being gay has led me to is my relationship with women, you know, with my friends who are women, I don’t think very many straight men would have so many relationships with friends that are women that are so wonderful. But I don’t know if you know, who knows, I could just be making that up. But I just feel like lots of lots of straight men don’t have that many female friends in quite the same way that I do. And I feel very grateful for them. And you know, so that in the sector of men, and the relationship I’ve had with with men as well have also been some of them.
K Anderson 19:28
That’s a ringing endorsement for men. Some of them have been some who have been absolutely fine. But if you were just like this blob and you’re like, Okay, so I’ve got a choice between having like, additional privilege in my life, or Yeah, some oppression. Hmm, like, I don’t think that’s a difficult decision.
Martin J Dixon 19:47
Very true, but the blob might know something. I don’t know. So it could be the
K Anderson 19:52
more you were the blob. Yeah, that’s true. But
Martin J Dixon 19:56
what I’m saying is, I don’t know how the blob things the blob might know things that are I don’t know, you know, the blob is where we’re the same, but also, we don’t actually have the same memory and thought process. So in your blog, okay, let’s say it in a kind of a universe where people are born again after they die, then it could be that the more the less prevalence you have the better reward there is at the end. I don’t know. So that’s what I mean. Like I don’t you know, what’s the aim of what’s the blobs aim? Maybe it’s to have a really Christian life. Maybe it’s to have a really difficult life because the rewarding better? I don’t know. I think this is getting very existential or not. Very, I’m not not I’m not against it. I just, I’m just not that clever.
K Anderson 20:35
So but let’s go back to Eclipse. Do you remember anything from the first night other than this strange man sitting on your knee? Like, what was the feeling?
Martin J Dixon 20:45
I mean, just so much excitement, but then excitement expectation? I, you know, I did expect that I’d probably meet the love of my life. Because I wanted it so much. And so yeah, just so excited. Then, as the night wore on, I was like, this is looking a little down.
K Anderson 21:02
But like, because the people there were just like, No, or just that.
Martin J Dixon 21:08
I suppose a lot of them were old, you know, probably too old for me being over 16. So probably actually quite a good thing. But I don’t know, it’s weird, because like I said, looking back, I don’t think I think I was a hot pace. Maybe I was just giving off this energy of like nervousness and standoffish Ness. And my mum used to say, you know, not messy to that situation. But she said quite a lot of incompetence or get you in, you know, get you everywhere. People who are attractive, it’s mental, their competence, anything. I used to think to myself, sure, that’s true.
K Anderson 21:39
But how do you think they got the confidence, ma’am, guy?
Martin J Dixon 21:41
Exactly. I look back now and I just think yeah, it was incredible looking. And I can’t see how how he did say badly. Yeah, not a single like, I don’t think even a man spoke to me. You know, I just spoke to my friend who was a girl who was really funny. And a dance Tibet and I discovered a love of dance. in dark rooms, with you know, top 40 hits plan. When
K Anderson 22:07
you say dark room, you don’t mean dark room. You just mean a room that is dark.
Martin J Dixon 22:10
I know I should specify. Yeah, I don’t believe there was a dark room there. I’d be devastated to find out that was that’s where everyone was hanging out. And probably the love of my life
K Anderson 22:18
is in there. And if maze is yeah,
Martin J Dixon 22:21
it’s been closed about 10 years, I think. Just a little skeleton somewhere in a sling, okay.
K Anderson 22:28
Let’s talk about that standoffishness. Sorry. I’m just like, let’s talk about all the bad bits and birth.
Martin J Dixon 22:36
There’s a lot to get into bad bits.
K Anderson 22:38
Okay, so then let’s, let’s do a little bit of roleplay. Right? So we’re in the club. And, and let’s say you’re standing by the bar, and I come up to you. This is when you’re 16. I’m also have an appropriate age. So this isn’t skeezy. And I’m like, Hey, how are you?
Martin J Dixon 22:57
I don’t think that ever happened. I genuinely think I was approached by a single guy. And I don’t think I would have ever approached anyone either. So I guess it’s a kind of two. I think it would be times where I’d maybe smile at someone. And I think that that was something was happening. And then they wouldn’t catch their eye again for the rest of the night. Despite tried, like, lunge forward to try and look at them and they’d be like,
K Anderson 23:19
but what about on the dance floor? Like when you pulled shapes? Were you just like, hey, grind up against me, Mister you.
Martin J Dixon 23:28
So I’ve always felt the dance was not sexy. I remember, go to a work party and me and my friend. Things were flat right at the time. We really fancy this one guy at work. We both of us, burning loins for this one guy. And I remember having quite a nice time and then Drunk in Love came on or something like that. I think it was drunk enough. And I remember leaning towards my friend and saying you can have him and then just having the best three minutes of my life just really just loosened wild and free and just but it’s not attractive. I’ll be honest with you.
K Anderson 24:01
So you do you mean like the dancing is more important to you than pulling or when you dance? You’re just so repellent?
Martin J Dixon 24:12
I mean, a real combination of the pair, I would say, I don’t think anybody looks at me dance and thinks he’s the one which I do find bizarre. I’ll be honest with you. Because I think if nothing else, I just look like I’m having a really good time and I just want to be with someone who was having a good time. And I find a lot of gay men just don’t feel the same way about me that I feel about myself.
K Anderson 24:34
No, but it’s it’s so weird, right? Because I get that as well. Like, you know how you’re more likely to pick up if you’re like moody and mysterious looking and you kind of look like you might murder them. And everyone finds that attractive but someone with a smile. Everyone’s like, no,
Martin J Dixon 24:52
don’t you mean? Definitely. I suppose maybe the other thing is that probably when I’m dancing I use it main character syndrome. I don’t know enough about I hope it’s not too bad, I think. But probably when I dance, I probably do think I’m like the star of the show. And maybe that’s really off putting.
K Anderson 25:06
I have to say, I hate pulling on the dance floor. And I think I’m like, I think for the same reasons that you have, like, if the music is amazing, and I’m really enjoying myself, I don’t want to be distracted.
Martin J Dixon 25:20
Yeah, I just think I’m there to jump to there to have fun. Yeah. And that’s not, you know, like, how
K Anderson 25:24
am I supposed to lip sync to this song with your tongue down my throat? Exactly.
Martin J Dixon 25:27
Get me on the break. I’m in the intermission when I’m at the bar. That’s a really good time to get me like a number. Yeah, yeah, definitely. I think it’s, I think it’s really weird. And it is a frustration that I’ve had, especially as someone who doesn’t drink. And I mean, I shouldn’t we like late nights that much. I do enjoy going out to a club for a bit of a boogie, but by 1am, late, I am done. Yeah, I’ve never been able to pull a club ever. Once. I think they did kiss someone at a bar. And I asked him to stop because I was embarrassed because my friends are there. And I just don’t know how I look. Kissing is a lot younger than as well. But I said, Oh, you can take my number. He was like, No, I’m right. Okay, so yeah, not ideal.
K Anderson 26:12
But so so just in defence of this guy, I find that a much preferable approach than someone saying, Yeah, sure. I’ll take your number and then never ringing you. So just just to That’s true.
Martin J Dixon 26:22
That’s true. I agree. I totally agree. I think we have a real problem of just not being direct. Sometimes. I simply, I’m very direct. I don’t, I’m perfect. I’m exception to that rule, if I behave exactly how everyone else should behave. And if we could just do what I do, that’d be fine. But yeah, I’ve never seen gay clubs. I mean, I’ve definitely, especially when I was younger, I had such an expectation that that’s where I would meet someone, but they aren’t. I don’t think now I don’t feel they’re very conducive to meeting someone. Really, really.
K Anderson 26:52
So the thing that I thought we were going to talk about in today’s conversation was small town pubs, and how, like, you see the same people over and over. And so you develop this sense of community more? Did you not have that experience?
Martin J Dixon 27:08
No, not at all. I mean, for multiple reasons. I I’ve never felt very I don’t know, it sounds really bad and quite homophobic. As I said, I’ve never felt that included in the gay community. Why does
K Anderson 27:23
that? That doesn’t like being homophobic or you being
Martin J Dixon 27:26
what do I say anything? Sounds like I’m homophobic. I think it’s a bit like, I don’t know, I just think it’s a bit weird. I think it is a bit weird. If you’re a gay person who can’t have any, I do have a couple, you know, a handful of gay friends who I do like, love even. And I think a lot of them are fine. But, um, yeah, I don’t think I’ve ever felt that sense of community in any kind of not really anywhere that I’ve been. I mean, I’ve been like pride quite a lot. But then it just it does feel like a party and people are getting quite drunk, just and that’s just not my vibe. I think actually, I went to a real phase when I was younger of trying to find my kind of niche within the gay community. And I went to a gay book club.
K Anderson 28:01
What books did you read?
Martin J Dixon 28:03
To be fair, I did go late. I joined I kind of message about a week before their first meet up. And so we’ve got this book. And I ordered Dennis had about two days to read it. And it was something about some guy with a dodgy leg. Oh, yeah, that book? Yeah, yeah. Well, I don’t know. But then if the guy was even gay, it was ridiculous. And they were saying all of the leg is an allegory for homosexuality. And I was like, I don’t want to read an allegory. I’d like to read some kissing.
K Anderson 28:27
I need some butt sex. Otherwise, I’m out. Yeah,
Martin J Dixon 28:31
exactly. That’s why I included some in my book, there is quite a lot of
K Anderson 28:36
real, real good chance.
Martin J Dixon 28:40
Now, you’re right, that was fake. Do you think that sometimes it’s sometimes it didn’t work out. But then there’s other things. I went to a gay hiking group, which was embarrassing. So you went directly up to this group of men who seemed quite effeminate. And it was in the middle of the woods, and I said, Hey, you guys, they’re gay hikers. And they were like, No, that was it. That was so yeah. I tried it. I mean, the sandwich were gay.
K Anderson 29:03
Did you then find the group that you were supposed to be with? Or did you run home in shame?
Martin J Dixon 29:08
No, there was just like my car for a bit and checked, I was in the right place. And it’s just definitely the wrong. Yeah. I don’t know. I mean, maybe they just said to me, I internalised it. And they looked at me and thought we don’t want to work with you. Maybe I said the wrong thing. Who knows? It just obviously, it just wasn’t meant to be. But yeah, I mean, I’ve quite enjoyed the gay movie club thing I went to that was quite good. But I still yeah, like I said, I don’t think I’ve ever felt like a real kind of inclusion in kind of any way that kind of was predominately. I suppose it will these places are probably gay men as well. Like, I don’t, you know, no, I wouldn’t get her lesbian but it wouldn’t be appropriate. I probably quite enjoy it. Yeah. And it’s just because, you know, other things like that daily match. You know, bars don’t really match what I like doing, you know, so that’s why I’m always looking for kind of other avenues to kind of get into, you know, having a group or Nisha people That kind of felt like my, my group. And I really sought out like I, you know, I realised that I’m not a big kind of pub club goer. But yeah, I think I tried. Just over the years, just so many, and especially also being on the kind of comedy circuit stuff. There’s I, you know, a few other gay performers or going to a kind of queer nights and stuff like that I do. I have made friends that way. But I wouldn’t say it was a group. But I think maybe that’s just who I am. Because I don’t think I am. I don’t have a group of friends. I have many, not many, but like a little less. So maybe that’s just a more natural fit for me. Which is hard, because when you talk about kind of, like, kind of small town, gay community, I did notice lots of people seem to know each other. And I did feel very separate to that. Although actually, I would say I did see the guy who sat my lap. I saw him in the street quite a few times. So he said, Hello. And submit that. So just I wasn’t being I wasn’t having enough people on my lap. Maybe that’s what the issue was.
K Anderson 30:54
I mean, is it an inviting lap?
Martin J Dixon 30:56
I believe so. Millions would disagree. I think
K Anderson 31:00
it’s millions, millions. Come on.
Martin J Dixon 31:03
If you see my block list on Grindr, millions, your block list or the list of people who have blocked the people, because I tend to talk to people and then if they don’t talk to me back I just blocked. That’s very clever. And it is I mean, it’s a very long list. It’s getting a bit sad, but works out. Well. I just think I think if you’re not interested in someone, I’m greater than you. That’s what we’re all sort we’re all there for. So just do them a favour and block them if you’d have to say no to them. I think you forget a blocking a lot quicker than you will forget being ignored all. And then kind of continuously interface. Or, you know, if someone gets back to you as rude, and you’ll see that that will hurt your feelings more than
K Anderson 31:40
what is up with that when people do that. It’s so weird. Well,
Martin J Dixon 31:43
this is a nice thing about how I believe I’m obviously doing doing everything right. I just think it’s really weird. I would never ignore someone, I swear some people are getting so many messages. It’s hard to keep track. But I don’t know any of those people. By just saying yes to kind of blocking someone I just think then it’s you know, although I do find there’s a lot of people who say they’re looking for friends, and I always say hello to them. And I rarely get a reply. Which I think is ridiculous. I’m a very good friend.
K Anderson 32:09
The thing that pisses me off the most is when people in their bio were like, Oh, can’t we just all be nice to each other? Like it costs nothing to be a good human being? And then they’re a complete asshole do? Like, what like, does this rule only apply to you
Martin J Dixon 32:23
say we’re so weird, especially those people who will never apply? And I just think I know, like, obviously, I was sent to a friend of a friend of mine on my dating at the moment, as well, am I and she’s a woman. And I do think it’s different. I think women and men, there’s lots of misogyny going on. And you know, if a woman has replaced her man, and says, I know thank you, then he might reply back saying you’re a fucking bitch. And then you know, she’s you know, I, a woman does not owe a man an explanation. But what I think, you know, we’re all gay. We’re in this kind of community together. I just think a simple like, no thanks. And when people say, Oh, you’re not my type. Thanks. I never feel offended. But maybe here maybe I’m just maybe that’s just not something I’m insecure about. Maybe that would be some other people’s biggest fear. So I suppose it I can’t, you know, say they’re all bad people who I just think, you know, simple. No, thank you. And then we’ll just blocking someone. It’s like the easiest thing. I know, obviously, it seems a bit dramatic, but I just think I prefer it when I’ve when I’ve just been blocked. I suppose I could find that quite funny. That is funny, or just forgettable versus someone just ignoring you. It just feels very rude. Just feel so much ruder. Just not not acknowledge it.
K Anderson 33:31
But I think like this, I always step outside of the culture when I want to criticise it. So sorry, I’m about to do that. There’s that British thing of like, not wanting to be rude, and then doing something that’s even rude here. But because it’s so ingrained in the culture, like people don’t see it as being rude.
Martin J Dixon 33:48
Yes, I see what you mean. It’s very weird. It’s very weird. And I think nobody, nobody sets out wanting to be rude. And I think there’s also a difference of, you know, some people might just see something as rude. And some of the day, you know, and I think, at the outside of Grindr, let’s say someone comes to my house, and they don’t take their shoes off. But they’re my really good friend, I’ll just sell properties off. Because I prefer people taking their shoes off at home. And I, you know, that’s to me, I think, if I do, if I didn’t know them, if that was someone was someone I didn’t like, I think it was the rudest thing in the whole world. But if they were my friend, or I liked them, you know, you’re prepared to forgive everything. So I definitely think it’s kind of it’s hard to say one rule for everyone, because everybody likes different things. And also you respond differently, depending on how you you like someone, so that guy has sat on my lap, very inappropriate. But if I had fancied him loads, I’d have thought it was the best thing in the entire world. So it’s kind of Yeah, it’s like it’s really hard to kind of do broad strokes and say this is the rule for everyone. But I definitely think some sort of an enlargement I always think I prefer personally so if anyone listening does come across me on Grindr, just I’d prefer to be blocked the nephron route
K Anderson 35:02
where so where do you live? I’ll look you up on Grindr, and then I’ll block you right now.
Martin J Dixon 35:08
I’ll be very hot. If I have a menu area, my drink spot, you should be very upset. Let’s
K Anderson 35:13
talk more about community. Right? Because I think a lot of this hinges on what you think I mean, it means
Martin J Dixon 35:21
very true. Very true. And because I wonder sometimes if I’m asking too much of what I think it should mean, like, I used to do a joke, which I thought was very funny, because I thought probably it was very true. If you know, the gay community was for what it should be how I feel it should be, I should be able to go onto Grindr and say to the nearest person to me, Hi, can I come and use your loo? And I think that’s quite reasonable. And that is not how everyone feels about it. So you’re right. Like, I think my idea of what community is probably I am very big part of we’re not big pot that’s a bit dramatic. But like, I probably am part of the community. I just don’t you know, it’s just isn’t quite as warm and fuzzy as I’d like it to be maybe.
K Anderson 36:01
So what did you want to do in the just to
Martin J Dixon 36:05
like, just to use it just to be really just to use the loo on my own door closed? I didn’t actually anyone ever messaging.
K Anderson 36:12
What do you need? Like?
Martin J Dixon 36:15
I mean, it’s just a quick maximum Max ride ever spend in someone else’s lives? We’d be like four minutes, I would say. And that would be on an emergency situations.
K Anderson 36:26
Yeah, I don’t think that’s unreasonable. Maybe it’s not a good indicator of community.
Martin J Dixon 36:35
Yeah, it’s not feeling I see what you’re saying. I because I do actually, I do remember, not that long ago. I said on Twitter about five years ago, and my shower broke. I remember messaging, the nearest five people just like can I just come in here sharing desperate? No response. I like some of them had been like their house for like, other fun stuff. So I That’s rude.
K Anderson 36:59
Oh, yeah, that’s rude. But like, so was that your opening line? Or Did did you say hello?
Martin J Dixon 37:04
It was like, Yeah, real plea for help. I was like, Hey, I’m your neighbour. And I’m in need, which I think and I respond to that. I think I think that’s brilliant. But again, I just feel like I see. I see things differently to maybe how the rest of the rest of people say it. Wow, that sounds like I think I’m really unique. I just mean that. Like, I think I’m great. And other people feel differently. No,
K Anderson 37:24
I mean, if if I’d slept with you, and it wasn’t like the worst experience in the world, yeah. Then I would be like, yeah, come over and have a shower, if you were a neighbour. Like if you if you were just that mirando who messaged me? I don’t know if I would
Martin J Dixon 37:39
assume it. So then my your barometer to community. And mine are may be slightly different. But more, I think more in tune. Now, what similarities and there are differences there?
K Anderson 37:48
Well, I think the the thing that you’ve talked about that’s really resonated with me is this thing of not having groups of friends, but having individual friends and, and I think when that’s the case, it can be hard to feel part of a bigger, a bigger thing, because you’re just part of lots of small things.
Martin J Dixon 38:10
Oh, percent? Yeah. 100%. I remember taking a really weird way. Like I remember times when I was growing up, and I just be sort of desperate to go on, like, clouds, holidays and stuff. And things I would sooner die than go to. I just used to think of that. It’s just you kind of want what you don’t have, don’t you? I go on these lovely holidays with a friend. And I think they were amazing. I ticked us off. I just wished that there was like, 10 of us. Yeah, for more of us, and we were all matching T shirts with swear words on them. That would be you know, that’s all it was missing. But then also, it’d be awkward to go on those holidays, maybe like, let’s go out and like, let’s stay and have a cup of tea.
K Anderson 38:47
Exactly. Yeah, exactly. That’s the thing, like just glossing over all the details of like all the interpersonal beef that people have all the drama, all of the negotiation that you have to do that you just don’t have to do when it’s one person.
Martin J Dixon 39:00
Yeah. And I’m so bad at getting on with things that I don’t love. Some people are so easygoing. And I’m like, No, that’s not really I don’t want to do that. And it’s yeah, I’m very bad at that. And I try to be better.
K Anderson 39:11
Oh, see, I’m like worse than that. Because I’m super easygoing. Until I’m not. And then you’ve got a cut off. Yeah. But I’ve like lulled everyone into this false sense of security by being so easygoing, and then all of a sudden, I’m like, No, don’t look at me anymore. And that’s it. And stuff
Martin J Dixon 39:29
is easy over something quite small as you’re going along with it, going along with it. You’re hosting dinner. 16 people and then everyone’s like, and then she might just turn the heat up and you’re like,
K Anderson 39:41
I never want to say like that.
Martin J Dixon 39:43
K Anderson 39:45
Martin J Dixon 39:47
I suppose it just feels very long ago. And just ultimately, like very, always quite disappointing because I had, I always went hoping to find someone and never did. Yeah, it was always It’s quite typical, I think it my experience, there was just always kind of the same. Yeah, it was just a, I suppose quite a weird time. In my life, I think it gave me so much kind of confidence. And so like just being in Cornwall being in college and having friends and things that me and, and also, you know, even going into those places, and suddenly I hadn’t experienced so when I went to gay clubs in London, I kind of knew, you know, it was intimidating, but not it wasn’t my first time going, you know, that felt quite nice. It was a really nice kind of introduction in a way. Yeah, so it’s really weird to kind of time in my life where I kind of, it gave me so much, but then also left me wanting more, which actually is pretty quite good. Quite good when you’re in your kind of late teens, because there’s so much more to take in from life. So yeah, quite good, quite a good spot to be in.
K Anderson 40:45
So then, with all of that in mind, if you could go back in time and have a conversation with yourself at 16, when you had just been sat on by some weird man, what would you say?
Martin J Dixon 41:00
To that experience? I’d say like, it’s okay, that that felt weird. And you don’t have to do that again. And I’d probably, I’d say, just to not have so much expectation of what you would like to happen. And you know, you’re not going to be a bad person, if you have someone to never speak to them again. But that’s okay. That happens quite a lot. And that will happen to you a lot, and you’ll be really okay with it. And, you know, kind of just go that was such an annoying piece of advice. But and I wouldn’t have responded to it. But just to kind of reassure you, it’s not it’s not going to work. It’s not going to turn out how you want it to. But you can have more fun with it. Knowing you know, if you know that now. Yeah, definitely. I think that’s the kind of conversation we would have had. And I mentioned younger, we would had lots of questions. When are we going to be rich?
K Anderson 41:56
There’s still time. That’s your time. Do you have any memories of Eclipse or clubbing 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 from queer clubbing, go to LA spaces podcast.com and find the section share a lost space and tell me all about what you got up to. You can also find me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter as lost spaces pod. You can also find out more about Martin by following him on Twitter at Martin J. Dixon. Law spaces is not only a podcast, but a concept of 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 well groomed boys which 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 last spaces