"What about Bulk?" I sigh and Robert indolently asks, "What's Bulk?" I find words. "Bulk is a club for big boys ..." Robert has heard enough: "Grab your coats." "Not that sort of big boy. Really Robert, if there are two things I hate, the first is a Size Queen ..." Jim takes the running joke over the finish line: "And the second is a small dick." "Just so." Robert slumps back onto the sofa. "Then what sort of big boys are we talking about?" I illuminate: "Chubby. Fat. Huge. Gigantic." Robert isn't actually interested but inquires anyway: "And the sounds?" "Oh, Big As A House Music," I reply, po-faced. Robert erupts.
"I don't get it" Chris says. Chris is by the CD player, elbows pistoning back and forth, soft white fog swirling about his shaved head. Jim yawns: "You're stoned." Which reminds Robert: "Stop casing the joint. Some of us are waiting to inhale." Chris beams, sweetly contrite: "Sorry."
Jim flips, flips, flips: "Well, Bulk's a Saturday thing. So what's your fancy?" He mutters the menu. Techno and stripped torsos at Trade. Handbag at Love Muscle. Public sex at The Vault. Trannie-pulling and cross-dressing at WayOut. Or, for Robert, young, free and frighteningly horny, G.A.Y. Does he feel like chicken tonight? Jim tempts: "A flock in their thousands, a happy hunting ground ..." "And a jagged little pill. Or four," Robert muses.
I nearly say that I can recall a time when you had the choice of disco, disco or disco and cramped rooms were deliberately dark and dank - welcome to the strange twilight world of ... - and recreational drug use was confined to a quick sniff of amyl nitrate, and maybe we're spoiled for choice, or exploited beyond even our legendary capacity for pleasure, or perhaps we're plain decadent. But I pretend to be jaded instead. "A feast of fun. Unfortunately you're still on the Saturday page." Jim's mouth makes a cartoon `O': "Oops."
Chris stoops to conquer, slips a wandering hand under Jim's blue check Ben Sherman: "We do this every Friday. Drink, eat, get ratted. Then it takes ages to choose somewhere. When we get there we don't have any fun, and John always says it was better last week, except it wasn't. Anyway, we hang around till the bitter end, which is usually when the sun rises or Robert is totally off his face ..."
Robert is gracious. "It's the weed talking." Or the truth. Chris gathers his drifting thoughts. "We could stay in."
Massed disbelief: "Check the small print/Skipping your medication, bitch?/So much for care in the community." Robert lifts the listings, stabs a stiff little finger at page after page: "How difficult can this be? Here, Blacksmiths, uniform, rubber, leather. Y-Front, for underwear not to be sniffed at. The Long Yang Club for lovers of the mystic East ..."
Chris interrupts: "What?" I explain: "Rice queens."
Robert hurtles on: "And, at the Market Tavern, Oi! You Think You're A Pervert!, Oi! You Think You're Big!, Oi! You Think You're a Skinhead!"
I lean across, study the ads. "Can't find it." "Can't find what?" "Oi! You Think You're a Flower Arranger!"
Jim joins in. "Oi! You Think You're An Accountant!"
Chris too. "Oi! You Think You're a Traffic Warden!"
Robert snorts. "Wait. It'll happen. Market segmentation. Your particular fetish, race or taste in flesh. Listen, `London's first club night with gym equipment ... Rock-hard bodies Work Out, in or out of Lycra, whilst lesser mortals look on in envy and admiration.' Get a life, not a lifestyle." Chris finds a cushion, places it behind his back: "As I said, let's stay in if we hate the scene so much."
Robert sucks on what he insists on calling his "reefer": "It's not hate. It's ... I have to think about this." I know, I know: "It's repel and attract. We bitch about blowing two hours to get ready ..."
"Only two?" Jim mumbles.
"Shut up. We groan about the soullessness of cruising for longer than The Flying Dutchman and standing at bars radiating attitude, pulling the crap you loathe other people for pulling on you, and c'mon, what can I tell you, I met Andrew at Love Muscle, so I love Love Muscle, always forever, and you Jim, you met Chris at the Fruit Machine, fag hag heaven and Robert, your last half-way serious lover ..."
"Alan. His name was Alan."
"Sure. Alan was captured at Bang - Bang - of all places. What's more, all of us still club and that's progress, sort of, because once it was practically impossible to have a relationship and dance at the same time, if you get my drift, because the temptations were too much and older gay men kind of vanished too and now there's much more of an age mix, what Robert called market segmentation, and there are brightly lit, open- plan pubs that signal social intercourse instead of sexual intercourse and we're not one thing any more but lots of things, options, change, and what else is there ..."
The sentences shunt into one another, sense and syntax buckling. My head hurts. Three sets of eyes stare. "Contact high," Jim says. Chris agrees: "Well gone." "Bollocks," I protest, except I am seriously woozy. Bugger. Robert tilts forward, pats my hand, puffs smoke in my face. "Never mind them. You've totally changed my opinion. I am ready to go out and thoroughly enjoy myself. Only not tonight and definitely, definitely not with someone as utterly wrecked as you"nReuse content