Terror in London: We had suspected we might be next...

JUST FOUR DAYS before Friday's bomb the small editorial team at The Pink Paper decided to issue a warning to its readers.

Following the Brick Lane bomb the previous Saturday, we received a number of e-mails from scared readers - will we be next? - and tried to establish what precautions were being taken by lesbian and gay venues.

The manager of one gay pub in central London - not the Admiral Duncan - told us she had put up a poster warning customers to report any suspicious packages or activity. Her staff had also been given a security briefing.

A major London nightclub stated that it maintained a very high standard of security and the chances of a bomb entering the premises was remote.

But the owner of a gay venue in Manchester had not even considered the need for extra vigilance. The two nail bombs had been a race issue, the manager said - it doesn't really concern us, does it? That naivety was our cue.

So we ran a front-page headline, "Gays in Fascist Bomb Warning". The message was simple: be on your guard. We had absolutely no idea that a bomb would cause such grief on the very day of publication.

Did The Pink Paper receive a tip-off that such an attack would take place? Absolutely not. Had there been such information we would have worked with the police to help prevent the event from happening.

It was also suggested an e-mail from the White Wolves had been circulating, warning of their intentions. We know nothing of such a document.

Until this week, gay venues were considered some of the safest places to go for a trouble-free night out. Even carefree young heterosexuals, especially women, would favour them because of the lack of violence and harassment. After Friday's devastating bomb, that will never quite be the case again.

David Northmore is Chief Reporter of 'The Pink Paper', the weekly gay newspaper.