On Thursday I discovered through reading ‘Queer London’ by Matt Houlbrook that my local bank in Whitechapel used to be London’s most notorious queer den of inequity or ‘Miss Muff’s Molly House’ in 1728 – a jewel in the crown on the colonised road of our sexual history.
On Friday I ran a workshop with queer homeless youth from across London (1/4 of homeless youth are queer) who – inspired by reading books about the Stonewall Riots, Marsha P Johnson and Street Action Trans Revolutionaries (STAR) started a reading group and are now building a queer housing campaign.
Yesterday I started re-reading ‘Fingersmith’ by Sarah Waters and went for a sunset mince down Lant Street in Borough to imagine life amongst the thieves in the moonlit underbelly of Victorian queer London – and wonder how the modern-day cultural thieves (or ‘politicians’ some say) behind ‘Section 28‘ manage to sleep at night knowing that today economic inequality in our streets is wider than in the times of Dickens.
And I’ve just come back from a morning run to Tower Bridge – past a lesbian couple smooching against a tree and a handsome queen with eyes twinkling in the sun – to pay homage at Derek Jarman’s new plaque, his film ‘Jubilee’ and to dream of anarchy against a governmental system across the river who – yet to apologise for criminalising us in the past – are hellbent upon destroying our queer present and utopia.
Looking down at the murky Thames water it’s easy to wonder how much of our queer life has been lost but not so far away off Russell Square there’s an anchor holding our freedoms in place. ‘Gays the Word’ – the chefs in the holy kitchen of queerdom – who every day dish out knowledge that empowers our community to be proud of our history and bring life to our future.
So I’m so glad Friday night’s 40th celebration of ‘Gays the Word’* was the beauuuutiful tribute it needed to be. Incredible performances and readings in front of hundreds of fans whose hearts swell knowing how much revolutionary love one small bookshop can catalyse across the world. It was spellbinding.
No words do justice to the emotions pouring out of that room and for once I was lost for words (they’ve come back now;)) – an irony that shows the powers of a magical little place called ‘Gays the Word’. dan glass and all at ‘Queer Tours of London – A Mince Through Time’ 🙂
* 66 Marchmont St, Kings Cross, London WC1N 1AB – our Bloomsbury queer tours end up at Gays The Word – book at firstname.lastname@example.org / www.queertoursoflondon.com