Kings Head Theatre Queer Season 2017

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Coming Clean, Kevin Elyot’s first professionally produced play, looks at the breakdown of a gay couple’s relationship and examines complex questions of fidelity and love.

It was first performed pre AIDS at the Bush Theatre, London, on 3 November 1982.

Now it is being revived for its 35th Anniversary into The King’s Head Theatre 2017 Queer Season; a curated 9 week programme of LGBTQI Theatre opening in July.

King’s Head Theatre’s Artistic Director Adam Spreadbury-Maher directs this first London revival of Kevin Elyot’s play that questions fidelity and the limits of love written before his hit play ‘My Night With Reg’, a noted classic of  queer theatre.

bullandgateThe play is set in a flat in Kentish Town, north London, in 1982. Struggling writer Tony and his partner of five years, Greg, seem to have the perfect relationship. Committed and in love, they are both open to one-night stands as long as they don’t impinge on the relationship. But Tony is starting to yearn for something deeper, something more like monogamy. When he finds out that Greg has been having a full-blown affair with their cleaner, Robert, their differing attitudes towards love and commitment become clear.

In 1970 I moved to Dartmouth Park Hill near Tufnell Park tube close to Kentish Town, so was asked where the characters would have cottaged, drank, cruised and found sexual partners as part of character development.

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Set in pre-AIDS 1982, I was asked by the Director to speak to the cast about Gay Life in the 60’s and 70’s so they could develop character parts and ask questions about their respective character backgrounds, so I started out sharing what information about queers were available during criminalisation and what it was like when I came out in 1967 and the background to it. It was a bit of a hoot really talking for almost 90 mins with them scribbling notes and developing production ideas. They were only 3 days into rehearsal, and no one was around in 1982 so it was an eager audience.

We discussed Cottaging, Dirk Bogarde films ACCIDENT & VICTIM, Polari, Politics, The Colhearne, Earls Court Gay Scene in the 60’s, Zipper, HIM Magazine, Crisco, COLT Porn Mags, Poppers, pills, Hampstead Heath, Jack Straw’s Castle, BANGS and Marlboro Red Lights tucked into Capped T shirt sleeves. It was like memory lane. 

Check out all the plays in the season here and get OFF your phone for a while.

http://www.kingsheadtheatre.com

 

Him-Magazine JULY ‘HEROES’ Issue : We Can Be Heroes, Just For One Day

davidbowie_lifestyle_jul13London, England, is lucky enough this summer to be privy to a major retrospective of Bowie: David Bowie is… the biggest sell-out show in the Victoria & Albert (V&A) Museum’s history! It sold out online for the whole four month run, with Five-Star reviews from the media critics. Tickets were only available in limited slots if you visited the museum on the day, so I was lucky to view my own personal history walking around, remembering coming out, broken relationships, pills and clubbing to Bowie’s tracks. His major anthem always was, and still is for me… Heroes… “We can be Heroes, Just for one day.”

The beginning of the exhibition features a collage of influences surrounding teenage David Jones (later Bowie), including the impact of Yuri Gagarin’s first human journey into Outer Space and the Russian Sputnik floating above the ether. Gagarin must have been a hero to a 14 year-old David as much as anyone else, especially as he wrote “Space Oddity” at age 22 in 1969, creating the fictional “Major Tom” spaceman character that became his signature, his vision and legacy. During the same year, Neil Armstrong was the first human to walk on the moon, while fierce gays and trannies at the Stonewall Inn bar refused to be walked all over by police raid brutality, sowing seeds of the Gay Liberation Movement. Heroes, all of them. Checking out the music, costumes and memorabilia dragged me back to a gay life pre-AIDS, when open hard sexuality was the drug of choice. Clones, tartan shirts, bathhouses and above all — hirsute chunks of men – became as ubiquitous as the Marlboro man.

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When it came to therapy work in the 80’s, everything was new; addictions, treatment centers, codependency and empowerment became buzzwords, but you only entered these portals of personal development if you had AIDS or were mentally unbalanced. Looking inward was deemed unnecessary in the UK; that was for Americans and their “shrinks” and “Celebrity Rehab” hadn’t started and we had no idea that the worst was yet to come. Before burn-out, I spent two years on an HIV project working with people holding CD4 counts under 50, mostly under 20, who were just preparing to die.

When you think of the media version of a hero it’s easy to recall a man diving into a pond to rescue a drowning puppy, yet the real heroes of those years were those affected by HIV/AIDS who taught the value of everything, including hope, gratitude, true friendship and dignity. A true gift for those left behind in the darkest of times.

supermanbatman_lifestyle_jul13For many gay men, the most heroic stance is to come out. Therapists refer to the “inner child” as a recovery tool, and the discovery of toxic shame connected to a differing sexuality, family of origin and the impact on adult inter-personal relationships, but I always encourage people to find their own ‘inner hero’ because it’s very easy to pass over, ignore or overlook the courage it took to come out. Heroes Gagarin and Armstrong were trained to float around outer space, yet few teenagers are trained to come out, so it is truly heroic when they do.

The “inner hero” decides inside, awaiting an opportunity to reveal itself, all those occasions when you thought you would’t make it, but you did. When you made changes and took risks, you ultimately won out. Coming to terms with your self and a differing sexuality is as brave as Superman flying across the skies, and not all gay men get off the ground. This is where therapy can assist you to teach the bird to fly.

Bravery is also required when leaving an abusive relationship; when the odds are against you. It takes courage to rescue yourself, instead of waiting for someone to come and rescue you; to be scooped up in Superman’s arms and held safe. Many men wait to be chosen, rather than choosing themselves, awaiting rescue “by a great dark man” as Quentin Crisp put it; either online or in real spaces. This tale of a damsel in distress is an epidemic in the lives of gay men. One plays the victim, the other the fixer.

The victim who has less feels held and safe but inadequate, and fixer gets off on the  control they have due to the codependent nature of the relationship. Eventually, a stalemate is reached and couples counselling is suggested and taken up. It’s at this stage with a counselor as the intervener, that truth begins to unravel, failings honored, observed and owned. Not many couples are brave enough to take this adult route to save themselves. It may look like the therapist is acting as rescuer, but a good one will not be trained to fix clients, but allow clients to fix themselves. When this occurs the “inner hero” unleashes, boundaries begin to be respected and esteem is raised, even if the outcome is not to one partners agenda, but honesty and acceptance is far more heroic than rescuing a puppy.

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You can read my monthly article here in original form here : http://www.him-magazine.com/2013/07/01/we-can-be-heroes-just-for-one-day/

‘Empowerment’ June 2013 Edition of HIM-Magazine

A prolific London DJ, the infamous, multi-talented Stewart Who? once said of me in QX Magazine” If he was assassinated on Old Compton Street they couldn’t get a Police Station big enough to hold the usual suspects, because for well over a decade he has held the secrets of DJs, Club Promoters, Bar Owners, Escorts, Musicians, Lawyers & City Boys as well as counseling those affected by HIV/AIDS since 1984.

He was there at the beginning of AIDS “

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When I read it in print, in stark hard copy, the thing that stuck out was the fact that “He was there at the beginning of AIDS “. It was such a fact that I ignored the impact of it. Yes I was, and sadly HIV/AIDS is still with us, but I’m still here. Prior to the arrival of GRID ( Gay Related Immune Deficiency – the given virus name before HIV in 1984 ) I was diagnosed in 1981 with incurable chronic active hepatitis B virus and cirrhosis of the liver, and was told surprisingly, that alcohol was not the cause, but early death was inevitable as no cure was available.  

At the same time a mysterious virus was hitting New York, San Francisco & Miami and as the Royal Free Hospital in London was a major teaching & research hospital, doctors came from those American cities to test people on the trial, because early USA cases were also chronic Hep B too. They sampled from us hair, blood, saliva & semen to take back to the US, but none of us seemed to have GRID. Within a year or so the Doctors at the Royal Free Liver Unit became HIV/AIDS pioneers opening up units in all London hospitals. In 1982 I was one of 10 guinea pigs on the first human Interferon drug trial in a famous London teaching hospital, which failed to find the cure to halt chronic active Hep B virus. Everyone died on the trial – except me.

766932-binge-drinking1But the real adventure began on October 26 1982 when I awoke from my last drug & alcohol binge weekend, washed up, rinsed, debt ridden and done in. Thus began my true journey.

The 80′s were tough. I was able along the way to own my sex addiction, and deal with the financial wreckage of the past by declaring voluntary bankruptcy in 1984, with no credit for 5 years, the consequences of addictive behaviour. As HIV/AIDS came along, I started counselling addicts, alcoholics and those dying of AIDS, and by 1990 I had lost over 50 friends, past lovers and clients to the virus, while I was in and out of hospital myself with liver failure.

How I survived I have no idea, but the promise of death is a motivator to beat it. In 1991, after a 3 year training I became an LRT (Loving Relationship Training) Relationship Coach & Rebirther and in 2010 was made an Honorary Member of The Australian Academy of Rebirthing & Breathwork, accredited to the Australian Government, for my work and service over 2 decades as a Breathworker, Addiction Specialist, Life Coach & Trainer. I have also led residentials, seminars and workshops in the UK, Australia, South America, Canada, Sweden, Italy, Austria, Estonia, Spain, Morocco and Goa in India. 

So yes, things did get better, and I am still alcohol, drug and nicotine free since 1982, plus I recovered from Hep B without using medications, and sero-converted my Hep B status using Yogic Breathwork. It took 11 years of constant attention, affirmations, therapies, friendships and hope. In the end I wanted to release Hep so bad, that the universe delivered and I never gave up. So be the lesson.

MediaAssetsComing to terms with an addiction is not easy, but for gay men the task can be harder. Walking away from a hedonistic social life in order to recover is challenging, and the addictions bring secondary issues, like debt, denial and emotional deceptions. Having used for 17 years and being clean & sober for over 30 years, it’s been a journey that reflects gay and personal liberations from struggle, debt and dysfunction. Off course I didn’t have the challenges that young gay men have today, in health or choices.

In 1967 when I came out, London had less than half a dozen gay bars & meeting places, now we have over 500 plus internet hook-ups, so it was very different scene. I came out 6 months before homosexuality was decriminalised, and offered electric shock aversion therapy, but declined it, and went on prescribed medication instead, then my drinking and drugging increased till I crashed into a space of awareness.

The first 15 years of my recovery were, I now see, the backbone to the next 15 years. Times of crisis, confusion or ill health are there to act out the art of growing up, building trust, reducing expectation & demands on self and others, and relinquishing all forms of codependent patterning.

The only attachment that matters to me now is queer spirit and the joy of not knowing what the world will bring. It’s ironic that I spent 17 years getting out of control, thinking I was in control, only to discover that being in control of your life is the biggest drug con of all. The most spiritual thought I hold is ‘I know nothing’. I have no idea why I recovered from an incurable disease, or why I needed to watch people dying of AIDS to be taught more about living, but If I can recover from this level of experience, then anyone can. It just takes diligence, practice and experienced support.

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This blog of mine first appeared in the online JUNE 2013 Edition of HIM-MAGAZINE “For the Man Who Invests In Himself!”

http://www.him-magazine.com/2013/06/01/a-journey-to-empowerment/

 

RELATIONSHIP GUYD @ guyspy.com

guySpy_01I have been asked by guyspy.com to write a regular piece on RELATIONSHIPS. Here is the interview with me and DANNY HILTON to start the whole thing off . . .

David Parker has been writing about, talking to and helping gays empower themselves since the 1980s. We’re super-excited to have him join us as our Relationship Guyd, covering everything from relationships with your boyfriend, Mum, Bank Manager and mobile phone. And a hell of a lot more. Hold on to your seat – this Guyd knows his stuff and says it how it is. I got the lo-down…

DH: Where do you come from and what do you do?

DP: Well, after over 20 years of doing what I do I’m still not sure what it is, as it moves and changes with people’s needs. I loathe the term Life Coaching, but in 1988 I began a 3 year training as a Loving Relationship Training Coach specialising in loving yourself, as well as loving others, when ‘empowerment’ was the key word, especially in the time of AIDS before combos. At one point I was called a Lifestylist, someone who shapes your life in the way a fashion stylist shapes the outer image, and this is still an aim. More work is often needed on the inside, rather than finding the right profile pic. In millennium 2000, Time Out, London’s listings mag called me ‘Clubland’s Therapist’, as my clientele included DJs, Club owners, music producers, dealers, and escorts as well as hardened clubbers, but twelve years on, I attract a wider market range, but the issues remain the same: relationships with people, family, work, money, drugs, viruses, body image, sex and emotional health. I still live in London UK, the gayest, queerest city in the world with over 500 LGBT meeting places, so distractions and casualties are aplenty, though I travel 4 months of the year leading Relationship Seminars around the world, specialising in codependency release and breeding functional relationships.

DH: What’s your approach?

DP: Unconventional. Someone once said I was the ‘Gordon Ramsey of the Coaching World’, as I didn’t do sympathy, excuses or pussy foot around. What they really meant is that with over 2 decades experience of assisting LGBT people to change lifestyles, deal with virus living and loving, or deconstruct unhealthy relationships, tough love needs to come into play sometimes, especially if addictions abound. I became a Loving Relationship Coach well before the fashion for coaching but still focus on the impact of birth trauma: how it affects all your relationships, challenging negativity and releasing suppressed emotions with Breathwork. Not many coaches come from this arena and my approach is based on my own experiences, not from a manual, like recovering from active addictions and overcoming long term illness. I don’t advertise anywhere, people find me through other people or read my blogs. Like Elaine Stritch singing Sondheim, I’ve been through, recovery, self-help stage, new age, middle age and new activist rage but “I’m still here.”

DH: What do you think are the biggest issues that gay men are faced with today?

DP: The same that gay men have always faced – ‘fear of aging, emotional editing, people pleasing and a desire to be loved,’ though these traits reflect all humanity not just gay men, except the gay script has got faster with new technologies and increased opportunity for hedonism. It is the best time, historically, to be gay, for most of us, especially via the web but anyone in IT will tell you ‘computers solve one problem and create another’ so it pays to constantly review your behaviours and all your relationships including the ones you have with food, chems, alcohol and your bank manager. Peer pressure and image is greater today than 20 years ago, yet the feeling that ‘it’s over by 30′ is thankfully in decline.

DH: How have things changed in 10 years?

Rapid-Hiv-Testing-Poster1DP: The HIV virus & BB still dominates the agenda, but drug use, including alcohol, in Europe has multiplied to excess. It’s the first thing American visitors say when they enter euro clubland or early morning net dating, yet this is not the whole picture. The young hipsters are not drug free, and no need to be, but much more interested in smaller individual meeting places, indie clubs, creative mixed bars, and social interest groups than hardened circuit party boys. Our world is now so diverse via the net, just like gay relationships, a full spectrum of graded tones of same sex attraction. Twenty five years ago AIDS took the Daddies away and now Daddy tops in their 50′s are as lusted over as skinny twinks. Men who have sex with men who defy labels have blurred the edges of what  ‘gay dating is’ and this has allowed all men to explore the net to full advantage, so I would say that the greatest change in 10 years is the release of shames around fetish and sexual activity.

DH: Who are our greatest role models in 2013?

DP: Oh that’s easy – yourself. Be your own fabulous role model this year. This supercedes the LGBT sportspeople, rappers, politicos and celebrities that are deemed to inspire us. Inspiration comes from within, should you take time out to dig deep BUT you need to prepare and get some action in. People you meet can be the best role model, they may be online or just round the corner, but learn to avoid projection, just give up a destination and let things occur naturally. Letting go of ‘needing to know’ is a wise role model.

Look out for David’s posts, coming soon! You can find out more from his websites, and you can follow him on twitter. Details below:

http://mygaytherapist.me
twitter: @mygaytherapist
http://www.theswarmite.com
twitter: @theswarmite

 

World AIDS Day 2012

9780312374631In the current climate of rising HIV infections amongst Gay Men in the UK, when health charities often place the sensibilties of poz people above prevention, many say we need to go back to basics. When this so called *gay plague* started I was there, being tested at The Royal Free Hospital in Hampstead in 1981. Doctors had flown from America to London because a mysterious virus had turned up in major american cities in gay men who were  also chronic Hepatitis B Virus. I had recently been told that I had Cirrhosis of the Liver caused by chronic Hep B  living in my body undetected for a decade. I was a Hep B super-carrier with an immune system unable to create the antibodies to fight the virus. I stopped drinking alcohol, dealing with my addiction to booze and drugs, but my liver got worse, and I continued to self-infect myself with Hepatitis B until May 1996 when I cleared the virus through yogic breathwork and thousands spent on therapy, retreats and alternative approaches. I was one of ten on the first Human Interferon drug trial in 1982 – there was and there still is, no cure, and I received no further medication except to manage liver failure.
Everyone died on the trial except me.
 

hepatitis-cAll gay men under the guidance of The Royal Free and St Mary’s in Paddington were tested by American doctors, hair, blood, saliva and semen, to see if we had the mysterious virus called GRID. Gay Related Immune Deficiency. In 1984 French & American Researchers came up with the same conclusion and called it the HIV Virus. I did not have the virus and remain negative today. Having lived through one virus, why create another. Reading through the following quotes you will notice that nothing much has changed in 30 years. The only unspoken thread is that millions and millions are thrown at the AIDS Industry for an estimated 96,000+ people in the UK, when hardly anything is available from the Government for the University of Southhampton’s figure of 450,000 people in the UK living with Hep C. Poz guys who refuse to use a condom as an act of masculinity are rapidly becoming infected with Hep C, aided and abetted by the PC warriors who insist ” HIV is a manageable disease with a few pills each day “. It isn’t. This is as much a scandal as those 450,000 HepC carriers and those infected with Chronic Hep B who are left to wander in the wilderness without a day to rattle tins.
 

Centers For Disease Control, Atlanta, USA. 1984

114888-addictionFour days later, researchers from the Pasteur Institute provided Don Francis with convincing proof that their virus, LAV, caused AIDS. In October, Francis had sent the French Scientists 30 blood samples, including 10 from the San Francisco Hepatitis B cohort of gay men who had developed AIDS, 10 from gay men with lymphadenopathy, and 10 from heterosexuals not at risk for AIDS. The samples were sent blind, marked only with code numbers. The French researchers reported to Don Francis their results : positive LAV antibody tests in 20 of the samples and negative tests in 10. Francis quickly paged through his notes to compare the code numbers. The French had accurately sorted the blood of AIDS and lymphadenopathy patients from the blood of uninfected people. Francis was elated. With the cause of AIDS found, scientists could now get on with the business of controlling the spread of the epidemic and finding a vaccine.
 
AND THE BAND PLAYED ON / Randy Shilts  New York 1989

” First, I’d always been a little crazy, not clinically, just over-intense, compulsive, prone to a variety of erotic addictions and narcissistic mood swings – euphoria to despair in 3 seconds flat. Second, the backdrop of my breakdown – New York in the Eighties – was insane in itself. Third and most important, I was plugged into the epicenter of that insanity, working for Andy Warhol. the grand vizier of meaninglessness, and the most famous artist in the world. In the three years since I started working there, Andy had come to symbolize everything that was wrong with the world : hype and cleverness without soul, a Technicolor surface without depth, a glittering facade fashioned from fame, name and money; an inverted place where everything and everyone is reduced to an object and put on sale, where everyone has his fifteen minutes, where the serious is boring, the fluffy fabulous and behind this great mask of glamour and image, an abyss. It wasn’t always like this. For a long time, this world thrilled me. With every hoop my bosses held up, I jumped higher. New York was the big game and I adored it. I scheduled an appointment for the HIV test on March 30 1989. I was casual about it with friends, who warned me of my usual bravado “.
 

SEX, DEATH, ENLIGHTENMENT / Mark Matousek

82_u1001016_0_MarkMatousek_SexDeathEnlightenmentATrueStorNew York City 1994″ Even during the most repressive years of the AIDS crisis, a vibrant sexual playground survived in secret. The streets grew cold and scant, the neighbourhood bars thinned out, but if you knew the right someone you got taken to a place behind locked doors. Most gay men knew the right someone. The generation of gay men who have come of age in the era of AIDS are as fervent in desire as their disappearing Stonewall predecessors. In New York the night before the June 1994 Gay Pride Parade celebrating 25 years of gay liberation, the lineup of clean-cut, all -American men for a popular sex club stretched five blocks down the West Side Highway. The truth is that gay men like to have communal sex – or, as it’s called in the vulgate, orgies. Communal sex is to gay men what golf is to, well, other kinds of men: they find beauty and bonding in it. It defines the individual as part of a collective. By definition – because that is how history and social forces have conspired – “gay” is the construction of identity through sexual relations.
 
The origin of the modern gay community arose in the simple act of two men picking each other up “.- THE CRISIS OF DESIRE : AIDS AND THE FATE OF GAY BROTHERHOOD / Robin Hardy
 
London does not have any space to remember those brave souls who were struck down with AIDS. We are told that no-one dies of AIDS anymore, Cancer has always reassured the family on a Death Certificate. If no shame exists around HIV/AIDS why not proudly proclaim on the Death Certificate : Cause of Death : Aids Related Infection. Londoners have never dealt with the critical mass of collective grief over Aids, we have nowhere to ponder on the friends we lost, a space to leave notes, flowers and acknowledgement. A Collective have started a Facebook group to correct this error, please join our group.
 

http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=180686542643&ref=nf

Underground Bookshops, clubs and thinking . . .

Have you noticed how self help books assume you are heterosexual? Books from Waterstone’s on THE RULES, THE SECRET and Creating Perfect Adult Relationships never seem to ever have case studies or direction other than straight white. It’s how coffee used to be. No gays, no bi-curious, no swingers, no trannies and certainly no fetish. The attraction of London as a living vibrant destination is that sexuality can be observed, checked out and explored without a blink of an eyelid. The sons of Catholic Europe reside here, safe in the knowledge that they won’t bump into the priest, cousin Mary, or mother’s judging eye when it comes to exploring sexuality. Many of the gay bars and meeting places in London are staffed by East Europeans, Latinos and Orientals escaping the torment of sexually acting out in their birth country where it is still a criminal offence or a shame based notion. They have not come here to learn English, they soon realised that the only way to escape suppressed regimes was to learn English BEFORE they arrived. No point in waiting till they got here, for the net has flashed on-screen the freedoms in London, Brighton or Manchester, and the need to communicate in fluent English. Why live in Poland or Serbia and experience rejection when thanks to Easyjet they can find freedom to be themselves and who they want to be in London’s cauldron of possibilities?

When I came out in 1967 my ‘lifestyle’ was called ‘The twilight world of homosexual shame’ by tabloids and was always connected to scandal and secret double lives. Thankfully we have moved on and no longer criminals. The European Union now promotes equality but many LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender & Queer) people do not experience the equality promised in law because religion still dominates most of these European countries. Tired of being the only one in the village, it’s the same for straights interested in non- conformist lifestyles, be it Goth, seriously single or curiously metrosexual, they move on, move out and find their authentic selves. London is not the only anonymous place to explore sexuality but no city in Europe has as much volume, scope, dress code clubs, freedom to act out fetish, dress up or find a sex partner in 10 minutes on the net. London is so vast that people of any sexuality can tap in their post code on a mobile app and be sitting on someone’s sofa at the end of their road before the kettle boils. That’s Grindr for you – which brings me to this week’s theme ‘Look around, look UNDERGROUND…’

Our conscious lives are run by underground subconscious thinking and because of manners, religion and other power based doctrines, sexuality is encased underground too. As self help gurus write about the requirement for relationship, they rarely take into account underground lifestyles and yet underground – with the power of the net – is becoming more mainstream and fetish wear more acceptable. Clubs like HARD ON in London provide activity, entertainment and interaction with like minded beings and yet if participants spoke about these preferences on mainstream personal development trainings I doubt whether the trainers would know how to handle it or offer experienced direction. This is why LGBTQ personal development groups and trainings are vital. Gay male lifestyles and relationship structures are totally different from lesbian couplings – why bunk us in the same bed? Many straight couples enjoy swinging parties, dogging and explore non-conformist sex with the ferocity of gay men on chems, yet rarely do I hear anyone discuss this openly in mainstream workshops and seminars I have attended. Everyone is on best behaviour.

It’s a brave soul that mentions porn on a training course – a hundred eyes will follow you round the room. Last year I led a training weekend on Addictions in a North European Country and a man admitted to the gathering that his great addiction was masturbation. I was amazed by the guys honesty and told him so because in a room of 50 people he was one of only 6 men. Honesty is not always welcome, but he plugged most people in by mentioning the unmentionable. No one hugged him after his share. Throwing yourself into fetish clubs is an exciting way to break boundaries within yourself, your thinking and your parents’ thinking. We all do things our mates know nothing about. However while exploring limits, learn to be clear, avoid people pleasing and say NO when you mean it. GAY’S THE WORD Bookshop near Kings Cross/Russell Square has a vast stock of books on LGBTQ Sexuality and Relationship titles – it’s a good place to read up on fetish and underground ideas.

http://www.facebook.com/gaystheword

A good exercise to focus on over a 10 minute period is to dig underground and reveal to another human being or to your diary or the higher gods if you are spiritually inclined, the exact nature of your sexual desires. Check out the web, your partners’ desires or favourite fetish. It’s good to talk, then shamelessly GO FOR IT.

Sacrifice

Before chems became the main course and not the starter, GAY MEN’S HEALTH was all about not catching the lurgee, the gay plague bestowed upon us by an unknown force and according to Donna Summer in the ’80’s, it was the Lord himself shouting down from above – no more bum fun for you lot. Sacrifice your pleasures. While we are on the subject of anal temptation, ask any straight boy how they like it and it’s up the botty every time. Not their own of course, that’s for late night net chat fantasies, no it’s how they like to feel the force with a lady, so it’s not just prime homo territory as people assume. In the 1930’s anal penetration was grounds for hetero divorce in the courts and I gather was more popular than adultery when it came to sealing the deal.

You would think by the amount of HIV related material rammed down our throats for over 20 years, that it’s the only disease we suffer from. All government funding around HIV/AIDS began to dry up in the mid-nineties from the HIV pot when combos came in in 1996, it was combos or support services, not both, so fundees hunted around and found excess cash in the Mental Health budget to continue filling the AIDS industry coffers. PACE popped up, other agencies appeared but still the main focus remains HIV/AIDS. Even PACE’s strapline still says . . . sex, relationships & HIV. This serves to collude with the notion that HIV is the main issue for gayers when in fact (as any prison or hospital will tell you) alcohol and drug abuse is the REAL issue for individuals. So in order to serve the PC world of funding, we put the cart before the horse. No one dare speak of the elephant in the room, the love that dare not speak it’s name: we take too many drugs.

The amount of gay addicts around is very small compared to a majority who know they do “too much”, and it’s this grouping that maybe needs to consider a more purposeful approach to getting trashed.

No one wants to stop the party – just leave earlier, it’s an easy sacrifice to make. Many Doctors remain frustrated that recreational drug use is compromising the work of combos, that gay mental health is only brought up when a G overdose is mentioned, that Hep C amongst gay men is rising fast within those with positive status. Places like PACE can attract those already interested in the healing process, and it’s good that they exist but that big majority who do “too much” would rather eat a snakes cock that present themselves at those hallowed doors, or enter a support group.  If this was not true, PACE would not need a big ad budget to promote and sign people up for FREE workshops – the queue would already be there.

The reality is that groups are just not AD FAB enough, nor is the concept of self observation of any kind. The scene is being dominated by induced emotions via chems, unsafe sex is being acted out via alcohol, dry cleaning fluid, horse tranquilliser and home made meth factories : not really what Oscar Wilde had in mind is it?. Doesn’t it make sense to reduce the stuff we put in our bodies before we stuff someones brain out?

Just because I haven’t used chems or alcohol since the early ’80’s, does not delete me from debate. In order to stay alive I needed to sacrifice, let go, wake up and create my own place in the gay arena without chemical support.

It was hard at first, living with Chronic Active Hep B, a virus 100 times more infectious than HIV, as an unknown supercarrier infecting other gay men for 12 years without any symptoms myself. When I finally stopped using and drinking, my cirrhosis scarred liver worsened into liver failure again and again. My eventual recovery without medication of any kind, plus a lot of personal development and breathwork therapy, released the Hep B virus in 1996 from my body, the same year combos arrived for those suffering with the impact of the HIV virus.

So I know it’s possible to change lifestyle, thought patterns and habits.

The keyword is SACRIFICE. Now I know that sounds a bit religious but the truth is that if we reduced our intake of chems, became consciously responsible enough to wear condoms and drank less, the HIV figures would tumble. Yet the services available and the funding required for drug & alcohol support agencies, especially gay ones, is a piss in the ocean compared to the HIV gravy train.

The cart before the horse is not going to win the race. No one is suggesting stopping the booze or avoiding coke but jesus, look at yourselves. Without checking out yourself and taking action, denial will remain a constant companion and its a difficult friend to drop, but without the concept of sacrifice we will not survive the turmoil. The credit crunch has woken us up to debt and if banks carry out the threat of hiking up the minimum payment for credit cards then many gayers are going to have to change address, gone away, address not known.

If each gayer reduced intake of substances, relationships would change, depression and comedowns would be lessened and people could stand a chance of finding themselves again. I can’t safely use again, I crossed that magic line into addiction, but you can check out your habits and reduce party pleasure before the future need to checkin to a rehab. It just takes a little sacrifice on your part, a little practice each day to create a big result. Start making a list now of where to begin this worthwhile journey of consciousness and personal responsibility.