London's Vignettes

I don't tumbl properly

Thursday started out as a beautiful day. It was really sunny and warm; this is a noted difference. It’s been raining so much here - we’ve gone from having a drought to having one of the wettest Junes on record. The hosepipe ban has been lifted, not that anyone needs to do any watering. My local cricket pitch is saturated and has turned into a marsh; if you try and walk across it you splash. Hyde Park played host to a festival recently and by all accounts the ground is ruined - it’s just a trampled mire.

I met up with some friends to have a picnic in Holland Park (I’ve been having a think and using initials is too complicated, so I’ll have to revert to fake names). Lilly was there, along with Celia, Charlie and Jemimah. I hadn’t seen Jemimah since Easter so it was nice to catch up. Straight off the bat Lilly cracked open the remnants of the Gordon’s from Pride and then we went to Tesco’s and bought a handle of vodka. 

Unfortunately, not long after this point it started getting cold and cloudy and Celia wanted to go somewhere else… naturally, as we had a handle of vodka on us we couldn’t actually go anywhere and we weren’t about to ditch the vodka. So we resolved to drink it quickly. It was mainly Lilly and I, to be honest. We got quite drunk (I hadn’t eaten breakfast so all that was in my stomach was yesterday’s lunch and a sandwich from Tesco). Drunk me was apparently fascinated with the feral peacocks that live in Holland Park (it used to be a mansion but got blown up during the war… the peacocks didn’t die in the Blitz so they’re still there). That’s Lilly with the umbrella - and I think I was trying to take a picture of our reflection.

We ended up taking it onto the bus to Piccadilly Circus and finishing it off there. Whilst we were having a nice top-deck-of-the-bus-drinking-party like 15 year olds, a random guy who I’m guessing fancied Lilly started chatting to us and ended up offering us a gram of Molly for like £30… we declined. I wasn’t looking to start rolling right away. I’ve had people offer drugs and women randomly in the street but never in a double decker in Kensington. Crazy.

We weren’t sure where we were going. Celia wanted to go to Selfridges ostensibly to window shop, but the rest of us did not find the idea thrilling and wanted to go drunk to the British Museum to look at Egyptian mummies. In the end we cut a compromise and went to our favourite Soho café, Léon. 

We got some more alcohol from somewhere, God knows, and we smuggled it downstairs and necked it. Lilly and I were trashed. The others were kinda tired so they went off to do their thing and we went to G-A-Y. We got chatting to some cool peeps but then following a couple of shots Lilly was wasted (at about 6 in the evening!) and I had to take her outside for a tactical chunder. When she was done being sick, I put her on the Tube and went back to Soho… I think I went to the Admiral Duncan for a few hours and then went outside again.

I made friends with one of the free entry to Heaven wristband people who said he could get me some free drinks. So I was chatting to him for a while. I claimed I could befriend people easily so he pointed out randomers who were smoking outside G-A-Y to make friends with. I did. I met some really interesting guys and had a great laugh and then at 11 the wristband guy took me to Heaven.

His way of getting me free drinks? Signing me up to Porn Idol. Porn Idol, much like Pop Idol, basically involves getting random punters up on stage to strip naked to music. Judges and the audience then decide who they like and then the finalists have a strip off. The winner gets £100. They do this every Thursday.

I was reticent at first, but I was drunk and wanted to be drunker. Much like when I showered on stage in Nightingales (I kept my undies on that time) I was taken backstage where the others were waiting. Most of us were pretty young, late teens and early twenties. There was one bloke who was into his fifties. I got chatting to a girl; she’d just come out of the closet and was celebrating in style. She was really fun - more on her later.

Unlike ‘Gales (where Miss Marty, the resident drag queen, gave us free reign in her dressing room full of alco-pops) we were allowed one drink. One single drink (I tried ordering a triple screwdriver to no avail). I got chatting to the drag act for the evening and complimented her on her diamante choker; I discovered she was a judge so I’d accidentally schmoozed a judge! Go me.

They asked me what I was doing (everyone sounded impressed by Biology), where I was from etc. and what music I wanted to strip to. Initially I wanted to strip to Wildfire by SBTRKT (it’s a very sexy song) but obviously, being a gay bar, they didn’t have it. They also didn’t have Gabriel by Joe Goddard, Nightcall by Kavinsky, Chet Faker’s cover of No Diggity or Big Spender by Theophilus London. It was hard to think of songs to strip to! I tried going down the comedy route but they didn’t have Milkshake by Kellis or Gaybar by Electric Six! In the end I thought “What songs will a gay bar have?” and settled on Vogue by Madonna. 

We got taken to a different area and we had to empty out our pockets into little boxes and take off our shoes and socks. Then we went to the bit behind the stage and got ready to go. Some of the other people were really good - there was this Belgian guy who claimed he’d never done anything like this before and then burst out a repetoire of incredibly sexual moves - he was writhing all over the stage and was really something else! We’d been told to only stay on stage for a minute/minute and a half tops (“the audience gets bored easily”) but he was out there for a while. Someone else had the bright idea of dancing to 212 by Azealia Banks which was awesome and these two American girls danced about on stage and had a genuinely amazing time - you could see they were having loads of fun! They only went down to their knickers and bra, though, so they lost out on points.

Suddenly it was nearly time to go on. I was a bit nervous by this point. I considered going on with a stiffy (the rule was we could go on with a stiffy, but we weren’t allowed to “let it grow” in front of the audience as I think that counts as sexual entertainment and they don’t have the right licence for it) but Mr. Happy wasn’t, well, happy. I mentioned this to the guy in front of me and he stuck his hand down my trousers completely unwarranted and felt me up. It was so awkward and he was so creepy! But then he got ushered off onto stage so I was safe. After his performance it was my go.

I got taken behind a big door. I mentioned my stiffy concerns to the guy that was there and he told me he’d been working in Heaven for three years and had never actually seen anyone go on with one, so that assuaged my fears slightly. Suddenly the door swung open and I found myself on stage!

The main bloke on stage introduced me. The spotlight was shining directly into my face, so it was kinda hard to see, but there was a mass of audience members. Heaven hadn’t seemed that busy but on stage it suddenly seemed RAMMED. The music started up so I just had to start going… I laughed a lot out of nervousness! I vogued a bit for a laugh and then started taking off my shirt - I’d buttoned it up all the way to the top to add to “Hipster Appeal”. The crowd was going wild which was very flattering. I kicked off my trousers and turned my back to the audience then slowly lowered my pants and looked over my shoulder - I had fans! Eventually I got the whole kit off and the judges judged me. I was told I needed to manscape (which is true, I’ve not been on top of things recently) but this was followed up with the Drag Queen saying that she liked hairy boys. I got a 6 and a 7, which wasn’t bad!

Afterwards I gathered up my clothes and went backstage. 

1 year ago