*So, Clicky, ‘Pop’ was the decision. Interesting…*
Receiving word that a Prince of Pop had pops his clogs so shortly after I’d popped the question, was a surprise. Thoughtful Man was the bearing of the news… again.
“You’ll never guess who’s died now?”
I hadn’t heard him come downstairs as I was still engrossed over at Hugo’s second site. I removed my headphones. “What another? Who?”
“Prince.” Thoughtful Man looked shell-shocked. He’d once queued 10 hours to get tickets for one of his concerts. In his teens, Thoughtful Man had considered Prince and his music the bee’s knees.
He slumped down onto his chair and tapped his keyboard. “Prince is dead.”
*Clicky, you’re racing ahead – Thoughtful Man didn’t show me that until following day… I told Hugo about it.*
Extract from ‘A Family History for Ruth and Julia (Gawd ‘Elp Us!)’, a.k.a. ‘The Ma Papers’ by Judith Eileen Newton (formerly Shewan, née Packer)
When uncle Jack was alive he phoned me one evening to see if I could get Jeremy into John Lewis. I think he was working at the time in some kind of government office. I did get him an application form, but nothing came of it.
At that time I did not know that he was gay. Looking back on it, considering that the men’s second floor loo at John Lewis was advertised as a meeting point for gays in Gay Weekly (and that 75% of males working there were gay), I wonder if he had an ulterior motive.
After several sackings of staff for being in the loo instead of being on the shop floor, memos were fired out. Staff were banned from using them and a security man was posted on duty there at all times.
I don’t know how open I should be with you all, but what the hell you are all adults.
I went into said loo after hours, of course, courtesy of the Chief of Security. I wanted to see what all the fuss was about and it was an eye opener indeed. The toilet stalls had all been lined with stainless steel to stop chaps from making holes in the walls, but someone had brought in a drill. They all had holes in them. Apparently meetings were quite anonymous and frequent, but I can assure you that Aids had not reared its ugly head yet. When it did there were a lot of frightened chaps working there.
Before I left and moved to Southend in 94, I went to several funerals and numerous visits to hospitals, including the Lighthouse. I did a bit of buddying. Mrs Moon worked there and I became interested.
Unfortunately, because aids was new and terrifying and people were uneducated about it, any mention that you even had contact with an aids sufferer and people would shun you. They thought it was catching. Even at Branch Council meetings people wanted a different set of cups and cutlery for gays than for straights, so we had to get training packages together and send everybody on them to allay the fears.
One particularly funny incident did happen though. One day a cubicle had been locked for some time and a security guard, on his rounds, looked under the door. He saw a pair of feet and a large John Lewis carrier bag, the cardboard type used for men’s suits or expensive frocks.
When, on a second tour of duty of those toilets, the same feet and the same carrier bag were still in the same cubicle, the security guard decided to investigate further. Inside he found two men, one of whom was standing in the bag.
After that nearly all the men’s loos were turned into standy up ones except for one with the permanent security detail.
God, I have digressed haven’t I?
And I took a naked selfie…
*Enough, with the selfies, Clicky. I’ve have ironing to attend to and a curry to cook. Do us a flavour and please give our Dear Reader a Song*