Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Missing building

I emerged at Borough tube today and was confused to find the building opposite had been demolished. I can't remember what the building actually looked like, but I knew something wasn't quite right, and briefly wondered if autopilot had taken me in the wrong direction out of the tube. It's strange: you can become very used to the shape and light of a setting, so that when one aspect is removed, things can get a little confusing.

I didn't much like looking at the ruin of the old building; seeing it reduced to a pile of rubble. There were windows, tattered curtains and bits of wall paper which all felt a bit too human for my liking. Whenever a building is knocked down, it's fair to assume that not everyone is happy to be thrown out of their homes. Imagine the heartache of being told you need to be evicted simply to make way for progress... Ghastly.

On that note, I'm horrified to learn that The Black Cap, Camden's iconic and ancient gay pub, has closed down and is being replaced by luxury flats. Paul O'Grady was talking about it on his Radio 2 show yesterday. He has a particular interest in the old place because it's where he regularly performed as Lily Savage in the earlier part of his career.

The Black Cap was a dingy sort of place, with a downstairs, rather smokey and claustrophobic club space where all the drag acts used to perform. I never really went down there; it all used to get a bit sweaty and uncomfortable. The upstairs bar always far more salubrious, light and spacious. More importantly, it had a huge roof terrace where I sat on many a summer's evening in my 20s. The Cap was always open. In the nineties it was one of the only bars in the area with a late license, and loads of my straight mates used to go there after band gigs when they were buzzing on adrenaline too much to go straight home. I think it's incredibly sad that we'll not get to see it again. In the grim days of the 1980s, when the LGBT community was suffering, it was like a refuge. A metaphorical beacon of light where we could meet people without feeling threatened.

I came home and worked... Worked and worked and worked, worked some more and then when I'd stopped working it was 1am! Genuinely.

How did that happen? Better go to bed!

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