Fashion Passion – Pass the Peanuts Please!
Throughout my life l have on occasion sort of accidentally walked into situations that l have had to work very hard at getting out from, equally l have met some astonishing sights and not forgetting that at times l am oft deemed as downright inappropriate. This little episode in life was brilliant, even with the outcome, it was still good fun.
12th May 1986
Everyone has a favourite period of years from their life and growing up and l am no exception to this rule, l loved the 80’s. From 1980 – 1989 in those 9 years l saw the ages of 17 – 26 pass by, some were truly excellent, some not so and some as the usual course were just days of nothing specific.
I loved the fashion from that period of time as well; l couldn’t abide the fashion from the 70’s. There will be no, ‘Oh my, l miss flares!’ from me on this blog. They were clumsy unnecessary pieces of fabric whose sole purpose was to cause me havoc and trip me up! So, no trips down memory lane from then.
The 80’s music was a captivational time as well – in fact l just loved the 80’s as it was a time of discovery, a time of greatness, of understanding, of being different and being allowed to be different instead of the template thinking we see today.
In the 80’s it was ok to be different and totally ok to be quirky!
Other things l discovered in the 80’s was as briefly discussed – but music, in fact l was somewhat behind my Sister in the marvels of the Top 40 on a Sunday. She introduced me to it and that genre of ‘pop music’. I was more of a funny odd musical listener, loves from the 20’s to 60’s was more my thing. But also, l loved listening to things that no one else did and were baffled as to why or more importantly how could l listen to some of the things l listened to considering my tender years?
Classical music was divine, but equally so too was Indian music, alongside Chinese, Japanese and Arabic! Oh yes, you can imagine the pain l must’ve caused my household listening to high volume Arabian music, not just once per record, but sometimes l used to play the same record all day. [That’s a trait of Asperger’s l have learned – repetition – who knew?]
I was working in the Burton Group in Guildford in the mid 80’s as an assistant floor manager to a relatively large store. I was extremely hyper-focused on doing my job well and worked more or less every hour l could. I loved my job, l loved working.
Friends of mine informed me l needed to relax, and so introduced me to the local nightclub. Back then, long gone now l should imagine – the local hot spot was Cinderella Rockafella’s. It was a ‘club’ and not some overrated fancy disco, but an actual club! It was the first ‘club’ l had ever been to and it was just awesome!! I had some great times there, dancing. I loved to dance, and apparently l was ahead of my time – now whether they said that because l was really bad at dancing, or because my legs moved like greased lightning l never knew, but l didn’t care, l could just close my eyes and dance [NO l never danced with them open!!!]
My two friends, we shall call them Danny and Ed [names changed] were eager to get me into London to taste some of the fineries there in so far as clubs and they both said almost in unison one day with lots of bawdy giggles “I know let’s take Rory to the London Hippodrome Ed.”
My 23 birthday was literally only days away on the 15th may, this was to be their treat for me.
I had never heard of the Hippodrome, but why should l have? In terms of nightclubs l was about as noteworthy as a chocolate ashtray, l knew nothing. But it was the way l was, l was still very new to this vibrant way of musical life. What was more confusing was the way Danny used a suggestive undertone to make this announcement, he was very eager, enthusiastic and excited about introducing me to this night time experience of his type of club.
Now, Danny and Ed were good mates, and they were both great fun, their sexual orientation mattered not to my friendship with them, they were a bloody good laugh, and really easy to talk to. They knew where l stood, but also knew that sexuality never worried me. Danny was always saying how very gay he was, and l thought – good on you!
My Father however was a devout homophobe and couldn’t stand Danny’s homosexuality or even Ed’s bisexuality, and was constantly warning me to the pitfalls of being turned, as seemingly appears to be the credo of all devout homophobes.
The day of the outing whilst at work in the shop, Danny and Ed suggested that l buy something ‘specific’ for the night out and even went so far to say that my usual quirky style whilst good wasn’t going to cut it for this very special night out. So they promptly help me choose an outfit.
Now back then, l cared not for convention, l was already quirky, and a little offbeat, so dressing up didn’t bother me. Danny was an aspiring designer in the making and had been harping on about a special outfit he had designed, created and was wearing and Ed, well he was always so vibrantly colourful anyway – so dress wise it was bound to be an exciting time!
Monday night came up really quickly and you should have seen my Father’s face when l came down the stairs wearing my silver slubbed Stonewall Jackson suit complete with Bolero jacket, almost skin tight trousers and the brightest pink kummerbund and matching bow tie, complete with my cameo earring, l thought he was going to die on the spot and disown me if truthful. At the very least l could see a heart attack in the making! My Mother had to calm him down amidst his baleful and burning glares and spouting obscene profanities about my sexuality!
But if he thought MY outfit was shameful, Danny’s was incredibly gregarious! He rang the doorbell and stood there incredibly resplendent in a Gautier styled tartan long skirt, matching jacket and peaky blinders cap – all in the most colourful red, blue, green and yellow tartan!! In comparison, Ed’s modest outfit of a black silk suit with brightest of red tie was nothing!
It was if anything going to be a night indeed!
The journey down by car was uneventful; Ed was a cautious driver despite his attired exuberance! London was awesome, l was used to being in London, but by night it was truly beautiful. A few years after that l would come to live in the city and was always in awe of the cosmopolitan cultures it advertised every day – the city that never slept.
Well what can l say?
A huge throng of people, dressed in the most outlandish costumes l had ever seen, it was like a carnival of colour. The crowd, mostly male, but there were females as well were dressed to the 9’s and l think if my Father had been there, l may well have been burying him the next day!
These huge hefty bouncers were on the doors, they knew Danny quite well, perhaps even intimately judging by some of the deep meaningful looks he was receiving …. It was at that point that Ed said ‘Welcome to gay night Rory!’
“Gay night?” I enquired.
“Yes Gay night, they both answered in what seemed like a well-rehearsed chorus.
“Game on then.” I answered back like someone from an Enid Blyton story!
Perhaps l should have taken note of the fact that one of the bouncers was smiling at me rather cheekily, a brute of a man, what seemed like 10 foot of pure adrenaline pumped muscle with a black tuxedo sprayed on! Smiled at me with a mouth full of the whitest teeth l have ever seen on a living human being and promptly whispered in my ear, ‘”See you later Honey!” Then patted me on my bottom!
I have to concede to gulping rather loudly at that point, nervously laughing and blushing and saying thank you – my Mother has always told me that there is no harm in being polite.
It was tremendous, the night was filled with colour, vibrancy, excitement, deviant behaviour, laughter, dancing, drinks, more laughter, more drinks, getting tipsy, Boy George, Marilyn, bottoms patted more, slow dances … yes with lots of people, crazy dancing by myself and then the most extraordinary event occurred on the stage. But an artist by the name of Divine appeared on an elephant rising on a sunken platform and started to sing “Twisting the Night Away!”
It was mind-blowing is all l can say! I didn’t approve of a baby elephant being used quite like that anymore then than l would now, but it was a bizarre night.
Danny, Ed and myself an hour or so later were sitting around the table with a group of people, must’ve been 12 of us in all, and if not for the loud music – Bronski Beat, Erasure, Frankie all had been on – l would have been able to hear perfectly well, so l was on ultra-hyper exhilaration drive mode, the music was thumping, l was way past tipsy, l was downright sozzled and could have been pickled in a jar! In the centre of the table was a huge bowl of peanuts and l wanted some, but l couldn’t reach them, so l asked Ed who was sitting next to me if he could whisper round the table to have them passed up?
This musical chair moment went all the way around to Danny who was sitting opposite me, who had this menacingly devilish glare suddenly flare up behind his eyes and looked at me and whispered quickly to his mate, who just happened to be my bottom patter bouncer who nodded and laughed.
This exchange confused me l have to say!
Danny suddenly shouted out across the table, “Rory just ask for them, shout across the table!”
Somewhat baffled, but l complied, “Ok, can you please pass the peanuts please!!?”
With that, the other half of the table all stood up, unzipped and presented me with an array of penises!? The rest of the table just rolled around laughing!
I was absolutely mortified and instantly embarrassed by this outlandish show of. What …affection?
Danny hurried over to me and whispered in my ear, “Rory, it’s an old joke here, pass the peanuts sound like pass the penis! Go on say it yourself, you will see.”
And indeed it did, indeed it did.
I wasn’t angry, it was funny, and it was the first time l had seen such an assortment of manhood on open show!
Pass the peanuts is something l shall always remember with fondness as the day that l felt like a prick without actually touching one!
A birthday treat indeed.
Guy or Bloke, Your Choice