The Global Glory Hole

Mark Simpson on the enduring allure of anonymous sex in an age of gay marriage and ‘anti-social networking‘ I was sixteen when saw my first glory hole. Or rather, saw my first filled glory hole. It was in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, a public-spirited, snobbish spa town well-served by shiny Victorian lavatories. The throbbing, fleshy wall-fitting in my tiled cubicle was quite a sight. Glorious, even. Truly an impressive, proud piece of polished plumbing. Cottaging, or cruising for sex in public lavatories and parks, was once a mainstay of […]

Trading in the past: Queer London

Once upon a time the streets of the capital heaved with jolly sailors and guardsmen looking for gentlemen to have fun with. Then gay liberation came along and ruined it for everyone, moans Mark Simpson (Independent on Sunday – 11 September, 2005) I consider myself something of a traditionalist. I enjoy traditional activities, such as cruising the Dilly, picking up guardsmen, sailors, dockers and young working men. I am, in other words, a hopeless romantic. For ‘trade’, the masculine erotic economy which girded the loins of […]

Promiscuity into Bureaucracy: Gaydar and Online ‘Dating’

The MP Chris Bryant has faced calls for his resignation for appearing in his pants in messages sent via a gay website – but others see Gaydar as the future of dating. So what is it really like? Mark Simpson speaks with the (exhausted) voice of experience (Independent on Sunday, 7 December 2003) Gay men are having sex! Lots of it! Every night! With a different man! And they don’t even have to leave the house! There was more than a hint of sexual jealousy […]

I Want Your Sex: Why the Press Can’t Leave George Michael’s Manhood Alone

Why are the gentlemen of the popular press so interested in George Michael’s manhood?  Why won’t they leave it alone? In 1998, after stalking him for years, in a painful pincer movement with Beverly Hills Police Department’s finest, they finally succeeded in catching him short in a men’s toilet. Now they despatch a flash photographer to follow him up to Hampstead Heath’s cruising area at 2am and then plaster the results all over the front page. No wonder Michael angrily turned to the snapper and […]