celebrating and creating our own LGBTQ+ history in honour of Sheila McWattie

Archive for February, 2018

day twenty eight

Ch..ch…ch changes


“Which is the most popular Gay Bar in town these days” I asked my young friend

She laughed out loud “there isn’t a Gay Bar anymore all the pubs are gay friendly”

I’ll believe that when I see it I thought, this is the North where things take aeons to change.

The Greyhound pub had been a beacon of hope for my kind, an oasis in the middle of a heterosexual desert, a place where a young woman could find her feet and just maybe the love of her life.

Every Friday was party night down the Greyhound; the pushing and heaving to get to the bar, the swaying and grinding on a dance floor no bigger than a tabletop, and snogging your girlfriend (or occasionally someone else’s) in the Ladies Toilets, these were our rituals. Somehow I can’t see that happening in one of the so-called ‘gay friendly pubs’.

Growing up in a working class Northern pit village during the 50’s and 60’s I was fed on a diet of homophobia, ingesting it into every cell. My only role model was Bessie the bus conductress who cut her hair short and wore trousers! I made cow eyes at her every morning on my way to school but she just smiled knowingly from a distance.

I too fought against wearing dresses and putting on the cloak of conformity but in the end I succumbed and it took Maggie’s megalomania over the striking Miners to eventually liberate me & enable me to fight for my cause.

From the Greyhound three coaches took us to London to March with Pride past Parliament’s house and two more to Manchester to raise our voices against Clause 28. I was well and truly out of a very crowded closet and exercising my political right to be ME! There was a tsunami of feeling that enough was enough and we were only going in one direction, I was young and strong and rode that wave through storm and tempest.

I’m glad I have lived in these interesting times. I have been privileged to see my gay brothers shake off the Law and to see openly gay politicians, police, artists and performers: that closet door is now a mile wide and the boundaries invisible. Gay parenting works alongside any other kind of family, and now of course we can get married.

I still miss the Greyhound though and am yet to be convinced that the standard Northern boozer is ‘gay friendly’, but perhaps like me it belonged to an age of struggle and activism and would be out of place in today’s world. I admire my young friend’s hope and optimism that the world has changed and feel proud knowing that what we did back then has made things so very different in the here and now!!

The Revolution is over; Long Live the Revolution!!!



Kate Field

day twenty seven

Plain Jane

By Majikle


For only child… read lonely child

The silence of the empty room

Why is it such a big deal?


I take TV,

I take tobacco,

I take tragedy

To take me away

To get in the way


Gone from me

Gone from me all distraction

Here I am alone with my own inaction


Only I am here

I am only here

And I am…

only lonely.



day twenty six



Underground anger breaks a surface, 

sulphuric bubbles bursting air to a calming wake,

background dream crashes a car and wants to fuck you really bad through grief and rage, 

different scores settle off target misdirections.

Your written intentions reflect and tear, 

journeys of comfort and tears.

A song with someone to touch you just so, to see you.

Moonset glide across morning winter sky,

streetlight pollutant bleed fade out, one by one from shadows. 

Clean, silver grey, birdsong determination calls an early dawn in relentless, 

inevitable comfort of a new day.



day twenty five

The hum of revolution


From our ever shifting palette of splendid coloured rocks

we women loving women continue painting.

Exhibitionists in friends’ garages

staining glass at altars beneath flapping flags of prayer

while a chain of women symbols mosaics the Tyne Bridge arch.


Still humming the tunes we have noted

we thread stitch embroider and sew

shaping new lines, new borders criss-crossing

and fresh fabric blends with old shades.

Constantly working re-working the quilt

We lie side by side we may never meet

yet together we’re held and we hold

through our patchwork of gold lace, petrol black leather

Alpine linen turquoise sequins faded denim red satin penetrating




Fiona Thomson, Margate

day twenty four

Up yir arse!


“Just pop behind the curtain, pop this gown on, pop your pants off, pop onto the couch and I’ll just pop my finger into your back passage…. “

Artex ceiling tiles, one two three four…eighteen rows, one two three…twelve columns, eighteen times twelve, two hundred and sixteen, six surgeries, six ceilings; one thousand two hundred and ninety six tiles, forty two departments, six surgeries in each, two hundred and fifty two surgeries, fifty four thousand one hundred and eighty tiles –

“Just going to pop some barium porridge in now”

Pop goes the fuckin’ weasel in me!

“Why don’t you just pop your latex-gloved hand back in your nasty Asda mostly polyester pocket and pop right off matey!”


Fiona Thomson, Margate



day twenty three

I never knew the place myself,

but your socially housed stifling suburbia,

oozed out from train track sidings

while I waited out my history of you.




day twenty two

‘Hello’ I say as I’m wheeling up the road towards them…mini gang of lads tumbling off the grass verge in front of me squealing with delight!

‘We’ve got a frog!’

‘Wow have you?’ I say

‘Yeah do you want to see it?’


Out comes a large blue margarine tub half full of water and bits of grass and with a small plant pot submerged on it’s side.

One of the boys delves his hand into the pot and lifts up the frog affectionately to show me, it’s quite subdued and not making much attempt at escape.

‘We’re taking it ‘ome’

‘That’s exciting…where did you find it?’

‘In the grass over there’

‘It might need to get out of the water to breathe’

‘Yeah we know we made air holes’ he says showing me the blue plastic lid with jagged perforations across the top

‘And we got it a slug…look there’ he says pointing at a slug making it’s way up the side of the tub. Sliding the frog back into the pot their attention turns back to me..

‘Is that a wheelchair?’

‘Why have you got that?’

‘Is it because you can’t walk?

‘Yes I have a disease that means I can’t walk far’

‘What’s that thing for by the wheel?’

‘It’s a switch to turn the batteries on so I can get up the hill easier’

‘Can I have a go on it?’

‘No not now, I’m on my way home’

‘Where do you live’

‘Over there on Bates Avenue’

‘What number?’

‘No don’t tell him what number!’

‘You guess, it’s between 1 and 28′


‘Ha ha you’re clever!’ Anyway I’m off now, good luck with looking after your frog…goodbye’












day twenty one

Squared (for Ellyott)


Things have changed since

Van Limburgstirumplein last saw us

Cycling around her

I sit to sip overpriced coffee

Hoping I can still see

Your cheeks puff

Up front on a giant homemade bike

Me with my

Over stuffed rucksack

Dangling from the back

Two foreign girls

Escaping our governments

Looking for life lasting love

And finding it

In each other’s

Secret world faces

Ellyott, my lover is

Several inches shorter than even me

But three times as strong

Astute jockey always pushing through

What else can a dyke woman do?

Over tram tracks

Careful never to get stuck

The number ten

To Javaplein

Which too has been

Reclaimed from the squatters

Renovated and rebranded

Reblended into Amsterdam green

These days’ dykes are not so strange

Everybody is somewhere

On the queer spectrum range

Integration is the new normal

As everyone assimilates our fists

And to be fair our old enemy capitalism

Never needed homophobia as an excuse

To kick anyone where it hurts most

We, like the Moroccans have been priced out

Way beyond the railway tracks

Unless we have money

When we are welcome

To spend in the sunset lit square

Nice bikes sitting upright tidy in their racks

Adorn the advertising pumping station

As if it has always been

Like this there

Not filled with junkies their gums burned bare

The Kemperstraat stands far too quiet



Without her graffiti minded sluts

Near the Avondwinkel in

Need of more than

A lick of paint

The number of bridges getting smaller

As the city council carts

All homeless looking damaged bikes away

The cries of freedom from restraint

Have all grown faint

But the pigeons circle

The square indifferently

Just the same




day twenty

Your Ideal Life


We must look like ants from way up there,

Insignificant nothings, wisps of air.

When you’re born into so much wealth,

Why should you care about National health?

Housing, no problem, schooling too.

Get out your cheque book, it’s easy for you,

Since you were old enough to understand

You were told it’s wrong to give us a hand.

It encourages laziness, lack of drive,

Only tough love will help us thrive.

You were told you’re special, born to rule

By teachers at your boarding school.

We share a planet, a country too

But you don’t get us and we don’t get you.

Still people like us keep voting you in,

In awe of your swagger, we let you win.

‘Newspaper’ barons confuse us, too,

With fake news and the hate they spew.

Divide and rule – that is their game,

Pages filled with rage and blame.

Immigrant, Muslim, Socialist, youth,

No one survives their contempt for truth.

They pull our strings and make us prance.

To their soulless tune, they make us dance.

They dodge their tax; they axe our pay,

Our rights, our wealth, they steal away.

But waking up are the many,

Drop drop drop goes the penny.

The internet has set us free

As print press dies, the truth we see.

Your puppets we will be no more,

Now we’re showing you the door.

As your pay climbs, ours is slashed,

As your hopes grow, ours are dashed.

On our backs you climb up high

While you gobble all the pie,

Then you force through austerity

And blame us for our poverty.

You scamming, cunning narcissists,

We are DONE with all of this.

A leader now has come along –

He plays our tune and sings our song.

He gets us and we get him too,

We know he is a man that’s true,

“A cult” you mock, “the great J.C.”,

You don’t see his integrity.


Jenny King, Kent

day nineteen



I printed you on paper so someone could find us and know who we were,

In passions felt and seen, rebelled and held onto as scraps in a box.

Against our wars

Tactile tenderness of a page in a hand,

Held on to who we were with words.