A Grand Day Out Queers


A Grand Day Out

Monologues charting the UK gay experience. In 1994, as the government votes on lowering the age of male homosexual consent, 17-year-old Andrew comes to London.


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Transcript


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This programme contains some strong language.

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There's a vegetarian restaurant round the corner.

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You know, just round...

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A couple of streets from here. Does completely veggie.

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I had a falafel. It was nice.

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It was OK.

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Did you see the news on telly last night?

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No, just wondered.

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There were some bits in the papers, I checked in WH Smiths.

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Tiny, you know, but that's not what I'm...

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So, you didn't see News at Ten, no?

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No.

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Ah, shit.

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Oh, well.

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Two fellas over there.

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Can you believe they voted no?

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Can you believe it? I couldn't believe it.

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Yeah, well, not... No, I know, but 18.

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You know, it's almost worse than if they'd kept it at 21.

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There would be some honesty in that.

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We hate you and, you know, piss off.

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At least that would have been consistent but, yeah,

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we'll make you slightly more equal.

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Yeah, well, big wow!

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Of course it's better, I know that, of course it is.

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But, well, it's just...

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It's 1994!

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You know, Jesus!

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That's what this fella said last night.

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He said it was good and that things were changing

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but it just makes you...

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I don't want to be tolerated, you know?

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I've got a bit of falafel in me teeth.

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It's impressive when you see it.

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The House of Commons. Have you been?

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It's bigger than it looks on telly.

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I just come down on my own.

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I wasn't planning to.

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I hadn't thought of it, really. I mean, I knew the vote was coming up,

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the reading of the bill. I've been following it, but...

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Then it was on the front page that morning that Derek Jarman had died

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and, erm...

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You know, not like it was a sign or anything,

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I don't believe in all that, but I just thought...

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"Sod it. I should go."

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You know, show them that we count.

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You know, we do exist.

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It does matter, the things they're talking about, so...

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I mean, I'm not a big fan or anything.

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I just knew he was important, Jarman.

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I've seen his version of The Tempest.

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It was the first thing I saw at the arthouse cinema back home.

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I never even knew they were a thing.

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And I taped Blue off Channel 4 a couple of months back.

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I haven't watched it yet.

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That's been the best thing about sixth form,

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is discovering things like that.

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No-one at my old school would ever have gone to something like that.

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Morons.

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There was this lad in my year, Darren Hardcastle.

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Daz.

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All he'd talk about was wanking.

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You know, he was obsessed. It's all he went on about.

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And if he wasn't banging on about wanking, he was punching people.

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Wanking or punching.

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And I used to think, "This is what prison must be like.

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"This is like...1984."

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I couldn't wait to leave.

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I ran from that place.

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Well, metaphorically.

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Well, literally.

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They arranged a scrap with the comp across the field.

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I hated it.

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We were outside for hours last night, shifting around,

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trying to keep warm.

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Most people were in groups, actually.

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I don't know if they were friends or from, you know, Stonewall,

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that kind of thing.

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There were some banners and signs and people had candles.

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You needed candles because of how bloody cold it was,

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I'm telling you. Flipping heck!

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And there was a weird mix of excitement because of what it was

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and boredom because it took ages.

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And this lad looked at me a few times while I was there.

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I saw him looking.

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Caught his eye.

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Looked back.

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He was...

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You know, he was lovely.

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I can be a bit shy.

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And then finally someone come out, must have said it had been done,

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whatever time it was, late, come out of the House of Commons.

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I couldn't see who they were

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and then you heard everyone starting to boo

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and you think, "Oh..."

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You know, because we'd been there for so long because...

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Well, I don't know how many people there were, but enough.

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You know, 200.

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Enough for it to feel like...

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You know, because I'm used to being on my own.

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I don't know anyone else who's...

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gay.

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And last night, there were loads of us, and we're nice, you know,

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I was looking round and I was thinking, "These are nice people."

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And so you start to think, well, of course they'll vote the right way.

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Why wouldn't they? What would be the point in not?

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You start getting carried away with reason.

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And I know...

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you shouldn't do that.

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And so this bloke come out and he must have said they voted 18 and

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everyone started to boo cos I think we had all convinced ourselves

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it was going to be 16, you know, it was going to be equal,

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so it was like a... It was like a kick in the teeth.

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And then we all sort of surged towards the Commons,

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towards the doors he had come out of.

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It just happened and police were there, a couple on horses,

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that kind of thing and...

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And people are chanting and shouting

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and just sort of, you know, pissed off,

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you know, and there is a bit of a scuffle and I did think,

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just for a moment, "Is this...?"

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Because a policeman's helmet landed at my feet.

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Yeah, but it was nothing really, and then someone shouted,

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"Let's go to Downing Street,"

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and so we all marched up there and there was some shouting outside

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the gates for a bit

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and then we all went up to Trafalgar Square and a group of

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people started sitting in the road to block the traffic and...

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Well, you go along with it, but I did feel a bit...

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You know, self-conscious, I suppose.

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You know, but also, like...

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You know, because I was pissed off, too,

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and the police were getting a bit...

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Well, not mardy but...

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It was late.

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I think we could all tell it had run out of steam but we were angry.

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That's the point.

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And so what do you do?

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So we did that for, you know...

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..ten minutes.

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Then everyone went home.

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And then you read this morning that there were scuffles

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between police and a minority out to cause trouble.

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And there was no minority

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out to cause trouble, it was so...piddly.

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There was a bit of shoving and a bit of shouting and that's all.

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But to read the papers, the bit there is,

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you'd think it was a kind of riot.

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That's kind of interesting, the distortion.

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I've never been a part of something that's been reported before.

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We were all just fed up.

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And so I'd missed my train by this point and this fella, Marcus,

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that I'd been sitting in the road with,

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he asked if I wanted to go back to his and I thought...

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Well, you know, but what do you do?

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I had nowhere to go, and so I did.

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That's his name, Marcus.

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Of course it is, sorry.

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"Mar-cous".

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We went back to his, his flat, and it was...

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You know, I mean, it was fine. It was a bit...

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Not... It was OK.

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I think I'd thought, and I mean, this is stupid, I know it is,

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but I think I'd thought people in London...

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London is just a place, isn't it?

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Like any other.

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I suppose you think, London...

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You know, I don't mean to sound snobby.

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It's not snobby. I'm not a snob.

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My mate Sean is proper bourgeois,

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though he'd have you believe he's working class because his dad,

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I don't know, once drained a radiator or something,

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but I remember his face when I told him we had our tea on our laps

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on Sunday watching Bullseye, so I'm not...

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..you know, posh.

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Anyway, he was asking what I did, Marcus,

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and I told him I was a student and he said he worked for the BBC

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in accounts, so that's interesting, isn't it?

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Kind of. And I'd said from the start that I just needed a place to stay

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until I could get a train home in the morning and he said that was OK.

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I was giving off the right vibes, I think, so...

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Yeah, it was cool.

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He's a lot older than me. He's 30, but he was...

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You know, nice.

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He made us some toast and put the heat on, so it was fine.

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He had this jam that's made without any sugar.

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And we talked a bit. He said he'd been on a few marches and things.

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You know, not just gay, but other stuff.

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Poll tax, and...

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You know, so it was interesting.

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We talked about last night and called them bastards and put the...

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What is it? Put the world to rights.

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And then he said, "Well, at least that means you're legal now."

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You know, because I'm 18.

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I mean, I'm actually 17 but I'd told him I was 18

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because I thought 17 sounded a bit young.

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That's stupid, isn't it?

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And I think when he said that, I thought...

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"Right..."

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You know?

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I just kind of laughed it off and then he said he should go to bed

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and he went to get some bedding for me for the sofa

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and I think he thought I was a virgin, which I'm not, but...

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I mean...

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Well, I'm not not a virgin.

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But when he came back in the living room with the bedding...

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..he was starkers and I thought...

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"Blimey!"

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You know, but then I thought, maybe that's just what he does.

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Sean, my mate, sleeps in the nude.

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It never occurred to me that was a thing you could do

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until I stopped round his.

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Well, a lot hadn't occurred to me until I stopped round his.

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But anyway, so I was sitting down on the sofa

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and he dropped the duvet and pillows next to me.

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The duvet didn't have a cover on it.

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The things that go through your head!

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You know, I thought, "Mum would never give someone a duvet

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"without a cover on it."

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So then,

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he was there...

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You know, "Hello, boys!"

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So I'm kind of...

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And then he reached his hand out and he stroked the back of my head,

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just softly, and... that was actually quite nice.

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That sounds pathetic, doesn't it?

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I'm not an idiot, I knew what...

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Well, you know, cards were on the table, but I thought,

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he's letting me stay over and he's not...

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Well, he's quite nice, you know, looking, I mean.

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He's all right. He's not Kristian Schmidt, but...

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So I put him in my mouth.

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And that seemed to go down well.

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And then a minute or two later he stood me up and he kissed me

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and I thought, "Right, I've got to decide now,

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"you know, if I'm not up for this,

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"I've kind of got to say something now

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"because you don't want to be rude."

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But I didn't say anything and so he led me through into his bedroom

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and he said, "Is this all right?"

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And genuinely, for a split second,

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I thought he was asking about his room, and I did think,

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"Well, now we know what Athena does with its remaindered stock."

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But he had my top off by that point and I felt kind of separate to it,

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like I was watching myself, you know,

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like Brecht - verfremdungseffekt.

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And I was kind of talking to myself, saying,

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"Is this all right? Is this OK?"

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You know, keeping calm. In my head, not...

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No, I think that might have put him off.

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But it was just nice not to be rushed because...

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I suppose everything I've done up till now

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has been at parties with lads from college who...

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Well, you've got to sort of take advantage of the moment.

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I say lads, it makes it sound like there's hundreds of them,

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there's not, believe me, really just me and...

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Well, just me and Jamie Flynn, I suppose.

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And Sean.

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We...

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Not, not regularly, you know, not...

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If he's drunk and in the right mood,

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and I kind of know how to be in the right place at the right time,

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but... Well, it's an art more than it is a science

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and you've either got one eye on the door or worse,

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you've got to kind of prep yourself in case he loses the mood or after

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decides it didn't happen.

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I don't mean nasty, but just...

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So it was really the first time it felt legitimate doing anything -

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you know, with an accountant!

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I didn't have a clue what I was doing, I'll be honest, but...

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Well, he didn't...

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You know, he was nice, patient.

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He kept talking to me and checking I was OK.

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I almost wished he wouldn't.

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I almost wanted him to just go for it.

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Almost.

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And I think, weirdly,

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and this feels weird now I come to think about it,

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but I think because I didn't madly fancy him,

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it meant I could relax a bit more.

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It didn't seem as important as it might have done.

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I could just do what he told me and weirdly that was kind of easier.

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I think...

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I mean, it wasn't easy really, but...

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While we were doing it... I can't believe I'm telling you all this.

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I had a real coffee earlier. I think it's kicking in.

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There was a moment where I was thinking,

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"Two hours ago I was outside Parliament

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"and they were saying I wasn't allowed to do this,"

0:14:200:14:23

and that made me laugh, and that turned him on

0:14:230:14:25

because I think he thought it meant I was getting into it,

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and I was getting into it, but not because of...

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Not just because of him. I was thinking about all the tossers who'd

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opposed it, opposed me,

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and I was thinking, "If you could fucking see me now."

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You know, fucking...

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And that felt great.

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Oh, I felt great.

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You know, who'd have predicted I'd spent my first time

0:14:450:14:48

thinking about Lady Olga Maitland and Sir Nicholas fucking Fairburn.

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I doubt anyone's ever thought about them while they're doing it before,

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including the people they're doing it with, if they do ever do it,

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the desiccated twats.

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I wasn't dwelling on them. I'm not a pervert. But it did give it a...

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A frisson.

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HE CLEARS HIS THROAT

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I've never said frisson before.

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I've only ever seen it written down.

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That's one of those words, you know, like...

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hyperbole.

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And then,

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after, he turned the light off and he held me

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while he fell asleep and...

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..all I could think was...

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.."I hope Mum and Dad weren't watching the TV news," because...

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At one point, when we surged towards the doors of the Commons,

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that's when I'd seen the cameras.

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They had these big lights on the top of them, the cameras.

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You know, like spotlights, because it was dark, obviously.

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I'd been trying to stay behind this big bloke in front of me

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so I wouldn't be seen, but he moved out of the way

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just at the same moment that one of them swung round

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and I know it got me full in the face.

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If that's been on the News at Ten, I'm dead.

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So that's why I wondered if you'd seen it.

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Well, I'll find out later today, you know, when I get back.

0:16:270:16:30

I mean, I was thinking about him as well, you know, Marcus.

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I was thinking, "He could get in trouble for this," but...

0:16:350:16:39

But then I thought, "Yeah, but who's going to say anything?"

0:16:390:16:42

I mean, who is? Who really cares?

0:16:420:16:44

Quite dry, aren't they, falafels?

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My friend Elisa, she's a vegetarian. I mean, not just a vegetarian,

0:16:520:16:56

she's quite fussy as well, you know, fries everything in water.

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She's got this...

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Futon? No, tofu, instead of chicken.

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Have you tried it?

0:17:070:17:08

I had some once.

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I wouldn't go mad.

0:17:110:17:12

It's not really a substitute.

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He's got his hand on his leg now.

0:17:200:17:21

Those two blokes.

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It's just nice to see.

0:17:260:17:27

You know, Nottingham, there's nothing.

0:17:280:17:30

Gatsby's, MGM the first Monday of every month.

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But, here...

0:17:370:17:38

Well, it's not lunchtime yet.

0:17:400:17:41

My two hopes are that there won't be much coverage of it

0:17:460:17:49

and that's a good bet, and that it won't be on at all,

0:17:490:17:52

or that they will only show one or two seconds

0:17:520:17:54

so I'll be really unlucky if I'm on it,

0:17:540:17:56

or that Mum and Dad weren't watching last night.

0:17:560:17:58

Or that they were watching and I was on it but they didn't see me because

0:18:020:18:05

they won't be looking for me.

0:18:050:18:06

They won't be expecting me to be on it.

0:18:060:18:08

They'll think I stayed around Sean's last night.

0:18:100:18:13

I'm kind of looking forward to telling him about it, Sean.

0:18:150:18:17

I think I'll feel a bit better around him now.

0:18:190:18:21

You know, it was good fun.

0:18:230:18:24

It's funny, isn't it? Because if they'd said yes,

0:18:260:18:30

if they had made it 16...

0:18:300:18:32

..then I'd have gone straight home.

0:18:340:18:36

In 1994, as the government votes on lowering the age of male homosexual consent, 17-year-old Andrew comes to London for the first time - with unexpected results.


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