Keeping It Real With Kathy Beale

Keeping it Real

Thursday night….a school night..and there I am ‘twatted’, (drunk that is…not a Welsh person’s name).

I haven’t had a drop of alcohol since Christmas Day, partly because the situation hasn’t arisen, and also because I’ve been dosed up on steroids, and the new medication for arthritis (Mincer’s Hip).

So I really needed a good night out and a chance to let my hair down with the husband and a few friends. Feeling like hermits in recent weeks, just the thought of leaving the house gave us the opportunity to have a good pluck of those eyebrows and trim our bushes. The hair on my chest was longer than the hair on my head!

Karaoke at the Rose and Crown…yes I know…true to stereotype, but I do like a good belter and since giving up smoking, Im sounding more and more like Gary Barlow every it would be rude not to get smashed and bang out a few crowd-pleasers to our adoring fans.

Our friend Kerry arrived and we made haste into town without so much as a warm up drink, (we had no mixers). We were shortly joined by Rick, Ross, Katy and her mate…who I’m ashamed to say I was too drunk to catch her name.. I’ll call her…erm.. Lesbian.

You always know when Ross arrives that it’s going to be a messy night, and true to form we downed a few shots along with the obligatory Vodka and Diet Cokes, and started to form our own band. Rick had brought his air guitar, Kerry threw some shapes and we all lip synced for our lives to everyone else songs. The husband and I also had a good go at murdering George Michael. (I realise how terribly insensitive and premature it is to say that….but I meant ‘Don’t let the sun go down on me’)

Half way through the night we were treated to an elongated interval of ‘Play your cards right’. When  the 14th contestant still hadn’t won, it was time to disrupt proceedings by setting off the fire alarm with my super vaping e-cig. The Manager came round with the search committee, looking for the culprit and promptly challenged me on whether I had been vaping directly under the fire alarm.

“Of course not!”, I confirmed …as I peered through the cloud of smoke… like Diane Fossey in “Gorillas in the Mist”

Nevertheless… my plan seemed to work and the air-guitar was go again!  A bit of Girls Aloud, Steps and some 80s nostalgia, that only I seemed to know the words to, because everyone else is like…12 years old.

At the end of the night the music stopped and we were sat pondering which taxi firm to order, that would take us home,via McDonalds,when suddenly our saviour … Kathy Beale arrived to our rescue. Obviously not the real Kathy Beale, but we’ve seen her there a few times and…well..she bloody looks likes her. Kathy said she would take us home via McDonalds in return for an apple pie….you can’t say fairer than that. (Albeit we were a little wary as we knew Kathy had ‘previous’ for ‘looking after men’ in cars)

While Kathy fetched the car from the car -park we sat and observed a pikey couple having a lover’s tiff. I think he’d tried to grab her…this was in Hemel Hempstead…not Appleby Horse Fair.

We honoured our promise of  apple pie for Kathy Beale and also a large meal each, 20 nuggets and mozzarella dippers don’t like to be rude. We sped home, said farewell to Kathy, ate our food and collapsed where we sat.

The next morning, the flashbacks started to come through and we vaguely recalled the Eastenders star taking us home, when the realisation suddenly kicked in. My husband had left his phone in Kathy Beale’s car.  How would we find it? We didn’t know who this lady really was, or where she lived but I was suddenly transported into the 21st century.

Within 30 minutes of realising our loss, and with the help of modern technology…we had found Kathy Beale (real name Sarah…huge disappointment), and the phone was safely returned. The ‘Find my iPhone’ app took us to her house and we instantly recognised her car, we had managed to find her on Facebook via mutual friends and got hold of her phone number.

She came to the door in her best dressing gown with bed- hair like ‘Linda La Hughes’ …all of a sudden she didn’t look like Kathy Beale anymore.

Needless to say we got his phone back and returned home to enjoy our hangovers.



Source: Indé

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The Curious Incident…

The curious incidentLast weekend we went to see The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night time… a little Christmas treat from my pal.

The plot was about a young boy with autism who was trying to find the killer of his neighbour’s dog- Wellington, and we were all drawn in to his life story and gripped by his tenacity and  methodical approach to the world. This was a real thought provoking play with sad bits, random shit, and a cute labrador puppy at the end to help take your mind away from the incessant crying.

While I was there though, I was drawn to a number of other curious incidents..

The curious incident of the 70 year old Usherette with Tuberculosis

As I said this was a play that required attention..there were moments of powerful silence where you could hear a pin drop….well…you could if ‘old Sylvia’ from the grand circle could control her whooping cough. Ironically the pensioner who was paid to make sure people were not talking or disrupting anyone’s experience sat dying in the corner….disrupting everyone’s experience.   Oh we did laugh…

The Curious Incident of the Tongue and Grooved Theatre

I have never been to Aylesbury Theatre, and unlike Drury Lane, it offered a much more modern motif  with   a sea of wooden cladding that gave the feeling of being in a scandinavian sauna. Luckily the heat was turned right down…although if we had thrown a bucket of menthol on the coals, then Sylvia may have been able to clear her chest.

The Curious Incident of the overweight gay and the pretty lesbian 

I’ve never met a real one… but a couple of rows in front of us, there was a gay boy with a stomach to his knees and the arse the size of Belgium. Sat next to him was a beautiful petit lesbian (an oxymoron in ordinary circumstances). It’s usually the other way round…but no the bloke was a dog and the dyke was a babe.

We had a great night with good friends and a lovely McDonalds to wash it down on the way home.


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Invoking ‘Article 40’- A look back on my life so far as a gay man


When you’re 18 years old and you tell people you’re gay, it’s an exciting time for everyone concerned. For me, coming out in 1998 was considered brave by some and repugnant by others. Once out of the closet, I was plunged into a world where every straight girl and some of the ‘less macho’ men wanted be my friend,- the token ‘funny gay guy’, with many fish lining up to be the one to immediately take on the unique crown of ‘fag hag’.


The ‘fag hag’ is a fair-weather,  lady friend (hetty), with a multitude of responsibilities, acting as designated driver, personal courier for your phone number in a club, and companion at the salon while you are having your quarterly highlights and eyebrow wax.  They also double up as a bodyguard to clear a safe route , however convoluted, in  any gay bar avoiding all lesbians, and  any ‘old’ gays trying to be cool and current, squeezing their middle -aged spread into skinny jeans and a tight white  vest top and boasting a carefully manufactured side -parting to disguise their receding hairline. In return, the fag-hag receives bitchy comments, evenings out without the chance of bagging a guy, and a cab home alone. Its very much a two-way relationship.

At 18 years old, I gave little thought to the possibility that In 2016, I would be one of these ‘old gays’. Although at 37 years old (95 in gay years), I don’t feel over the hill, I am now constantly reminded by my stepdaughters that I no longer hold the ‘street cred’ I once did…..So when did I lose it? Where did it go? As I get ready to invoke ‘article 40’ (the political term for leaving the comfort of my thirties) , I reflect back on this transformation and point out some warning signs  that indicate you have finally said goodbye to your youth…and have morphed into a ‘Friend of Dorothy’.

Strictly does it

1998 – The excitement of the forthcoming weekend used to start by about Wednesday, when I would start to plan my outfit, arrange the pre-going ‘out-out’drinks and have a sun-bed or three. The evening would get going with a friendly greeting from Sue the door-‘woman’ (Dave the builder during the week), and culminate in me demonstrating the latest steps routine,  losing the shirt I spent hours selecting earlier that day from River Island’s sale rail (fag hag in-tow), and coming home stinking of B&H, masked with  copious servings of Le Male by Jean Paul Gaultier- thoughtfully packed into my diesel man-bag. In some cases, not coming home at all.  Getting up on Sunday to start drinking again was a given.

2016– Going out? What? Saturday- Oh no I can’t – I’ll miss Strictly Come dancing! We can do something on Tuesday if you like after Eastenders? Maybe the Harvester and a bottle of wine?  We’ve had a busy week!…Yes the appeal of masquerading in designer clothes with accessories to match coupled with a careful splattering of foundation and bronzer, is replaced in 2016 with a much preferred evening on the sofa, wearing joggers, a baggy hoody and a  scatter cushion strategically placed on my belly so that I can breathe out. An evening body-popping to S Club 7 and a sing along to Alice Deejay is suddenly replaced with the dulcet tones of a ‘scorned’ Tess Daley, retired black swan- Darcy Bussell, a cabaret singer churning out sub-standard versions of some great tunes, while a group of lesser known celebrities dance the Viennese Waltz…..keep dancing!

Getting Connected?

1998– I saved up all my hard earned money to buy a BT Cellnet pay as you go mobile phone, (house-brick) as they’ve just invented text messaging. After splashing out on all the accessories (you know…the obligatory case with belt clip and the bling to hang off the extendible ariel), I  found that you could only send text messages to people on your network- and all the fashionable gays were on Mercury 121…..dammit! Who needs text messages anyway? Whats wrong with picking up the phone. Who knew that your mobile phone doubled up as a ‘phonebook’ , thats just genius! – I won’t need to take my ‘little black book’ with me any longer, nor borrow a pen from ‘Tall Paul’ the uber camp, scantily clad bar…person.

2016– My stepdaughters cuss me because I haven’t collected enough credits on Snapchat, Ive only got 200 friends on Instagram and they can’t believe I have never ‘vlogged’.  As much as I try to stay ‘on trend’,  I just don’t get the fascination of watching ‘teeny boppers’ and make-up demonstrations on youtube and the pointlessness of video messaging.  Or maybe I am just belligerent that these 15 year old entrepreneurs are making more money  with every click than I do in a day! I reminisce the ‘good old days’, when the only way of communicating was to talk to real friends on the phone- or go and see them at their house, and admire how their collection of “Smash hits” posters was marginally more impressive than yours.


Rented Music- sorry ..what?

1998– Its pay day (I took home £240 this month….how will I spend all that?). Oh wait!…The Corrs have just released their TinTin out remix album and  Steps have just released Steptacular and If I don’t get the moves down to ‘Tragedy’ before Warren (the smarmy Queen-Bitch turd-burglar), I may aswell never show my face in Spritzers again! I must get straight down to the Virgin Megastore and have a spend up (now that Our Price has closed).

2016– The last time I bought a CD was in 2009- and that was only because my ‘hairdresser’s car’didn’t come with MP3 and I needed some drive -time sing-along classics. Difficult to pinpoint when people stopped buying CDs, but the other day someone said to me- have you got Spotify?…You pay a monthly fee and can listen to all the music you want!. Great I thought…but where will I store all this downloaded music? .. Oh no….you don’t download it!! The music is not yours to own…..erm what?  What happens if Spotify ceases to exist? I can’t cope with this idea of rented music. No No No.

Give in to the back fat

1998 – My daily diet consists of McDonalds breakfast, Burger King for lunch and Harvester for dinner…..Still 10 stone, toned, and could run the marathon (should I want to)

2016– Daily diet is ..nothing for breakfast, sushi for lunch and a salad for dinner. Still 14 stone….cant shift any weight, I look at a cake and put on 2 pounds, and running from the house to the car makes me sweat like a fat slag at a pie bake-off!

Befriend a Lesbian

1998– Every gay-boys worst nightmare…walking into a drinking establishment filled with overweight old Doris’s propping up the bar with their pints of Cider like they are waiting for the next demolition job to begin. Most of these creatures could take down a concrete wall just by leaning against it. Seriously…. the man-hating lesbians of the 90s were scary….soley responsible for the demise of double-denim, and a constant snail trail on the dance floor whenever the beat dropped into a KD Lang number.

2016– You can’t spot a lesbian these days…disguised as beautiful women- they no longer hate us gay-boys and we don’t hate them. They have names like Chantelle and Amber and are no longer referred to as Pam or Lynne. We holiday together, and sometimes make babies….who’d have thought?

Gay Pride

1998– The annual event we have all been waiting for, we get to march and be fabulously different from everyone else- united in pink and dancing in a field that reeks of amyl nitrate and stereotype. We lip-sync to a medley of Spice Girls, S Club 7 and Backstreet Boys until the break of dawn…(assuming that Dawn was one of those ‘new money’ lezzers off her tits on smack)…man down.

2016– Gay Pride…who dear? me dear? pride dear? NO DEAR. Im washing my hair! I am no longer proud to march around a field and adorn my person with a lavish boa, camel-toe shorts and the latest levi-strauss sleeveless top ,or my personal triumph…the sailor outfit. Nowadays I am proud to be gay, but being a ‘scene queen’ is exhausting and thankless (so many flag bearers). What I am most proud of is that I can marry the man I love and be the person I am in a society that now accepts me without the need to set myself apart by prancing around a field.


So as I get ready for my 40s- I will say that I have no regrets about my life choices and happy to be a ‘friend of Dorothy’- age is just a number, but with age brings experience of what is important in life and what is superficial.  I may reflect on earlier years with fondness and how many things have changed beyond the imaginable, but I know I would rather be living in 2016 than in 1998. Some people my age still live the same life they did 18 years ago and who am I to judge?.. Suffice to say, these people are still looking for love and happiness, while their fag-hags have retired and had 5 kids. I have found my ‘why’, and it lies with my husband and my step-children, something that I never dreamt possible in 1998, when marriage equality was unthinkable , as was a ‘blog’.