THE LOG BOOKS
Season 1 Episode 9 “Closing The Log Books”
Date: 30.12. 2019
Presenters: Tash Walker, Adam Smith
Producers: Shivani Dave, Tash Walker, Adam Smith
Music: Tom Foskett-Barnes
Artwork: Natalie Doto
[sirens and indistinct voices]
AS: Welcome to Kings Cross! Well, so we’ve been on quite a journey over this podcast. I’m exhausted.
TW: Yeah, it’s been such a roller coaster ride. It’s so fun, really heart warming, really emotional incredibly touching. I felt all of the feelings.
AS: And we wanted to come back here where the podcast began -outside Housmans Bookshop in Kings Cross in London which is actually the ground floor of the building where Switchboard was originally in the basement and in the offices above Housmans book shop.
TW: Yeah, I think it is so nice to be back here at Housmans book shop and imagine all of those volunteers in the basement in 1974 scrawling away - as the phones started to ring off the hook. Yeah it gives me a real sense of perspective of the journey we have been on so far.
AS: What are the stories that stand out to you, Tash?
TW: There are two particular highlights for me - Elaine and Lyn’s story not only talking about them meeting in Gateways - that it made them feel at home and that they found each other. I found that really emotional.
AS: That was in episode 2, wasn’t it? ‘Huddled together in a corner’ - about nightlife.
Remember there were fast dances and then the music changed - and I looked around and you looked at me and we had … we danced to Willow
We did, we did.
I must have said Lyn had a ginormous handbag because she obviously didn’t realise that gay women didn’t carry great big handbags
I had a fur jacket as well, didn’t I?
I blocked that out, I think.
TW: Another highlight for me is Suzanne educating us on what a separatist household would be like, and I especially loved the idea of walking through the door and smelling the lentil soup being cooked by the lesbians before they had a heart to heart about how they were really feeling.
If you were to just … come into the separatist household - say just walk in the door - you might find a bunch of women cooking, like, lentil soup - because we were pretty much vegetarian. We also used to have consciousness raising sessions where we all used to tell the truth.
AS: You can probably get lentil soup somewhere round here now round Kings Cross - like it is sort of a gentrified dish and now that Kings Cross is gentrified. I think my highlights - if that is the right word - were the stories that were about the police and their actions against men who had sex with men. For me it was just something that really stands out is those stories of those men who were arrested for finding other men to have sex with in a public toilet - maybe because they just couldn’t find anywhere else to go.
This is a log book entry from July 21st 1975:
Caller rang to inform us that there is a definite purge on Holland Walk - eight people arrested Friday night.
These two policemen come in and they arrested me and I was fined £20. How many times had they arrested people in that toilet over the last 12 months. And they said 500. So clearly it was their little honey pot.
AS: I found that really kind of difficult to listen to and to interview the people who went through that, actually.
I was an Indian kid growing up in East London in the 60s and 70s when the National Front were marching through Ilford High Road.
I started my transition around 1980. I went through the transition within two years which is really unusual. After my transition I could be me.
In a plastic bag so that the two set of feet couldn’t be seen when someone else got in and then you had sex.
Bending down in front of this cucumber and we waved it around his bottom.
We had a lot of fun in those days!
I ended up running the first lesbian sex toy mail order business in the UK. Actually, double ended dildos were shit at that point because they were rigid.
TW: Of the people that we’ve interviewed - at the end of the interviews I’ve always felt really really touched with what they’ve shared with me and with us for this podcast. And that is -without- sounding too cheesy is such a gift.
AS: So, we’d love to make a season two – are you in for that Tash?
TW: Hell yeah!
AS: Which would cover the next few years in Britain’s LGBT history -still using the notes written in the log books of Switchboard probably the period from 1982 onwards to the late 80s early 90s.
TW: In order to do that we will need to get some funding - so if anyone out there is interested in helping us or getting involved or if you would like to share your story with us for season two, please do get in touch.
AS: Ok, great. Let’s go and have a look at what they’ve got in the bookshop these days.
AS: The Log Books is produced by Shivani Dave, Adam Smith and Tash Walker in partnership with Switchboard: the LGBT+ helpline.
TW: If you think other people would like The Log Books please rate and review us on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts. These ratings and reviews really help others to discover the show. You can send us your feedback and stories to email@example.com
AS: Our music is by Tom Foskett-Barnes and our artwork is by Natalie Doto.
TW: Thanks to Stef Dickers and team at the Bishopsgate Institute.
AS: The folks at Acast,
TW: Gareth Mitchell at Imperial College London,
AS: The staff and volunteers at Switchboard.
TW: And all the contributors who shared their stories.
45 years on Switchboard continues to take phone calls from 10am to 10pm every day. If you are affected by any of the issues in this podcast or need to discuss anything to do with gender identity or sexuality you can call Switchboard on 0300 3300630; email firstname.lastname@example.org; or instant message via switchboard.lgbt where you can also donate money or time to help.