80s alternative scene
Mark F talks about the gay scene when he came out in the early 80s "I realised I was gay and this was when I also decided to visit what Birmingham had to offer a young gay man, who liked alternate music and had a penchant for make-up and a slightly (by this time ) goth clothes sense. Not a lot !!!!. The Nightingale was on Thorp Street and was still very much a club playing Disco/Hi NRG music and had a variety of men in check shirts and moustaches. I did get to meet some other young people though and we used to frequent the bars at the time, The Jester, The Viking and The Windmill. At this time I also went to a club which in its heyday was great. This was The Powerhouse, on Hurst Street and now called Oceana. It was alternative on Wednesdays and Gay on Thursdays but both nights were very similar as most of the male alternative scene, were gay. This was 50 pence in before 10pm and I became hooked on Snakebite with Blackcurrant added, popular with most of the crowd. I got to see many big stars of the time such as Divine, Eartha Kitt and Grace Jones.
Around this time were 3 other clubs on offer. The Kipper Club, at the Tin Can run by Gay John in Digbeth. Seedy ,but great fun on a Saturday night as an alternative to the Nightingale. The 'Come' club on a Sunday eve, running from 8-12.30am, up by the ATV studios, again a sort of mixed goth/gay venue and Zig Zag, at Xanadu which catered for Punks, Skinheads and was quite hedonistic in its day, a forerunner of having a darkroom in a club."
Contributed by: Mark F