Impressions of the Scene 1986
Mike discussed his impressions of the differences between Manchester and Birmingham in terms of the things he would value.
"Well both of the cities have changed an awful lot in the time since 1990, that's for sure but I think that Birmingham's changed more from a social perspective because it had to... when I first came to Birmingham in 1990...I mean I hate to say...it's going to sound awfully rude but I really did think I was being punished for having done something in a previous life!
"But it was so quiet. It only had two gay bars. Both of them were hidden away down stairs... this was something I just wasn't used to... the fact that you would have to go to a bar where there was just a door and then go downstairs and it was all hidden from view whereas in Manchester...even though the gay scene wasn't as big as it is now it was still more public and there was a cluster... a sort of gay village type scenario and you certainly didn't go down stairs and were hidden away from view and I came to Birmingham and there were these two gay bars - The Jester and Partners - although the main one really was The Jester ... and The Nightingale was really the only gay club... and it all seemed pretty small compared with what I was used to. Not only that, what I also noticed was that it was really quiet. The city centre in those days was incredibly quiet. Trying to get a meal after eight o'clock at night in the city centre was almost impossible."
He described how he used to drive around Birmingham and 'Greater Birmingham' and wonder where it started and finished and where all the people went at night speculating that because there was more industry and manufacturing then perhaps they went to bed early.
He feels that Birmingham is more business-orientated where 'people live to work' whereas Manchester prides itself on being 'a bit of a wild child'. He discussed the differences in the people and their style of clothes although without a gay focus. He linked this to his own recognition of when he had 'swapped over from being a Mancunian to being a Brummie'.
Contributed by: Mike