14 Jul 2008 • 1,073 views
MeMoir: CHRIS. 1977.
In 1977, when I was 17 years old, I went to my first ever Gay Disco in London.
It was called Adams and it was located in Leicester Square.
This is a photo of Chris, the man who chatted me up that night and who told me to get my coat, I'd pulled.
In England at that time, it had only been 10 years since the law regarding same gender sexuality was changed to allow partially decriminalised gay sex, as long as you were both 21 or over.
But still in 1977 in London and the UK, men were being arrested just for kissing one another in the street.
I was fairly fresh out of school (the Duke of York's Royal Military School in Dover.) Though I had already come well out of the closet at school, I came out when I was aged just 13 in 1973.
In 1977 I was working in Charring X rd, very near to my first gay disco. I was working as a Singing Waiter, cash-in-hand, in a restaurant called The Cockney. We used to wear bowler hats and sing about "boiled beef and carrots" and how it's "a long way to Tipperary" etc.
Then we fast forward 20 years, to November 1997.
That is when I found this photo in a weekly gay newspaper.
I remember I was sat reading it on the platform of Highbury and Islington tube. I hadn't seen Chris since the late 70s. Back then we had slept together for about a total of a month or so, I think. But 20 years later I recognised him in the paper almost immediately.
Above the photo (which was taken by Jane Bown) it said: "Keegan, long survivor, dies."
And below the photo: "Keegan, diagnosed in 1983."
The paper went on to say: "Christopher Keegan, the man thought to be the longest surviving person with AIDS in the UK, has died aged 49. Keegan, who was given an AIDS diagnosis and six months to live in 1983, had been a tireless campaigner and had completed every Walk For Life. He died on Remembrance Sunday. Keegan met Diana, Princess of Wales, on several occasions and attended her funeral in September."
I remember he was gorgeous. I was 17. He was just 28.
He bought me a scented Snoopy the dog soap, from somewhere down the Kings Road. I kept it unused for years.
And most nights after we had fucked he used to like me drawing on his arm with felt tip pens.