A very brief note on Jeremy Atherton Lin’s ‘Gay Bar: Why We Went Out’

Beautifully written, erudite; a book that feels very personal yet reaches out to history, sociology, evolving queer cultures and the changing role of gays bars within them. I think I’ve only been to a couple of the ones described but it doesn’t matter; it all connected to my experience and enhanced my understanding. Also, it’s a real joy to read such good writing.I loved the combination of depth/ breath of knowledge plus the beauty of expression. It has lines one wants to remember about things that matter and touch on one’ s understanding.

Here he is observing the crowds at Blackpool: ‘There, I glimpsed an Anglo national identity articulated on the esplanade and in karaoke bars — a dignity in mess, resilience, a binge-drinking stiff upper lip, the art of salting the chip on your shoulder.  What I hadn’t anticipated was how this identity could also e so gay (p.251) I highly recommend.


José Arroyo


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