Friday, September 23, 2005

Last Weeks in Brighton - Sunday Sundae

After returning to South Africa in the early nineties I'd been back to the UK several times on various business trips but never for much longer than a week or two. My 8-month placement on a project in Brighton in 2000 was my first extended stay in the UK for almost 10 years. It was also the first time I'd ever been to Brighton.

In the days running up to the move, my brother-in-law, his tongue firmly in his cheek, said, 'Brighton is full of gays - you'd better be careful there.' Back then, he didn't know that I'm gay.

'Oh, I'm sure I'll be able to cope,' I said, smiling at his joke while thinking how nice it would be if my tongue were in somebody else's cheek. Not anyone's, someone nice. Someone that I'd find in Brighton.

Within days of arriving, I knew I was going to like the place. There was no shortage of gay venues and my brother-in-law was right about it being full of gays. It didn't take me long to start meeting men. Although I did the gaydar thing to some extent, Brighton made me realise that I much prefer picking up men in bars and clubs to meeting them over the net. Over the next 6 to 7 months, I met a lot, mostly at Dr Brighton's, Amsterdam, Legends and Revenge.

Then it stopped.

About 6 weeks before I left to return to South Africa I went to Sunday Sundae, a place that I tried to avoid as going there simply carried on adding alcohol to an already alcohol-saturated body, making Mondays even more unpleasant than they had to be. As usual, the place was full and the music pumping. The atmosphere was happy and tinged with enough testosterone to awaken senses lulled by a weekend of excess.

The hours are different now but I'm sure that Sunday Sundae went from mid-afternoon to 10pm in those days. Towards the end of the evening, I was leaving the toilet to go to the bar for a last pint before heading home just as a tall, dark, very good-looking guy was entering. He looked at me with piercing dark eyes and said, 'You're famous, aren't you?'

Interesting pick-up line, I thought, hoping that it was one. 'Me?' I said. 'No, not usually but it depends on whose asking and what I'm supposed to be famous for.'

I loved the smile that flashed back. 'I'm sure I've seen you somewhere,' he said. 'Telly, maybe?'

Just a few years ago when my face showed less evidence of my love of beer, I had once been told that I look a bit like Jeremy Irons. Not that I could see it, mind you.

We chatted a bit while he stood pissing, me still at the door as if about to leave. His accent was unusual; it had a twang to it that sounded North American. 'Where are you from?' I asked.

'I'm Canadian,' he said.

'Oh, I'm South African. What are you doing here?'

I can't remember his exact answer but it made sense. We returned to the dancefloor together where he joined a female friend of his and I carried on to the bar. On the way back, I bumped into someone I knew and chatted a bit. By the time I got back to the dancefloor the tall, dark Canadian was no longer there.

I went back to the bar, toured the dancefloor, looked into the toilets, toured the dancefloor again. He wasn't to be found. I looked again. He definitely wasn't there any longer. I checked outside but he wasn't there either.

I went home.

In Dr Brighton's, a week later, I saw him again.

(to be continued)


Anonymous Info said...

Where - for crying out loud - where is it continued?

7:32 am  
Blogger Reluctant Nomad said...

Hey, nice to know that someone was reading this. Sorry about not posting up the continuation - it will be there this weekend.

11:45 am  

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