In all the years I worked at The Turret, I was either liked or disliked. There seemed to never be an in between; I always made it a point to say "hello" to everyone and especially the people that did not like me or did not want to be seen with me. Thru all my time at the two bars and including the present (when I go to the newer clubs); I have found that some people draw conclusions of what other people are about based either on preconceived or conceived notions of what others have told them. Some have made the choice of getting to know me and finding out for themselves (I am probably just as guilty.) I have always had my own views (good or bad) about what "being gay" is all about and for that matter "life itself." I have also tried to do my best for this community in my way. There were times when I wanted to walk away and there were many more times I was (and still am) proud to have been a part of it all. My parents brought me up to treat people with dignity no matter what my personal views of that person may be. I have met a group of people at The Turret and Rumours whom I have been lucky enough to call my friends. My best friend ChrisShepherd (Krys) I met years before The Turret but got to know better at The Club, is still in my books, one of the best DJ's in the country and a better friend than one could ask for. JohnMarr who will always "loom large" in my heart and has been a calming figure in my life; always someone that was there when I needed someone to talk to and always caring.
Most of us have gone our own way over the years, some stay in touch, some are too busy with their present lives and some have passed on from this life "too soon and forever missed".
I am the watcher and I watch the scene. I know where you are going. To a place I have never been. My name is Reg.
As I watched my first episode of QAF, my body started to tremble and a tear came to my eyes as I watched a page that had been ripped from my life being played out before me. This handsome young man who falls for the older mature guy (me the mature guy) who has no other feeling for him except for a quickie. Memories came flooding back.... Good, bad and ugly. I thought I had put these behind me. So I had thought.
It was a warm Halifax nite with a cool breeze and I was standing in the doorway of the Green Lantern Building across the street looking up at the four only flashing red and blue floodlights pointed at the ceiling of The Turret. Gloria Gaynor's Honey Bee and Never Can Say Goodbye mix was pounding it's way out the window and filling the Barrington Street air with disco madness. You could see the DJ in the booth, which was the turret on the building, slip mixing, was the order of the day because of the lack of a mixer for beat mixing.
I had already had my first bj at this point from a guy I had met in the army. I met him on TheTriangle; I was a security guard and was doing a patrol in a van on road construction sites, which had oil pot lights (I had to make sure they stayed lit.) I didn't realize this was a cruising area until I met him walking by. Anyway, we talked for a while about old times and finally it got down to what he was actually doing there. His hand finally slid over to my crotch. My mind just said "oh well" and it happened. It was so "matter of fact" to my surprise.
I finally crossed the street and in the door of the Turret Club, on the bottom floor was a store called the Bean Sprout (a bulk health food store.) As I climbed the stairs my heart started racing. I still don't know if it was because of the beat of the music or being a little afraid or just plain excited. At the second landing which is where the coat check and sign in (guest book) are. I noticed that I was getting strange looks from some even stranger looking people (to my mind at the time). I realized that I was still in uniform and police were not very welcome and some could not distinguish me from them. I was eventually allowed in and asked not to come in uniform anymore.
At the top landing was the entrance to the club itself. As I peered in all these faces and eyes were leering back at me, my head pounding and heart racing even more. It was like a scene right out of Magnum PI (moustaches and all.) As I stepped across the doorsill, a queen pirouettes over to me and curtsies saying: "enchante". Miss Kitty as I eventually and affectionately came to know him was a former school teacher cum hairdresser, a mad queen with curly hair and a big semi muscular body (I was told that he was a swimmer too) was the first really gay person that I met. He and his entourage of friends hung around The "Meat Rack" (by invitation only) which was between two pillars on the left going in the door. To the right was a wide set of stairs which led up to an area composed of tables, chairs and a makeshift bar. You could stand at the top of the stairs and look back over the whole bottom floor. Again it included the dance floor at the front lined by high gothic windows and the turret enclosing the DJ booth. At the very front and to the left was a 12x12 area known as Dykes Corner, I guess it just became their spot like a pair of comfortable shoes!
As the night heated up and more boys after boys came in, the place became shoulder to shoulder, I started feeling like the strawberry on the top of a fruit salad. I was the new meat and I started to love every flirtatious moment of attention that was bestowed upon me. By the end of the night I had made my first pickup (or was it the other way around?) This was it; I had found where I belong!