Wednesday, 4 November 2009


Canal Street has been the meeting place for many a gay man for years, the hustle and bustle of the bars and the hedonism of the clubs. During the summer months the streets are crowded with tanned bodies in vest tops with the community out in force, all looking for a glass of wine and in search of a good time. But what goes on when the bars close? Is it that once out of pub opening hours the gay community of Manchester ceases to exist? We take a look at the gay goings on, dare we say it, outside of Canal Street.

Just a stone through away on Bloom Street are more businesses, none of them bars, but all still crucial in the growth of the gay community in Manchester. ‘The Funky Crop Shop’ gay owned and run hairdressers, above is ‘Recapture’ a gay beauty salon with the extras of medical aesthetic treatments, and below is the villages very own off license and sun-bed shop. A few doors down you’ll find ‘The Docs’ the gay villages very own medical practice. Not to mention sauna H2Ozone and of course Clone Zone on Sackville Street.

Ok so Bloom Street isn’t exactly outside of the village but is there anything really worth going outside the village for? Taking a look at the listing in one of the free papers in Manchester I was surprised to see page after page of gay listings. If it’s sport you like (unlike couch potato me, I’d much prefer to scoff Pringles than to do any form of exercise, although I do occasionally watch the odd game of football for the old tradition of the players swapping shirts at the end of the game) then why not try joining Northern Wave, an all LGB swimming club in Hulme just 5 mins away from the city centre. The sporting activities don’t end there with the villages very own rugby club ‘Spartans’ and very own football club. And it’s not just the gay man who like sports, the lesbians are at it too, with there cleverly called football group ‘Beavers’.

If like me you don’t fancy watching the sport on the wide screen T.V in the pub but do prefer to cause an argument of theatrical status then the Manchester and Lesbian Gay Chorus could be for you or even theatre group VADA who often put shows on in, yes you guessed it, one of the gay bars on Canal Street ‘Taurus.’

The clubs don’t stop there, ranging from support groups like Stepping Stones and Lesbian and Gay Youth Manchester to gay writing group Outwright and slightly bizarre Gay Naturist Social Group.

My point I am trying to make is this, is it really fantastic that our ‘village’ is growing with the rate it is? With so many amenities with in the ‘Gay Village’ how long will it be before we cease to have any need to go outside the perimeters or socialise outside our gay clubs? With even a gay travel agents in Manchester are we simply supporting gay business or are we becoming inbred? As we rely on our gay network are we loosing touch with reality? And are we forgetting how to socialise with our heterosexual brothers? What do you think?

No comments: