'the end is near.'
There was a time when the UK had a plethora of gay hotels, B&B's, night clubs, bars, shops , saunas and all sorts of establishments aimed at the gay market and any town had its place to stay that was men only.
London also had a few women only hotels and bars - SADLY - long gone.
London had gay restaurants. Not strictly gay - but owned and run for the gay world which was open to anyone who apreciated the gay clientelle. They were there for years and were really good. On a Saturday night, to go to dinner with friends in a gay restaurant, then onto a gay bar and maybe a nightclub after - now long gone. It was supporting gay business and so, supporting gay people, and so, supporting the gay community - but how things have changed, how resentful many are when spending their hard earned money in a gay venue as there seems too much resenetment and envy towards those who eat, breath and work the gay scene by those on the fringes and who envy. Sad for them and destructive to the community they want to be more a part of.
Same with gay hotels. London being the capital had loads years ago and either they opened and closed quite quickly, or like the Philbeach Hotel that was in Earls Court, it just ground itself so far into the ground with a massive lack in investment and maintenance, staff and management were rude and it was somewhat down market for London and eventually became flats. The better gay hotel right next door, The New York which certainly had a great deal more going for it, sadly the owner died and as with most things, it was sold to become flats.
Property in London is worth so much - ( I had a 4 bedroomed house in Hammersmith I sold in 1999 for half a million that is now a £2 million house, and it is nothing special at all, just a 3 story terrace house in Hammersmith with 4 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms etc. and who in their right mind can afford a £2 million house and have a normal job ) and this is the reason so many small venues close down as any business struggles to make money when the building is worth a fortune - so why struggle so hard for such little financial return when you can sell up , move to Spain and live a very nice lifestyle and not have all the hassles of running a venue, staff, akward customers and all that goes into running any business - and take it easy as a wealthy person... and who can blame them. But it means the gay business scene is forever shrinking and one day will be gone completely as people do not pick up the slack, do not
open other venues in their place and do not want to work as hard for as little return. Then you get those nasty customers who leave negative reports picking fault when there was nothing wrong at all, and every little thing will be moaned about and so cause friction and this nastiness also closes business, not because of negative reporting, but because owners get sick of the bitchiness, the horrid attitude from a few - and believe me, we get it here and we see it and we know EXACTLY what these people are up to as they resent and envy but will detroy rather than support, and this is probably a lack of something within themselves, a mental health issue or simply a resentment because they want what others have and the fantasy and the reality are very different things. Simply put, most have absolutely no idea what is involved... look at how many run bars in Spain and last one season only and end up broke, knackered and pissed off after working 18 - 20 hours a day.
MENS IN TIMATE WEEK LONG WORKSHOP I sold a hotel years ago and the people who bought it did not even last one season. They thought the hotel would ' look after them ' and when it was obvious they were going to have to work hard - which they had overlooked assuming staff did EVERYTHING - they went bust within 3 months, all had nervous breakdowns and it really was a crying sin.
In Bournemouth - I have seen numerous gay venues open and close and some last just a few months before they close - no idea what they are doing - bars that start off as restaurants but have their kitchen re posessed ( yes - really ) B&B 's where the owners work for a living and guests are expected to be finnished with breakfast by 8.30am as the owners have to go to work and if you dilly dally, you get nothing as there's no one there to cater and where customers got a huffy and puffy attitude if they actually asked for something like another coffee or more juice at breakfast.
Another gay B&B where no one lives in at all and is like an Ikea showroom with cold energy, no personality at all, just like a film set or a window display and cheerless to stay in.
One night club spent a fortune doing up the venue to open and straight away anyone could see their glaring mistake - bad interior planning and again, it closed within 3 months loosing a fortune.
Gay saunas that have come and gone and where it takes a lot of hard long hours and some assume it is just a cash cow when it truly is not.
Gay restaurants where the staff are so ' up themselves ' that I once sat and waited for 45 mionutes with a friend - as it became a mission after the first 10 minutes to see how long it would take the staff to notice 2 guys sitting at a table waiting to be served - and we waited 45 minues while we watched the staff messing about and doing fuck all but ignore paying customers, and this is a common threat with gay venues as many think they are there to cruise the customers and be admired and / or have fun with the other staff and it seems to miss them that they are there to work and to serve - and after 45 minutes we called over to the waiter and explained we had been here for 45 minutes, and they couldn't have cared a shit, - not a single shit - so we complained to the manager who also didn't care - and then they wonder why the venue gets such a bad name and eventually closes.
The gay scene - whatever that means these days - is COMPLETELY different to what it was back in the 1970's when I first came out and the way gay people look at the gay scene of today is also very different. We stuck together back then. We had a fight we were marching towards - together - for acceptance and legal status in law, which while we now have this, the backbone of the gay scene broke under the pressure and recent lack of interest and the whole scene has become so watered down it is almost indistinguishable from any other venue in any town anywhere in the country. Bars are just bars. Restaurants are just restaurants. There are few gay haunts left any more and the secrecy involved between gay men has - rightly so - opened up - but this also destroys that commadre that was shared by all, and now a sense of arrogance has replaced that - a sense of entitlement - and this has added to the destruction of the community.
Internet sex has also opened up the world in many ways for us but also closed us in and we have lost that human touch of meeting and chatting and socializing and spending in the bar etc. and while this is so convenient, it is also a loss. This ending of the gay scene as we know it - is also the birth of a new age where LGBTQ will - eventually - become accepted and will be a part of mainstream everything, but we still have a long way to go even within the UK let alone all those countries that outlaw and punnish LGBTQ citizens and jail and murder JUST because they are gay, and the attitude shared by many gay men in the UK is a disgrace when you see how others struggle and fight just to stay alive as a LGBTQ, and many should be thanking their lucky stars.
Hamilton Hall is still here but be aware that one day I won't be and then - there will be no men only hotel in Bournemouth any more and where every single hotel offering accommodation to the LGBTQ world AS ITS UNLAWFUL TO REFUSE - and is not acceptance - but tollerance - and thankyou, I don't want to be spending my money in a venue that tollerates me for my buck - that offers me nothing and just takes my money when Hamilton Hall offers so much more.
And still there will be, as always, those gay men who will knock and abuse those who do run gay venues and this distorted vision just destroys even faster and then when gone, they will complain there is nowhere to go and it is the few who ruin it for the rest who are responsible as believe me, running any gay venue is very hard and unworthy of the moaners to be so negative as when closed, they will continue moaning but this time, there will be nowhere to go.