A night out at the Gemini

Ian remembers plucking up the courage to visit the Gemini, a gay club in Huddersfield in the 1980s, and the fashions he saw inside.

Duration 04:12


IAN: I’d actually heard of the Gemini from people in Newcastle because it was it was famous or infamous throughout the country – people did come from all over the country to go to the Gemini. And, I remember just sort of meeting David when I got to Polytechnic, we got on really well and we'd both sort of mentioned that there was this club there and I said, ‘well I'd quite like to see it’ and he said, ‘oh yeah I would as well’, so we decided we'd go and have a look.

INTERVIEWER: Was he – do you think he was nervous about coming out to you that night?

IAN: Yeah. I mean he was, he was more scared than I was of even going to the club. You could see when we were sort of walking up there his whole body language, he was, he was, he was literally shaking – and he was looking down at the floor and everything.

INTERVIEWER: What were the other customers, patrons like inside when you were in there?

IAN: It was hard to tell because I – I was terrified to look at anyone. But I do remember there were some of the classic stereotypes there, there was a leather man with a huge moustache, a walrus moustache – in fact a lot of people had big moustaches then, it was very much the fashion in the early eighties, clones they were called and a lot of them – the classic clone look was close cropped hair, big moustache, check shirt, jeans, black shoes and often whites – white socks, but I think I was just a general thing I think everyone wore white socks then. I didn't look like that.

INTERVIEWER: What were you wearing?

IAN: I was more of a New Romantic at that time. I had an extremely long blonde fringe, just sorta covering one eye so it came down and I think my fringe came down to me chin, and then the side bit was cropped really close. It was an adaptation of Phil Oakey from the Human League’s look, except with blonde hair rather than black hair… and lots of sort of floaty, floaty clothes, I had some very big baggy trousers on I remember. I had another pair of striped trousers worn as a scarf, which had borrowed from one of my friends at me hall of residence […] Straights always saw you as a bit of an oddity to look at – especially me, because I was in my full New Romantic gear still. I wouldn't wear makeup in the, out in the countryside but… I would sometimes at the club.

INTERVIEWER: Can you describe it for me, I’m interested!

IAN: Yeah, well. There was a girl, a girl that I used to knock around with quite a bit and she quite liked, sort of elaborate makeup, and so we do… I wouldn’t have used foundation back then because I have great skin, but there'd be a bit of blusher, there'd be some eyeshadow there’d be a bit of glitter on the eyelid. If we're feeling really extravagant it would be like three lines of eyeliner extending out from the eyebrows, the corner of the eye, and just one in between as well. And sometimes I'd be wearing blue lipstick as well.

INTERVIEWER: Was this a personal look or do you think it was kind of…?

IAN: It, okay well it was sort of influenced by the girls from the Human League. They've got a lot to answer for those girls. Johanne and Suzanne, they used to have sort of make up a bit like that, also so did Alf Moyet from Yazoo.