Gay personal ads and phone lines

The Older and Bolder group in Bradford remember personal ads in Gay Times and saucy phone lines.

Duration 02:23


ROBERT: They, they, they had a section where you could, you could... advertise for a... a partner, or a close encounter or whatever. You had to send a... your ch – your postal order in or cheque, with two first class stamps. And, and at the end of – they put it in the publication, that they’d – if you were lucky you’d get a huge envelope back where they’d use your stamp on with all the letters inside replying to you, and you used to ask for pictures or whatever and send them back. But that was, that was the contact with people who couldn’t get out socially. Course there was no internet and all – there was no telephone lines in those days, so you used to have to do it that way. Which was quite fun but -

GORDON: Then there was the Shout magazine as well of course.

ROBERT: Yes, that was later on, yeah.

GORDON: [Pause] Contact that way, anybody you wish to meet.

INTERVIEWER: So where would you get a Shout magazine from?

GORDON: Well you’d get it from pubs and clubs. Very easily.

INTERVIEWER: So when was that?

GORDON: Well that only folded only just a few years ago, that shows just how long ago it was. Memory’s getting worse, my memory’s getting – 83 years of age, as I will be next month.

ROBERT: If you went in – you went to somewhere like The Sun. You’d pull it, if it looked, one part – I think it was a, every Thursday, they’d probably be five or six different publications, these huge magazines with colour pictures advertising. And of course when it got to – it must have been towards the ‘90s, there were all these lines came on, ‘ring 0, 0845, 44, whatever it is, plumber’s mate has sex, ring, listen to the thing’. He – there was some where you listened to two-minute sections and it was about 54p, £1.54 a minute. Or there was some where you could actually speak to somebody on-line. But there was loads of those, there were thousands of those, but the most rip-off is, it was 084-something which is a premium rate number, and then of course, when you, when you rung it up you got this long spiel about ‘we...’ - all about a minute of just wasted time before you actually got put on to whatever you were supposed to be doing [laughs]. So that was a real rip-off, and you could actually use – you could actually put an advert in a lot of those magazines for nothing, but people that rung up were charged about £2.50 a, a minute to actually answer the advertisement. So that was, that was a real rip-off, that was in the, I think in the early ‘90s that, late ‘80s.