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Tom Ball Cottage industry The aphrodisiac properties of secrecy and fear are just as powerful as they were in less liberated times From magazine issue: 25 November Text settings CommentsShare There are nights when, crossing the dark parkland by my house, I see a man beneath a remote streetlamp. He covemtry usually alone, and smokes as he circles the low walls of a squat little building. Most nights, after innumerable cigarettes and several laps of the place, he will slip from the light for good.
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I find that peculiar to Northampton. There was a crappy little mobile disco in the corner with two sets of three-coloured lights that used to flash alternately, and a bar at one end. There Cottagign a pub in Clopton - I can't even remember what the pub is called - but at the back of the car park, they had this barn.
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A recent article in gay magazine Attitude even suggested that it might be enjoying a mini renaissance. It was great. God knows how it happened, but they started running a gay disco on a Saturday night, and it was fabulous! It could be raining or snowing but there they were, shagging in the fields - It makes i proud to be British! The Act did nothing to discourage cottaging.
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Then finally one guy came, who could see I was new to it. I told him that I saw him down here often. There is nothing! Sometimes another Cottagging will appear, warily loping in and out of the lamplight. Gay history If you would like to contribute to a history of Northamptonshire's gay people and places, please us at: northamptonshire bbc.
Primarily, from my point of view, it was fabulous because it was very near the American Airforce base and all these American boys kept going there and it was like: 'Oh, I'll have some of this!
Why not sit at home and find men online? Paradoxically, it was cottaging itself that largely brought about the decriminalisation of homosexuality. But no, we've always been here. He is usually alone, and smokes as he circles the low walls of a squat little building.
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Like its alfresco counterpart, cruising, cottaging takes place uniquely between gay and bisexual men and in the past was a way in which men could meet for sex at a time when covrntry was illegal. But it was surrounded by countryside. I'm so sad it went. He was married to a woman for 14 years he said.
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More than any of the hookup apps, cottaging represents sex purely for its own sake, in its most basic form. It was outrageous for its day [the early s]. Milton Keynes now has a gay venue but for years Milton Keynes had nowhere. This, I have discovered, is cottaging — or ocventry least the first stages of it.
One of them was called Michael and he said: "Just remember, you've still got to go to school and don't spend all your time cottaging. Tom Ball Cottage industry The aphrodisiac properties of secrecy and fear are just as powerful as they were in less liberated times From magazine issue: 25 November Text settings CommentsShare There are nights Cottagin, crossing the dark parkland by my house, I see a man voventry a remote streetlamp.
Real 56k, 0'49" Use the BBC Webwise guide to downloading realplayer "The action those fields saw Cottqging 2 o'clock in the morning with all those gay men was wonderful. It could be raining or snowing, but there they were shagging in the fields - It makes you proud to be British!
He showed me what to do. Well, I was in there like a shot!
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I can only assume they meant gay men. Most nights, after innumerable cigarettes and several laps of the place, he will slip from the light for good.
So one evening, while tripping home tipsy from the pub, I spotted his lighted cigarette across the park — and decided to him for a smoke. The habit lives on because it is too far embedded in gay culture and gay mythology to snuff it out overnight. But there was that man under the streetlamp. There are towns far bigger than this.
But for the couple of years it was running, it was absolutely great. What's really sad is that we've got no record of it. We were walking through what was then the Arndale Centre, and these were new friends of mine.
As cottaging entered the public consciousness, so our attitudes underwent a gradual shift. You'd get back to your car and turn your headlamps on and there'd be people shagging in the hedgerow. It was a thing of its time.
Those who know about cottaging might, quite understandably, have thought it a thing of the past. You kind of think gay history in this country didn't start before the 60s.
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Cottaging, to clarify, is the act of anonymous sex in a public loo, taking its name from the traditional cottage-like huts that sprang up in almost every popular park in the 19th century. Go into the Fenlands - past Peterborough it's a wasteland! I have no idea how it started, I don't even remember how or why it ended. Grindr and Gaydar demand an element of pretence, a bit of perfunctory bantering.
Gay Northamptonshire Northampton is a strange town in that it's obviously got a rich and long history of LGB people being here, which is unusual for a town of this size in a rural location. Sideways glances, foot-tapping under cubicles and eye contact maintained for just a moment too long all add to its cloak-and-dagger allure.
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For my man beneath the lamp, nothing can ever quite match the thrill of a dusky Sunday evening spent waiting by a park toilet, smoking countless cigarettes to quell the rising tide of anxious excitement. I drank half a bottle of vodka beforehand and hung around the cottage for hours. I can't think of any other town of a comparable size that has always had one or two venues.
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