On a very wet Thursday evening I ventured to the Camden People’s Theatre for a one man show by performance artist Tom Marshman called Kings Cross (Remix).
Having not done much research into the content I was preparing myself for something gritty. I was surprised when we walked into the space to the sounds of a retro pop soundtrack and Marshman dancing under disco lights while we filed passed. One got the sense you could have joined him if you were so inclined.
|Pre-drinks – standard|
What could have been a fierce and challenging account of a bustling part of town was actually heart-warming and honest. The show comprised of interwoven personal stories from a selection people who lived and worked in the area of Kings Cross in the eighties. It was an honouring of real experiences and real life tapping into the hidden LGBTQ history as told through extravagance, hedonism, heartbreak and a genuine lust for life.
We were relayed humorous memories from a speed addict who partied all night (every night) before heading straight to work in the morning and a friend who enjoyed dressing camp for the sheer fun of glamming up. Taped recollections from someone who worked at the 24 hour helpline that was then known as Gay Switchboard and another who saw the smoke rising out of Kings Cross Station from his balcony in 1987 from the fire that went on to kill 31 people. We were advised on correct bar etiquette from a staff member at The Bell pub, where Derek Jarman and The Pet Shop Boys frequented and learned that many knew where to park one’s car under the railway arches for a casual encounter.
|The station fire that killed 31 and injured 100|
A lot seems to have changed in the last few decades. While AIDS is not a word you hear used so much anymore – now almost always referred to as HIV since treatment has progressed so far the mortality rate has plummeted.