Hello hello! Frère Jack has a new French Gay Londoner to share with you, the first of 2013! He’s called Hakim and I met him last night while very drunk in the Black Cap. However, luckily I had my Dictaphone on me so managed to record our conversation in the smoking area…
In case you didn’t know, The Black Cap is a gay pub in Camden:
It used to be a “star factory” for famous drag queens. Danny La Rue started her career there and Lily Savage used to grace the stage in the 1980s. Going back before that the pub had associations with witchcraft (which probably means it was just full of smart lesbians pulling the wool over Victorians’ eyes). Today the Black Cap is one of the only through-and-through gay pubs in North London, after the King William in Hampstead lost its marbles and The Green in Angel closed.
Another bit of Black Cap trivia is that the homosexual serial killer Dennis Nilsen met a drag queen called Khara Le Fox there in May 1982. She/He was one of only two known victims to be taken back by Nilsen to his flat and avoid being completely murdered. You can read about the extraordinary chain of events here.
Anyway, enough about gay killers and back to our GFL:
Because I met Hakim on a night out I’ve had to take these two photos from his Facebook page. He gave me permission to, when it became clear to us both that taking a photo was never going to work because we were too drunk, it was too cold to even use a phone and so Hakim naturally had reservations about any kind of impromptu Black Cap smoking garden shoot being published on the worldwide web for all to see.
Age: 30 (when asked again he said 29, so let’s settle on 30)
Moved to London: 2005AD
Residency: Chalk Farm
Origins: St. Emilion, near Bordeaux
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Hey Hakim! Are you sure you’re French? You look like an extra from Aladdin.
That’s because my father moved to France from Morocco when he was 35, in like the 1960s probably.
That would mean you father’s nearly 90?
He’s no longer with us. I was the youngest. I have thirteen brothers and sisters.
Shit! Proving that theory about the youngest sibling being the gay one…
Maybe. I have a brother who is very gay though too.
So how come you’re in The Black Cap of all places?
I live in Chalk Farm so it’s my local. What’s your excuse?
Do you like it here?
No, it’s very shit! (laughs) No. I’m having a good time. It’s bad here but in a funny way.
Yeah, I like to think that’s the look they’re going for.
For example that drag queen doing magic tricks onstage just then. What the fuck was that? So weird.
Do you like the men here?
Not really. They’re old, and some of them are wearing tracksuits – why do they do that?
It’s like a gay niche. The “chav” look I think. It also gives them easy access in the loos.
Oh. I thought they were just weirdos. You and your friend [Dylan B Jones] are the best looking guys in here.
That’s definitely going into the interview.
Yeah for my French column. Can I take a photo of you?
No you fucking can’t!
Can I find one on Facebook?
Do what you like.
What’s your surname?
[Looks on phone]
There’s one of you and a llama?
It’s an alpaca, it’s not a llama.
[Awkward pause. Both drag on cigarettes]
So where else do you like to go out?
I like Shoreditch. And a place called The Bedroom.
Is this a chat-up line?
No it’s a real bar. Not gay though. I don’t usually go to gay bars.
So where in France are you from?
Bordeaux. St. Emilion, near Bordeaux.
Was that your first gay scene?
No Toulouse was. I went there to study when I was 20.
Had you never been to a gay bar before then?
No. Not until I was 20.
And you’d never had gay sex before then?
No. I wasn’t one of those boys who just wanted sex. I was very open-minded, I still am.
I guess you didn’t have the internet either?
Of course we had the internet you dick!
So did you move here to find work?
No, I moved here because it’s amazing. It’s just London isn’t it! One of my sisters moved here when I was about fourteen, I used to come and visit her…
…Do you remember your first visit?
Yes, she took me to Camden actually – not far from this bar. I remember visiting Archway too for some reason and finding it really rough looking and dangerous and interesting compared to where I was from in France, I was fascinated by it and knew I wanted to move here too.
What do you miss about France?
The food. The food! English food is SO shit.
Really? I like it.
I can’t eat the shit you eat. I order food online from a French website. [French Click – a French supermarket based in London]. I go to Sainsburys or Tesco here and I think “What the fuck is all this shit?”. It’s expensive though, importing my food from France!
I always ask people who is better at sex, French men or English men?
I would actually say Americans. I used to see an American guy here in London and he was very open to everything! Wow. No, I would say the French actually over the English. The French take their time over things more and I find that more sexy.
Where do you recommend to visit in London, if a French friend came over and asked you?
I would say go back to France and fuck off, we don’t want you here! I don’t like meeting other French people here. This is my city! No I’m joking. [he wasn’t].
Er, I would recommend visiting the countryside if you have time. Oxfordshire is beautiful, and if you have more time maybe go to the Lake District. It’s amazing.
Do you like spotting celebrities in London?
I don’t care about celebrities. They’re just working like everyone. Who cares? Not me. But yes, as soon as you move to London you start seeing them. I guess I find it strange living so close to Madonna, she has a house quite near me and her kids were like sitting at my table once in this place. A lot of her dancers are French too. You should track them down.
Do you have any other advice for French people moving to London?
Yes. Mix with the English, even though it’s hard at first, otherwise you’ll never get the hang of the language.
Finally Hakim, what’s your morning hangover cure?
Hangover cure? I guess Cucumber. Actually no, Haagen-Dazs. That works really well.
And that was that! Frère Jack went back inside to dance to Freemasons remixes for the next two hours. Hakim did buy me some shots at the bar too. The rest of the evening is off the record.
Follow Frère Jack on Twitter: @jackcullenuk
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