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Laurie and The Jug


worked at the Home Office and he managed to get the a late licence, like a Working Man’s Club, in a tin hut in . Then they had a political fall out about whose club it was and Laurie was booted out, so he set up The Club, which was ‘Just Us Guys’, and then it changed (its meaning) to ‘Just Us Gays’. In those days most lesbians went out as friends of gay men, known as lipstick lesbians. You’d say ‘Is she married? No she’s one of us.’ In those days it was more difficult for women socially than it was for men. Laurie was obviously bitter against whatever happened with the Gale but he had wonderful foresight about lesbians and gays when I first met him in the early 80s. He’d seen lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgendered, all mixing together, and he always knew that when he had them in his club he could get them all to socialise as normal people. He had the belief that if they could do it on the dance floor, they could do it on the street. He was an amazing character and I believe with his stage presence and his wit and his camp, if he’d been based in London, in Soho, he’d have been very well known, on Channel Four, and a minimum of a Larry Grayson type of person, but he was also politically motivated and had done a lot behind the scene. He’d entertain the local police and local politicians for dinner or drinks, that’s the way it was done in those days and he’d make sure that his clients and clientele, and the general clientele in Birmingham were quite well looked after. I found him an amazing character and respected him, and although he had his own grudges, his and his partner Lionel’s ultimate aim was to unite. The Jug at that time was underneath in Water Street, but before that it was in Albert Street, up in the town centre, underneath a restaurant, you went down a little spiral staircase and you were served through a little cubby hole in the wall. “

Contributed by: Bill Gavan, 56

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