On Monday (Feb 21st) we reported that sauna-goers CRIED over the news that Chariots Streatham branch was closing.
We jokingly asked, if they were going to hold a candlelit vigil with bouquets of anal beads and floppy dildos. If only we knew. The reality was far less tame. Vice reports that crowds of gay men did hang around in a carpark in Shoreditch – and they weren’t cruising. In fact, they were gathered to cast a Shaman’s curse on the property developers destroying the venue. BIBLE. Babe, I was joking. I didn’t actually mean for y’all to congregate in the freezing cold to protest the closure of London’s largest Roman Spa. Which, ironically, is probably grimier, even though the Roman’s hadn’t invented bleach or any other cleaning product. (Soz, but bit of Febreeze wouldn’t kill anybody).
I thought vegetarian animal rallies were severe… Albeit these activists encourage putting meat in your mouth – it just goes to show how passionate people feel about a bit of rump.
A green-cloaked Shaman calls the gays forth, to “banish this evil from time and space”. Imagine: And then out scurries Donald Trump in a loin cloth hiding his face with his combover. The Shaman then throws the magic potion (a mixture of glitter and semen) onto the ground. Much to the disappointment of the other protesters who were waiting on their knees, mouth agape. Just kidding, they were drumming and chanting – because – what else do you do at a spell-casting, flare-flagging ritual curse. It was like Midsummer Night’s Dream, if it had been written by Elton John.
One of the perfectly-sane participants states, “We’re cursing the descendants of these property developers to be queer for 13 generations – only for us to be queer is a blessing – so this is really just a blessing on this space, to make it sacred.” Right. OK, then. Can someone get Maleficient on the phone, they’re not doing it right.
ActUp activist James Johnson goes to demonstrate how this is another example of greedy monopolies are pushing out unique LGBT venues, as well as low incomes, and artists. Agreed. While I disagree with large corporations overtaking quirky and queer spaces at the click of a finger, not sure you can place a sauna in the same category as artist’s studios. Unless they’ve changed the curriculum and cock sucking is now a creative talent. Gosh, Uni would’ve been a walk on Hampstead Heath, if that was the case. Keep me updated, I’ll totally go back and do a Masters if so.
Another activist Dan Glass goes on to explain that Chariots is a “sanctuary” for “poor people”. Please. If you can afford 20 bar entry for sex, you’re hardly broke. Secondly, when Esmerelda cried sanctuary outside the church doors, I don’t remember the priest handing her a bottle of poppers and a towel as he welcomed her in.
After a while, one of the managers comes out as asks the guys to wrap it up – we assume he meant the protest – as the drumming was scaring away potential customers. After all pounding is one thing, but drumming is another story. But after seeing some of the sights in Chariots, I doubt they scare easily. But I ‘spose it’s just the initial shock, like shining a headlight on a racoon when it’s scavenging through the bins.
Jamie McCarthy, a Chariots “devotee” (I can’t), claims they provide a place for elder gay men to socialise. Although considering there’s The Old Ship, Molly Moggs, Admiral Duncan, to name just a few, we assume he means to get laid with ease, and without judgement. At the end of the evening, all the protestors trotted off the The Glory, because even they would rather go elsewhere.
Fair play to the little people standing up to the property developers, I just hope these people aren’t too blinded by the orgasms they’ve received to see (or even consider) the negativity that is part of the package which saunas offer.
[Image Credit: Vice]