Constrained and faddish during the s, D. The age-old convention that social dance should revolve exclusively around straight couples imploded. The act of entering a darkened space, dancing to amplified music and becoming part of an undulating crowd — often for hours on end, often under the influence of perception-enhancing substances — disturbed the everyday consciousness of participants, including those who identified as straight. Eroticism became an all-body experience.
Stonewall riots - Wikipedia
Not long ago, many clubs catered to enthusiastic leathermen. Inside, past three sets of doors and a changing room cordoned off with an old tarpaulin, is a shadowy warren of alcoves, cages and dark corners. Knee-high leather boots hang from iron chains looped through ceiling hooks like fetish bunting. A gregarious barman greets regulars while hairy-chested musclemen appear on a small screen next to an ice bucket. A string of closures has caused concern for those interested in a variety of fetishes, but the leather scene seems to have been hardest hit, particularly in London. Bars such as the Coleherne, the Anvil, Bloc, Substation and, most recently, the Hoist, have all disappeared into the annals of gay history, replaced with gastropubs, luxe apartments and identikit offices.
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The club was housed in a building originally constructed in , then known as "The Strand Hotel" with a saloon on the ground floor, that catered to sailors [note 1] and accepted only men as customers. In the fall of , The Anvil opened, with the main floor featuring a dance floor and a rectangular bar along with a performance area, all painted black. There was another small bar downstairs with a large screen on which gay male porn of the period was shown.