"How was Munich?" asked Charlie.

"Awesome!" grinned Kellen. "The weather was so good!"

"Lots of beer?" asked Charlie. "Burly men in Lederhosen?"

"So much beer!" nodded Kelln. "We went nude swimming!"

"Happy Pride!" exclaimed Marc.

"It’s too early..." grumbled Charlie. "Why are we meeting so early?"

"The parade starts at 12..." shrugged Marc. "Don’t you want to watch the parade?"

"We’re not watching all of it, are we?" asked Charlie. "It goes for hours! Plus, there’s only so much enthusiasm I can muster up for banks and lawyers waving rainbow flags."

"If we grabbed a cheeky drink on the way would that help to get you in the spirit of it all?" suggested Marc.

"That would definitely get my rainbow flag waving!" grinned Charlie. "Where shall we go?"

"What about Blacks?" suggested Marc.

"Blacks?" repeated Charlie. "The club?"

"Yeah, why not?" shrugged Marc. "We could have a Bloody Mary and some breakfast. That should set us up nicely for the day."

"Wait, how are we getting into Blacks?" asked Charlie. "Are you a member? When did you become a member of Blacks?"

"A couple of months ago..." replied Marc. "They gave me a free trial and then I decided to sign up. It’s no big deal."

"Isn’t it crazy expensive?" asked Charlie.

"It’s not as much as you’d think..." shrugged Marc. "Anyway, it’s handy to have as an option."

"Let’s do it!" agreed Charlie. "Oh, one question?"

"Don’t worry..." grinned Marc. "I’ll pay for breakfast."

"You’re the best!" beamed Charlie. "Honestly, the best."

"You’re dog-sitting?" asked Angus.

"It’s Niall’s..." confirmed Kellen. "His name’s Harry."

"He’s cute!" said Angus. "What sort of dog is he?"

"A Tibetan Terrier..." replied Kellen. "Apparently they were bred as temple dogs. He just sits around and keeps a watchful eye on things."

"That sounds like my kind of job!" grinned Angus. "Are you using him to cruise for guys?"

"No!" replied Kellen. "What are you talking about?"

"Guys out walking their dogs?" explained Angus. "They’re notoriously up for it!"

"Really?" replied Kellen. "I didn't realise that that was a thing. Maybe if I was walking him on Hampstead Heath, but so far there hasn’t been much action in Shoreditch Park."

"Where’s Niall?" asked Angus. "Why are you in charge of Harry?"

"He’s gone to Sicily for a week..." replied Kellen. "I think he’s just having a bit of alone-time on the beach, as well as funding the education of the local gay-for-pay boys."

"Obviously..." smiled Angus. "Oh, good news - I got the results of my STI tests back. I’m all good."

"You used the self-test kit?" asked Kellen.

"Yes! Such a great service..." nodded Angus. "Totally takes all the drama out of testing. I got the all-clear on everything except Hep C - they said they didn’t get enough of a blood sample to properly test for that."

"Unlikely that you’re at risk of Hep C?" suggested Kellen.

"Exactly..." shrugged Angus. "I’m not interested in injecting myself with anything."

"So, you’re good to go?" grinned Kellen.

"I guess so..." replied Angus. "I’ve put an order in for some PrEP. I just want to feel ready for anything."

"What do you mean?" asked Kellen.

"I’ve been having condom dilemmas..." explained Angus. "It's really been taking the fun out of spontaneous anonymous hook-ups."

"I get that..." nodded Kellen.

"I just want to be all PrEPed up so I can just get it on whenever there’s an opportunity..." added Angus.

"PrEP only protects you from HIV..." said Kellen.

"I know..." nodded Angus. "But Gonnorhea is a risk that I’m willing to take. A condom is no protection against that anyway."

"True..." nodded Kellen. "So, got any dates or hook-ups planned?"

"Don’t pressure me!" exclaimed Angus. "My anxiety is already a daily struggle!"

"Grab a low-fat snack and come right back..." grinned Charlie.

"Don't Wendy Williams me!" scowled Kellen. "My life is not an episode of Hot Topics!"

"He’s my ex boyfriend..." explained Nicola.

"Breakup sex?" asked Kellen.

"Not with him..." replied Nicola. "I can’t ever go there with him again. He hurt me too much."

"So dramatic..." sighed Kellen. "Why are straight girls always so dramatic?"

"I think if I was setting up a gym, I'd ensure that the locker room included a designated selfie corner..." explained Ro. "Everyone is doing it, everyone wants to record their progress, or show off their physique."

"I guess so..." grunted Marc, trying to control the dumbbells that Ro has thrust towards him.

"Gyms should embrace this and have proper mirrors that enable you to get that full body shot, and down-lights that enable you to demonstrate your definition..." continued Ro. "I always feel a bit self-conscious pulling out the camera while I'm getting changed, but this is crazy  -  it should be an accepted part of the work-out routine. Lift, shower, selfie, sauna, shower, done."

"I want to get back on the Bulgarian Split Squats..." decided Ro. "I know that will be hard work, but they always deliver results."

"What are Bulgarian Split Squats?" asked Marc.

"You know, standing split squat with heavy weights..." explained Ro. "Front foot elevated."

"Oh, right..." nodded Marc. "I always call those Belgian squats."

"Belgian?" repeated Marc. "No, that's totally wrong. They're definitely Bulgarian."

"Who wants some vodka?" asked Marc.

"Oh god, no..." sighed Kellen. "I am done!"

"It’s Salted Caramel..." added Marc.

"Did you say Sausage Caramel?" asked Kellen, slurring his words.

"No..." grinned Marc. "Salted Caramel, not Sausage Caramel. Do you want some?"

"Well, it would be rude to say no..." shrugged Kellen, as Marc grabbed the bottle and glasses for them all.

"This is delicious!" exclaimed Charlie, tossing back the shot of vodka that Marc had poured out for each of them.

"It tastes like Salted Caramel!" announced Kellen.

"I know, right?" grinned Marc. "Ready for some more?"

"What would your porn name be?" asked Angus.

"Using the name of your first pet and the street where you grew up?" asked Charlie.

"Exactly..." confirmed Angus.

"Tigger Rivington..." replied Charlie.

"Oh, that’s good!" admitted Angus.

"I know, right!" grinned Charlie. "But, what if I switched it up so that it was Tigger Rimmington?"

"Genius!" exclaimed Angus. "You are a gay porn genius!"

"If you’re not sure whether you’re really in the mood for some action at a sauna, or whether or not you’re going to find guys inside who will tick your boxes, then a good game to play is Spot the Guy..." explained Charlie.

"What's Spot the Guy?" asked Marc.

"You just kind of linger near the door for a little while, in a cool not creepy way..." replied Charlie. "You wait for a bit and see if there is a guy going in that has enough appeal that he makes you want to follow him through the door."

"Got it..." nodded Marc.

"Okay, here we go..." alerted Charlie. "What about this guy?"

"Totally!" confirmed Marc. "I'll see you later."

"Let’s not get too carried away..." cautioned Kellen.

"Stop raining on my gay parade!" exclaimed Charlie.

"He got me one of those mini-packs of Ferrero Rocher choclates..." shrugged Nico. "Three Ferrero Rocher. You can get them from the off-licence. I think they cost about £2."

"Exactly!" exclaimed Charlie. "He may as well have got you a bar of Green and Blacks from the off-licence!"

"God I hate getting the bus..." sighed Charlie.

"Why were you on the bus?" asked Marc.

"I was coming back from Soho..." explained Charlie. "It was too cold to cycle so I got on a bus."

"It’s not that bad, is it?" asked Marc.

"I guess not..." shrugged Charlie. "But, it was peak hour, so that was fairly unpleasant."

"I broke my collarbone..." explained Nico. "I fell of my bike. I’m right-handed as well."

"You should try swimming?" suggested Kellen.

"Hydro-therapy..." said Nico. "Yes, that’s what the physio told me. At the moment it’s still healing."

"How are you, you know..." said Kellen. "How are you taking care of business?"

"It’s been a bit of a learning curve..." shrugged Nico. "When it first happened, I thought - well, I’m in so much pain that it won't be an issue, I’ll just embrace abstinence for a while. No big deal. But, by day three, I was climbing the walls."

"That itch needed to be scratched..." grinned Kellen.

"Exactly..." nodded Nico. "Trying to do it with my left hand just felt weird. But, nevertheless, I persisted."

"I’ve always been a bit ambidextrous..." shrugged Kellen.

"That’s a gift..." said Nico. "You don’t realise how lucky you are."

"I’d like to look like Alexander Skaarsgaard in Tarzan..." said Marc.

"Why not aim for something a little more realistic?" suggested Ro.

"That’s not very supportive!" exclaimed Marc. "You could have at least accepted that it was within the realms of possibility!"

"My back is killing me!" groaned Charlie.

"Sweatbox again?" asked Angus.

"I’ve got dust in every orifice..." sighed Charlie.

"Some guys like that, right?" grinned Angus.

"Great choice!" exclaimed Helen. "I love a Sunday roast, and this place is gorgeous. One of my favourite antique shops is just near here! What's the matter, why do you look like you're about to throw up? Are you okay?"

"Actually, I'm not..." sighed Anders. "I'm really not. But I feel like I'm getting better. I'm definitely making progress."

"I love this place!" exclaimed Kellen. "Who knew that Peckham was so cool?"

"Actually, I think it’s been cool for a couple of years now..." shrugged Franck.

"I know..." nodded Kellen. "But it’s that south of the river thing. I guess it's just never really on my radar. How did you hear about this sake brewery?"

"I Googled best places for a first date..." explained Franck.

"This is a date?" asked Kellen.

"Oh, I thought it was..." replied Franck. "It's not?"

"Port?" said Niall. "You brought port? Why did you bring port?"

"I don’t know..." shrugged Kellen. "It just kind of spoke to me in the off-licence. It impressed the Turkish brothers, anyway."

"Who are the Turkish brothers?" asked Niall.

"Oh, the off-licence downstairs from my flat. It’s run by three brothers..." explained Kellen. "The oldest one was on duty tonight. He was impressed that I bought a bottle of port. I told him it was a special occasion."

"Is it a special occasion?" asked Niall.

"Every day is a special occasion!" exclaimed Kellen.

"How are you feeling about the breakup?" asked Niall.

"I don’t know..." shrugged Kellen. "It is what it is. It was what it was."

"What does that mean?" asked Niall.

"It's something from this interview that I read the other day..." explained Kellen. "I forget who it was with. Anyway, the journalist was asking this guy something about what he thought his legacy was going to be. The guy explained that he wasn't interested in leaving a legacy. That when a tree dies in a forest, it then becomes part of the future of the forest. The tree is what it is, it was what it was. That's enough."

"Deep..." nodded Niall. "I like it, but it's deep."

"It’s not really the weather for the Tow Path Cafe..." protested Angus.

"It’s not raining that much..." insisted Kellen. "Besides, if it’s at all sunny then this place is packed and you can’t get a seat. What did you do last night?"

"I met up with my friend Deanna..." replied Kellen. "Went for noodles at Tonkotsu and then for a drink at The Glory."

"Nice one..." acknowledged Angus.

"We weren’t going to stay long..." continued Kellen. "But downstairs, Xnthony was hosting Werk In Progress. It was fun. What did you get up to?"

"Nothing really..." shrugged Angus. "Just watched some tele and had a bit of me-time."

"Why don’t you get back out there and meet some guys?" asked Kellen.

"It’s been so long since I’ve had sex, I’ve pretty much become a celibate nun..." sighed Angus.

"Don’t be ridiculous!" dismissed Kellen.

"I’m serious!" exclaimed Angus. "The thought of a random hook-up totally terrifies me!"

"Where was dinner last night?" asked Kellen.

"The Frog on Hoxton Square..." replied Marc. "It’s an odd sort of place - kind of cool, huge beer menu, but it's almost as if it's not sure what it’s trying to be."

"I know the feeling..." said Kellen. "Was the food good?"

"Yeah, it was good..." decided Marc. "It was all good. I’m just not sure if I’ll go back there."

"Fair enough..." nodded Kellen. "What else is news?"

"I booked my holiday today..." replied Marc.

"What holiday?" asked Kellen. "Where. When. Where are you going?"

"Gran Canaria..." replied Marc. "Seven nights."

"Are you kidding me with this?" exclaimed Kellen. "Who are you going with?"

"Just me..." shrugged Marc. "By myself. A bit of me-time."

"That’s ridiculous!" said Kellen.

"Why?" asked Marc. "Why is that ridiculous?"

"Why don’t you go with someone else?" asked Kellen.

"Who would I go with?" shrugged Marc.

"There’s heaps of people who would go with you to Gran Canaria..." said Kellen. "Aren’t you going to be lonely?"

"I’m really looking forward to it..." shrugged Marc.

"It’s a sex holiday, isn’t it!" decided Kellen. "You’re just going for an endless string of hookups. I know what happens in those dunes!"

"That’s not why I’m going..." smiled Marc. "Sure, I’m not saying that I wouldn't be happy to explore any options that might present themselves to me, but that’s not why I’m going."

"I’m so angry!" exclaimed Charlie.

"Why, what’s going on?" Angus.

"Have you seen the photos from the Met gala?" asked Charlie.

"Um, not really..." admitted Angus. "I haven’t been paying much attention. I saw Gaga, obviously."

"It’s fucking ridiculous!" exclaimed Charlie.

"What is?" asked Angus.

"The theme was Camp..." explained Charlie. "Camp. Have you seen what these so-called celebrities have come out in?"

"It really hasn’t been at the top of my priority list, to be honest..." shrugged Angus.

"Camp..." repeated Charlie. "I mean, come on! There were guys there in black suits! A black suit! The Hemsworths! What the hell is camp about that?"

Follow Gareth Johnson on Twitter


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Alongside U=U (Undetectable = Untransmittable), the availability of PrEP means that we now have the tools to prevent the transmission of HIV.

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