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The Log Books Podcast Offers a Unique Window Into the U.K.'s Queer History

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Is one of the presenters on the logbooks. So tell us tell us about a long books podcast. logbooks is a podcast. Good yet with me so we made a season last year. Once he's out route ten episodes and it's an attempt to tell a history of LGBTQ plus life in Britain from nineteen seventy full. Aw onwards through the voices and the stories of people who rang switchboard the help line for help right so switchboard it is linked gay Samaritans. LGBT cupolas Samaritans. It still running today as a charity. Still taking Kohl's ten. Am To ten PM has been doing since nineteen eighteen. Seventy four and the volunteers when they started in nineteen seventy four started writing notes in these physical things called logbooks just a four notepads describing what was coming up on the calls and also talking to each other between volunteers like from one shift to the next about what was coming upon the calls and how switchboards switchboards volunteers manning. The phones or person in the phones could actually help the colas. I mean mentioning. Them is kind of big kind of leather bound tones. They're not leather downtown. They're like cheapo lined paper that you would get from W. Eight okay. So people would ring switchboard with their kinda queries. Things like Hello I'm new to London. Where can I go meet? Gay People exactly okay. Everything from I just want to go to a disco because I'm new to London and a being gay or think I'm gay so I wanna go to disco everything from like jolly calls like that all the way through to my dad's just kicked me out because I'm gay and I've got nowhere to go. What do I do like right right now? An owned by the way the pips coming and so my money in the phone box is about to run out of course because no one had mobile phone because this is in the past is in the past history of those that's true yeah We also look to live in the future with looking to have mobile phones so everything from like runaways that to wish that I go for Dr after signing. I've got the clap. I was going to say. Do you get people going swimming green and newsies coming out monopoly. After do where do I go and say switchboard kept notes on which was a good clinics the friendly claim and so they could advise callers. Okay Dunk Guy to this clinic. Go to this other clinic because those friendly doctors there who are like okay with gay sex shaming for me for it. They're calls about people saying I'm a man in my wife is caught me dressing up in her clothes close. She is really shocked about this. And I don't know whether that means my marriage is ending. I don't know what that means about me and who I who I think I am. There's a lot of language in the In the logbooks which is historic language. So there's talks of t s and TV transsexual transvestite. Because I'm in early logbooks. This is this is from the seventies seventies and eighties says calls about that side of life and there's also calls lots and lots and lots of calls about sex such as what happens to the same and what is inside you. Just sit tight. How so calls like that or I'm a girl and another girl and we're going to do something but I don't and what to do how do I do it? What she gonNa like things like that? Do they get trained. Yes okay so which would have a training group while still has a trading group they get together and they share all this information formation. There the point is if. You're a volunteer switchboard still today. Then you don't know who's on the other end the line when you pick up the phone so you have to be able to know everything so if we have to narrow Arab lesbian sex in case someone calls you and asks you about Lesbian Sex. I suppose at least nowadays if you needed to you could put it on. Hold Google it but then surely they curriculum the point is they want to speak to another human. Being right and switchboards tagline. Now is calm words when they needed most. And so it's those words from another person was give me an example if satirical thing that someone rang open asked back in the olden days. Okay I've give you an example apple here all right. This is a log book entry from April Nineteen Thousand Nine hundred seventy five. Wow it says chagas same to you. which is the name of pub in central London? I think it's not there anymore. It's not there anymore. Chat grammas reported not gay at all Straits have been making comments when gaze down together gays have been huddled in a corner said they will feel ill at ease. So what's going on. That's the entry so someone's obviously run into say chatmoss. This risk pope which maybe is known to be gay or gay friendly or maybe it was recommended by switchboard volunteer. And appreciate so someone could have run. Should I go. And they've got all chat. Rooms is correct. Yeah and then. They've wrapped up and they've had the experience of gays being cuddled together in a corner so volunteers written that down. Basically two of the volunteers they had this report from someone that maybe it's not like gay friendly so it's a bit like an old world. He'd Yelp Review Google interesting. Exactly how did they charity. Sheraton's though for someone to sign up with a guys. No one goes to check around well back not one of the reasons why you have the book so that when you start shefty flicked back through the pages that represent the previous shift's so you can look at that. But then there was an information group of volunteers in switchboard whose job it was to maintain an enormous. It's like filing system by actually finding cabinets cabinets folders th Rolodex like just blows is a paper basically huge firearms so they would. Have you know section on like bar like gay bars in London so it would be their job they would look through the logbook. The most recent entries look things like that and then go and update the entry that they have for they probably have an entry for checkers and just looked at. I entered you say. Oh we've had a report that maybe it's not gay friendly and then when someone else rings and says oh I've heard about Chicago there. Is that gay friendly then. The search for volunteer can go. I'm GONNA minute name. I don't find all the papers one flick flick flick flick. Yeah exactly and find the information and then say well you know. Yeah we've had did have reports that he was gay friendly Spice Week depots something but actually no we. We've just had reports that maybe it's not so you make your choice so it doesn't exist in. Yeah learn him and so then be like the information thing presumably now is online. You know maybe not available publicly but certainly mole all kinds of like digital second. Yeah Taibbi type rather than Vicki flicking exactly. Yes switchboard kind of moved system of making these notes on Cole's Kohl's and information files into a digital format fully into thousand three and so the handwritten logbooks run from one thousand nine hundred seventy four to nine to two thousand. Even three the first season of aloke podcast runs until nineteen eighty two so we hope to make seasons two and three which will then follow on from that brings up to two thousand three essay day. And then we'll use dope and then we will stop but the but actually although it took until two thousand and three for them to go like fully computerized. There is an entry in the book in Nineteen Eighty full which read something like this. I'll try and like orally replicate the typography that the person had used one hundred and typography it goes November the second nineteen eighty-four the arrival of the computer is imminent Lopez drawn. A hand grown it like with like shadowing it's like would proper word a hundred and it says it's a ten megabyte hard drive massive i. It's an apricot which I don't i. I don't know that's the color scheme. It's a nice kind of pinkish orange. We'd like a mild fo's did you get people calling opening allow Manab Green. Yes which would definitely did can see there. Oh He's in the in the log books those kinds of calls going green. Can you recommend a clinic wash doing now show. Ed dropped off yet. So which obviously had calls like that and health goals and so just like it kept like a rolodex Kaz that kept rolodex of clinics to say well this clinic friendly and this one is not the thing about those kinds of calls is that you never really knew what was going to happen to that person afterwards. Because you know you you might give them advice on the phone and then who knows whether they managed to get the treatment so Cost because no one's going to go back and go to know. Thank you exactly and you tell me where I can go and get bummed against true. Yeah Wow I thought I think that would drive me at the wall. Just not knowing all of these kind of glimpses into other people's lives with no closure happy ever after. Yeah