★★★★ | Age Of Consent
Age of Consent, tells the story of The Hoist, one of London’s few remaining leather bars, which opened in 1996.
It being the story of a sex club, we get to see plenty of sex, some of it quite graphic. Ultimately, though, it turns out to be not only a fascinating glimpse into London’s leather scene, but a history of gay sex since decriminalisation.
Did you know, for instance, that there were more convictions for gross indecency in 1989 than there were in 1966, the year before homosexuality was made legal for “consenting men in private”?
The “in private” part was something the police vigorously enforced it would seem, often using pretty policeman to entrap gay men and secure a conviction. Against a backdrop of leather men grunting and groaning with pleasure, Peter Tatchell talks eloquently, as ever, about the continuing battle for equality under the law; co-owners Kurt Striegler and Guy Irwin tell us all about how the club got started., and some of its regulars tell us what makes the club special for them.
There are no doubt those amongst the gay community (like James Wharton who was only recently proposing the closure of all gay saunas) who will find the goings on in the club quite disgusting, but surely the point is that we should all have equality before the law, whatever our sexual preferences, a fact that was brought brilliantly home by this excellent documentary.
I do hope it gets an official release.