Kickstarter photography book will shine light on Blackpool's 1990's LGBTQ scene

Blackpool's flourishing 1990s gay scene could be shown off in a new book.

Tuesday, 23rd November 2021, 3:45 pm
Updated Wednesday, 24th November 2021, 8:32 am

Stuart Linden Rhodes, a teacher by day and photographer by night, is hoping to publish snaps from famous resort bars like Flamingo and the Flying Handbag, as well as from venues across the country, including in Manchester, Liverpool, and Newcastle.

He said: “I have always said Blackpool is like the Brighton to Manchester. When you needed a break from Manchester, you went to Blackpool and it was great fun.”

Stuart praised resort entrepreneur Basil Newby, who opened a series of gay-friendly venues – often in the face of prejudice – at a time when it was considered taboo.

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Party goers of the 1990's

“Basil built an amazing gay scene in the ‘90s,” Stuart said.

“You had Basil’s Bar, Pepe’s, the Flying Handbag, and the wonderful Flamingos itself, which was a superb place.”

Stuart discovered a pile of 30-year-old negatives while clearing out his attic.

He began scanning them and, on a whim, uploading them to the social networking site Instagram.

More of Stuart's work

His page, called Out and About with Linden, now has almost 5,000 followers.

It was discovered by director Joe Ingham, who has worked with Channel Four, Channel Five, and Sky, and who convinced Stuart to compile his work into book form while interviewing him for the news website Vice.

The book, which is being crowdfunded online, would contain more than 100 images of party-goers.

Celebrities including former Spice Girl Melanie B, TV presenter Paul O’Grady, and singer Boy George have also given interviews and detailed accounts of their experiences.

Blackpool's gay scene was seen as taboo in the 1990's

Stuart said: “Joe has been really great. Through him, we have managed to make contact with all the celebrities because he works in the media.

“He was a big help sitting down and helping me whittle through thousands of images to get the photos condensed down for the book.

“And if this book is a success, maybe there will be a volume two.”

The crowdfunding campaign has a target of £8,000 and is close to hitting it. As of yesterday, some £6,167 had been pledged by 161 backers – with 26 days to go before the deadline expires.

Performances captured by Stuart

The landscape hardcover will measure 196x156mm with 144 pages, and 500 copies will be printed if the goal is hit.

Those pledging £23+ will get a copy.

Fun times had by all
Out and About with Linden will showcase hundreds of amazing images