According to a recently published survey by Britain’s Office of National Statistics, 1.5% of the adult British population is either gay or bisexual. This figure has been extrapolated from a sample of about 180,000 and is much lower than many pundits expected. I’m not surprised. Brits tend to be a bashful and bolshy lot, content to tell the nosy nanny state to mind its own business, particularly in matters of the boudoir. Gaydar, the gay dating site, claims to have over two million members in the UK so maybe the ONS numbers don’t stack up. In any case, percentages shouldn’t count when it comes to freedom, personal choice and civil rights. If it was all about mustering the troops, the ladies of this land would have been running the show decades ago (and that would be no bad thing). The survey revealed that the highest number of gay and bisexual people is found in London, the wicked city where the streets are paved with diversity. No surprises here either. What only-gay-in-the-village wouldn’t pay for a one-way ticket out of middle England? But which part of this Sceptre’d Isle has the fewest fairies? You guessed it; East Anglia. This may explain the dearth of come hither looks I get these days. Or maybe I’m just past my use-by date.
Jack Scott Imagine the absurdity of two openly gay, married middle aged, middle class men escaping the liberal sanctuary of anonymous London to relocate to a Muslim country. I chronicled our exploits with the mad, the sad, the bad and the glad in a blog for the whole world to ignore. Then came the book which became a critically acclaimed best seller. Its success opened out a whole new career for me as an author. Who'd have thought it? Certainly not me. In June 2012, we ended our Anatolian affair and paddled back to Britain on the evening tide, washing up in Norwich, a surprising city in eastern England. I’m sometimes nostalgic for our encounters with the hopeless, the hapless and, yes, the happy go lucky. They gave me an unexpected tale to tell and for this I thank them. The next instalment, Turkey Street, is out now in print and digital editions.