Something to Listen To: Memories from the Dance Floor

GAY45 has launched a new editorial feature, “Something to Listen To”. The feature offers readers a handpicked selection of the best episode podcasts of the month. The magazine’s editorial team curates the selection and scours the airwaves for the most engaging and thought-provoking shows to share with their readers.

At the end of the year, the magazine will take things a step further by honouring the best podcast of the year with the prestigious GAY45 Award for the best 2023 Podcast. The award will recognize excellence in podcasting, celebrating shows that have significantly impacted listeners and the industry as a whole.

The process behind selecting podcast episodes for a new series is being touted as independent of the publishing date, with a focus on appealing to listeners based on interest rather than recency.

When London’s Heaven opened in the winter of 1979, it changed what we knew to be gay clubbing forever. Europe’s first super-club, Heaven has played a central role and had a major influence in the development of London’s LGBT+ scene for the last 44 years.

Memories from the Dance Floor is a docu-series celebrating LGBT+ venues and unravelling the forgotten history behind queer nightlife across the UK, as host, Damian Kerlin, dives into the 20th-century queer culture and the opening of iconic super clubs.

Damian is joined by founders, artists, promoters and patrons to unpack the expressions of queer identity after dark, colourfully told by the community that lived it.

Club-goers at Heaven, London, 1985 © Dave Swindells

Interviewees include Jeremy Norman, founder of Heaven, Ian Levine, Hi-NRG music producer and DJ, Amy Lame, London Night Czar and BBC 6 broadcaster and Jeremy Atherton Lin, author of Gay Bar: Why We Went Out as well as many more.

We find it a unique podcast because the history of LGBT+ music is so much more than a timeline of who came out when and which songs became gay anthems.

It’s about the artists who weren’t afraid to be themselves and their influence in eras when doing so often had personal and professional risks attached — eras when we didn’t even have the language to talk about gender and sexuality the way we do now.

Our gay clubs and spaces, along with our music, have added immeasurable worldwide historical and cultural value to popular music and queer spaces of the 20th and 21st centuries have played a crucial role in shaping the soundtracks of our lives.

Who knew this radical idea of how to spend a Saturday night would eventually evolve into modern clubbing and spread to every corner of the world? We did. And Damian Kerlin’s podcast memorises it so well. ♦︎

Click here for Apple, Google, and Spotify links to listen to the podcast.

You can read Are GenZ Listeners of Podcasts by Ciprian Ciobanu for a broad perspective on podcasts and GenZ.

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