I remember the queer scene of my late teens and early 20s, snogging the gay boys on podiums, and sniffing poppers on the rides at Brighton Pride. One time, my friend Leigh burnt his face when Liquid Gold amyl nitrate spilled all over his nostrils. I remember staying up all night at Fire or French Kiss (I once missed a plane because I went to the wrong airport after leaving Turnmills and ended up stranded in Geneva as my group had gone ahead).

I remember being underage and getting lifts home by a certain drag DJ’s driver/minder, and having a phase where I only drank brandy on the rocks. I remember leaning against the velvet clad drag queen Gloria Gusset at Sound on Sunday thinking that she was a pillar, and then she moved, much to my shock. I remember getting off with the hottest looking girl in a toilet cubicle and finding out quickly there was more to her than met the eye and more than I bargained for (!). I remember Mondays at Red Eye or Popcorn at Heaven, Tuesdays at Don’t Call me Babe, Wednesdays at Nag Nag Nag, Thursdays as Misshapes, Fridays at The Cock or Popstarz. It would hit a certain point in the night and my boys would leave me and head to Chariots, the infamous sauna. No girls allowed. Sadly.

The times when the nights took over the days. I’d often find myself with the bears, or somewhere in Vauxhall, it always felt like anything could happen…. I miss those times. When queer spaces existed en masse, when a club doorway felt like Narnia’s wardrobe. I wish I’d taken pictures of it all, for posterity. I never thought it would change or I would change, or places would close. Every night of the week there was something to suit every taste and I tasted it all. The butches and the boys, the trans guys and the queens. The bears, otters, cubs. The sweat. The girl filled bars – Vespa, Candy Bar, blush, Oak bar, First Out, Southopia, G-A-Y, Glass Bar, Y Bar, Star Bar, and the nights I’d go to under duress… a tapestry of queerdom.

Most of Soho’s queer scene has now closed, and many of the local gay pubs have shut down. Dating apps have changed the scene, pushing the clubs into infrequent nights of gaudy excess. Now, the boys, girls, trans community and everyone in between mingle in many of the same venues. But this time, instead of thinking this phase will last forever, I have been making conscious efforts to document the early hours because if not now, then when?

I look back at my teenage years and wish I had recorded that other scene, when everything felt possible, and it felt that the euphoria would roll on forever. With this series, I try to recapture that feeling I had, when I felt that I’d uncovered a secret world as nights bled into the first light in a seemingly never ending cycle. This is a glimpse into that after-hours world, where genders blend, difference is celebrated, and sweat is shared. My coming out party.