Phillip Peek

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[00:00:00] This program is brought to you by pride in [00:00:05] We're all the sun sun was located and Whitefield straight opposite Town Hall. [00:00:12] It's now a hotel. [00:00:16] But it was upstairs [00:00:20] next to the scripting bookshop [00:00:24] and the low was a Chinese restaurant. [00:00:29] I started going when I first arrived on monitoring and 75 from Christchurch and I ended up being employed there as a full time Jay work, which make cleaning and [00:00:44] then on the desk and you know, things that have entails and it was actually I'm about to say straight guys. [00:00:56] And they ran up and rennet very well actually, for some years and then later on, they sold it to the let's say the app Empire and welcome brek shea butter Tony can have a cheer [00:01:14] so we're talking the mid 70s How did a gay six on site venue kind of operate because this is pre homosexual law reform? Yeah so it was a briefing on like on the down low or how to operate [00:01:30] well you pay to Winton was a security guard who which is logical just purge while [00:01:39] you basically had a locker we take your clothes off and got a towel [00:01:45] and [00:01:47] there were cubicles for privacy via will die they were no doors on the head tyranny in shower curtains in those days [00:02:00] there was a sparkle and there was a dry sauna [00:02:06] and there was some large rooms that were reasonably dark but in those days it was pretty well let wasn't that maybe the cubicle here is we're but [00:02:21] it wasn't tall it was sold to the Empire which things really changed with the lighting and the [00:02:30] I made a lot more crazy and darker and here guy [00:02:39] if you'd walk in the early days you wouldn't really know it was a guy sauna so much whereas a change very much when out Empire [00:02:49] Yeah, [00:02:50] so in those very early days it was still like a sauna but if you knew you knew and if you didn't you didn't Yeah, I guess I was it was actually advertised is such what was just people were in the know [00:03:04] tell the truth. I can't remember I think it was more in the night [00:03:09] I'm pretty sure would have been on similar gay literature international stuff five seconds but [00:03:17] how did you come across it [00:03:22] honestly can't remember how I first stumbled on it. I just remember being in the room. I must have been told by someone here [00:03:33] in terms of kind of clientele coming to the premises because again as I say this is pre law firm so what people openly talking about going to the song or was at one of these kind of undercover opinions. There were [00:03:48] a lot of the clientele during the day where [00:03:52] men who were in marriages he would come along German day and if you saw that in the street mean I just had this policy that I will say alone until someone else's knowledge me on want to upset the cat will you know [00:04:09] but I tend to say hello to most people even strangers we're not claiming the care of somebody in the street you know but it was a bit underground in yeah but a few [00:04:26] and out gay circles of course you talked about it. Yeah. [00:04:33] The the noise we hearing in the background is Wellington's window like a very windy [00:04:39] day one day Yeah, yeah. So what about the police to the police have a kind of hustle the song [00:04:49] I worked at a sauna I had two [00:04:55] times and my work there where I worked the knowledge and I came back Gemma Tom I lift at once right? But the time I was there I can't remember the name [00:05:10] any problems with the place? Yeah. [00:05:15] I never really talked to the owners in about what relationship they had with the place [00:05:22] I'm sure they would have but quite know what that was. Yeah, [00:05:30] it's it's a really interesting [00:05:34] kind of situation I guess the way that you're describing the first owners and that the sauna wasn't necessarily known as a gay cruising spot I mentioned that could have been quite a few misunderstandings for like straight clientele or was it was it more kind of known and then [00:05:55] I think it was more none than that personally I mean you had to come up Steve get the it wasn't like it was right off as straight [00:06:05] as it is now with poses let checkmate which are right on the street where you're going to walk down a corridor that you would have to pretty much now I think because it was quite a flight of stairs to get the then you got to a landing and there was all the scripture union or the foreigner and if you manage to get there [00:06:30] and bought a steak [00:06:33] yeah i'm i'm sure Mr. happen but generally you know you you would tell people you know if they were looking at all but the world of a space here [00:06:45] in Scripture union out so what does that [00:06:47] was a Christian bookshop that we shared the same landing with on the fifth floor and the relationship was [00:06:59] yet they liked it very much [00:07:03] it was quite desiring Yeah, he's to get some pretty [00:07:09] you know, lots of daggers status met from one of one of a woman of color who was a more senior woman who worked there. The manager they seem to be but it was it was pretty pretty tense at times. Yeah. That actually the relationship we have with the restaurant downstairs which [00:07:32] so thing about a sommelier never you always try and get a ground floor with a solar in medicine checkmate and when it was the white field before checkmate bought it from the ground for musical raised for that because what it does travel and many a time I remember being called downstairs to the Chinese restaurant because seals water dripping on their walks [00:08:00] from a sparkle Yeah, so always funny things that happened and [00:08:08] you [00:08:10] will find that same level [00:08:13] Um, can you go back to describing the kind of interior of the sooner I guess pre [00:08:22] cabbage Empire the [00:08:25] first time your weekend what what kind of day call what [00:08:29] was a pretty broad from memory it was you know, pretty cream they used to close to Christmas and he painted with Hank and take all the water bottles on a reader so it was very very well maintained. [00:08:46] That to change when the Empire bought it seems to always be open. And as things broke down, they would get fixed. Well usually but it was very brought with light and very light with color. [00:09:06] And wasn't that crazy? [00:09:10] Although things still happen there but yeah, a lot of the more common areas and there's a reading area far remember which obviously until like to read but [00:09:25] it was a lot lighter and brighter. Yeah. [00:09:30] When I'm thinking of song and say nowadays we you know we talking about I'm kind of glory holes, dark areas, [00:09:39] porn apparatus, [00:09:43] none of that. None of us none of that was just draw some of the sparkle. And they were was a bit Cordle with like I said cubicles just I think they hit yellow. shower curtains on. That's what I remember. But maybe awesome. I will I will just share kittens on here. [00:10:05] And what about when the Empire took over? How did it change? [00:10:09] I think the first thing I remember will say put shiny reflective sort of plastics and a paper all across the ceiling staple that up there. [00:10:22] And they put drop lights and black what long sort of black 10s or most of the cast lights down and there were red lights. They were I remember [00:10:37] you Yeah, everything got sort of painted black and the lights were completely [00:10:46] so it became [00:10:49] a lot crazier. sleazier crazier [00:10:53] which is some ways was good in some ways. It was terrible. Was it at they never closed to read. [00:11:04] Like the previous sentence did I have a customer so that that wasn't sort of built on? Yeah. [00:11:11] With the other six months I've been using Willington at the time [00:11:17] I'm trying to fit when the the guys cinema started in Jackson Street Academy what year that started. [00:11:26] That had to cinema 01 sort of straight on monster the guy and I think a lot of bits and pieces happened in the dark, I imagine but it was wasn't. Yeah. [00:11:39] So what was it like for you working in a gay six on typing you have you done that before? [00:11:45] No, no, no. I sort of stumbled into the job. The two guys I work for a really good [00:11:53] I work there a couple of years and then our men but giving them all quite a few months notice and but she came and saw me in the holidays and offered me [00:12:07] this was unbeknown to me it was obviously the out in pile approached me to sell and they were going to sell they offered me [00:12:18] for the next year, or next six months before the before the sale happened day. [00:12:25] They said You're hopeless at saving. So we're going to put $50 a week into your savings into a savings account, you won't be attached until a year's time or something like that, which was brilliant. So [00:12:39] and then when the out Empire border, I became manager for a while and I stayed do want to be in six months or a year. But that was set really here. [00:12:52] What's the question? Again, you're asking me what it was like working the year. [00:12:57] The doors and work for a great, though really nice guys. [00:13:04] Pretty straight up, I had a lot of loyalty for them, because they were really good to me. [00:13:12] They keep the place claimed well maintained. [00:13:17] And that would just hit a really good business sense here. Else I'll [00:13:23] be treated really well. So I enjoyed working here was good. And like I said, [00:13:31] I can't remember ever having any trouble with a place while I work there. [00:13:36] And also it was I had come up from Christchurch [00:13:44] where I lived apprenticeship and Captain gene joinery because that's what I didn't know what to do in this school sedated or become a captain the boy, you know, you might go wrong me but [00:13:59] our guests, you know, realizing that I was gay, and wanting to do something a bit different. I sort of met someone and cross church came up here. And that wasn't long after that, that are in that work in a persona. So it was a real change. For me, it was [00:14:16] freedom. I was meeting nice people, woman in mean, I've still got a good one of my best friends would be the friend on MIT about that time. She's still in my life, you know, really good friend. In fact, I'm seeing here today with her daughter I've helped raise and she's 29 and a half his car. So that's where we're headed yet. But it was a great place to work. Yeah, yeah, it's I made a lot of friends here which of course LED on to [00:14:49] the whole movement guide moment, homosexual or form, you know. So a lot of people I met him work there were, in fact, gay activists, the LA Listen, Mike McKenna, [00:15:07] the otter stylo Rob, like, they all had their part time work there. So I I mixed in those sort of cycles. And when I bought my first house on my own [00:15:24] David when he was one of my flatmates and john Wally, and those other people would congregate with real sort of friends. I was more of the fringe or I didn't see yourself as the gate of us. But I ended up on matches and Angel upon Peck triangle with my boyfriend at the time that we were wearing masks. So you never met was May you know, one of the monogram type, mass or Thank you, I think, for the devotion one of the year. But, you know, the good place to work here, social, very social. [00:16:01] One of the really hard things I find is in 2018, looking back and trying to imagine what it must have been like in the late 70s, early 80s, where you did have this kind of ground swell of political activism. Can you paint a picture for me of the kind of feeling at the time that what [00:16:21] period and 70s [00:16:23] late 70s early? Okay. [00:16:25] Well, it was, it was [00:16:28] you knew that [00:16:30] if you're in Bade was someone, a guy, you know, you know, the dog be broken down basically at any stage. And that, [00:16:41] not the time, but it was always fear. [00:16:47] So [00:16:48] it was a lot more publicly publicly probably frowned upon, after the law firm seem to get more of a tech to it generally in [00:17:02] I think that really helped. [00:17:05] I just remember being for boyfriend in the 80s. And how that felt before and after lower form. There was a difference I remember. I remember the night the Lord for me through and as Parliament but I pop pop time to get some fish and chips that are starving. And when I got back into gone through I messed up. [00:17:28] So [00:17:30] different going home at night, I actually thought this is this is Nate, you know, this is really neat. doesn't feel quite different. Yeah, [00:17:39] was there is a sense of anticipation that things were changing. Because I mean, for so many years prior to that things hadn't really out of move forward. [00:17:51] Well, yeah, I mean, I I actually, I actually think the whole, it Potomac, in many ways, help that cause because of it. The whole issue. There was such a negative response from the Salvation Army and [00:18:09] fundamentalist groups out there. And it was just vicious. And [00:18:16] just getting it to the public the presentation of the anti [00:18:23] signatures to Parliament, the near and big really recall it was either the top and that sort of backfired on them, I think. But here [00:18:37] you mentioned aids, and I'm wondering, that kind of came out in the early 80s that was being into kind of consciousness and just a little bit later in New Zealand. When did you first hear about AIDS and Can you recall what that was? Yeah, [00:18:57] I'm I'm sure enough here hit a pre it for a week. But it never really high mental. I came back and suddenly was in my sister in 1984. I think it was maybe the in the winter. And the dire got back. I was hustling some friends on the battles is to try buses and [00:19:23] up to about 84 I was drawn to Sydney non day before and I went to visit them a later time that magazine there and it was the whole cover was AIDS. And like a sledgehammer because I've been on suddenly for 18 days and had a bit of fun. [00:19:42] was pretty restrained, actually. [00:19:45] But I am. I came back and that's when it really hit home. I thought oh my goodness here. Yeah. [00:19:54] So that's when it really hit home for me. Yeah. 1984 here was was word here. [00:20:04] Here [00:20:07] Can [00:20:07] you recall what the feeling was biking the gay community in Wellington. [00:20:13] Oh, three scary. [00:20:16] From what I remember. [00:20:19] During those I was sitting up I think I joined the aid support network to we we work spitting lots and lots of cases coming back from overseas. [00:20:34] And we sort of hit there was home health and all those different areas of that. [00:20:41] Looking after people so we were thinking what's going to happen how we're going to help them [00:20:49] you just didn't know much about the bars itself because he didn't know how to transmitted. Yeah, how easy it was to catch. I just remember people talking about toilet seats and you know, [00:21:03] Washington Nazis after anyone that was that Charlie positive or that they didn't really know what whether what HIV positive in full blown aids was. We didn't you know, to start with any one of us all zone. Yeah. Yeah, it was scary. I mean, it's like imagine a lighter times the bird flu and all that sort of thing. You just didn't know. It was not known as quite scary, you know? Yeah, it was very scary. [00:21:33] Do you think it changed people's sexual behaviors in those early days? Are you [00:21:39] tired because [00:21:42] you learned how to love rubber [00:21:46] and it was really hard it was a really hard learning experience trying to use condoms and like con long does a hideous links here [00:21:55] but [00:21:58] yeah, they'll see learning experience for those who got through it a lot done you know. [00:22:09] It also brought out the good in the community and I'm thinking of you know, there were a number of kind of high high profile activists that actually really stepped up Yeah, people like Bruce brunettes and willing to me and I guess for Parkinson, Logan [00:22:25] year, year, year year was was there was a here is that the ruckus [00:22:33] and I remember hearing Ellison Lori talk and she was fantastic [00:22:39] yeah [00:22:41] just hearing the top transcend even you know having sort of people are there and Lloyd Scott getting up on the stage and talking [00:22:51] So was this during the visit the biggest busters really young [00:22:54] 85 going to be probably about right from memory. The the old who the Old Town Hall year year [00:23:03] was great to have those people standing up in front of you run because it was a different time. That's different than now. [00:23:12] So how was aids and homosexual law reform? How How did that kind of intertwined what would the because it was happening at the same time? Yeah, [00:23:20] I think I think because [00:23:24] I think because publicly absolutely either so much. It everyone has an opinion that was like the only one you're either for or against us. And it was a bad light there. You had people who were against it clean collecting signatures, little old lady is collecting signatures on card tables outside the supermarket's a new town and things like that. And I mean, I had no idea what they'll die. I mean, in some of the [00:23:52] gay activists and gay friendly people would go up to them and talk to them and say, do you really know what you're doing? And a lot of I had no idea you know, they were sent out leave it to the but collect signatures and [00:24:08] yeah, so I'm looking off traveling What were you what was the question again? [00:24:13] Just Just logging how aids and in [00:24:17] one year around the same time I mean, I think the fact that was [00:24:24] the thing happening I think looking back it was quite a positive thing for the more form because it made people [00:24:34] may people face I was it surely which and and without that they probably wouldn't have Alyssa was in the immediate media sphere like in the family. [00:24:47] I think it was a positive thing in that regard. I mean, hideous, hideous bars. That was taken that so many people are tired. [00:24:57] year but I think it was a full agenda public it was actually quite good because even handle opinion. [00:25:07] There was that whole idea of [00:25:10] if you're not visible, a few if you go underground, it's not going to help solve the disease. It's better to be up front spiller to find it with the HIV positive. And, you know, be treated, [00:25:27] early detection [00:25:29] preventative measures if you're not talking about it, if you're not talking to people about how to say six and all that that's not a that's not an option. You just put it on the ground and you know, I guess it's how I feel about abortion too. Yeah. [00:25:53] This greater degree of visibility almost nightly on the on the news. [00:26:01] That heaven and what kind of impact did it have on kind of gaming? [00:26:10] I think some gaming probably pushing back in the closet was to scare [00:26:17] a few coming out and you're looking at all that would have been really scary from other people. But I think for others it was it was really good. Because again, [00:26:27] put faces to [00:26:30] K mean, lesbian woman. And I think that was great. I mean, I just remember yummy like ice to listen to Ellison Loris bacon thinking wow, that's impressive. Yeah, and when you hit people like Bill leg and standing up and talking and you know so Parkinson heaven the gut, Patricia Bartlett on the radio [00:26:59] who sincerely horrible things that okay mean, you know. [00:27:06] And here so Parkinson, he was so methodical, and could take your own really well. So I think it was, I mean, basically, you hover over here they have the life. That's how I found out I was I was really impressed the similar people out there talking. [00:27:25] There was very positive, positive May, I'm sure would have been positive for a lot of people coming out already. [00:27:35] And then of course, families of [00:27:38] came in this be a woman? [00:27:41] A lot of him talking to so yeah, it really in the subject. It was almost [00:27:49] like people got sick of it after a while, like anything. It was just here, but I've taught but yeah, that's good. [00:27:58] I think I've heard other interviews with people have talked about possibly an increase in suicide or gaming, but also in an increase in queer bashings. Yeah, that Do you recall any of those things? [00:28:15] Certainly, I don't know about the increasing suicides. But the question did happen. There were a lot more text seem seem to be going on [00:28:29] over time. And [00:28:33] I remember being part of a cell two feet script for getting me in that we started and [00:28:39] ended up being interviewed on eyewitness program, which ultimately lead to me coming out to the rest of my family before the need for their associates moving to do yeah. So I wouldn't as was a terrible, terrible at his program, because I witness that was one of those character your programs. Yeah. Yeah. And I interview does group again, mean, and why we're [00:29:04] here. [00:29:05] So who else was interviewed? [00:29:08] The data feeds for self defense again, me and that was I remember Rob, like, and milk stellar. were part of it. I can't remember who else was on it. But yeah. [00:29:21] And so this was going to get broadcast on national TV. And so you didn't, you weren't actually out. So parts of your family? Yeah, [00:29:27] I'll work out to be one in the family. So yeah, I let them know. Before that he had. Otherwise it would have been a bit of a [00:29:38] would have been hard for them, I think. [00:29:40] And how did they How did they respond? [00:29:44] Really good. I only got one negative response. And that was from my sister in law. [00:29:51] And it was from my, my older brothers, former wife got stole it now. But listen by Lisa. And that was a little bit of a negative response, not so much the Ganga more, you know, what's, what's the issue, you never sort of supported me when my marriage breakup sort of thing. So [00:30:14] yeah. But that's fair enough to actually. But otherwise, a very positive response from the rest of the family. It was great. All through the boys. [00:30:25] And in after he said, Did you get much response from the public? [00:30:29] No, not really, not really, most, most of all was pretty out to most of my friends. [00:30:38] And I wasn't I didn't have family around me and what actin they were all another areas, but they were supportive here. [00:30:48] I think one of my young nephew said said to my sister, when I eat in they saw me on TV that has has comment was our local film get AIDS now, that was sort of that was from a, you know, seven year old or something. But that was what the thinking was for young kids. They equated that with AIDS. Okay, I you know, [00:31:17] I think I've seen some photos of some of the reformed matches in Wellington. And there is a couple of guys wearing gay plus k equals eight t shirts. [00:31:31] Do you remember those those couple of young chips that were walking around with those kind of T shirts [00:31:37] know I don't actually [00:31:40] did you go on on reform matches [00:31:43] year here did gun [00:31:46] one or two year here? I remember painting signs and the health I lived with some of those people we mentioned before [00:31:59] the match illustrate Yeah, yeah. And how [00:32:02] will people watching those matches how did how did they react [00:32:09] now and again there are people who claim [00:32:14] that was it was great they were matching down with a lot of people because it was a scary still. [00:32:24] I mean, even though I was out [00:32:27] I still felt I really scary. I still would today and the most sacred stances property but [00:32:34] because when you get someone yelling and yelling, I guess it is a bit frightening. I do remember the big mastery town that in the pageant Park and when it started to spacing a group of [00:32:50] very good looking straight guys are a member. I think there were two brothers in particular very good lawyer and they were the nastiest they were screaming abuse really ball it not just remember thinking oh, my God, you guys are good looking. But you add nasty in and just walking through Patreon. patreon again, still still comes back to me. And I've sort of seen shivers down my spine because it was it was awful. really awful. Yeah. Yeah. [00:33:22] It was awful, actually. Yeah. [00:33:26] They were also into before marches. And I think there was a it was an important to salvation army one. Yeah, you recall it? Yeah, Yeah, [00:33:36] I do. I just remembered them walking down Whitefield straight. I wasn't there for that. But my boss at the time. Who [00:33:48] that was a second time I came back and worked. [00:33:53] Well, what used to be some sort of turned into a thing, the light field when the Empire header and we're [00:34:01] somebody, much to his credit, joined and pretending to be a Salvation Army match. And he'd gone to the Salvation Army bought some of the emblems and and made up his own uniform, but in during the match and filled this flag at the spanner which was very pro guy and took them a long time to realize he was in the maximum but I thought that was really cool. Go on your way. [00:34:34] And you mentioned before, the stylo who was a contemporary of yours. [00:34:42] Tell me about Neil. Yeah, [00:34:44] generally known Neil that well. [00:34:49] He was he was really funny guy. [00:34:53] I thought it was lovely guy. Actually. He was so clever with his work. I think he graphic design sort of background maybe. But he did a lot of the [00:35:05] posters for the rallies and marches and things. And they were just, I just remember being absolutely awed by them. They're just beautiful. [00:35:16] Southern quite depot looking at to kind of lock in. But yeah, very, very clever. Very clever guy. Yeah. Very crazy sort of guy, easygoing guy for the smiles. Yeah. And like I said, he he worked at the solar part times. Well, so. Yeah. [00:35:40] Now you and I actually met on a rainbow warp tour just a couple of weeks ago. Yeah. And we at the time, we were doing a little presentation on Neil. And I wonder, how was that for you? Because I mean, we're talking about somebody that was a contemporary of yours. And now there are no history walk [00:36:02] to fit. It wasn't that design. [00:36:07] But actually, [00:36:10] the walk when we were on at home, and I obviously was the oldest person on it. And it was it was quite bizarre for me because I didn't know what period the walk was going to be covering what [00:36:25] he appeared in history. So it was the period of as he for it was my thesis. [00:36:33] And probably my more sort of political [00:36:40] matching the streets little period because it wasn't just a gay matches I was on I was on pro abortion. I was on a very much matching during the tour against the tour. If I smell match, so yeah, and then to see Neil's picture there was was quite bizarre. [00:37:03] But I felt like there are other people who maybe were just as large as life to, you know, markings. He was pretty out there in his boyfriend at the time, napkin. [00:37:20] And Rob like, you know. Yeah, but yeah, [00:37:23] it was quite, it was quite a shock seen them there is no longer with us New Yorkers still I but [00:37:30] I didn't know for some years. What happened to him? Was he to go overseas, and he just seemed to disappear off the face of the earth. You know. [00:37:39] One of the one of the stories we talked about with Neil was [00:37:45] how he now has a memorial in the New Zealand aids Memorial called. Yeah, he passed away in the early 1990s. [00:37:53] Now, the AIDS Memorial quote was established by William Tony and Daniel fielding. Yep. And did you know Daniel and his partner, Peter couple [00:38:03] to fail it, but it's a bit Oh, really? Yeah. I didn't really know them that Well, no. [00:38:10] I knew who they were. Especially Daniel feeling. But Adam met, I knew he was HIV positive. That [00:38:20] didn't know much more about and really [00:38:26] just finally, Phil, [00:38:28] I wonder if you could reflect back on let's say, the last 3040 years. [00:38:35] And look at what the biggest changes have been for kind of rainbow gay culture, and in maybe what still needs to be addressed. [00:38:48] because change is the spice of just being out [00:38:52] and having [00:38:56] the human rights that go with it. So you can't be cut down a flat some discrimination in the workplace. far as going forward from there? [00:39:07] Well, [00:39:09] I think there's still gay bashing some things, it's really hard to know how that will change because some people are just [00:39:17] know, they find the whole [00:39:21] gay thing just year 10s. And but I'm really happy with the progress has been made in my time. I think it's been brilliant. [00:39:34] But be invisible. [00:39:37] Hasn't has been a very important step for me. And I think it's a good thing to Why did go to be miserable. [00:39:49] Suppose I'd probably say that, [00:39:55] about what needs to be done more, I think what we're doing right, but think you still have to be very vigilant that you keep up with all those things, because they can also, even though we've got a lot of those rights, now they can be taken away from you. You have to look at Donald Trump and what's he doing? You know, and with the armed forces and that and that can be each the way as well. So, like democracy till you got to safeguard that by keeping up with what's going on. [00:40:29] Watching, you're watching how it develops and making sure you keep abreast of things to safeguard drones. Yeah,

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