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November 2003

T*K*O: A Gay Night from Tokyo Sundays at the Site Bar

There isn�t a lot of bowing in London�s gay bars these days, probably not since the eighteenth century molly houses. This is part of the charm of T*K*O, a new �gay night from Tokyo� at the Site Bar. This Sunday evening gathering has grown out of a Soho-based social group for gay Japanese, and is becoming an alternative to other venues where oriental Londoners and, in that creepy phrase, �their admirers� traditionally meet and socialise. The result is that T*K*O is a bit cooler, a bit less cruisey and, well, more Japanese than any of them.

DJ S*h*a*m plays Tokyo pop and the latest Japanese remixes of Kylie. The good-looking and immaculately-dressed crowd is quietly alternative and mostly Japanese, with that punky yet well-scrubbed thing going on that young Japanese guys do so well. Gay Japanese men often describe themselves by the type of guy they go for: foreign (gai-sen), fat (debu-sen), older (fuke-sen), and there are just enough of each to make sure no-one has to go home empty handed. The crowd did thin out fairly early, which makes me think that although T*K*O is mischievously scheduled against the Long Yang Club�s Sunday disco at Thai Square, there will be plenty of two-way traffic.