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As you MAY be able to tell from our cover, this Saturday XXL celebrate their 17th birthday! It’s Game Of Thrones themed, and it’s gonna be major!

We got King in The North Mark Ames to tell us more.


Hey Mark! So XXL turns 17 this year. It’s been such a great year for you guys. What’s been your favourite moment?

So far, has to be the Bear Pride weekend! So many old friends – from faces in the crowd, to members of staff – helped create the original good vibe that club’s famed for. Along with XXL, they were responsible for pushing the boundaries of gay London’s image back in the day, and challenging the restrictiveness of state laws and public attitude in the wake of an HIV epidemic. Even though many now have moved away from London nightlife for whatever reasons, it was lovely seeing them still having fun in the club. It restored my belief that there’s no need for XXL to ever shelve its bear image, or head in any other direction!

How do you think the landscape of the gay scene is changing?

Dating apps are the scene’s nightmare, so much so I’m seriously thinking of scraping the XXLAPP as guys are wasting time (we’ve all done it including myself) spending hours chattering away or worse. Looking at profiles and the chemsex scene both keep people from social gay society. But I hope and think that they’re both just phases that people ether try and then move on from. If they’re taking over your life, then get out to a bar or club, and get talking to some real people. However, what’s really changed is the loss of venues to developers, and councils sanitising areas into their version of a better life. It’s not a better life. What it’s really doing is ripping apart London’s dynamic creative cultures and replacing them with carbon copy corporate clones. For myself, a born and raised a Londoner, it’s sad to see whole communities start to disappear. Remember, support the gay scene and fight for it. Once it’s gone, it’s gone.

Tell us about your birthday celebrations this Saturday!

Is it not obvious yet? RAVE as in a good old knees up and THRONES is the theme.

What do you make of the most recent Game of Thrones season?

It’s as good as the first season and it needed to be! 

We put you as Jon Snow in our Game of Thrones Top Trumps last week. Do you think that’s accurate?

Hmmm. There’s lots of people who would like me dead, and a few who think they’ve killed me off only to see me rise. Like him, I’ve had sex with a wild woman and bent the knee (blush) a few times. But even I wouldn’t wear a ponytail bun or shag a relative (and I’ve met a half brother in my club – neither of us knew at the time – we had the same dad but both had a connection but felt something was wrong!) So sorta yes sorta no.

What would be your tactics if you were in Game of Thrones?

Part of me is like, ‘look, winter’s coming and I’m flying south. see you next summer and can I use your dragon if I bend the knee or two!’ But then again. I’m a fighter with a big heart and as it’s fantasy, I’d invent a 4×4 automobile that runs on the fuel of the dead. And I’d be making myself a kinky spiky armoured outfit of leather and dragon’s blood so that no walking dead would even get close! What?! 

Finally…what’s in store for the rest of the year?

Lots of clowning around IT seems for Halloween! And loads of bigger, bolder beariness!

XXL’s 17th Birthday is on Saturday 30th September at Pulse Nightclub, 1 Invicta Plaza, SE1 9UF. 10pm – 7am. £15 guests, £10 members.

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