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Recorded live at morning assembly, Eton College, 3 March 1994

Released as ‘Glad To Be Gay 94’ on Loved CD single [Cooking Vinyl FRY029], 1994

Loved - Tom Robinson

[Lyrics new to this version are marked in bold]

[Alex Harvey anecdote]

The British Police are the best in the world
I don’t believe one of these stories I’ve heard
‘Bout them raiding our pubs for no reason at all
And lining the customers up by the wall
Picking out people and knocking them down
Resisting arrest as they’re kicked on the ground
Searching their houses and calling them queer
I don’t believe that sort of thing happens here

Sing if you’re glad to be gay
Sing if you’re happy that way

The liars of Wapping are really the pits
They pack them with trivia, bingo and tits
With racialist murders on council estates
You get Fergie and phone-in Dianagate tapes

When someone’s in trouble they all twist the knife
They hounded Boy George to an inch of his life
If it’s ‘Poofs in the Pulpit’ or ‘Lesbian Scum’
If it’s filth and it’s fiction it’s there in The Sun

Sing if you’re glad to be gay
Sing if you’re happy that way

And now there’s a nightmare they blame on the gays
It’s brutal and lethal and slowly invades
The medical facts are ignored or forgot
By the bigots who think it’s the Judgement of God
Attacked by the Vatican, bashed by the bill
With cheap politicians all making a kill

The message is simple and obvious, please
Just lay off the patients and let’s fight the disease

Sing if you’re glad to be gay
Sing if you’re happy that way

Sing if you’re glad to be gay
Sing if you’re happy this way

Download MP3

Appropriately enough, in 1541 Nicholas Udall, Headmaster of Eton College, was forced to quit his post due to imprisonment as the first person convicted under the 1533 Buggery Act.

Explanatory notes:

“Attacked by the Vatican”

The Catholic Church’s long-standing homophobia feasted well on the advent of Aids.

As Aids awareness made some question the Church’s position on condoms, in 1988 the Pope made clear that the use of contraception was ‘intrinsically illicit’, saying ‘no personal or social circumstances could ever, can now, or will ever, render such an act lawful in itself’.

In 2003 it was revealed that around the world the Catholic Church tells people that condoms don’t offer protection from HIV.

“You get Fergie”

Sarah Ferguson, former wife of Prince Andrew. If there’s one thing the popular press love more than a happy royal couple it’s an unhappy one. As Ferguson’s marriage foundered in the early 1990s she was a common sight on the tabloid pages, and this continued for a while afterwards, notably with her getting shrimped by some over-rich bloke in 1992.

“phone-in Dianagate tapes”

On 23rd August 1992 The Sun’s front page story was about an intercepted phone call between Princess Diana and her supposed lover James Gilbey. The incident was known as Dianagate or Squidgygate (from the pet name Gilbey used in the call). The Sun set up a 36p per minute premium rate phone line for people to hear the half-hour tape.

Talking to Tom:

How did you end up playing at Eton?

One of the beaks [tutorial staff] was a fan. He said, do you fancy coming down, talking to the Shelley Society the night before and doing morning assembly in the morning? To stay overnight at Eton was great, every gay man’s fantasy, acres of upper class jailbait.

A truly bizarre gig though, surely?

It was frightening. You can hear that on the recording, a kind of quivering. It’s all bravado, a little bit off-centre. But I’ve done it two or three times now. And each time – bless em – a good many have ended up singing along!

In the April 1994 newsletter for Tom’s information service Castaway Club, Tom wrote:

In March this year I played one of my weirdest gigs ever – Eton College. The invitation came from Castaway Chris Jones who turns out to be one of the masters at Eton (universally known as ‘beaks’) and asked if I’d like to address a group of radical boys known as the Shelley society one evening then stay overnight and do a few songs at senior morning assembly the next day.

Chris turned out to be a maths and computing genius with a massive album collection and a passionate love of rock n roll. ‘The Shelley’ turned out to be a real life Dead Poets Society whose main instigator was a passionate 17 year old rebel who’d recently caused consternation by joining the Windsor branch of the Socialist Workers Party.

I played and talked for an hour and a bit for about 25 people – a mixture of boys, beaks and members of the latters’ families. Next morning was daunting – I had a bad cold and all but lost my voice a day or two before, and the venue was the huge vaulted Victorian school hall, all columns and marble – with forbidding portraits of long-dead headmasters and old boys scowling down from the walls. The acoustics on the other hand were extraordinary.

Senior assembly is, theoretically, compulsory for boys in the upper two forms who don’t want to go to chapel – though because the whole school sleep in individual bedrooms rather than communal dormitories, it’s apparently possible to linger in bed for those extra fifteen minutes without getting caught or disciplined!

In the event some five hundred youths with tail coats, starch wing collars – and in many cases the most astonishing assurance – turned up. ‘Hanging out with the boys, all swagger and poise…’ seemed unusually apt that morning. The fact that they were a largely captive audience who had never heard of me was nerve wracking, but good manners ensured polite attention for Fifty – by the end of which they seemed to have thawed.

Yuppie Scum got riotous applause – at which point I followed up with Glad To Be Gay. I half expected to get ushered off the premises by the school authorities as soon as I’d finished – instead of which, several beaks warmly thanked me and suggested I return to do the same another year.

It was fascinating to encounter future members of Britain’s power elite during their formative years – their blend of self-confidence and self-consciousness, awkwardness and arrogance, was utterly compelling.

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