Elska, a publication dedicated to sharing the voices and bodies of diverse gay communities around the world, has travelled to London, England to make its latest issue. Inside, readers are introduced to fifteen local men, each of whom gets their own chapter containing a personal story they wrote from their life in the city and several intimate and unairbrushed images taken of them inside their homes and out in their neighbourhoods. None are hired models or celebrities, none of the scenes are staged, and none of the stories are commissioned, resulting in an authentic glimpse at gay life in the British capital.
London is one of the world’s greatest cities, and one of the queerest too. It’s a place that has and still does serve as a pole, attracting people from across Britain and beyond, so of course Elska’s London issue is full of diversity, something which Elska is known for, and something that shows defiance to the often xenophobic shadow of Brexit. Representative of such a multicultural city, only one third of the men featured are actually English, the rest being long-time residents from places such as Poland, Spain, Taiwan, Malta, the USA, and beyond.
Living in London is vastly different to what tourists see, and it’s the real London experience we aim to show. That’s why what you’ll find here doesn’t reveal what you might expect – there’s no Buckingham Palace or even a Gherkin in the background, and the stories are rather more real as well, and often a bit sombre. This reveals how hard it can be to live in such a crowded, costly, and competitive place.
Some of the fifteen men you’ll meet in Elska London include:
- Tommy M, who talked about the fabulous gay life he dreamed of as a teenager, eventually moving to London from his native Lithuania to find year after year of his expectations being shattered;
- Harry F, who shared a recent experience dealing with a barrage of homophobia from a punter at his local pub, something he didn’t expect to happen in this city and in 2018;
- Omar B, who wrote about learning to accept loneliness as a normal part of London life, and learning how to flourish anyway;
- Jamie T, who opened up about a sexually unwelcome experience at a work function and how the #MeToo movement has barely reached the LGBTQ community;
- Brad C; who discussed the trials of dating in the capital in a colourfully detailed and most explicit way that transports you into the city’s pubs, parks, and bedrooms.
Elska London is 180 pages. It is available in a classic collectible print version or in a downloadable e-version. A companion zine called Elska Ekstra London is also available, containing images and stories from four Londoners not featured in the main mag, along with outtakes and behind the scenes tales from three other London men. A list of stockists and details of how to order online can be found on the Elska website: www.elskamagazine.com.