The Beat Goes On

By Rich
Looking back at the good old days and the origins of Apollo Social

“Last call!” yelled a local drag queen. “Get your last drinks at the bar you pack of rowdy homos!” This was typically followed by a mad dash to the bar by 300 people who were all apparently just dying for one last drink (even though we had been drinking all night long). Then, with laser precision, the DJ would line up a series of gay classics that would get the dance floor heaving for the next 30 minutes before the end of night lights came up. We’d be ushered out by big security guys with a stumble in our step, a smile on our face and LGBT+ community in our hearts. The beat from the night's music still lingering with us as we kicked on to the next venue. All throughout the night we were having conversations with friends and strangers, flirting our pants off and mostly enjoying shared spaces where we could be ourselves and belong to something bigger than any one of us.

This is how many of my weekend nights ended back in my hometown of Vancouver, Canada. We didn’t know it at the time but we were living through a moment in gay history. A time we now call the good old days. Even our local beloved gay bar called the Odyssey was torn down a few short years later to make way for condos. This was just as the Internet started to blitz gay life and changed everything from the gay bar to gay dating to online hooks ups. Sometimes face-to-face interaction in a friendly gay space that’s fun seems like a distant memory relegated to the ages…or is it?

I left Vancouver in 2006 to go on my global adventure. I told my family and friends I may be gone for a year or two - it’s now been 15 years. I’ve been back for periods of time but mostly I’ve been living abroad in other parts of Canada, Australia and the UK. Something pushed me out of my familiar surroundings and I wanted to experience the broader world. I wanted to see what was out there…and I did. And like so many adventurers before me, I realized it’s not so much what is out there as it is who is out there that is waiting to come into your life as a new friend, a lover or even a soulmate.

I met my Aussie soulmate in Toronto and nine years later we’re married and living in Melbourne. Even though we came of age on opposite sides of the world, we’re both children of the good old days and have been trying to recreate a little of that magic wherever we’ve gone. However, gay villages have been consistently shrinking over the past number of years and gay life has been migrating more and more online. So, four years ago, we had this idea that wouldn’t it be great to start a social network for queer and gay men that was all about friendship and connection and recreating some of the magic of the good old days. And…Poof! with the technical skills and creativity of my hubby, Apollo Social has been born.

Apollo Social is a social network with a purpose. We want to foster friendship and community connection at a time when it’s easier than ever to isolate and feel a bit lonely. The purpose of Apollo Social is to get the LGBT+ community back in friendly and fun shared spaces both online and a key aspect is also face-to-face. We believe a cornerstone of community is belonging and that happens organically when people get to see each other repeatedly over a number of different experiences. So, here at Apollo Social, we’re all about our online platform as well as local events, having a few drinks and sharing some belly laughs.

On my journey, I’ve learned that there are so many different kinds of people that can come into your life that can have a special place. I’ve also found there is something unique about friendship and community amongst other queer and gay men that can feel like coming home. We would love for you to feel like Apollo Social is a kind of home away from home where you can be yourself, live your biggest life and make some amazing friendships along the way.

I’ve often noticed that LGBT+ people place a high value on friendship. And isn’t it nice to think some of your greatest friendships could be with strangers you haven’t met yet. I love the idea that Apollo Social can be a place where people come together for a great night or for a great new friendship that lasts a lifetime. After all, the good old days weren’t so much about the drinks as much as they were about the people and all the fun there was to be had with them.

Our launch city is Melbourne which we think is one of the coolest cities in the world. We’ve often commented the party is still going in Melbourne as there is so much life and energy in the queer and gay scene. At a time when other gay scenes seem to be closing down, it seems like Melbourne has a new gay venue popping up all the time and the dance floors are packed until morning.

Throughout spring and summer 2021 we are planning on heading out into the city and going to every gay bar Melbourne has to offer and seeing if we can kick up some glitter and some glory. We would love it if you wanted to join us on the journey. Who knows who you could meet and what fun there is out there to be had.

Sign up for Apollo Social here to join the journey.

So, in the famous words of the Goddess Cher, "The beat goes on…"