In an ever more fickle world where brands fall in and out of favour more often than people change their socks there are success stories, and then there is G-A-Y.
From its humble beginnings as London's very first LGBT radio show on minority station 'Spectrum' to its current position as quite possibly the world's most famous gay brand, G-A-Y has enjoyed an ever increasing popularity, and indeed has never been so popular with an expanding empire of bars and late night venues not just across London but now in Manchester too.
I was originally brought in to run long standing club night Bang and wanted to bring the best of these brands together and create something new and fresh for the ever expanding gay scene in London. At that time whilst stage acts weren't uncommon, they were retro, with no one booking current acts. Seeing this gap in the market I forged G-A-Y's simple but effective business model that he has stuck with for 20 years.
It wasn't as simple as that however - big name pop artists were difficult to book particularly for fledgling club brands and it could be said that if it were not for one lady - Dannii Minogue - G-A-Y's outlook could have been very different.
Seeing the support such a high profile artist lavished on this young brand was all it took and the big names just kept on coming now with G-A-Y's back catalogue of artists reading like the red carpet at the Grammys.
Every success story is not without its problems but ironically most negativity came from within the gay community itself as G-A-Y wasn't considered credible by the clubbers who favoured the music trends of the big club names such a Love Muscle, Heaven and Trade - ironically none of which has survived beyond the occasional party, today - unlike G-A-Y which operates seven nights a week across four venues.
What's the trick? Give people what they want.
Stay current, stay commercial and put your customers first. A lot has changed in 20 years. Losing the legendary Astoria was a big blow for G-A-Y, being its home (following a move from LA2 underneath) and for the live music industry in general. However, by taking on huge personal debt & risk by buying iconic gay venue Heaven, I have secured the future for both brands and for the community for years to come.
For many, G-A-Y is their first taste of gay nightlife. It's bold, unapologetic and unstoppable.
Taking its name from a popular catch phrase used around the time of the Stonewall riots. G-A-Y is simply "Good As You".
G-A-Y The Album - is out on Monday 7 October