Do's & Don'ts of Gay Posters

We don't know if you've noticed but posters for gay nights are stuck in a rut of mind-numbing flesh and pointless add-ons. My friend Dylan B Jones here has picked out two from one of the free gay rags this week, and here's what we have to say:

Bad titles

“Hallosexualween” is an AWFUL name for a gay night. Hallosexual would be bad, so would Sexualween, but Hallo-Sexual-Ween. The W is so incongruous, as Dylan points out – “There is no way this can be successful”

Naked Torsos

In the centre of the poster there is ALWAYS a generic rock-hard torso – it just doesn’t sell the night to us. Like, we know what a man’s body looks like, we both have them and so do most of the men we know. Except our torsos aren’t hard shiny plastic orange ones. Basically, anyone who is attracted to a night-out on the basis of there being a man’s torso on the poster is going to look like an RAC van.

Some sort of Explosion

Microsoft Paint pyrotechnics – Ooh, that looks like an exciting night out - there are orange flames in the poster. I’d rather see a middle-aged woman lighting her cigarette off a gas hob to be honest. If you MUST have flames then be creative with it, use a Stabilo highlighter set to shade them in. You're selling culture here, not microwaveable cheese burgers.

Angel Wings

Because angels are the height of bodily perfection, and it’s like so fucking tongue-in-cheek because, you know, we’re like gay – and so really we should all be having our skin grated in hell. We think angels are an overrepresented element of the Bible when it comes to gay night flyers. We want to see more donkeys, disciples and wise men. And shepherds. Shepherds could totally be a thing.

Devils horns

Because devils are the height of carnal pleasure, and it’s like so fucking tongue-in-cheek because, you know, we’re like gay – and so we’re all being a little bit naughty what with rimming each other on our block colour IKEA sofas.

Random mention of Social Media

Like "LOOK!!! WE KNOW WHAT FACEBOOK IS!!! WE’VE GOT IT!!!" - Don't even get us started on nightclubs who Tweet...

Pointless tokens of grandeur

In the example above it’s lions. Sometimes it’s eagles. At other times it’s Corinthian pillars and embossed shields. What with being gay and all, we’re attracted to anything that is emblematic of history, power and sucking a Centurion’s feet. Really it should be backgrounds filled with MDF bookshelves, smashed bottles of Vladivar and fake tan.

Smoky backgrounds

Fair enough, dark smoky backgrounds are an accurate reflection of the stank misery that groups around the corners of most gay venues. We’re just saying what’s wrong with a countryside backdrop, or, I don’t know, pasta twirls?

We could go on, but it’s getting late.

Below is a poster of a gay night that’s getting it right:

This poster for Halloween at the Vault ticks all the boxes for us.
Firstly, it knows it’s a bit shit. And it illustrates the following:

Tacky graphics

Rather than trying to look glossy and decadent and getting it horrifically wrong with a generic torso shot of a semi-retired P.E. teacher, The Vault aim low and end high with this catastrophic cut-out of a cartoon pumpkin superimposed onto a photo they’ve probably stolen from another advert in a 2004 copy of Boyz.

Crowded text with underwear

Where Hallosexualween went wrong with fire graphics, The Vault succeeds by filling the page with unnecessary details and revealing the models tepid underwear.

No sense of composition

Much better than a centred image where everything is layered and flowing-forth with a sense of movement, we much prefer random things clumped around each other demonstrating a sexily absent grasp of composition. Basically – as village hall jumble-sale as possible please. The more your poster looks well put together, the less it looks like you’ll find real sex there.

Honest puns that do their job

Whilst “Hallowsexualween” sounds like the results of a group discussion in the smoking area out the back of a more provincial branch of Nandos, the Vault poster has winning puns almost as if the proprietor has sat their gran down on a Sunday and asked her to put her Take-A-Break hat on. “Night of the Giving Head” is genius, and “Cock Zombie” is so blunt and stupid it would take Saatchi & Saatchi two decades to come up with something that good.

Back of the magazine

Whereas G-A-Y and KU Bar always hog the front page slots at the start of Boyz, we’re much more interested by the less touristy club nights who can only afford page 78, almost as if they’ve had to have a whip round and start a Just Give page to put their hapless ideas on the map.

So, that’s enough for now on the Do’s & Don’ts of gay club night posters.


We’d like to point out that we’ve been to both The Yard and The Vault and that they’re both great venues – so if you’re new to London check them out. The Yard offers refined balcony views across fake fabric flames and as promised – a yard. Go there to meet drunk city boys splashing their cash on Coronas and Burton-winter-coat-flavoured cocks. The Vault is a sex club, one of London’s few, in fact possibly the only one in central London, not including the changing rooms in Topman or bushes behind the American ambassadors house in Regent's Park.

This blog post does not reflect the views of Gay Times.

I’m off to bed now.

Dylan is off to research a potential book called ‘What Was Jodie Clutching Last Night?’ Here below you can see her clutching a J cloth. Perhaps she's bringing her own range out, we can't keep up.

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