Homophobia in the UK audiophile industry; surely not?

Howard I heard this rumour that you observed homophobia in the industry in the 1980s?

Yes it’s true, I certainly did. In the mid 1980s at my Subjective Audio store in North London we represented a number of turntable makers, some of which are no longer in operation. We were conspicuously successful with the Pink Triangle products. The founders were proudly gay and I was proud to represent them.

One or more people at one of the other turntable brands I represented clearly took a virulent dislike to either me stocking PT and/or for not being judgemental re another person’s sexual preferences. It wasn’t clear about their motivations beyond this. Moreover it is possible that the employee took the action I describe next without the knowledge or consent of the Company senior management. This is speculation on my part of course; it’s both conceivable and unpalatable to envisage that the globally recognised brand would endorse this action.

Anyway, it was customary in those days (as with all turntables I stocked) to come without tonearms. Procedure was to open the box and commence work on assembling the deck / arm and cartridge. Over a few weeks in the 1980s, in each carton we received there was a single sheet of A4 sized fax paper containing obscene observations re both PT and gays in general. It was, in its perverse way, cleverly done.

Anonymous plain typeface, no signature and no indication of the employer. Moreover being a fax image, it was bound to fade in a matter of months if not weeks. Without a video of the carton containing this message being opened it would of course be impossible to prove the connection.

I should in retrospect have photocopied these texts for posterity, but I didn’t. We filed them though but the text faded over time. It was pointless to complain to the makers. Deny everything might well have been their response.

So yes I saw it first hand. Does homophobia exist today in our industry? Well since then I've had no direct personal experience – but that’s not to say it doesn’t. Your guess is as good as mine and for some, quite possibly better than mine.


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