Operation: Queer Park Betrayal
[21:34, 30/07/2021] Rory Duffy: Anything we could go for a meal, drink, I don’t mind 😊 I’ve got something that I need to do at home later in the day but should only take half an hour and I can do it while we’re out anyway if I bring my laptop, shall I message you when I’m up will prob lie in until 10 latest
Rory decides to take matters into his own hands...
Somehow intersperse all of the above with meeting Rob (it was his birthday on Thursday).
[10:09, 31/07/2021] Rory Duffy: Morning Rob, up and awakey now! 🤗
Slight change of plan. It looks like we will not have time to pop home between meeting in the afternoon and going out in the evening. Which means that some of the above list will need to be done on my iPhone. Unless I want to drag a laptop around London (which is not a good idea for various practicality and security reasons).
URL changed to www.meetup.com/queer-london
Mailing List URL changed to queer-20s-30s-london
Email address for mailing list:
Email address for announcements:
[10:59, 31/07/2021] Claire: Meet up today at 2:30pm Green Park ❤️
The anxiety and nerves are beginning to creep up on me. I need to let off some steam. Since I know that I will be drinking tonight, it seems sensible to hit the gym and put myself in a greater calorie deficit. Whilst killing some time and taking my mind off things. I keep checking the WhatsApp chats to see if I am still an admin. And I keep checking Meetup to see if any of the other admins have created a Meetup page (which, of course, they have not).
[14:26, 31/07/2021] Sam: Green pack seems safeish for now... But it'll definitely be on off I think
Let the coup commence! I needed to keep an eye on the WhatsApp group and wait until Claire and Sam are in the park and organising things before making any changes online. To my knowledge, I am aware that Claire and Sam are hosting today in Green Park. Anna and Lily are elsewhere. I need to leave a good window of half an hour and time it accurately so that Claire and Sam are sufficiently distracted to notice anything changing online. I have checked Meetup > Settings > Email Updates. Indeed, members can opt into email notifications if "New photos uploaded". Therefore, it is wise to leave this step as long as possible before I set off to the Tate Modern to meet Rob.
I uploaded 3 photo albums to the Meetup group page. Hopefully, no-one has noticed! 🤞
I have put together a new action plan for what I am doing on my phone.
I have re-jigged my action plan slightly so that some of it can be prepped in advance at home (images loaded into Apple photos and synced on iCloud, copy drafted in Notes etc.). I am testing both browser and app interfaces for Meetup to check that I can perform platform-specific actions on my phone such as changing a member role.
Action plan v2
Step 1) iMac
Step 2) iPhone Meetup browser version
Step 3) iPhone WhatsApp N London
Step 4) iPhone WhatsApp What in the actual gay
Step 5) iPhone Meetup browser version
Phase 1 of 2 complete.
Sunny 1:18 PM
From one of the Meetup attendees who has seen that I am listed as an "event host".
I am meeting Rob. I have decided that I will wait until at least 18:00 before commencing with phase 2.
The Tate Modern was fully booked. We walked to the Southbank Centre. We had a look around the Royal Festival Hall. We walked across the bridge. We passed near Retro Bar. I expressed to Rob how I had not been to Retro Bar in ages and that we should go there at some point. Rob was like "what, now?" He seemed surprised. I did not say anything but I had suggested it in a humorous way. Particularly as this is the original meeting place of the 20s & 30s Meetup group. What better location to carry out the implementation of my plan?
However, we parked that idea temporarily. We walked up to Trafalgar Square. We tried to get into the National Gallery but there was a massive queue. We tried to get into the National Portrait Gallery but the entrance was barricaded up with construction. Rob was like "shall we go to Retro Bar?" Perhaps he twigged that I really wanted to go there (even though I had not disclosed my plan to anyone, not even him).
We went to Retro Bar. This is where we first hooked up and held hands 2 years ago. It was like the two of us were taking a trip down memory lane (otherwise known as George Court). We recounted the first few times that we had met.
It was the 5th time that we met when we hooked up. Retro Bar is where we sat in a booth. Rob remembered what we were talking about. We were sharing our experiences of being bullied at school.
At this point, I felt compelled to tell him everything that I was about to do now. I was not planning on telling him because it felt like tempting fate. But I was feeling nervous enough that I needed him to know what was going on. I told him everything about the "coup" last weekend. And about meeting Jenny on Wednesday. By the end of the story, 6pm crept up. By this point, I was half way into my 2nd pint. I waited until 17:59 became 18:00 before commencing the implementation of my plan.
Besides, changing the subject and description of Jenny's WhatsApp group might have been disrespectful to her. I need to show her that I am on her side. Better to create one and put her in control of it. This involves me creating a WhatsApp group, adding Jenny, making her admin, leaving, re-joining and washing my hands of it. Thus securing her control over the WhatsApp group.
Since this is the step that involves creating WhatsApp groups and people might start to notice what is unfolding, it was time to start moving with speed and stealth.
However, I paused briefly for a 5-minute comfort break to catch my breath and post some images and graphics on the Meetup group photo album for good measure, including yesterday's lamp's doll. Humour obliged me to mix it into the jam somehow!
18:32 - step 4
Therefore, I opted to create my own "What in the actual gay" WhatsApp group. As a recapitulation of what Lily did.
This is more effective, as it allows Lily to experience what it feels having a WhatsApp group called "What in the actual gay" magically materialise on your screen.
I liked Lily's style so decided to emulate it for my own purposes.
The "Right guys" was a nod to Jenny's style. Plus it sounds more assertive and authoritative in tone than a meek "Hi guys". People told me that I needed to grow some balls.
To Jenny, Sam, Lily, Claire and Anna ("What in the actual gay"):
[18:37, 31/07/2021] Rory Duffy: @Claire just getting back to you on what is my take on all of this. My take is as follows:
To Jenny (privately):
[18:38, 31/07/2021] Rory Duffy: Hi Jenny. I need to keep an eye on things. They need to be put in their place. 👌😉
Why am I doing this? I am doing this because I see the dictators messages and I believe that they are out of control. I want to keep an eye on things. Keep your friends close and your enemies closer (not that they should be our enemies!). I think that it is useful that I retain a hand on the inside and supervise. So that there are no clashes or unnecessary drama. 😉
18:45 - step 5
iPhone Meetup browser version
Final part. My heart is pumping like crazy. My hands are sweaty. My fingers are trembling. The adrenaline is soaring through the roof.
I know that I must act quickly at this point. Complete the final step. Schedule the recurring event.
My phone is pinging. I can see the notifications popping up on my screen. WhatsApp has gone crazy (as I expected). Shit has well and truly hit the fan.
In this last part, I am effectively using Lily as a puppet and pulling her strings. Making it look like she has scheduled the event. On the browser version, you can create an event, add another host and then remove yourself as a host before publishing. This way, it looks like whoever you have nominated as the host has scheduled in the event (not you).
Therefore, it was critical that I completed the 2nd part of step 2 (Change member roles) before completing step 5.
I know that pulling Lily's strings is slightly pushing it as far as the dark manipulation aspect goes. Afterwards, I realised that it was karma for her spreading untruths about Jenny on the main chat. It was warranted.
At the point at which it gave me the option of "Announce it now" / "Do it later", I paused. I had not thought through this step.
Luckily, I was nearing the end of my 2nd pint by this point. With a bit of Dutch courage, I thought "screw it" and hit that red button. "Announce it now".
Emails flew out to 2000+ people.
Operation: Queer Park Betrayal complete. Time to clear up. Down the rest of my pint.
I checked my messages. Oh dear. This is really not good! 😅
Well, no need to respond yet. The other 4 admins took it much worse than I thought. I detected a lot of bitterness. Lily is biting her tongue!
As for Jenny, I knew that she might be stressed out by it. But she will be fine. She will understand that this is something that I needed to do.
And with 15 minutes to spare, it is time to arrive at the 20s & 30s Meetup and graciously greet the guests as if nothing has happened. Time to face the music and dance. Hopefully, Jenny will be there so we can chat about all of this in person if she needs to.
You created group "What in the actual gay"
We arrived at Little Ku. We were the first to arrive. Some guys arrived and esteemed me to be the Meetup event host (presumably because I was listed as such). I stowed my phone away in my bag and proceeded with hosting Jenny's Meetup.
Meanwhile, on WhatsApp, the real party was happening:
Jenny was added
[18:38, 31/07/2021] Rory Duffy: Hi Jenny. I need to keep an eye on things. They need to be put in their place. 👌😉
I knew that Jenny might panic / flip out and that I would need to reassure her. I was determined to wait there at Little Ku in the hope that we could talk about it. I knew that she would probably whack me around the head with a baseball bat. That would have been perfectly acceptable. I knew that she would be pissed at me. But she would be fine once everything calms down.
James (loyalist / team Jenny) was there. There was a group discussion among members about last weekend's "coup". The group members (including James) were in the dark. But I knew exactly what was going on behind the scenes as I was on the original organisers WhatsApp group. I kept tight lipped about the whole situation and continued sipping my beer innocently. I let James and the other members do the talking. James explained to them that he had not been checking the messages on the main chat. He gleaned that there was a disagreement between Jenny and the other admins over whether to reinstate Little Ku / Retro in place of the park Meetup. And that the other admins kicked Jenny out of her own bucket. James looked at me for confirmation. Everyone was listening. I simply said "James described it correctly" or something along those lines. There was no need to say anything more. Or reveal how I felt about it. Between James & I, enough was said for the necessary seeds to be planted.
There were people coming up the stairs into the function room. I recognised them from the park Meetup. Only a matter of time until one of the rebel admins walked in! Rob told me that he would fight them off me. 😍
Anyway, I heard word from Rob (who was keeping an eye on the main groups) that the other admins were going to G-A-Y. Presumably they were trying to avoid me. Which suited me just fine.
[20:04, 31/07/2021] Sam: Hey folks, we're starting to make our way towards soho now =)
Good job that I did not see these messages. Rob (not fully understanding the situation) was effectively luring the park rebels to Jenny's Meetup. 💀 🙅♂️
In retrospect, this was a smart move. It showed that we were not afraid. Rob's timing coincided perfectly with the Instagram / Facebook post. Boss! The park rebels might have seen that and decided to steer well clear (apart from the fact that they might have been snubbing Jenny's Meetup and encouraging others to do the same).
On the way to Chinatown, we stopped off at Compton's for one last drink. The 3 of us found some seats upstairs. At this point, we were safely away from the Meetup and other group members. I was able to let loose and have a drunken rant to both of them about how angry I felt towards the other 4 admins about their lack of decorum towards Jenny. I am not sure if I revealed to Megan what I had done (I cannot remember). But I said something along the lines that the rebels decided to oust their organiser. Which justified my actions tonight. Let them take the consequences. Let them organise a group and see that it is not a walk in the park! Despite how much of a power trip they might be on!
[22:46, 31/07/2021] Rory Duffy: I’m not feeding them, but I think that they ought to respect you
Rory spent the first few years of his life in an ice cave, carving out his palace of wonder. He's a bit of a love doll, but he who melts the ice shall have his reward.
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I have been recommended to acknowledge and process all that I have been though, where it all started from how it has affected me.