Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Panda Bond-age, toilet sex, mysticism, Maud Adams and homemade porn

Oh, how we look forward to "London's peerless gay literary salon" Polari! Last night John-John, little Tony, Paul, Ange and I joined regulars Val Lee (as "Patsy Stone"), the lovely John McCullough, (a very hungover) Alex Hopkins, Krystyna FitzGerald-Morris [to whom I am eternally indebted for many of the photos on this page, see her website], DJ Connell, Toby Tobes, Stuart Wakefield, Peter Daniels and many more in a packed house for the first event of 2013, and what a corker our master of ceremonies Paul Burston had assembled yet again.

Dressed as half-James Bond and half-Panda(!!), Mr B took to the stage in jubilant mood - he has several bits of good news to announce about Polari later in the year apparently - to welcome our largely sex-themed readers for the evening.

Opening the show was dirty-story-writer Eric Karl Anderson (author of the award-winning Enough and editor of the sadly-demised Chroma Gay Journal). His tale of a married man's secretive liaisons with men at a beachside "cottage" (that's "tea-room" to the Yanks) - and in particular the horny encounter with a rent boy who styled himself on James Dean - was at once familiar to many of us in the audience, and also rather engaging. We have had the pleasure of Mr Anderson before (oo-er) at a previous Polari Porn Night way back in July 2009, and we were extremely pleased to see him again. He is such a great writer.

Miss Suzi Feay is a familiar and long-serving supporter of Polari, and latterly has turned her writing talents away from the world of journalism to her own fiction. And what fab stuff it is, too! Choosing a bit of a filthy one to suite the emerging trend of the evening, Suzi read part of her tale of the intertwining (on occasion physically, on the loo) relationships of a bizarre family gathering - fading 60s nude model matriarch, errant and shiftless son, his long-suffering girlfriend and her own teenage son. Suffice to say, although Miss Feay's works remain stubbornly unpublished even on the web, when you do get to read them in print the phrase "Never trust a man with icy spunk" will remain with you forever!

Concluding the triptych in the first half was the enigmatic artist, performer and writer Qasim Riza Shaheen. How does one adequately sum him up? Difficult, sometimes impenetrably so, his interwoven memoirs and mystical fantasy scenarios left us pleasantly soothed and slightly dazed at the same time. Charming stuff, but as he admits, he usually "hides" behind a performance persona, and he felt somewhat exposed being himself. I guess that in order to get the full impact, one needs the costumes and artistry to complete the wheel...

With the audience settled after the fag break, while stroking his pussy menacingly Mr Burston gave a warm welcome to an unexpected and very entertaining reader indeed, as onto the stage came the fabulous Welsh poet, comedian and all-round filth-meister Mel Jones (her own show is called "Friggers of Speech" up the road from us in Crouch End, and she signed a copy of her book for our Paul with the words "Lick my labs"!).

She performed not only her crowning glory Mmmm - a poem that won her top prize in a fiendish pub challenge to write on the theme of bestiality, using only words that begin with "M" - she also read us these two:
You’re Sexy
I don’t try to keep up with the ladies
As they wax, colour, peel and curl
I don’t bother much with the feminine
Or the guff about being a girl
It seems such a waste of resources
All that suffering’s a terrible pity
Especially when you consider the thought
That, generally, men ain’t that picky
They like to suggest that they’d only
Consider a model or WAG
When actually there’s not a woman alive
That some bloke or other won’t shag
It’s a blatantly sexist assertion
But that doesn’t mean that it’s wrong
All that alpha male crap masks the obvious fact
That we’ve had the power all along
They’re desperate to stop women twigging
They’d fuck a frog if it stopped hopping
You don’t have to try to entice a straight guy
You’re sexy just doing the shopping
You’re sexy because you’re a woman
With, or without, teeth or hair
You’re the unconquered peak of the mountain
You’re sexy – because you are there
You’re sexy from every perspective
Each crevice and fold a delight
You’re sexy with scars, you’d be sexy with SARS
Men don’t put up much of a fight
So girls, ditch the worry and torment
Buy some cake and the next dress size up
You could be ninety-three, 30 stone, reek of pee
I guarantee – you’d get a fuck

I don't like Californian porn,
That bland, soulless performance
Where all the girls are perfect tens
And the cocks are all enormous

And no one ever drops a fart
Or laughs, or has a breather
And everybody comes on time
(Which doesn't happen either)

It's not that I don't like a wank
Unless I'm ill or sad
And if a porno gets me off
I don't think that's so bad

But I prefer the amateur
It's much more masturbatory
And knocks the spots off money-shots
False tits and other fakery

My problem with that Hollywood stuff's
Not just that it's appalling
In pandering to cruel stereotypes -
It's all so fucking boring

Let's see some real people, please
With their joyous imperfections
Their bold patches and wobbly bits
And minor skin infections

Let's turn to porn that's made with love
For fun, and freely shared
With every kind of body you could think of
If you dared

Let's celebrate each size and shape
In a porno jamboree
Let's watch a paraplegic romp
With a horny amputee

The more we break from Hollywood fake
The more its power diminishes
And shouldn't we be waging war
On fascist body images?

So let's hear it for home-made porn
The quirky and erratic
It's not got everybody's vote
But it's fucking democratic!
A difficult act to follow, for sure.

Rising to that challenge - and satisfying the "Bond" segment rather than the "smut" theme, Mr Mark O'Connell read for us some extracts from his well-reviewed Catching Bullets: Memoirs of a Bond Fan - described by one critic as "a love-letter to James Bond, Duran Duran title songs and bolting down your tea quick enough to watch Roger Moore falling out of a plane without a parachute" - which apparently has a foreword by Mark Gatiss and an addendum by Maud Adams (from Octopussy).

The story revolves around our hero's transference of childish interest in the likes of Star Wars and superheroes in the 80s to a lifelong obsession with all things James Bond. Beautifully written, Mr O'Connell captures the parallel weird feelings of puberty as experienced by an emerging gay teen, and the thrill of finding out that your granddad once chauffeured Cubby Broccoli around!

Superb. We loved it, as always - the readers, the buzz, the view from the top of the Royal Festival Hall... and the gossip.

I'm quite upset at the fact I will likely miss next month's outing - it clashes with a one-off event at the quirky and wondrous Petrie Museum of Egyptology for LGBT History Month [more about that soon] featuring the legend that is Bette Bourne! It's like the old adage about London buses - you wait ages for a first-class intelligent gay-themed evening's entertainment, and then two come along, all at once.

The next Polari is on Tuesday 26th February, and features Clare Summerskill, Gerry Potter, John McCullough, Marion Husband and Beatrice Hitchman.


  1. Oh, Jon. You are just brilliant. I love these blog posts. DJx

  2. Brilliant blog, brilliant night, Polari was (as if often the case) the highlight of January.

    I love how you follow the line ... and the gossip with DJ's photo of Paul & I looking like we've over the garden fence, "ooh, he never!"

    I bought two books on the night, and Mel Jones wrote "To Tony, You Filthy Fu ker" on mine.
    I believe Paul's inscription is "Lick my Labs and call me Brenda" while poor John-John's can't be shown in polite company.

    What will we do without your blog (and presence) at the Feb. Polari?


    1. Daaahling! It was fab. I am a little peeved at the clash of events in Feb, but these things do tend to happen during LGBT History Month and, as we all know, trying to organise homosexuals is like herding cats.... Jx

      PS I do wish you would resurrect your blog.

  3. You evoke the scintillating literary extravaganza that is Polari extremely well! Thanks for your lovely words.

    1. You are more than welcome, my dear! I look forward to reading more of your fabulous story once it is published... Jx

  4. Sounds great, as always. Sorry to have missed this one. Hope you're enjoying your holiday x

    1. You were missed, dear - and yes, the holiday was marvellous! Jx


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