Sunday 30 June 2013

I've never come like that to a gentleman before

Another "fabulous at 50" birthday today - the utterly gorgeous Rupert Graves.

As "Freddy Honeychurch" in A Room With A View, or, more notably as "Alec Scudder" in Maurice, Mr Graves was the subject of many a - ahem! - fantasy of mine in the 1980s. He was (and still is) a beautiful man.

This scene remains a perpetual favourite...

Many happy returns!

Rupert Graves official website


Our gang's chosen theme for Gay Pride 2013 was '1920s black and white Art Deco'. Given the recent media obsession with The Great Gatsby and this year's official theme of 'Love and Marriage', I think it worked very well.

In his message for Pride day (writing about the Equal Marriage Bill), Prime Minister David Cameron said: "There will be girls and boys in school today who are worried about being bullied and concerned about what society thinks of them because they are gay or lesbian. By making this change they will be able to see that Parliament believes their love is the same as anyone else's love and that we believe in equality.

"I think this will enable them to stand that bit taller, be that bit more confident and I am proud of that."

London Community Pride patron Martina Navratilova: "Once you have equal marriage and rights and have full equality under the law it just validates you and makes prejudice that is overt impossible.

"In the US, for example, in 29 states you can be fired for being gay or fired if your employer thinks you are gay.

"So it’s not about marriage itself. It’s about equal rights overall. Marriage represents that. Once you can get married then nobody can say “you can’t do this because you are gay”. Or fire me for being gay. That’s what marriage represents. It’s much more than just marriage."

We were proud to be there. Proud to be dressed extravagantly. Proud to be loud and "in yer face". Proud to be a part of such a huge throng of thousands upon thousands of people. Proud to hold hands and kiss in the streets of the greatest city in the World. Proud of our own achievements, and those of others who fought their battles before us. Proud to be amongst good friends.

Yesterday's Gay Pride was great day.

Saturday 29 June 2013

And let the fun begin

It's arrived...

We're off to Gay Pride - to drink champers, primp up our outfits, mince through the centre of London with heads held high, and have a great laugh!

To start us off, we always have to play our Pride anthem, and here to sing it for us is the Gay Men's Chorus of Washington (featuring a soloist with a most appropriate name Sherman Blow) - Bring On The Men!

There was a time
I don't know when
I didn't have much time for men
But this is now and that was then, I'm learning

A girl alone, all on her own
Must try to have a heart of stone
So I try not to make it known my yearning
I try to show I have no need
I really do, I don't succeed

So let´s bring on the men
And let the fun begin
A little touch of sin
Why wait another minute
Step this way its time for us to play
They say we may not pass this way again
So lets waste no more time
Bring on the men

I always knew, I always said
Silk and lace in black and red
Will drive a man right off his head, its easy

So many men, so little time
I want them all, is that a crime (NO!)
I don't know why they say that I'm too easy
They make me laugh, they make me cry
They make me sick, so god knows why

We say bring on the men
And let the fun begin
A little touch of sin
Why wait another minute
Step this way its time for us to play
They say we may not pass this way again
So lets waste no more time
Bring on the men

They break your heart
They steal your soul
Take you apart
And yet they somehow make you whole
So what's their game
I suppose a rose by any other name
The perfume and the prick's the same

I like to have a man for breakfast each day
I'm very social and I like it that way
By late mid-morning I need something to munch
So I ask over two men for lunch

And men are mad about my afternoon "tease".
They're quite informal I just do it to please
Those triple sandwiches are my favourite ones
I must admit, I'm partial to buns

My healthy appetite gets strongest at night
My at home dinners are my men friends' delight
When I invite the fellas over to dine
They all come early, in bed by nine!

So lets bring on the men
And let the fun begin
A little touch of sin
Why wait another minute
Step this way it's time for us to play
They say we may not pass this way again
So lets waste no more time
Bring on the men!

Happy Gay Xmas, everyone!

[I notice even YouTube is celebrating, with its own rainbow flag...]

Gay Prides past:

Friday 28 June 2013

We All Love Captain Ginger

In this, the gayest of all weeks, we couldn't neglect the birthday of that camp icon John Inman.

His character "Mr Humphries" has often been cited by po-faced gay "activists" as somehow wrong or stereotyping of gay men for the way he was portrayed - mummy's boy, mincing, weak and pansy-ish - but, if truth be told, there are a helluva lot of gay men out there (here?) who fit that bill, so why on earth should he not?

I always thought he was hilarious when I was young, especially his interplay with the magnificent Molly Sugden ("Mrs Slocombe").

The late, great Mr Inman was "out there" shining a light on gayness, on prime-time television, at a time when "serious" art (think films such as Dog Day Afternoon, The Sergeant, The Children’s Hour) preferred its gays to be doomed, unhinged and/or tragic figures who always conveniently die in the end.

We should be eternally grateful to him for taking a gay character and making him into a figure beloved of millions.

Facts about John Inman:
  • For a time he worked in a real-life department store, Austin Reed, but left for a job as a scenic artist with Kenneth Kendall's touring company, with whom he eventually became an actor. He appeared in many popular plays such as Salad Days, Charley's Aunt and My Fat Friend before getting his big break in Are You Being Served?.
  • Mr Inman was one of the nation's best known pantomime dames and appeared in over 40 pantomimes across the United Kingdom, appearing regularly as one of the two ugly sisters alongside Hi-de-Hi's Barry Howard.
  • In December 2005, after being in a long-term relationship for 33 years, John and his partner Ron Lynch entered into a civil partnership. John Inman died in St Mary's Hospital, Paddington, on 8th March 2007 aged 71, and left his entire estate of £2.8 million to his partner. At the time this was believed to be the largest amount a gay man in a civil partnership had inherited since the ceremonies became legal in 2005.
Here is one of our favourite Music Hall numbers, done in Mr Inman's butchest fashion:

Frederick John Inman (28th June 1935 – 8th March 2007)

Village voices

Happy Gay Xmas Eve!

Lest we forget, the reason why Gay Pride is celebrated in the US and the UK (and in many other countries) on this weekend every year is due to the events that took place 44 years ago today. The Stonewall riots are widely described as a series of spontaneous, violent demonstrations against a police raid that took place in the early morning hours of June 28, 1969 at the Stonewall Inn, in the Greenwich Village neighbourhood of New York City.

They are frequently cited as the first instance in American history when gays and lesbians fought back against a government-sponsored system that persecuted homosexuals, and they have become the defining event that marked the start of the gay rights movement in the United States and around the world.

I raise a glass to our brave brothers and sisters (many of whom feature in the photos above, no doubt), who began the long, hard struggle that culminated in the legal situation in which many of us in the West exist today - where anti-gay legislation is now seen as an anachronism.

I also recognise that for us, tomorrow's Gay Pride is a celebration, a sparkling outpouring of our visibility and defiance - and a perfect excuse for a party!

Here is the gayest of gay bands to help us along - the appropriately-named Village People, with an appropriate song: New York City!

Thank Disco It's Friday - happy Pride!

Gay Pride in London 2013

Thursday 27 June 2013

Young love, middle-aged love, sadistic love, an ironing board, a crumble and Prince Harry

It was a beautiful summer evening yesterday when I trolled across the Hungerford Bridge to the South Bank, on my own this time. Our gang was even more depleted than last month - all at the launch of Marcus Reeves' album, I believe - so it was just me and Roland (the artist formerly of the "Lost Octopus", who told me he has bagged a gig at Summer Rites/Pride in the Park on Saturday afternoon) to grab a space at the top table...

The place was thronged with familiar and not-so-familiar faces, all our regulars (DJ Connell, VG Lee, Peter Daniels, Toby Tobes, Paul's hubby Paulo, et al) plus the ever-controversial Julie Bindel, and Paul's Mum and Dad all the way from Bridgend(!).

Opening the evening's edifications, Miss Antonia Cridland read from her touching gay teenage love story Nathan and Alex. It's her first foray into the world of writing sex scenes between men, but, from the passage she read anyway, she seems to have mastered the "artform" rather well. I got a little hot under the collar at times...

Here she is talking about the book, in an interview at the London Book Fair:

The lovely Chris Chalmers, a familiar face from Polari back in April 2012, read for us this time an extract for his as-yet-unpublished novel Dinner at the Happy Skeleton, involving the sort-of-happy circumstance when a frustrated gay man in the midst of a mid-life crisis receives an invitation (on Gaydar) to - ahem! - hook up with a semi-retired porn star. Hilarious, intriguing, and left us all wondering why on earth that book deal has yet to come Mr Chalmers' way.

Jack Wolf is a master of historical horror fiction. Reading from his Gothic novel The Tale of Raw Head and Bloody Bones, written in the authentic style of the 18th century (all "thees" and "thous" and archaic phrases), he captured simultaneously the looming and mysterious persona of the story's anti-hero Tristan Hunt - "a promising young physician, also, alas, a psychopath" - and the captivating and homoerotic control he has over his young lad companion. Scaling the wall of a locked orchard to gather forbidden fruit, the frisson between the two boys becomes Tristan's own private pleasure when his young friend is caught red-handed and given a thrashing, while Tristan watches... Spooky and menacing stuff, indeed.

Paul wisely took this opportunity to allow us a breather after the highly-charged atmosphere of Gothic horror and smut of the first half.

Opening the second session, however, was an amazing act - the debut at Polari of Vauxhall Tavern favourite, polyester-lover and international cabaret superstar Miss Lorraine Bowen, her ironing board and her Casio organ! I was thrilled - never having seen the lady in one of her legendary off-the-wall performances before. She didn't disappoint. Miss Bowen's forte is to transform the mundane into an almost surreal reality through her songs - she began by (hilariously) demonstrating the things that make up a "classic" song (verse, chorus, bridge, key changes, the lot). Then she sang it:

The Crumble Song - which has apparently been translated into at least five languages including Indian - had us all in stitches, singing along (in fact I couldn't get it out of my head all day in work):

"Everybody's good at cooking something
I'm good at cooking crumble.
I've got one in the oven -
Would you like some?"

Loved it! Miss Bowen proudly boasts five albums' worth of songs she's produced in her long career. If I'd had the cash on me, I'd have bought one there and then. She was a hard act to follow, but...

Our headliner, the rather scrummy Mr James Wharton has a remarkable story to tell. The first gay serviceman to be featured on the front cover of The Soldier magazine (the British Army's official publication), he has served in Iraq, taken part in major state occasions including the State Opening of Parliament, Lord Mayor's Parade, Cenotaph Parade and the Queen's Birthday Parade, and escorted the Sovereign on the occasion of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's wedding. With his own wedding in March 2010, James and his husband became the first same sex couple to have their relationship formalised in the Household Cavalry's 350 year history, within the walls of the London barracks. He was particularly chuffed to be among the very first uniformed serving members from the British Army to march at Gay Pride in London.

He is quite an accomplished storyteller, too. His most famous anecdote - the book Out in the Army is being serialised in [of all places, but I suppose a girl's gotta eat] The Mail On Sunday - is of the time Prince Harry saved him from being beaten up by troops from another battalion.

I was mightily impressed, if only slightly disappointed he was not in full "Army porn fantasy uniform" (Mr Wharton left the forces earlier this year), and he received a huge round of applause.

And that, unfortunately was it for another Polari, bar the schmoozing.

I adore the sheer eclecticism of these evenings, and look forward to them each and every month.

Next month, alongside luminaries as Neil Alexander and Marco Mancassola, is our very own Ange, reading "some of me poetry" - can't wait!

Polari returns to the 5th floor function room of the Royal Festival Hall on Tuesday 30th July 2013.

Birds do it, bees do it

As we count down the days to our own Gay Pride day in London this Saturday, our American chums have lots to celebrate, too.

Yesterday, the US Supreme Court ruled the hated Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) to be unconstitutional. In one fell swoop, married gay couples across the States now have equal rights before the law to their straight compatriots (and in a separate ruling, the anti-gay-marriage law in California was also overturned).

Cheers all round, methinks! And here to toast the big day is a wonderfully camp version (from a cult movie I have never seen, Tank Girl) of Cole Porter's classic Let's Do It (Let's Fall in Love)!


Wednesday 26 June 2013

Let me know what happens here tonight

Continuing our countdown to Gay Xmas this Saturday, I thought I'd step into the Time Machine, and take us back to the heady days when all European dance music seemed to be aimed at us Boys Who Like Poppers.

So here to push all your gay buttons is a classic slice of kitsch from the year I came out (1984), a thumping ItaloDisco/Hi-NRG number by Mr Ken Laszlo (and whatever happened to her?) - Hey Hey Guy.

I love it...

Let me see what you have done
Let me know what happens here tonight
Love for hire is dangerous
Let me know what happens here tonight

Hey hey guy (Shall I get you)
Hey hey guy (Oh yeah)
Hey hey guy (Stay any longer)
Hey hey guy (Oh yeah)

Steps to heaven, three steps to me
Let me know what you are doing tonight
You love me, but sorry I don't love you
Let me know what you are doing tonight

Twirl those fans, boys!

Gay Pride in London 2013

Georgie Porgie

National treasure and remarkably talented blues and Jazz singer, the super-cool Mr Georgie Fame is 70 years old today!

Apart from being a one-time fixture on the BBC and in the charts in the 60s and 70s, dirty little Georgie was also - scandalously - involved in a love triangle with the British nobility.

Back in 1971 the 9th Marquess of Londonderry divorced his first wife, Nicolette (Nico), who went on to marry Georgie. It turned out that Nico's then 18-month-old son - who was presumed heir to the aristocratic title - was not, in fact, Londonderry's son but was Mr Fame's. To be honest, back in those days who could have blamed her? I had one helluva crush on Georgie Fame myself...

Anyway, this birthday milestone is good enough excuse, if any were needed, to feature a little Pan's People at Dolores Delargo Towers - here are our girls accompanying Georgie (bizarrely, in his nightshirt!), in their own inimitable fashion, on the very funky Seventh Son:

And here's my favourite of Mr Fame's many hits - a fond memory from my childhood - The Ballad of Bonnie and Clyde:

Georgie Fame (born Clive Powell, 26 June 1943)

Tuesday 25 June 2013

Lieder für heute

Another selection of some newer musical delights is in order today, methinks...

First up, those marvellous pioneers of 80s electronic music OMD (Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark) are back with a new album (English Electric) and a fab single Dresden:

Regular faves here at Dolores Delargo Towers, those mad Melbourne-ites Parralox have a new single out, (featuring the rather cute Ryan Adamés), which has rather an early "house" feel about it - it's Silent Morning:

Helen Marnie, lead vocalist and mainstay of the uber-cool Ladytron, started a solo career in 2012. Here, from her debut album Crystal World, is the single The Hunter. I like it - it reminds me a little of Tears for Fears...

I am not usually known to be strangely drawn to "urban" shouty music, but once again the mere presence of the unbowed queen of dance music Luciana, in the estimable company of the horny gay bad boy Cazwell, makes this song irresistible - it's Guess What?:

Speaking of fierce dance divas, here's the glamazon Bex and her new song What You Are. She loves only gold...

From the dance music of today, let's go right back to the heady days of Studio 54 in the company of the utterly fabulous Le Grind and their drag-tastic new single I Was There (Where Were You?) It's simply divine, daaahlings!

And finally, continuing our countdown to Gay Pride on Saturday - who else could we choose to conclude this short, sharp collection but but the "Gay Pimp" himself Mr Jonny McGovern, with his anthem for Florida's "Gayest Weekend of All Time" (which took place this Spring), The Gayest Of All Time?

Enjoy, sweeties - and let me know your thoughts!

And yes, I've been bad

Fabulous at 50 - and in the middle of our Gay Pride countdown here at Dolores Delargo Towers, too - it's everyone's favourite driving instructor Mr Georgios Kyriacos Panagiòtou, better known (of course) as George Michael!

From lowly beginnings among the Cypriot restaurants of Finchley, North London, to multi-million-selling singer and Very Rich Man Indeed, our Georgios is rarely away from the headlines (unfortunately lately for all the wrong reasons). However, he is responsible for many, many significant songs in my life, for which I love him - Careless Whisper, A Different Corner, Young Guns, Faith, and, er, Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go... and this one.

What else could I play, in this week of all weeks, but Mr Michael's most defiantly gay coming-out number, Outside?

I think I'm done with the sofa
I think I'm done with the hall
I think I'm done with the kitchen table, baby

Let's go outside (let's go outside) in the sunshine
I know you want to, but you can't say yeah
Let's go outside in the moonshine
Take me to the places that I love best

So my angel, she says, don't you worry
'bout the things they're saying, yeah
Got no friends in high places and the game that you gave away
wasn't worth playing

Let's go outside in the sunshine
I know you want to, but you can't say yeah
Let's go outside in the meantime
Take me to the places that I love best

And yes, I've been bad
Doctor, won't you do with me what you can
You see I think about it all the time, twenty-four seven
(Twenty- four, twenty-four seven)

You say you want it, you got it
I never really said it before
There's nothing here, but flesh and bone
There's nothing more, nothing more
There's nothing more, oh, oh, oh

Back to nature, just human nature
Getting on back to -

I think I'm done with the sofa
I think I'm done with the hall
I think I'm done with the kitchen table, baby

Let's go outside in the sunshine
I know you want to, but you can't say yeah
Let's go outside in the moonshine
Take me to the places that I love best

And yes, I've been bad
Doctor, won't you do with me what you can
you see I think about it all the time
I'd service the community but I already have you see
I never really said it before

There's nothing here, but flesh and bone
There's nothing more, nothing more
There's nothing more
Let's go outside
Dancing on the D-train, baby

(You want it, you got it)
When the moon is high
(You want it, you got it)
And the grass is jumpin'
Come on, just keep on funkin'
(I'm dancing on the D-train)
Keep on funkin', just keep on funkin'
(I'm dancing on the D-train)

Happy, birthday, George!

George Michael official website

Monday 24 June 2013

Computer love

Continuing our countdown to Gay Pride on Saturday, we should not forget that yesterday was the 101st anniversary of the birth of that remarkable gay hero Alan Turing (read my blog on his centenary last year).

In honour of the greatest computer genius of the 20th century, I thought a bit of Kraftwerk might not go amiss...

Pride in London 2013


After a fabulous weekend that included a surprise ticket to see Marianne Faithfull (and a day of recovery from the very late night afterwards, during which I managed to finally finish my outfit for next Saturday's Gay Pride!), it is now time for another week of unbridled joy in work to commence.

However, it is Tacky Music Monday, and as yesterday marked the birthday of the late, great Bob Fosse - how about something really camp?

Here's the fantastic Rich Man's Frug from one of our fave musicals here at Dolores Delargo Towers Sweet Charity, which certainly fits the bill!

Have a good week!

Robert Louis “Bob” Fosse (June 23, 1927 – September 23, 1987)

Sunday 23 June 2013

An audience with God

"Hi Jon. What are you doing tonight?" came the call from darling Paul. I was on the bus in Wood Green at the time, having spent time sheltering from the grey and grizzly hideousness of what laughingly passes for British mid-Summer in the equally hideous "Shopping City".

"No plans," I said.

"How do you fancy going to see Marianne Faithfull tonight? I have a ticket going. My treat, as part of your birthday present."

The bus full of grey and grizzly people was treated to a half-choke, half scream! Well, dear reader - what would you do?

Miss Marianne Faithfull - famously depicted by Edina Monsoon in Ab Fab as God - has been an icon, an inspiration and a heroine of mine forever, yet I had never seen her live. On each previous opportunity, something else got in the way. Holidays, money, that sort of thing. It was mainly the latter that prevented me from even trying for a ticket this time around, when details of Yoko Ono's lineup for the Meltdown Festival 2013 was announced (I wanted to see Siouxsie too).

And so it was I headed to the South Bank and met up with Paul - and "journo-slut" Alex Hopkins, and the effervescent Lauren Henderson (aka Rebecca Chance) and her coterie, who were also attending the pilgrimage - for the grande dame's show.

She's tiny. She is older and rounder. Yet Marianne Faithfull is electrifying. Even from the outset she had the audience rapt with attention, as the strains of Broken English - "What are you fighting for?!" - echoed around the impressive auditorium of the Queen Elizabeth Hall.

This was a subtle, understated set, just Miss Faithfull and guitarist Bill Frisell. Yet every nuance, every emotion was wracked out of a wonderfully varied selection from her enviable back catalogue - famous and not-so-famous numbers including Vagabond Ways, Rich Kid Blues, She, Leonard Cohen's Tower of Song, Bob Dylan's I'll Keep It with Mine, a chillingly minimalist version of Randy Newman’s song In Germany Before The War, Tom Waits' Strange Weather and the crowd-pleaser As Tears Go By [a song which is, remarkably, 50 years old next year].

She proved that the old rebel was still alive and kicking and received rapturous applause for her defiant version of John Lennon's Working Class Hero (given that this was Yoko's festival, I guess it was a must). Every hair on my neck was on end. And as she lit up a (forbidden) cigarette on stage, the rebels in the audience cheered some more!

As soon as you're born they make you feel small
By giving you no time instead of it all
Till the pain is so big you feel nothing at all
A working class hero is something to be

They hurt you at home and they hit you at school
They hate you if you're clever and they despise a fool
Till you're so fucking crazy you can't follow their rules
A working class hero is something to be

When they've tortured and scared you for twenty-odd years
Then they expect you to pick a career
When you can't really function you're so full of fear
A working class hero is something to be

Keep you doped with religion and sex and TV
And you think you're so clever and classless and free
But you're still fucking peasants as far as I can see
A working class hero is something to be

There's room at the top they're telling you still
But first you must learn how to smile as you kill
If you want to be like the folks on the hill

A working class hero is something to be
If you want to be a hero well just follow me

I adored her version of the 30s classic Boulevard of Broken Dreams ("Where gigolo and gigolette can take a kiss without regret"), and of course I was in raptures when she sang that eternal anthem for frustrated middle-aged people everywhere The Ballad of Lucy Jordan.

It was a brief show (just over an hour) but for me one of the most satisfying concerts in a long while. The crowd (and I) gave her a well-deserved standing ovation. I am still coming down to earth today...

Eddie Monsoon was right. Marianne Faithfull is God.

And here she is singing As Tears Go By last night:

Miss Faithfull's official website

Saturday 22 June 2013

Shenanigans at the Conway Hall

In the run-up to Pride, as part of the Pride Festival there are a number of arty Big Gay Events going on - including national treasure Clare Balding OBE in conversation with Martina Navratilova, a live radio play recording (that I hope will be broadcast soon!) on the History of Polari (the lingo), the launch of the British Museum's A Lttle Gay History guide at Gay's The Word bookshop, (the "other") Polari ("London's peerless gay literary salon"), and much, much more...

Yesterday (Friday 21st June), I went to one of them - a very special literary event hosted by the lovely people of the Gay & Lesbian Humanist Association (GALHA), titled Shenanigans! Gay Men Mess With Genre. A compilation of writing by some excellent gay authors, the book began with an invitation from editor (and author of the fantastic "Brenda and Effie" series of comic mystery stories) Paul Magrs:
“Dear Everyone,

How do you feel about writing a short story for me? I’m about to edit a story anthology for Obverse Books and I’m going to invite a select number of gay men to write stories based in a genre – any genre they like – and maybe more than one at a time.

I love the idea of writers working in different genres and using the rules for each one… but I do have this theory that when gay men write detectives, space opera, paranormal romance or whatever… there’s a bit of subversion and bending of the rules going on. I’m after mash-ups and literary crossovers… a bit of Camp Cosy Crime and some satirical thrillers; sexy confessional tales and some time travel; magical realism and outrageous mythic fantasy.

What do you think…?

Love, Paul x”

Among the respondees to Paul's lovely invitation were the four who read for us in the quaint surroundings of the Conway Hall. First to the podium was the multiple book prize-winning author, lecturer and DJ Jonathan Kemp. His story The Tain of the Mirror (in the "horror" genre) told the chilling tale of a sadistic self-obsessed gay man, and the suffering his adoring boyfriend had to go through - until one day, the obsession with his own reflection proves his grisly comeuppance... You could hear a pin drop across the room. Stunning.

Mr Kemp was followed swiftly by the rather lovely Joseph Lidster (writer on Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures, who we saw at the LGBT History Month Every Good Thing event at the Petrie Museum). His tale Soul Man was a sort-of-ghost-story, revolving around spooky goings-on in a stifling small town in rural England with a series of unexplained murders, and a surprising twist at the end when our narrator finally discovers the truth. This was a particularly absorbing story, read as a "duet" with our host Ricky - I was mightily impressed, and will be seeking out more of Mr Lidster's work, no doubt.

Superstar-biographer, showman and impresario (and another multi-award-winning author) Rupert Smith provided, inevitably, the most entertaining reading. Rather than take just one genre to mess with, Rupert decided to tackle four differing styles - Jackie Collins-style glossy melodrama, gay porn, horror and (overblown) literary fiction - in one story! Hilariously using a scarf as a prop to illustrate the changes in temperament as The Reason, his tale of the pretty rich boy, the mysterious stranger (with the big cock), the horrific murder and the pensive reflections after the event, he was (as always) incredibly entertaining - everyone loved it!

I felt a bit sorry for our fourth and final reader having to follow that tour-de-force performance, but as-yet-unpublished author Nick Campbell proved more than up to the challenge. His story The Corrective Tender took a more sci-fi/fantasy turn - involving a very mysterious organisation offering regeneration and rebirth, different parallel worlds and twists of fate, an offer gleefully taken up by a confused gay lad in order to undo parts of his life and his relationship that he regretted. Or were we all being bamboozled? It was an excellent end to an excellent set of readings.

The panel took a few questions, addressing the shameful state of gay publishing at the moment in Britain, and the contrary nature of writing as a gay man, feeling generally pigeon-holed (or even rejected) whatever genre one chooses.

I left, satisfied but intrigued. It was such a shame there were no copies of the Shenanigans book on sale, as I'm certain the rest of the stories will be as good - must order a copy!

Shenanigans! Gay Men Mess With Genre is published by Obverse Books

She's so unusual


Miss Cyndi Lauper is 60 years old today!

Known for setting a whole new generation of teenage American girls loose on second-hand chic in the 1980s, and for her anthemic songs such as Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, True Colours and Time After Time, Miss Lauper has latterly turned producer and songwriter, notably with her current hit Broadway musical adaptation of the British rags-to-drag-bitches film about a Northampton shoemaking factory, Kinky Boots.

Throughout her career, Cyndi has been a stalwart supporter and promoter of gay and lesbian rights. She has a personal connection to this cause - her sister is a lesbian - but she also believes it's a matter of fairness. "It's always wrong to discriminate," she says. "I grew up in the civil rights movement. It was wrong then, and it is wrong now."

Continuing our countdown to "Gay Xmas" on 29th June 2013, we salute you, Miss Lauper - happy birthday, sweetie! Here, to celebrate, is her notorious paean to female masturbation, She Bop:

“Somebody did complain to me and tell me that my clothes were so loud they couldn’t hear me sing.”

“The women back in the 80s had beautiful cheekbones, thick eyebrows, big smiles – you know, everything I didn’t. I was upset that I didn’t look like them, but I find people that have a fat face like me figure how to work with it. You can do a lot with a plain, blank face.”

“On my darkest days, I wear my brightest colours.”

”You know, I do speak the Queen’s English. It’s just the wrong Queens, that’s all. It’s over the 59th Street Bridge. It’s not over the Atlantic Ocean”.

Facts about Cyndi:
  • She was born Cynthia Ann Stephanie Lauper in Queens, New York, of German, Swiss and Sicilian-American descent.
  • Miss Lauper worked in a thrift store to earn extra money until her first solo album She’s So Unusual was released in 1983, when she was 30.
  • In 1977, Lauper damaged her vocal chords and was told by doctors that she would never sing again, and underwent intense vocal coaching to restore her voice.
  • With the accolades for her Kinky Boots musical in 2013, Cyndi became the first woman to win a Tony for Best Original Score - she already has an Emmy and a Grammy award.

Cyndi Lauper (born 22nd June 1953)

Friday 21 June 2013

And I feel like I need some more

Another week in the office is out of the way.

Good riddance.

There is only one more weekend to go before it's "Gay Xmas" - Gay Pride in London - so let us mark the coming of the party mood and begin the countdown in an appropriate fashion, in the company of the adorable Jimmy Somerville (who celebrates his 52nd birthday tomorrow).

And what gayer way to celebrate than with the diminutive bundle of horniness himself paying tribute to another gay icon, Sylvester? Mighty Real? It certainly is!

Thank Disco It's Friday!

Happy birthday, Jimmy - hope you get everything you want...

Jimmy Somerville on Wikipedia

Thursday 20 June 2013

Wednesday 19 June 2013

The most culturally barren century since the Dark Ages

The current state of popular music. Discuss.
Two decades have officially passed since people knew what was at the top of the charts.

The last commonly-recognised ‘Number One’ was Ace Of Base’s All That She Wants in June 1993.

Professor Henry Brubaker of the Institute for Studies said: “Time was when not knowing what was number one was like not knowing it was raining.

“Nowadays it could be any maniac with a large, supportive family and an iTunes account. Last year 43-year-old Roy Hobbs topped the charts with a bossa nova track about igneous rock.

Plasterer Stephen Malley was number one for 105 consecutive weeks between 2007 and 2009 with a song about dogs, called Dogs."

However, this could not guarantee Malley a table at his local Pizza Express during busy periods.

He said: “I’m the modern king of pop, my single’s sold almost 6,000 fucking copies! But the only blowjob I’ve had is one that I paid for, and it cost me my entire Spotify royalty cheque.”

Professor Brubaker said: “Mr Malley shouldn’t take it personally. It’s not his fault we’re living in the most culturally barren century since the Dark Ages.”
The Daily Mash is spot on. Again!

Ace of Base

Totty of the day

"I didn't want to be perpetually cooing in a lady's ear. There's not much satisfaction in it."

The gorgeous Louis Jourdan, 92 years old today.

Ooh! La-La!