Thursday, 31 March 2011

The Daily Star: Telling Lies For A Living

"It is an interesting quirk of the English legal system that you can't libel the dead. Very handy if you're a tabloid news editor, at say, the Sun, and you publish an article about 23-year-old Julian Brooker from Brighton becoming a 'human fireball' after touching a railway line while crawling around pretending to be Gollum from Lord of the Rings. The shop assistant was drunk, the red top behemoth informed its readers in 2005, because it was 23 October and Julian was obsessed with the number 23. A great tabloid exclusive. Were an iota of it true, that is.
"In the last 24 hours the Sun's subsequent apology to the late Julian ('His parents have asked us to make clear he was not turned into a fireball, was not obsessed with the number 23 and didn't go drinking on that date every month. We apologise for the distress this has caused Julian's family and friends') has resurfaced across the Twittersphere to howls of derision. Some unacquainted with the idiosyncrasies of Britain's newspaper industry have questioned whether the whole thing is in fact a hoax. Sadly, it's not. Far from being an exception, such cases stray dangerously close to being a rule.
"I make that claim with authority because during the two years I worked at the Daily Star I wrote similar, arguably worse, yarns. When Boyzone star Stephen Gately died in October 2009, I was dispatched to Mallorca to investigate. Beneath my byline in the days that followed were lurid revelations of heavy drinking, drugs he may have taken, and gay orgies he may have been part of.
"We tabloid reporters knew little, but under pressure to deliver much, the hotel bar soon swirled with speculation. Thoughts morphed into theories, theories shifted into fact. After all, you can't libel the dead.
"The same month Kevin McGee, former husband of Little Britain star Matt Lucas, committed suicide. At the Daily Star I picked up the phone to a reader who claimed he knew the couple and the story behind the tragedy. "How much is that worth?" He asked. I told him we needed to meet first. He replied that he was out of town.
"'Sod it, you can't libel the dead," someone proffered. That afternoon I wrote the story: "LUCAS EX BLEW £2 MILLION ON DRUGS AND BOOZE." The tabloid news cycle, unrelenting, waits for no man..."

Riichard Peppiatt, who resigned from The Daily Star earlier this month - writing a devastating J'accuse letter about its scummy editorial (non) standards - offers some more insight into the workings of the British tabloid press, from The Guardian's Comment Is Free.
Lucas won undisclosed damages and a public apology over the above and other stories the Star published after McGee's death.
Here's an example of Peppiatt's "sex and drugs" stories about Gately - which is still online.
Interesting to note that both the examples he cites involved recently bereaved gay men.
Peppiatt calls himself a "whistleblower", but he was happy enough to collude in all this crap for several years, so he's hardly Bradley Manning.

Foreign Office: Human Rights and Democacy 2010

The Foreign And Commonwealth Office has just released its report, Human Rights and Democracy, you can read the section on LGBT rights here.
Read and download the full report here.
Basically the UK government has "expressed concern" about some bad things that have happened to gay people in other countries, and a couple of British embassies have hosted Pride receptions.
Whoop whoop!

The Daily Mail: Drag Not Drag

The Daily Mail is ever so taken with this exciting story today;
'Woman, 21, Spends £5,000 On Plastic Surgery... so people will think she's a DRAG QUEEN'
"A young woman has paid thousands of pounds for plastic surgery - to make her look more like a drag queen.
"Collagen Westwood, 21, from north London said she is thrilled if she is mistaken for a man dressing as a woman on a night out.
"The aspiring singer is so desperate to achieve her look she's splashed out £5,000 on surgery to plump up her lips and straighten her nose. She even plans to have some ribs removed so she can fit into smaller corsets.
"Collagen, who counts Lily Savage and 80s group Dead or Alive singer Pete Burns among her idols has also bought elaborate wigs and revealing low-cut dresses.
"The young woman said: 'I've admired drag queens since I was a little girl. They're glamorous and beautiful - what woman wouldn't want to look like that?'"
How very post modern.
My this is a slow news week...

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Sex And The Sitcom: Satan In The Suburbs

Fagburn's just wached last night's BBC 4 documentary, Sex And The Sitcom.
Like all these "cunts and clips" programmes (as they're known in the trade), although rather enjoyable it tended to gallop through things, and missed out much.
If anything it seemed to show that rather than refelecting changing sexual mores, TV comedy has usually been painfully behind the times - and the joke is often that people aren't getting any.
Gay men were almost completely absent from the programme; just that "normal" gay couple in Agony, and Tom in Gimme Gimme Gimme.
Gay Sex And The Sitcom would make for a very interesting programme.
If you want to fill in the gaps Fagburn highly recommends two books; Keith Howes' Broadcasting It: an Encyclopedia of Homosexuality on Film, Radio and TV in the UK 1923–1993, and Andy Medhurst's A National Joke: Popular Comedy and English Cultural Identity, which despite its academic-sounding subtitle is often as funny as its subjects.

Hunx & His Punx: Too Young To Be In Love

Hunx And His Punx first proper long player, Too Young To Be In Love, is finally out on Monday.
Be interested to hear which shops in the UK people see stocking it.
Fagburn is still waiting for his copy to arrive, so as there's not much gaiety-related news today, let's watch the brand spanking new video for the title track.
The lovely Seth is interviewed on Gaydar Nation - not exactly the most gripping questions but there you go.

Drugs Policy: Is Rational Debate Doomed?

There's a good article by Matthew Norman in The Independent today; 'Rule By The Right-wing Press Dooms Any Sensible Debate On Drugs'
"The primary issue here is one of political courage, or rather, its absence under fire. Any politician who dares to stand against the tabloids quickly undares"
Norman mentions the heroic and much vilified Professor David Nutt - shamelessly sacked by New Labour for talking sense about drug policy and harm.
Nutt has now set up the Independent Scientific Committee On Drugs - their website is a magnificent resource.

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Farley Granger: 1925-2011

There's a great obituary of Farley Granger in The Guardian today.
"Early on in his career, the actor Farley Granger, who has died aged 85, worked with several of the world's greatest directors, including Alfred Hitchcock on Rope (1948) and Strangers On a Train (1951), Nicholas Ray on They Live By Night (1949) and Luchino Visconti on Senso (1953). Yet Granger failed to sustain the momentum of those years, meandering into television, some stage work and often indifferent European and American movies.
"The reasons were complicated, owing much to his sexuality and an unwillingness to conform to Hollywood pressures, notably from his contract studio, MGM, and the mogul Samuel Goldwyn. Granger refused to play the publicity or marrying game common among other gay stars and turned down roles he considered unsuitable, earning a reputation – in his own words – for being "a naughty boy"..."
Also Farley Granger - A Life In Clips.

Anton Hysen: Snore!

Anyone else getting hand-eatingly bored with this?

Fagburn Vs the BBC: 3

Dear Fagburn,

Reference CAS-593867-X228T7

Thank you for contacting us.

We apologise for the very severe delay in responding to your original complaint.

The delay in our handling of your complaint is due to a major fault in our systems [They've already replied to this, but let's go with this bad puppy...]. This fault has now been rectified and we are working through the backlog of cases that were created by this fault. In normal circumstances we aim to resolve complaints within 10 working days.

I understand you’re unhappy with the use of the term ‘homosexual’ in a news item on BBC Radio 4.

The term homosexual is accept [sic] term used by many as a none [sic] descript [sic] term. I can assure you that no offence or disrespect was intended [I'm more offended by your flagrant disregard of the English language; I don't think "nondescript" was even the word you were looking for, but do go on...].

I appreciate you feel quite strongly about this matter and I would like to thank you for taking the time to contact us.

Kind Regards

Gemma McCartan
BBC Complaints

Monday, 28 March 2011

Daily Mirror: Dear Coleen

Dear Coleen,

My boss is gay, which I have no problem with at all, but he keeps flirting with me and we are due to go away for a three-day conference soon and stay overnight in a hotel.
I'm getting stressed that hes going to use it as an opportunity to come on to me.
Another complication is my annual review is due, which affects the amount of bonus I get.
I dont know whether Im making too big a deal of this, but he is making me feel uncomfortable and Im not enjoying my job anymore.
How do you think I should handle it?

No idea. Anyone?

Richard Littlejohn: Hail The New Puritan

"Taking offence on behalf of others, where no offence is intended, is one of the banes of modern life. Using the criminal law to enforce compliance with the doctrines of ‘diversity’ is a form of fascism.
"Having said all that, if there’s one thing just as irritating as ‘political correctness’, it’s that peculiar breed of people who go out of their way to be politically incorrect.
"What I hate is intolerance, zealotry and stupidity from whichever quarter it comes, not just when it is practised by the state-funded enforcers of the new puritanism..."
- Richard Littlejohn, The Daily Mail, March 25th.

"The Chief Constable of Suffolk, Simon Ash, has hoisted a rainbow flag outside his headquarters to celebrate gay and lesbian history month.
"‘The flag signifies pride and inclusivity,’ he said. ‘We are a force which values and embraces diversity.’
"As well as the HQ in Ipswich, it is also being flown at Bury St Edmunds and Lowestoft.
"I can just about see the point of celebrating gay history month in Soho or Brighton. But Bury St Edmunds?"
- Richard Littlejohn, The Daily Mail, March 28th.

• If Fagburn was Richard Littejohn, and had been shown to be lying about police flying rainbow flags a few weeks ago, I'd steer clear of the subject.
Just a thought...
Update: Angry Mob blog on the PCC and Littlejohn's earlier rainbow flag lie.

Sunday, 27 March 2011

The Sunday Times: Great Lies Of Our Times

It involves a monumental, acrobatic act of shittiness to look at a sensitive study about the difficulties of negotiating how to ask bullied schoolchildren if they'd been picked on because they were gay, and to write it up as a stupid story headlined; '11 Year-olds Asked: Are You Gay?'
"The Equality and Human Rights Commission recommends asking children about their sexuality to avoid them becoming victims of discrimination"
The title of the paper might have given even an idiot a clue about its real intention; 'Researching and Monitoring Adolescence and Sexual Orientation: Asking the Right Questions, at the Right Time'
This is in The Sunday Times - part of a new war against the EHRC and equality from the Tories and the right-wing press - though its such a scare-mongering distortion of the facts it's more like something from sister paper, The Sun.
Marie Woolf - shame on you.

Census 2011: 1-1 To The Man

I sent my census form back, writing on the envelope "I will not take part in this Lockheed Martin, I hate state snoopery."
They sent it back with the "Your census response is required by law" line ringed.
On reflection, I have decided I can't risk a £1,000 fine - but thankfully Peace News have produced the following handy guide;
'How to Fill In Your Census Form without Lockheed Martin Profiting'
"Lots of people are angry that the UK 'Census has, once again, been awarded to blood-soaked arms dealer Lockheed Martin. The following anonymous article sent to PN explains how you can fill in your Census form without benefiting Lockheed Martin or creating funding problems for local authorities..."
Now read on.

Truman Capote: On Elizabeth Taylor

Yesterday's Daily Telegraph reprinted this 1974 essay by Truman Capote, Elizabeth Taylor: Eyes So Liquid With Life.

• There's a lovely video of Elizabeth Taylor's acceptance speech at the 2000 GLAAD Awards here

Bradley Manning: Truth And Consequences

The first book about Bradley Manning has just been published in the States.
Bradley Manning: Truth and Consequences is written by Greg Mitchell, The Nation blogger and author of The Age of WikiLeaks.
Here's the blurb: "In his new book, Mitchell traces Manning from his childhood in Oklahoma to Baghdad, where he was arrested in May 2010 and charged with sending to WikiLeaks explosive secret reports relating to the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, and diplomatic cables exposing sensitive U.S. relations around the world - and corrupt or abusive practices by other regimes. Is Manning guilty? If so, what was his motivation?
"Then Mitchell probes the controversy that has swirled around Manning's harsh treatment in the brig at the Marine base in Quantico, Va., which has led to repeated charges of "cruel and unusual punishment," the firing of the chief U.S. State Department spokesman, and demonstrations all over the world - even as some pundits and politicians in the U.S. call for Manning's execution."
You can order a copy for £6.49 here - or get an e-book from Amazon for £3.53.
I'll review it when my copy arrives...

Update: Links to two extracts from the book have been kindly added in the Comments section below...

Nathan Barley: "The Idiots Are Winning"

Apropos of nothing Nathan Barley is now available on 4OD.
I watched all six episodes back-to-back last night and have now decided it's one of the truly great TV programmes of the last decade - and guilt-ridden miserabilist realist journalist Dan Ashcroft one of TV land's most pathetic and most heroic characters.
Fagburn seems to recall the reviews being distinctly meh - maybe some people didn't realise it was meant to be as depressing as a one-way ticket to Hades.
There's also a constant riff throughout on how the idiots' obsession with homosex is a key sign of their infantilism - brought to a head when Dan is sent to write and research a feature on the "straight-on-straight gay sex scene" in episode 5.
Well bum.

Gandhi: Soul Love

"Yet as Mr. Lelyveld makes abundantly clear, Gandhi's organ probably only rarely became aroused with his naked young ladies, because the love of his life was a German-Jewish architect and bodybuilder, Hermann Kallenbach, for whom Gandhi left his wife in 1908. 'Your portrait (the only one) stands on my mantelpiece in my bedroom,' he wrote to Kallenbach. 'The mantelpiece is opposite to the bed.' For some reason, cotton wool and Vaseline were 'a constant reminder' of Kallenbach, which Mr. Lelyveld believes might relate to the enemas Gandhi gave himself, although there could be other, less generous, explanations.
"Gandhi wrote to Kallenbach about 'how completely you have taken possession of my body. This is slavery with a vengeance.' Gandhi nicknamed himself 'Upper House' and Kallenbach 'Lower House', and he made Lower House promise not to 'look lustfully upon any woman.' The two then pledged 'more love, and yet more love... such love as they hope the world has not yet seen.'"

Andrew Roberts reviews Joseph Lelyveld's Great Soul: Mahatma Gandhi and His Struggle with India, in the Wall Street Journal.
Most of the review is taken up by right-wing Mr Roberts saying how dreadful he thinks Gandhi's politics were, and the above I think is meant above all to suggest Gandhi was a hypocrite...

"Imperfect myself, I must be gentle with others" - Gandhi.

Update: Lelyveld has denied his book suggests Gandhi was bisexual.

Ed Miliband: It's The Way He Tells 'Em

"I hope you’ve all got your 'Never kissed a Tory' T-shirt'
"There’s a sequel coming out, it’s called 'Never had a Cleggover'.
"Nick Clegg said he’d slept with no more than 30 women. We’ve now got a problem with this T-shirt because he’s screwing the whole country...
"I was supposed to be having dinner with my mum tonight and texted her saying I was going to be at the LGBT dinner. She texted back, 'Why are you at BLT dinner? I’d brought you up to be kosher.' She didn’t quite get the point...
[Harriet Harman said she was given three tips] "‘Get a well-organised campaign, stick to your values and always wear lipstick and heels.’
"The last bit might have gone down better with some people here, but I decided to avoid it."

Ed Miliband quoted in The Mail On Sunday "in an uncharacteristically risque speech designed to appeal to some of Labour’s highest-profile gay supporters last week.
"Despite his nerdy image, Mr Miliband attempted a jokey stand-up comedy routine at the lavish £10,000-a-table equality-themed fundraiser, to the surprise of some guests.
"Labour officials banned the media from witnessing his speech at the champagne ‘Celebration of Equality’ dinner, but The Mail on Sunday has obtained a detailed account of the event from witnesses."
Fagburn thinks a Patrons Table at this year's Celebration of Equality [sic] were a snip at £10,000.

Elton John Watch: Come Dine With Will & Kate

"ELTON John is planning to host the ultimate Come Dine With Me event to celebrate the royal wedding – with Kate and Wills as guests of honour.
"The star-studded guest list for the dinner party, three weeks before the big day, also includes David and Victoria Beckham.
"And as in the popular TV show, the visitors may even get to look around Elton and David Furnish’s stunning home next to Windsor Castle while the feast is being prepared...
"A source said: “Elton loves entertaining and hosting people at his home...
“'He has wanted to invite Kate and William for dinner for a while now to thank them for his wedding invitation. He always puts on the most incredible feasts fit for royalty anyway, so they should feel right at home...'"

Story and enchanting photomontage from The Mirror.
The story appears to be as badly made-up as the picture - but I'm sure you'll agree it's a lovely thought.

• The Sunday Telegraph reports in hushed tones; "Gareth Thomas, the first openly homosexual leading rugby player, has been invited to Prince William and Kate Middleton's wedding." So that's at least three homosexuals gay men attending - not including members of the royal family.

Thought For The Day: Apocalypse Soon

"It's getting real close. It's really getting pretty awesome, when you think about it. We're not talking about a ball game, or a marriage, or graduating from college. We're talking about the end of the world, a matter of being eternally dead, or being eternally alive, and it's all coming to a head right now.
"All the stealing, and the lying, and the wickedness and the sexual perversion that is going on in society is telling us something. So too is the gay pride movement. It was sent by God as a sign of the end."

US Preacher, Harold Camping [sic], explains why the world will end on May 21st, around 6pm.
Mr Camping last predicted the world will end on September 6th 1994.

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Things I Learnt Today

A few windows getting broken in the West End is very bad.
Bombing the fuck out of Third World countries is good.
Violent protests in London are evil.
Violent protests in Arab countries are brave, heroic, inspiring etc etc...

March For The Alternative: Jobs • Growth • Justice • Cock

"If you go to one demonstration and then go home, that's something, but the people in power can live with that. What they can't live with is sustained pressure that keeps building, organisations that keep doing things, people that keep learning lessons from the last time and doing it better the next time."
- Noam Chomsky

Lots of people politely walking from one place to another place - it's how we stopped the war against Iraq.
If the police attack people on today's march, will Nato bomb London?
Just some thoughts...

Queer Resistance - UK Queers & Allies Against The Cuts. Pink & Black Bloc meets at Soho Square 10am...

Friday, 25 March 2011

The Daily Mail Vs Liz Taylor: Made-up Figures

The Daily Mail has milked marked Liz Taylor's death by running over a dozen stories to date.
Everything and anything Liz-shaped was suddenly newsworthy from an auction of Andy Warhol's Liz #5* (Estimate $30million), to sales of her celebrity fragrance White Diamonds (Estimated at $61million).
Troublingly - but pleasingly - for some at the Mail, if you dig around Liz long enough you're going to hit a homo - and today they turned up two, of varying degrees of spuriousness.
''Is Liz's Gay Manager About To Inherit Her Millions?' (Estimated at $360million - though as the Mail also claim she earned that last year alone they're probably plucking these figures from the ether).
But why did the Mail think the manager's sexuality was worth mentioning in the headline?
I guess it's meant to be another signifier of her bizarro private life; "Her closest companions tended to be handsome and openly homosexual... Taylor would also spend hours surfing the television shopping channels with the dog on her lap. And, latterly, she liked to listen to the music of Britain’s Got Talent star Susan Boyle — whose voice she found extremely moving."
The Mail's answer to its titular question is "We have no fucking idea", if you care.
We also learned; 'The Shock Secret Elizabeth Taylor Took To Her Grave'.
"James Dean was molested as a child, claims a writer who says Elizabeth Taylor took the shocking secret to her grave.
"Journalist Kevin Sessums says the legendary actress swore him to secrecy when she allegedly made the revelation during an interview in 1997."
Is this true? Who knows - but I'd like to hear the tape.
The dead of course don't sue, so writers are free to write whatever they want about them.
Two have made a living out of this; the wonderfully barking Michael Munn, author of a number of biographies of dead stars, all of whom he claims friendships with that no-one they actually knew was aware of.
And Boze Hadleigh, who's like a gay Hollywood gossip version of Michael Munn - his Wikipedia entry is an hilarious example of the work of this delightful nutter.
I wonder if Michael Munn or Boze Hadleigh will get their "tell all" book about the Liz Taylor they (never) knew out first?

• The Daily Beast has published some quotes Kevin Sessums claims are from the Taylor interview. He definitely did interview Taylor in 1997 for POZ magazine, but... Whilst it's all so unremarkable I'm tempted to believe it, I have to say some of it doesn't really sound like her voice - but a Dick Van Dyke imitation of how Americans think English people speak ("A real cow..."). Sessums claims they discussed then Conservative Party leader William Hague's support for "gay marriage". Erm, in 1997? Sessums says he has all this on tape - let's hear it...

* The Mail claims the "art collector is planning to cash in on the superstar’s death... [and he] has unsurprisingly remained anonymous." Although it's public knowledge the painting is owned by the billionaire Steve Cohen and he apparently decided to sell it some time ago.

Thursday, 24 March 2011

The Most Incredible Thing: Incredible?

"Pop legends Chris Lowe and Neil Tennant aka the Pet Shop Boys... Incredible, indeed - for better and worse... Campy" - Variety
"Synth-pop's wryest and most enduring exponents... A treat... enjoyable" - The Telegraph
"Electro-pop duo... Good fun... A bit baffling" - The Evening Standard
"Relentless" - The Guardian
"Electro-pop duo Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe aka the Pet Shop Boys... Often loses its way" - The Stage
"The world's favourite electronica duo... Sometimes things just don't work... an ambitious, sometimes clever project, fatally undermined by waffling choreography" - The Independent
"Electronic pop duo... ultimately fails to live up to its title" - The Times
"Two musicians... Medium-level fun, off-kilter, camp musical theatre" - The Arts Desk

Some distinctly mixed reviews of The Most Incredible Thing, Pet Shop Boys and Javier de Frutos's ballet at Sadler's Wells.
Interestingly, most reviewers were most disappointed by the actual ballet dancing bit.

• Best correction; "This article was amended on 23 March 2011. The band in question are called Pet Shop Boys, not the Pet Shop Boys as we originally named them" - The Guardian.
This mistake was repeated in every other review - still "pop legends" Pet Shop Boys have only been doing this for 25 years...

Update: "PET Shop Boys have conquered the ballet world with their new show The Most Incredible Thing... an enchanting triumph and one of the most accessible dance productions ever staged" - The Daily Star!
If they put this on again, whether or not to put that quote on the posters will give Dame Nelly Tennant such a headache.

George Osborne: Ball Boy George

There's not been much for Fagburn to comment on in the news this week.
There's a lot going on in the world of course, much of it awful - so let's cheer ourselves up with this unsettling Adams cartoon in The Telegraph.
Makes a change from ones of Cameron - quite liderally - in bed with Cleggg, I guess.
I wonder what George Osborne thinks about being nicknamed after the "Troubled former Culture Club star", Boy George...

Leigh Bowery: Automatically Sunshine

It would have been Leigh Bowery's 50th birthday on March 26th.
On Friday April 1st, his friend and biographer, Sue Tilley, has organised Sunshine Night Time: a one day tribute to Leigh at the ICA, London.
With a wonderful irony, Leigh was apparently barred for life from The ICA - perhaps because Mr Bowery had a far better claim to be an institute of contemporary art?

• Sue Tilley remembers Leigh Bowery in the Independent.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

GT: Striking A Blow Against Celebrity Culture

"Our society’s increasing obsession with celebrity has been incessantly discussed, surveyed and analysed. Everyone has their own pet theories. One of mine is that, in a world where more of us are living in tightly packed cities with relative strangers, gossiping about the famous helps replace old-fashioned over-the-garden-fence conversations about our neighbours.
"Journalists like me are often accused of fuelling the hype. It’s hard to plead “not guilty” to that. But others would argue that giving the public what they want – even if it’s a guilty pleasure – is our job, not to mention being a good way of keeping up circulations.
"I also believe celebrity serves some deeper purposes for us..."

The ever vacuous GT's Editor Letter .
The magazine fights back against our modern obsession with famous people by giving over this month's "Special Foldout Cover" (!) to some nobodies from some docusoap on Sky Living that four people will watch.
I hope Sky paid them for this "special foldout" shitstorm...

Elizabeth Taylor: 1932-2011

Any friend of Tito's was a friend of mine...

• Usually if you read the words "gay icon" all it means is that the person who wrote them is an idiot who doesn't know what they're talking about. Because of Liz's friendship and support of queens from Monty Clift to Michael Jackson, and her genuinely pioneering work to remove the stigma of HIV/Aids, this was a rare instance when it was actually appropriate: Elizabeth Taylor: A New Gay Icon - Paul Flynn, The Guardian; Statement from THT; John Waters remembers Taylor in The Baltimore Sun; Helen Rumbelow in The Times announced 'Elizabeth Taylor Was a 'Patron Saint' For Gays'.
What are "gays", please?

Gay Men & HIV Prevention: Joined-Up Thinking

'Budget for gay men’s HIV prevention work in London to be cut by 43%' - Consortium of LGBT Voluntary and Community Organisations, via GScene.
'HIV infections among gay and bisexual men increase by 70% in ten years' - BBC News.

Happy budget day!

Queer Resistance - UK Queers Against The Cuts

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Down The Line: More Family Values

Gary Bellamy has just outed his brother live on air on Radio 4's kerbrilliant Down The Line - currently the highlight of Fagburn's week...

Anton Hysen: Family Values

"I told my cousin first, who is a lesbian. Then I told my mother and my dad, and then my uncle because he’s gay too..."

Anton Hysen, in The Daily Mail.
What the heck, I just wanted to reprint this wonderful photo.

Monday, 21 March 2011

Exodus International: Leave Homo

Here's the homepage for Exodus International - who are behind the controversial "gay cure" app.
Fagburn does not give a flying fuck either way, by the way - not being apolitical and stupid.

• Hilarious interview with the Christian Post.
Can the iphone cure gayness? Brian Safi, That's Gay! Also hilarious.
Update: Apple pulled it on Wednesday...

Your War, Not Mine.

The retardification of Britain is almost complete...

Sunday, 20 March 2011

They Write The Songs: Barry Manilow

Listen to this! Barry Manilow on the great composers.
Amazing radio..

Libya: "Our Boys", Your Death

There's an interesting point about tabloid terminology here; if you want to take a break from another obscene stupid imperial war;
"Boys" are soldiers in Sun-speak.
Young men, however, are "lads".
We must support "our boys" whatever, clearly...

Joe McElderry: That's Showbiz...

X Factor Winner Joe McElderry Moves Back In With His Mum.

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Global Bradley Manning Action Days: March 19th, 20th

"Government whistleblowers are part of a healthy democracy and must be protected from reprisal"
- Senator Barack Obama, 2008.

• UK Friends Of Bradley Manning have organised a rally for Bradley Manning at 2pm on Sunday outside the US Embassy in London.
Can't make it? Here are some other things you can do to support Bradley.
Bradley Manning Support Network.

Marriage Equality: I'm Still Waiting

"Heterosexual couples could soon win the right to form civil partnerships and gay and lesbians [sic] the right to marry in register offices under equality law reforms," according to The Times today.
Funny - on February 13th The Sunday Times announced on its front page; 'Gays Will Get Right To Marry'.
I don't like to gloat but Fagburn believes he was alone in pointing out that story was utter nonsense.
Can we ever trust them again etc etc...
Anyway, the only real news today is that The Times has used the term "marriage equality" in a headline - which is progress of sorts.
Basically The Times has just lifted some quotes from Theresa May's speech at that Stonewall conference yesterday - platitude fans may want to read her speech in full.
Fagburn's funniest line; "I am passionate about equality" - maybe you should vote for it then, Theresa?
None of this tells us anything we haven't been told before - like that we can get civilly partnered in churches and that soon.
We won't be getting married soon, but they are going to continue "consulting" - "talks about talks" - which we knew.
“There is also a desire to move towards equal civil marriage and partnerships and we will consult further on how legislation can develop, working with all those who have an interest in this area,” May wibbled.
Fuck knows who needs to be consulted "further" about this, though?
Kate Middleton?
Our Lord Beelzebub??
The mind positively boggles!

The Sun Vs Comic Relief: Taking The Michael

This is The Sun's inimitable take on last night's Comic Relief.
The actual sketch, Smithy Saves Red Nose Day - which began with James Corden picking George Michael up from prison - was actually quite funny.

The Daily Mail Vs IKEA: Joined-Up Writing

'We Are Open To All Families': IKEA provokes outrage in Italy after creating advert with gay couple holding hands

"This is the latest gay themed advert from furniture giants IKEA which has appeared on billboards across traditionally Catholic Italy - with surprisingly no outrage..."

An unusually indecisive but undoubtedly outraged Daily Mail today.

Friday, 18 March 2011

Anton Hysen: The Condensed Sun Interview

Gay Ace Hysen Is A Model Pro

...son of former Liverpool star Glenn Hysen... Swedish... enormous courage...
second professional footballer... Justin Fashanu... Steve Davies... Gareth Thomas...
wait continues for a Premier League player... sporting taboo...
plays for Utsiktens... fourth-tier team managed by his dad.... reaction extremely supportive...
'happy I did it... Don't drop the soap... has to be at least one gay footballer in England... sad...'
Ironically his father - who was also a gay icon in his playing days - was accused of being homophobic after hitting a man who groped him in an airport toilet in 2001.
'never had a boyfriend... have to like sports... quite a few proposals...'
It has certainly been a tough time for the family as Hysen's mother Helena, is divorcing her husband, who is seeing another woman.

Update: Nice interview with Anton on Today. His father's advice; "Just swallow it."

Libya: Comic Relief?

"I am not a naïve neoconservative who thinks you can drop democracy out of an aeroplane at 40,000 feet.”

- David Cameron, Cairo, February.

• 'Why A No-Fly Zone Means No Freedom For Libyans', Mick Hume, Spiked.
10 Reasons To Say No To Western Intervention In Libya, Stop The War Coalition.

Stonewall: Presenting The Minister For Inequality

She's on in a bit...

Sack Theresa May Campaign.

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Transphobia: Funny Girls

This week Trans Media Watch launched their Memorandum of Understanding.
They hope other media organisations will follow Channel 4's lead and sign up to improve their coverage of transgender people and issues.
Fagburn really hopes the tabloids take notice; for them if someone is trans they're only ever frightening or funny, often both.
Coverage is almost always gratuitous, offensive, disrespectful, ill-informed and cruel - and someone being transsexual is a story in itself (By way of example here's a story from The Sun that ticks every box).
Coincidentally, this week Comic Relief launched its official single for 2011, a cover of I Know Him So Well by Susan Boyle and the Peter Kay character Geraldine (formerly Gerry) McQueen.
Of course, there's nothing intrinsically wrong with having a transsexual comedy character.
But how often does TV Land allow trans people to be anything else but mere figures of fun, to provide some comic relief?

Glee: Spoiler Alert!!!

"So homosexuals = 1% of the US population, but are somehow part of 90% of tv/movie plotlines. Are there any tv series left that don't have a character identified as homosexual? Why aren't the Eskimos and American Indians in alllll the plotlines? They have no representation at all despite making up the same percentage of population. Are the writers anti-Eski? Or just really determined that homosexuality should be the all-consuming central focus of society?"

MWeather, Daily Mail reader and statistician.
From the comments section after the Mail's story about Glee's Kurt and Blaine's first kiss.
The Mail headline; 'At Last! Glee's Kurt finally shares a kiss with his crush Blaine'
It must be TORTURE writing for The Daily Mail these days.
Not knowing whether to write for the readers that like/love The Gays or pander to the homophobic prejudices of the others.
Maybe they could have asked the Christian Institute how disgusted they are at a so-called family newspaper printing this filth?
Of the first 25 readers' comments posted today, only three are from gaybashers.
One was a variation on an old classic; "Not a TV show goes by these days without a gay story in it. It seem they want to promote this lifestyle to our young generation as early as possible. We must wonder, why?"
Most were just angry that the Mail hadn't run a Spoiler Alert as this episode won't air in the UK for several weeks.
Fagburn's favourite comment; "Well, he's not getting to stay at my B&B now..."

Kenya: Melvin And His Sister

There's a beautiful, heartsmashing short film on The Guardian's site; Melvin And His Sister: A gay Kenyan's struggle to survive.
Melvin is a male prostitute bringing up his 8 year-old sister in a shack in Kenya's capital Mombasa - both their parents died from Aids-related illnesses five years ago.
We also hear from health workers, a gay campaigner, and a supportive church leader - though no Radio 1 DJs.
Made by Guardian Films as part of a series highlighting Christian Aid's Poverty Over campaign, readers are invited to take part in a live webchat about how health and discrimination impact on global poverty with representatives from Christian Aid at 1pm.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Christopher And His Kind: Christopher Who?

I like the way the cover of the new Radio Times - "Your actual quality guide..." - operates on the assumption that no-one will know nor care who this Christopher Isherwood bloke is that Matt Smith's playing in this TV drama, only that the Dr gets "Naked" and "sexy"...

Update: On Friday, several of the broadsheets profiled Smith and/or Isherwood.
Best headline: 'Nudity, Nazis and the Doctor' - The Daily Mail, natch.
The Mail's best question: "So IS he worried some Doctor Who fans might be horrified when they see their hero playing a dissolute boulevardier?"
Translation: "So IS he worried some Doctor Who fans might be horrified when they see their hero playing a poof?"
"No, because it’s just pretend," Matt Smith explained helpfully.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Hugh Martin: 1914-2011

Composer. Best known for his work on Meet Me In St Louis featuring the songs The Boy Next Door, Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas, and The Trolley Song.

"Hugh Martin, who died on March 11, was unmarried" - Obituary, The Daily Telegraph.

"Martin was unmarried" - Obituary, The Times.

"He is survived by his brother, Gordon" - Obituary, The Guardian.

East End Gay Pride: Hate Against Hope/Cancelled Due To EDL Interest

Comment: Why Are Gay People Trying To Ban East End Pride?
"In a sad reminder of the prejudice that Prides face throughout the world, the event has been denounced as confrontational, with the organisers facing a flurry of baseless and deeply personal abuse..."
Paul Birrell, Pink News, yesterday.

'East End Pride Organiser Resigns After ‘English Defence League Past’ Is Revealed'
"One of the organisers of East London Gay Pride resigned today after it was revealed that he had been involved with the English Defence League.
"Raymond Berry helped found the far-right group and remains involved in groups including Stop the Islamification of Europe, it was claimed..."
Pink News, today...

• For the record Out East did not call for East End Pride to be "banned". In their open letter they wrote they have; "great concerns about this demonstration and we have decided neither to participate in the event nor to call our supporters to be part of it, and we think it important to express the reasons why...
"We call on you and the organisations supporting this event to cancel it with a view to working with the local communities of the East End to ensure active, inclusive responses are made to homophobia, which do not inadvertently contribute to community tensions."
The statement from LGBT Muslim Group Imaan that outed Raymond Berry's EDL connections.

UPDATE: Wednesday March 16th. Organisers have cancelled East End Gay Pride.
In a rather silly statement they blamed "personal vendettas" against them.

UPDATE2: The shamefully thick and lazy Peter Lloyd, Pink Paper news editor (!), does his usual trick of just cut and pasting a press release without getting a second opinion - thus missing the point of the story (the furore started over unproven assumptions the stickers/posters were put up by Islamists).
He even manages to spell "Defence" "Defense"; Mr Lloyd, (American) spellchecks are only useful if you yourself can spell. Jesus fucking wept.

Olympics 2012

Tickets go on sale today - exciting!

Midsomer Murders: The Village Green Preservation Society

"If it's incest, blackmail, lesbianism, homosexuality... terrific, put it in, because people can believe that people can murder for any of those reasons."

Brian True-May, co-creator and producer of Midsomer Murders.
True-May said the above in an interview with Radio Times in which he also explained that the series "wouldn't work" if there was any racial diversity portrayed in village life in Midsomer; "We just don't have ethnic minorities involved. Because it wouldn't be the English village with them. It just wouldn't work. Suddenly we might be in Slough... We're the last bastion of Englishness and I want to keep it that way."
An ITV spokesman said they were "shocked and appalled" by his comment about race, and True-May has been suspended by the production comapny, All3Media.