Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Damian Barr: Maggie & Me

By the time I’m 16, I have told Heather my secret. We start sneaking off to Bennett’s, a gay club in Glasgow, vogueing our arms off to Madonna — but we still manage to do our revision.
I go on to do a degree in English literature and sociology and begin my career as a journalist, while Heather travels all over the world, teaching English as a foreign language.
Sometimes we go back home to catch up with each other and our families. They are still there but Newarthill is unrecognisable.
Ravenscraig’s great steel gates were padlocked for ever in 1992 and now they are gone, along with the cooling towers that used to puff clouds into the sky. There’s only one sunset now.
In her declining years, the woman held responsible could often be found in one of the smaller London parks, walking slowly on the arm of a paid companion like an aged aunt from a PG Wodehouse novel. Her platinum helmet was a gentle champagne-coloured halo and few passers-by would have guessed that she was once the most powerful woman in the world.
Sometimes, I thought about going to that park to watch her from afar. Not to trouble her or talk to her, but to see her in person just once before she went.
Yes, she smashed the miners and closed Ravenscraig. Yes, she created Clause 28 to ‘prohibit the teaching of homosexuality’ — not very successfully in my case.
She did all that and many other things she became hated for. But she also led by example, making a hero of the individual and a cult of the striver.
That gave me the escape ladder from the world I hated. It made it possible for me to run away and never look back. And for that, I will for ever be grateful.

Barf!
The Mail has found an ex-working class gayer who liked Maggie Thatcher.
And it's not David Starkey or Andrew Pierce!
It's another gay Uncle Tom and "useful idiot".
Some journalist I've never heard of called Damian Barr.
He also hates the working-class world he's so proud he escaped from - and makes it sound positively ghastly.
Oh well, another name to add to my lamp-post list of gay collaborationists.

Update: America's The Advocate has published online an even more pukey and poofy puff-piece by Damian Barr; Maggie Thatcher: My First Gay Icon
Using someone's death as a marketing opportunity?
"Maggie" would have been proud.

Update2: Ten days after, only seen one review in the nationals, Adam Mars-Jones in The Guardian.
He quite likes it, but note AM-J's last three paragraphs.  

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