Monday, 31 May 2010

Film: Sexism and the City

I don't care about you, but I liked this critique of the critiques of Sex and the City by Jackie Ashley.
Yes, it's escapist nonsense, but whilst male escapist nonsense like football and films about fighting are seen as non-problematic, "chick flicks" about "shopping 'n' bitching" always, always are; "There still seems to be a glaring inequality between the assumption that male fantasy life is serious, even admirable, while the female version is trashy and silly."
Of course, your actual gay culture - and your actual gay men dancing themselves delirious and caring what they look like and all that jizz - often come under attack for the same sexist reasons.
Often these masquerade as radical critiques of consumerism, but they're actually deeply reactionary and hegemonic.
There's no way I'm going to see that fucking film, though.

Ben Summerskill: Three's A Crowd

Stonewall headboy, Ben Summerskill, has written articles arguing that the David Laws scandal has got nothing to do with his homosexuality for The Guardian online, and in The Independent On Sunday and The Mirror.
To write one such piece on David Laws' misfortune may be regarded as callous; to write three looks like some queen has a grudge...

David Laws: How The Straight Press Works Part 666

Yesterday's Independent On Sunday ran a "profile" of David Laws' partner, James Lundie, by Brian Brady and Jane Merrick.
Or rather - as it was headed - of "The dazzlingly handsome, cocktail-drinking, spinach mousse-eating James Lundie".
We learn that "a female journalist once referred to him as 'dazzlingly handsome, nay, gorgeous.'"
And that on Twitter he recently tweeted that he has been to "the trendy restaurant Andrew Edmunds, in Soho, and reveals that he 'spent the night drinking French 75 [cocktails] and eating spinach mousse with lovely friends. Yummy'".
And, err, that was just about it.
Pulitizer Prize winning journalism - or a few minutes spent Googling his name?
I'll let you - the people - decide...

David Laws: Behind You

Several sympathetic articles on David Laws appeared today; Chris Bryant and Julian Glover in The Guardian, Iain Dale in The Daily Mail, and a rather moving piece by Matthew Parris in The Times (there was also a rather sniffy piece by The Independent's snooty house-fag, Philip Hensher).
All argue that it was his closetry that got him into this pickle.
I'm increasingly sympathetic to this point of view, and am willing to believe that this could just have been one of those fuck-ups that we all occasionally make that then spirals completely out of control.
Poor sod.

PS It's also worth noting how these days even The Daily Mail and The Times can call on regular contributors to write about a subject like this who are out gay men...

Israel/Palestine: The Unbelievable Truth

Indymedia reports on the killing of peace activists on the Free Gaza Flotilla by Israeli soldiers...

Pakistan: Without Ceremony

A man and his trans bride were arrested in Pehawar, Pakistan last week, after authorities accused them of holding a "marriage ceremony".
Malik Iqbal, a 50 year-old businessman, and a 19-year old eunuch, Rani (Queen) Sangeeta, have been remanded in custody. The 43 guests were also detained. The pair deny the charge, saying the event was just Rani's birthday party.
Coverage of this case in the UK and US press to date - zero.
Views of Madonna, Elton John and Peter Tatchell - unknown.
Go figure.

Sunday, 30 May 2010

Football: Cristianon Sequitur

To The News of the World's idiosyncratically spelt 'World Cup Spesh - Football Studs!' (Geddit?)
"OK, so there may not be 11 of them, but if Fabulous did footie, this lot would be on our team," it puffs in unashamed Glenda Slagg mode. "While your man’s glued to the World Cup, keep an eye out for these hotties."
Perhaps unsurprisingly the only one I've actually heard of is Cristiano Ronaldo.
Although "Football's golden boy is as famous for his body as he is for his ball control", I learn that the delicious Mr Ronaldo is not without his faults; "The midfielder is vain, he's mahogany and he loves wearing necklaces with his swimming trunks. Small wonder he's a gay icon."

David Laws: Resigned To His Fate

There's little sympathy for David Laws in today's papers.
Even from those who you'd think would be most sympatico.
In The Observer both Stonewall's Ben Summerskill and columnist Barbara Ellen write that they think he was trying to play the "It is because I is gay" card with no justification.
Summerskill repeated this in The Independent On Sunday just for good measure.
A leader in The Independent On Sunday states that; "His conduct was disappointing, and he was foolish and disingenuous in trying to use his embarrassment about his private life as an excuse."
Ellen quotes Laws' resignation statement; '"My motivation throughout has not been to maximise profit but to simply protect our privacy and my wish not to reveal my sexuality," only to dismiss it; "Maybe Mr Laws would be less relieved to realise that, for some of us, his sexuality has naff all to do with it."
Well, yes and no.
It's hard not to feel sympathy for anyone trapped in the closet - and David Laws was (Though his coming out was apparently as unsurprising to those in the Commons as Ricky Martin's was to the world).
And if an MP doesn't feel he can come out in the "gay-friendlier than thou" Liberal Democrats where can he be expected to?
And, yes, he could have claimed more in expenses if he'd declared that James Lundie was his partner and one house was their second home.
And his claim that he diddled his expenses to continue covering up his sexuality isn't complete pinkwash.
But for a millionaire who was happily taking an axe to the benefits system to be caught out like this - he'd be up in court if he tried that scam with the housing benefit office - seems just.
Lest we forget David Laws' is the brains behind The Orange Book - which argued that the Lib Dems should embrace neo-liberalism. His views on the economy are so right-wing that Cameron tried to poach him for the Tories long before this "coalition".
One of the few points in David Laws' favour is that it's said that the Conservative Party's institutional homophobia was what made him join the Lib Dems instead.
Poor sod.

Saturday, 29 May 2010

Malawi Couple: Free At Last

Great news - the President of Malawi has pardoned Steven Monjeza and Tiwonge Chimbalanga, following a visit to the country by the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
We might now see some interesting questions answered: Why did the Malawi newspaper The Nation put their "marriage" on its front page last December? It was this publicity, that led to their arrest.
How many men are currently in prison in Malawi for committing "unnatural offences"? Will they also be released?
And how do Steven and Tiwonge feel about being described as a "gay couple" when it appears that they split up in December and moreover Tiwonge identifies not as a gay man, but as a woman?
From an interview in The Times (London)in January; "Dressed in a blouse and describing himself as a woman, he said that they became engaged after “my darling, Steven, proposed love to me and we agreed to get married”.
"Unlike Mr Monjeza, he refused to accept that he had broken any law. “Which laws? I am a woman, I can do what a woman can do,” he said. “I love Steven for what he is, he doesn’t give me money. In fact, I do everything for him, but love is love.”'
More importantly, will the UK offer them asylum?

English Defence League: In League With the Devil

The Guardian has claimed at least twice that the in-no-way racist and Islamophobic English Defence League has a "gay section" or a "gay wing".
There isn't.
Someone has started a group on Facebook for LGBT supporters of EDL - which is something quite different, and perhaps should be taken as seriously as the Facebook groups backing 'Jeremy Clarkson for PM'.
Mind you, when do gay critiques of Islam become racist?

Fashion: Short Shrift

I bet when US fashion journalist, Brenner Thomas, wrote a jokey intro to a feature rhetorically asking "Is that old bromide about hemlines and the stock market true for men’s swimsuits too?", he didn't think anyone would take this dafter than daft idea seriously.
Well guess what?
UK fashion journalist Imogen Fox actually has!

Friday, 28 May 2010

David Laws: Broken Laws

Barely a fortnight in office and our new government has had its first gay scandal - David Laws, the Lib Dem Treasury Secretary, has been caught by The Daily Telegraph breaking parliamentary rules by charging rooms rented from his partner to expenses.
His partner is his boyfriend - and Laws had been trying to keep their relationship secret.
Like former BP boss Lord Browne, who committed perjury by default through trying to keep his same-sex lover a secret, it seems that David Laws has been crushed by his own closet.
Poor sod.

Drugs: Miaow Killer Doesn't Strike Again

This news just in: All those hysterical news stories about those two boys dying in March after taking mephedrone were completely made up.
I know - whodathunkit?
I'm looking forward to reading the retractions in the papers tomorrow.

Apple: And In Other News...

Today, Apple launches its iPad in the UK to much fanfare.
On Wednesday, a 23 year-old migrant worker at an iPad factory in southern China committed suicide, he was the tenth employee at the plant to take their own life this year.
Most of the workers earn around £90 a month.
The cheapest iPad costs £429.

Malawi Couple: At Least They Got The 'Malawi' Bit Right

Apart from the fact that they are no longer a couple and probably don't identify as gay, it's hard to find fault with press coverage of the imprisoned "Malawi gay couple", Tiwonge Chimbalanga and Steven Monjeza...

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Thought For The Day: Tracey Thorn

"People are always only an inch away from what might have happened" - Tracey Thorn, May 2010.

Michael Lucas: Talking Cock

'Another diary date before we go, and it's off to the Oxford Union,' The Guardian's waspish diarist, Hugh Muir, writes invitingly.
'"This House believes that the gay rights movement has undermined family values," is the proposition on June 3. Peter Tatchell will oppose, but arguing in favour will be Stephen Green, national director of the pressure group Christian Voice and Michael Lucas, CEO and president of the gay porn film company Lucas Entertainment. Green will aim for the moral high ground. But how Lucas plans to square family values and hardcore porn is anyone's guess.'
That's an easy one, Hugh - Michael Lucas is a far right, Zionist cunt, so embracing such contradictions comes as easy to him as, well, coming.
Circle squared!

Asylum: How The Straight Press Works Part 336

In a screaming headline The Independent On Sunday reports that; "Virtually all gay asylum-seekers sent back to persecution."
The Sindy claim that according to a new report from The UK Lesbian & Gay Immigration Group (UKLGIG), Failing The Grade; "98 per cent of gay asylum-seekers fleeing persecution for their sexuality are returned home to a likely fate of death or persecution."
Which would be terrible - if it were true.
In a statement to Diva magazine UKLGIG point out that; "To say that 'virtually all gay asylum seekers are sent back to persecution' is absolutely untrue and damages the considerable reputation of UKLGIG and the support that we give asylum seekers in those courts."
The campaigning group add; "Not only does such reporting damage the credibility of organisations that support LGBT asylum seekers, perhaps more importantly, it creates a climate of fear for those currently going through the process and for those who are thinking about claiming asylum – keeping them illegal and in danger of exploitation and destitution."
So - technically - the newspaper article was 98% bollocks.
Well done the Sindy!

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Iraq: Military Intelligence?

The Washington Post reports that before the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the CIA's Iraq Operations Group considered making a fake sex tape that showed Saddam Hussein having sex with a teenage boy.
According to two former CIA spooks who worked on the project, it was believed that this would discredit Hussein among the people of Iraq.
“It would look like it was taken by a hidden camera,” one of them told the Post. “Very grainy, like it was a secret videotaping of a sex session.”
Eventually the plan was abandoned when someone pointed out a major flaw.
“Saddam playing with boys would have no resonance in the Middle East - nobody cares,” according to one former CIA official. “Trying to mount such a campaign would show a total misunderstanding of the target. We always mistake our own taboos as universal when, in fact, they are just our taboos.”

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Michael Clark: Come, Been & Gone

I spent much of this afternoon trying to find a copy of the poster for the new Michael Clark show I could steal.
I couldn't though.
Maybe a lot of other people had the same idea?

Monday, 24 May 2010

Here Comes The Summer

When the sun is shining like this
I have to walk down St James's Street
It feels like love.

A drunk goes up to a man digging the road.
"Alright mate... do you speak English?"
Of course he fucking does.

A little later four fit lads at the bus stop.
This rough cute one with his shirt off
pretends to sound fucked off
at all the queens who's been clocking him.
"If we don't go soon
I'm gonna get my bum fucked..."


I thought about getting a second-hand television.
Just on the off-chance that I ever get another boyfriend
and it turns out we don't have much in common.

Friday, 14 May 2010


Fagburn took a break at this point to think about what he was doing here.
He also went and saw The Fall play in London, Brighton and Frome.
They were predictably excellent.

EDIT: There was a gap here as I went a bit wobbly after the General Election results, and stopped to figure out what I was doing with Fagburn. If you are reading this blog in reverse order, it may get a bit ropey before this point...

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Equalities Act: Interview

I had to have an interview.
Just to prove I'm still not quite right in the head.
And apparently I still am.
At the end I got given a sheet of paper telling me they recognise their "legal obligations including those under the Race Relations Act, the Sex Discrimination Act, the Civil Partnership Act, the Equal Pay Act, the Disability Discrimination Act, the part-time and fixed-term workers legislation and the Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) and (Religion or Belief) Regulations."
I thought these last 13 years haven't been a complete waste of time, really, have they?

Monday, 3 May 2010

Conservative Manifesto: Think About It

With only three days to go til E Day, the Conservatives have released yet another of these funny faux manifestos; the Contract For Equalities.
There was no official launch or press conference - one might wonder if they even wanted its contents to be reported on by the mainstream media.
On the party website they declare; "We want you to read this contract and - if we win the election - use it to hold us to account. If we don't deliver our side of the bargain, vote us out in five years' time."
The PDF has 29 pages - a massive two pages of which are devoted to "Action on LGBT issues".
In fine we learn that; they have some out MPs, they support civil partnerships, they want to give head teachers "the final say over the exclusion of homophobic bullies", they want to amend the law so convictions for consensual gay sex ("for activities that are now lawful...") can be removed from criminal records, and will "Fight for LGBT rights around the world".
That last bit appears to mean sending Nick Herbert off to attend EuroPride in Warsaw. Well, whoopee-do!
Oh, and there's something vague about putting "pressure on countries where gay people are persecuted, such as Uganda..." and wanting to "change the rules so that gay people fleeing persecution are granted asylum. At the moment gay asylum seekers are often returned to countries with homophobic regimes and told to keep their sexuality secret."
Whilst this is sadly and cruelly true, it is meaningless to talk of changing the rules for LGBT asylum seekers unless you state exactly what you are going to do to stop people who are being persecuted from being deported.
They also claim; "We will also consider the case for changing the law to allow civil partnerships to be called and classified as marriage."
So, in a document that's not even the manifesto, the Conservatives say they'll have a think about something.
Hardly an iron-cast pledge, is it?
I'm tempted to say this contract isn't worth the paper it's printed on, but I try to avoid cliche and - moreover - the Tories have only bothered to put this out as a PDF.

Religion: Hanging's Too Good For Him

An Evangelical Christian nutcase, Dale Mcalpine, has been charged with a public order offence after he carried on shouting a load of homophobic medieval nonsense at uninterested shoppers in Cumbria, despite being repeatedly told to shut the fuck up by a police officer.
As a passionate advocate of free speech I believe Mr Mcalpine should have been allowed to carry on making a fool of himself in public.
But I also believe that what Mcalpine really wants is to be made a martyr for his Christian beliefs.
This is also fine by me - so let's nail the silly old fucker to a cross and leave him to die outside TK Maxx.
It's the only language these people understand.

The King of New York

Whilst in no way condoning the cowardly and criminal act of leaving a car bomb outside the Minskoff Theatre on New York's Times Square - as someone who has sat through Elton John's The Lion King (It's a long story; a friend was hoofing in it, he was a gazelle or something...) - I think it's important to understand that whomsoever is behind this may have had a legitimate grievance.

A Cow for Andy Warhol

I just bought a little toy cow from a charity shop
Real cows scare me
but I really liked the way this looked
I thought it looked like Andy Warhol's Cow
But when I got home I checked
and it doesn't really.
Still, it was only 20p
and now I think about it
Andy Warhol's Cow was probably a bull.

Sunday, 2 May 2010

Religion: Answered Prayers

More incredibly shocking news!
A Conservative candidate, Philippa Stroud, believes lesbians, gay men and transsexuals can be cured by praying to Jesus in some sort of wacko mixture of Christian voodoo and medieval tomfoolery.
If she actually believes this nonsense, may I suggest that Ms Stroud is tried as a witch and drowned in the nearest duckpond?
Oh, and your mother sucks cocks in hell.
Good day.

Lib Dems: Scandal Days

Now I don't care about you, but as this is the last Sunday before the election I was hoping that one of the Sunday papers would have unearthed a sordid scandal on a leading politician that would have left their political career in tatters!
Ideally, I was hoping for one of them to have taken part in a sex act so disgusting it couldn't be described in a family newspaper - the Lib Dems are good at them.
What happened to the good old days when a Liberal leader could have been counted on to at least hire a hitman to take out an embarrassing old boyfriend and any alsatians who had the misfortune to be in the wrong place at the wrong time?
Mind you, it's not really a scandal if you're found not guilty, is it?
Perhaps we should feel proud that our political leaders now appear to be so wholesome, pure and squeaky clean?
Or that we live in an age when being thrown out of one of our leading public schools for drug dealing and being a reformed cokehead appears to be no bar to a man serving in the most powerful office in the land?
Of course, some scandal may yet emerge. A week is, as they say, seven days in politics.

Another Day on Earth

Yesterday I went to see 77 Million Paintings, an art installation by Brian Eno; "a constantly evolving sound and imagescape which continues his exploration into light as an artist's medium and the aesthetic possibilities of 'generative software'."
The audience sat there in silence, awestruck or dumbstruck - and watched it constantly evolving.
I got bored after a minute or three.
I couldn't see it moving and thought it might be broken.
I thought other people might have been thinking the exact same thing, but nobody dared say anything.
Like Tony Hancock's The Rebel.
Isn't it funny the effect that art can have on people?

Saturday, 1 May 2010

Drugs: Meow Culpa

This has been a week of apologies. Our beleaguered leader, Gordon Brown, had to apologise for calling a woman who said something that sounded quite bigoted "a bigoted woman".
The bizarrely named Dappy from N-Dubz also had to apologise after he was caught in the act of doing something legal. Or, to put it in tabloidese; "N-Dubz star Dappy has made a grovelling TV apology over his meow-meow nightclub shame" [Daily Star].
The rapper was filmed on CCTV snorting the drug mephedrone in the back room of an Essex club before it was banned following a tsunami of manufactured and ill=informed tabloid outrage.
Taking drugs - even legal ones - is wrong. It's a sin, and sinners must repent. Just say... sorry. Forgive me people, for I have sniffed.
So Dapper's publicists swiftly issued a statement: "I was taking meow meow. I was on a night out with mates and it got a bit rowdy. Meow meow was legal then and lots of my mates were taking it too. I know this drug has now been made illegal and would not endorse any of our fans taking it."
"I said recently that I hadn't touched serious drugs for years and maybe that wasn't completely true. But I now want people to realise how dangerous mephedrone and similar drugs can be. It can ruin lives. I'd want any of our fans to stay well clear. I've learned my lesson and I hope others will too."
If a celebrity caught up in a "My drugs shame" scandal isn't going to go into rehab, the least they can do is offer a grovelling apology. Two days after the story appeared N-Dubz were thrown onto GMTV and Dappy was forced to beg forgiveness for his sniff. “I felt unwell taking it and I never will again," he said. "I’m glad it’s banned because I’ve seen how people are dying off it. It was a night out and I was just a bit tipsy and fell into the wrong place at the wrong time. I don’t think I’ll touch any serious stuff ever again.”
Everyone played their part and acted up for the cameras. The pop stars pretended to be sorry. The presenters pretended to be concerned.
Despite the fact that no British coroner has yet blamed one single death on mephedrone - and that statistically someone is more likely to die in a car crash, than from taking any recreational drug. But what can we expect from tabloid journalists - the only people in the country so out of touch that they think that users of mephedrone actually call it "meow-meow". Funny thing is, it was probably cocaine anyway.
Two days later the papers reported that "Dopey Dappy" was asked to leave Alton Towers when hotel guests complained they could smell cannabis coming from his room.
Can't we bring back hanging?