Sunday, 31 March 2013

Showbusiness: Carry On Cleo

QUEEN'S Freddie Mercury smuggled Princess Diana into a gay bar during the 1980s dressed as a male model so she wouldn't be recognised, a new memoir claims. Comedienne Cleo Rocos says in her new book, The Power of Positive Drinking, that she, Mercury and fellow comedian Kenny Everett dressed Diana in an army jacket, cap and sunglasses for a night out at gay haunt the Royal Vauxhall Tavern, in South London.
Rocos says they met the princess at Everett's penthouse and revealed their plans to go to a gay pub later in the evening.
"Freddie told her we were going to the Royal Vauxhall Tavern, a notorious gay bar in London. Diana said she had never heard of it and said she'd like to come," says Rocos...

The Sun.

Some people more cynical than I may suspect that Cleo Rocos has made this up to publicise her new book, so it's a shame all the other people mentioned in the story - Kenny, Freddie and Diana - are all dead and can't confirm its veracity.

PS I may be wrong - Di seemed like a game old girl so I suppose it's not completely without the bounds of possibility - but I can't recall hearing before any mention that Diana was good friends with Mercury or Everett. And wasn't Freddie more of an Earl's Court man? I'm not up on how the Royal Family do these things - on account of not really giving a fuck - but wouldn't the young princess have had a security attachment?
And moreover, why did Cleo forget to include this amusing and oh-so tabloid-friendly episode in her previous book, Bananas Forever: My Life With Kenny Everett? 

Update: Pink News reprinted this without questioning it in a piece by occasional contributor Joseph Patrick McCormick, who also fell for this obvious American hoax/satire last week. Sorry, but this person is so daft/credulous/lazy, he's a liability.
As did Queerty, and various gay blogs.
Even Gay Star News put "claims author" in the headline (PN said "reports have revealed"!) - but they managed to spell Freddie's name wrong, and claim Diana was "an outspoken Aids activist", which is pushing it a bit.
Your wonderful gay media not at work!

Gay TV: Normal-ish

Did TV Change America's Mind On Gay Marriage?

From “Soap” to Ellen DeGeneres to Richard Hatch on “Survivor” to the macho male couple who won season 4 of “The Amazing Race,” televisual images of sexual diversity have gradually moved away from victimology and “gay best friend” stereotypes toward a “normalizing vision” of LGBT culture. This simultaneously reflected the lived experience of many or most Americans and also projected the mainstream and middlebrow sensibility of television onto the whole society. As GLAAD’s annual reports on television make clear, LGBT characters on dramas and sitcoms are overwhelmingly white, wholesome gay men and lesbians, rather than, say, transgender HIV-positive youth of color. If Christian conservatives who once complained vociferously about every gay-positive show have been virtually driven out of the TV conversation, so too has the much smaller population of “queer radicals” who advocate a separate and distinctive LGBT culture. While the startling public shift on gay marriage – something few people of my generation, straight or gay, thought they’d ever see — is not solely the product of TV, it represents the ultimate fulfillment of TV’s vision of sexual equality. Harvey Milk may have had a much broader vision of social change in view, but gay marriage is exactly the revolution [Soap's gay character - above] Jodie Dallas wanted.

An interesting overview of US TV by Andrew O'Hehir on
Popular culture's role in changing attitudes to The Gays has become a popular subject for the US media of late, partly one suspects as it seems to agitate their Christian Right so much.
But O'Hehir doesn't indulge in the usual simplistic cheerleading, complaining about "stereotypes" (which usually seems to mean wanting to to see gay men who are completely indistinguishable from straight men), or pleas for "positive images".
While writing that he has no doubt "TV has played a crucial role", he makes clear that;

"I have no doubt that the biggest single factor that has driven social change on this issue is that almost all the straight people in America have gotten to know someone gay over the last 20 or 30 years, and have not found them fundamentally alien. Whatever biblical disapproval or personal distaste for homosexuality you may feel, your spouse’s gay nephew or the lesbian in Accounting probably strikes you as a normal-ish person, not inherently more obnoxious than others."

Thought For The Day: Rev Giles Fraser

Hope, then, is the defiance of love, defiance against what can feel like a bleak reality. It is built on the promise that love is stronger than death. And because of this, there is nothing of which we need to be afraid. Not fundamentally.
This is the good news of Easter – which is why it’s so ridiculous that former Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey has used his own Easter message to continue his peculiar obsession with gay sex.
It is hardly earth-shattering good news if we reduce the Resurrection of Jesus Christ to some narrow moralism that seeks to police how people love each other.
In his attack on David Cameron, Lord Carey accused the Prime Minister of doing more than any recent political leader to feed the anxieties of those Christians who feel part of ‘a persecuted minority’.
To speak of Christians being persecuted in this country is an insult to those people in places such as Iran and Pakistan who really are...

Rev Giles Fraser, the former Canon Chancellor of St Paul's Cathedral, writing in the Mail On Sunday. 
A decent fellow, and a reminder that all Christian leaders aren't antediluvian mean-spirited unchristian bigots.

MORE than two-thirds of the public think the Church of England is out of touch with society and more than half believe it does a bad job of providing moral leadership, according to a new poll.

The YouGov survey, commissioned by The Sunday Times for Easter, also finds that four out of 10 people think priests — both Anglican and Roman Catholic — cannot be trusted to tell the truth.
The findings give an indication of the size of the challenge facing Justin Welby, who will deliver his first Easter message as Archbishop of Canterbury today.
Only 19% of respondents said they could name Welby, the leader of the world’s 80m Anglicans...
The church has been at the centre of several recent controversies, including a refusal to ordain women bishops and a rejection of same-sex marriage, a policy championed by David Cameron.
The YouGov poll shows that 49% of the public say the church is wrong to oppose such unions. Some 37% of people agree with its position on the issue. More than three-quarters (78%) think the church should allow women bishops...

The Sunday Times. 

Oh well, it was nasty nice while it lasted...

Saturday, 30 March 2013

Noam Chomsky: Power Systems

Private power doesn’t like public education, for many reasons. One is the principle on which it’s based, which is threatening to power. Public education is based on a principle of solidarity. So, for example, I had my children fifty years ago. Nevertheless, I feel and I’m supposed to feel that I should pay taxes so that the kids across the street can go to school. That’s counter to the doctrine that you should just look after yourself and let everyone else fall by the wayside, a basic principle of business rule. Public education is a threat to that belief system because it builds up a sense of solidarity, community, mutual support.
The same is true of Social Security. That’s one of the reasons that there is such a passionate attempt to destroy Social Security, even though there are no economic reasons to do so, none of any significance at least. But public education and Social Security are residues of a dangerous conception that we’re all in this together and we have to work together to create a better life and a better future. If you’re trying to maximize profit or maximize consumption, then working together is the wrong idea. It has to be beaten out of people’s heads.
Solidarity makes it hard to control people and prevents them from being passive objects of private power. So you have a propaganda system that overcomes any deviations from the principle of subjugation to power systems.

This book is in your actual shops now!
David Barsamian's tenth collection of interviews with Uncle Noam.
They're the best introduction to Chomsky, and therefore to understanding how propaganda, power and hegemony work, and how and why the world is fucked.
Several excerpts from these and his other books are available online here.

PS Video of Noam Chomsky being interviewed about propaganda at the British Library last week. 

Douglas Coupland: Regeneration X

While I was writing the book, I thought there would be, at most, a few people who I attended school with in Vancouver who might kind of get what I was writing about – or maybe a few people down in Seattle, which was a little bit like Vancouver back then. I was surprised, and remain surprised to this day, that so many people clicked with X – or with any of the books I’ve written – because it always seems, in the end, that writing is such a desolate, lonely profession and it never gets less lonely. In fact, as I sit here a few days before turning 50, it feels so lonely that I wonder if I can visit the place of writing any more – which, in a backward way, tells me that’s exactly why I should go forward. The things worth writing about, and the things worth reading about, are the things that feel almost beyond description at the start and are, because of that, frightening.

Douglas Coupland writes on turning 50, on the loneliness of the long-distance writer, and the twentieth anniversary of the publication of Generation X. 

The Independent: Question?

The Saturday Quiz

1. Which two 19th-century French poets are honoured in London with the first blue plaque celebrating a gay relationship?

The Independent.

One might presume the answer is those star-crossed lovers, Verlaine and Rimbaud.
Only problem is they don't have a blue plaque.
God, The Independent's so insultingly rubbish on gay stuff I despair (See Fagburn passim).

PS Today is Paul Verlaine's 169th birthday - why not toast his memory with a glass or five of absinthe while reading his and young Arthur's Le Sonnet Du Trou Du Cul?

Religion: Don't Let's Be Beastly To The Christians!

Of course, it could only be The Daily Mail.

Fagburn's thoughts?
Who gives a fuck what this obsessively anti-gay Christian dinosaur thinks about anything anymore?
Apart from Daily Mail readers?
Is it worth taking two minutes of my time to rip apart such a cavalcade of nonsense?
Oh do piss off and go talk to your non-existent silly sky-god.

PS Other newspapers' front pages >>> suggest this may be a slow news day/bank holiday weekend, and they'll print any old rubbish. So maybe it was a good time for this flatulent ancient Druid to speak out?

PPS The Mail also cite a poll by - once again - the almost comically unreliable ComRes/Coalition 4 Marriage.
"The ComRes poll of 535 [!!!] regular churchgoers, commissioned by the Coalition for Marriage (C4M), reveals that more than two-thirds (67 per cent) of Christians feel that they are part of a ‘persecuted minority’."
Yeah, it must be exactly like being Jewish in Nazi Germany.
First they came for the Cornish hotel-owners... 
They're so persecuted that the Church of England is the official church of the state, we pay for creeps like George Carey to sit in the House Of Lords telling lies, and they put his crackpot views on the front of the Daily Mail.
And besides, the sick sado-masochistic death cult of Christanity is all about revelling in being persecuted, innit?
Bet you're loving it.

PPPS I wonder if the former Archbishop of Cuntery thinks the Mail's "Six Pages Of Bumper Easter Puzzles" reflects his feelings about "the real meaning of Easter"?

Update: Rev Giles Fraser tells BBC News George Carey "has hijacked the Easter weekend... this is an insult to people who are genuinely persecuted."

Friday, 29 March 2013

Richard Griffiths: 1947-2013

“Everybody my age should be issued with a 2lb fresh salmon. If you see someone young, beautiful and happy, you should slap them as hard as you can with it. When they ask, 'Why did you do that?’, you say, 'Because, you lucky young bastard, you don’t know how fortunate you are.’ And they don’t...” 

The world of stage, screen, and trampoline will now have to find another go-to guy for playing predatory fruity old queens.
Loved your work, sir.
"Oops, I appear to have put my hand on your muscular young thigh!" etc etc

PS He did actually marry.

Update: Audio of Richard talking about playing Uncle Monty. 

Transphobia: 15 Points

1. The media has a long history of humiliating and undermining trans people

2. Transphobia cuts across left/liberal and conservative media

3. Most commentators (grudgingly) accept the right of individual adults to transition

4. Commentators disproportionately “monster” trans individuals
5. Editors and commissioners can no longer use the "complexity" of transgender issues as a gatekeeping tactic

6. The refusal of trans language, culture and history is ideological

7. The focus on the cost of gender reassignment to the NHS is ideological

8. Commentators “monster” efforts of trans community to organise

9.The battleground has moved to the lives of children

10. Liberal/libertarian constructions of “freedom of speech” preserve this status quo

11. Going to the PCC is understood to be pointless

12. The structures of online journalism should be considered in any analysis

13. The "outrage fatigue" generated by this model is particularly dangerous

14. This situation is self-perpetuating

15. Compromise is neither desirable nor possible

An excellent article for the New Statesman by Juliet Jacques.  
Please click here to read her analysis and explanation of these points.

PS The above photo is the one used to illustrate the article in the NS, and captioned; 'April Ashley, who was "outed" by the Sunday People in 1961, poses with her MBE in December 2012.'

Time: Falls Wanking To The Floor

Well, if it's on the front cover of right-wing liefest Time and they haven't used a picture of some gay cake toppers, then I guess it must be.

PS That's a Bowie lyric in the title, by the way. I put it in cause I thought he was a bit under-represented in the media at the moment.

Robbie Rogers: Come Out And Not Play

I know things will change. There will be gay footballers. I just don't know when and how long it will take. The next step is how do you create an atmosphere where men and women feel it's OK to come out and continue to play? It's a great question. Football has so much history. It's a great sport with so much culture and tradition. But I'm positive there will be changes...

The Guardian runs the first interview with Robbie Rogers since he came out in February - he says he turned down some big money from other publications, presumably for a salacious and sensationalist "shorts round our ankles in the dressing room" take on things.
He seems a decent fellow, and here also combats another popular prejudice - that footballers aren't very bright.
Though the Guardian feature has left me none-the-wiser really as to why he decided to come out and quit professional football; beyond he "became acutely aware of the impossibility of being a publicly-out gay footballer."
And that's called sad.

PS The interview was re-staged for some video things for Google+ Hangout - who get a rather prominent plug.

Thought For The Day: TS Eliot

Half of the harm that is done in this world is due to people who want to feel important.  

Oh, save us from the egoists
the self-serving monumentally vain
they'll stab you in the back while licking someone's arse
(Head now too big to go up his own).

Power doesn't corrupt, the corrupt seek power
A pox on every self-important pointless little prick that does it all for fame.
"Never mind the copy, just print my photo!"
"But you have to understand, this is all about ME!"

Oh ego, where is thy DEATH?

Fagburn: Happy Easter!

From The Reason Stick blog.
Click to enlarge etc etc.

PS And here's an Easter present from Tim Minchin, Thank You God!

Pope Francis: Feet

Pope Francis has been to a Young Offenders' Institution and washed and kissed the feet of some inmates.
As you do.
Now if I tried to do that...

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Noam Chomsky: Landmark Speech


Tom Daley News: He's Adopted A Pig!

Oh, to be a piglet in Plymouth now.
I'd be the happiest pig in the world.

BBC: Not Gay Marriage

"During transmission of a recorded report on shipping in South Africa, a topline aston strap was erroneously transposed by our MosART automation system over a voiceclip from Captain Rufus Lekale from Transnet when the item played out in our 0800GMT news bulletin.
"We apologise to Captain Lekale for any embarrassment this technical error may have caused."

A BBC spokesbot, quoted earlier.
It's annoying and can be insulting if someone gets your name wrong, but would this be newsworthy if the transposed words had read something other than - tee hee-hee - "gay marriage"? 

Clicktivism: Meaningless

As SCOTUS debates the constitutionality of Proposition 8 and DOMA this week, Facebook users all over the nation have become part of a burgeoning social media trend. Supporters of marriage equality have been changing their profile pictures to the icon on the left, a version of the Human Rights Campaign logo designed specifically to indicate support for same-sex marriage rights. 
Although many people have said that it’s been personally meaningful to sign onto Facebook and see a screen full of red avatars, many have criticized the trend for being a silly way of “showing support” without actually accomplishing anything significant...

Scientific American. 

Still, if you're really committed to meaningless self-serving gestures, you could always click on an e-petition.
Or buy a crappy 'Legalize Gay' t-shirt from American Apparel, that'll show the bastards!

Grindr: Dicks

Fagburn has been sent a press release by Grindr, Fagburn can exclusively reveal.
According to a survey conducted by Grindr that's not made up and that we couldn't be arsed to check, a stunning 10 billion men across the world are now using this location-based app.
Most log on for 27 hours a day or more.
And they're all horny and fit as fuck, our incredibly scientific and - I can't stress this enough - not made-up survey says.
That hot dude that lives just round the corner from you?
He's here, and his gaping bumhole is waiting for you - no matter if you're as fugly as sin.
New Grindr "hotspots" include the distant planets of Jupiter and Mars, where a gobstopping million men are ready-and-waiting for hot gay sex now, according to this really reliable new survey that isn't made up.
In an exclusive interview with Fagburn, Grindr's Joel Simkhai said; "If you believe any of this crapola, you'll probably also believe most queens on Grindr don't take ten years off their age and add two inches to their dicksize." 
So sign up now!

Fagburn is a completly impartial media partner with Grindr. Usual terms and conditions apply. 

Fagburn: Grumpy

Fagburn's been trying to find anything worth commenting about in the papers today, but it seems they've all gone down the pub for Easter early.
So here's a picture of the bum-ticklingly funny Very Grumpy Cat supporting that gay marriage, grumpily.
A grumpy cat after my own heart. 

Dear Deidre: Eh?

The Sun.

Now, I'm not a professional agony aunt on a best-selling tabloid newspaper, but I would have checked by trying to do it with a dude.
Anyway, as per, I'm sending you a leaflet.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Deke Richards: 1944-2013

A truly great songwriter - thank you, mister.

Gay Media: Hoax Week Continues Apace!

The New Yorker runs a satirical column called The Borowitz Report.
It is satire - if you don't know what satire means, it kinda means saying something that isn't true for comedic and/or ironic affect, or subjecting someone to ridicule via the ancient art of taking the piss.
Here's a thing they published today - Scalia Says Marriage Views Not Affected by Lifelong Fear of Gays - about that gay marriage thing which is still kicking off in the States right now...

As the Supreme Court prepared to hear two cases involving same-sex marriage this week, Justice Antonin Scalia said that he would not allow his votes to be influenced “in any way” by his lifelong fear of gays.
“As Justices of the Supreme Court, we have a sacred duty to check our personal feelings at the door,” he told the Fox News Channel. “In my case, that means putting aside my longstanding and profound fear of homosexuals.”
Justice Scalia added that he was committed “to safeguarding the rights of all Americans—even those I personally find terrifying.”
“I take my role as an impartial arbiter very seriously,” he said. “So when I hear a case, I put all feelings of abhorrence, disgust, and revulsion completely out of my mind.”
The Justice said that when it came to the issue of same-sex marriage he would rely on the Constitution, “which makes no mention of gays whatsoever.”
“Remember, when the framers wrote the Constitution, there were no gays in America,” he said. “They didn’t come here until the nineteen-sixties.”

Pretty funny, yeah?
Not according to Pink News - who cut-and-pasted it and ran it as a real news story.*

With the US Supreme Court gearing up to hear two landmark cases around equal marriage this week, one of the court justices said he would put “aside” his “profound fear of homosexuals”.
Speaking to Fox News, Justice Antonin Scalia made the comments before going in for the first day of hearings, around Proposition 8, California’s state-wide ban on equal marriage.
He said: “As Justices of the Supreme Court, we have a sacred duty to check our personal feelings at the door… In my case, that means putting aside my longstanding and profound fear of homosexuals.”
“I take my role as an impartial arbiter very seriously,” he continued. “So when I hear a case, I put all feelings of abhorrence, disgust, and revulsion completely out of my mind.”
The justice went on to say that he was committed “to safeguarding the rights of all Americans—even those I personally find terrifying.”
He went on to say that he would bear in mind that the US Constitution “makes no mention of gays whatsoever”.
“Remember, when the framers wrote the Constitution, there were no gays in America,” he said. “They didn’t come here until the nineteen-sixties,” he said, reports the New Yorker.

You couldn't make it up etc etc etc.
I keep meaning to start the Fagburn Completely Pointless Gay Awards For Stupidity, and this surely has to be a shoo-in.
Where do they find these people?

With thanks to Matt. x

* Update: For some strange reason the text has now been removed from the page. Shame. (Shame?)

Utopia: How We Might Live

Your actual teenagers' ideas of utopia - made with Ruth Ewan for Radio 4's Open Air series.
Here it is on Soundcloud.

Evan Davis: My Struggle

The BBC broadcaster Evan Davis has revealed that he was “tortured” by the discovery that he was homosexual and advises young people to adopt a “casual” approach if they choose to “come out” as gay.

In an interview with the website RUComingOut, the Radio 4 Today programme presenter speaks about his teenage struggle to come to terms with his sexuality...

The Independent. 

Only two sentences in and I'm not sure where to start.
Why foreground Evan once feeling "tortured" when he says he's spent most of his life being the exact opposite?
Why are they using the word "homosexual"?
Is this a late Victorian medical text book, or maybe the Daily Telegraph?
Why is "come out" in inverted commas?
Does it not really happen?
Later on we read George Michael "confessed his sexuality".
Like it's a sin.
God doesn't exist but God, I hate The Independent.
Why does all their gay stuff - which is not much and completely random - read like it's written by a straight posh clueless intern who's been told to re-write a press release?
Maybe because it is?
Moreover and more generally, every day in every way it's turning into the Daily Mail. 
Is this the best you can do?

Russell Kane: The World Is Full Of Crashing Bores

Hands up, I admit it. I am not exactly the butchest of men. But you know what? That’s a good thing. No, it’s an excellent thing, and I’ll tell you why: the girls love it.
What I’m doing is nothing original. Everyone knows a bloke who camps it up as a cheeky strategy to attract a certain type of (usually stunning) girl. What I’ve done is take it to the next level, just to see how robust this mating system actually is – and I can report huge returns...

Contrary to what some homophobic, 19th-century relics might think, a man doing girlie things doesn’t necessarily make him girlie. If Geoff from Rotherham has the confidence to paint Bobbi Brown gel eyeliner on the inside of his lower lid, then laugh in a slightly camp head-tossing fashion, it means one of two things to most girls:

1) “He’s genuinely effeminate. Fair enough. Friend material” (even this could mean a long-term rumpy-pumpy win).

2) “Oh my God, Geoff is so comfortable with his masculinity that he doesn’t need to display it. He’s just the kind of sex god I’d love to take me to Pizza Express for a Sloppy Giuseppe.” Getting it now?

OK, so you may not want to take playing camp quite as far as me. When people arrive at my website, the No.1 search term that has brought them there is not “comedian”, “tour” or “book”. No, it’s: “Is Russell Kane gay?” I love it. Keep people guessing, refuse labels, eff the system, I say.

Russell Kane writing in The Sun.

Sadly Russell seems to have confused "being camp" with being a tedious unfunny wanker who wears eyeliner.
Still, cor, what a geezer, eh?

PS Here's your actual top 10 Google search terms for Russell Kane, ie no-one else seems to care if this patronising buffoon is gay or not...

Fillum: The Top 10 Gay Movie Cliches

1. Artistic shots of trees
Nothing conveys the gay psyche like a bleak sky glimpsed through a dizzying rush of distant poplars – the type gay boys stare at longingly from the homophobic inferno of the school bus. It's fairly cheap and easy to capture, too: best shot from a moving Peugeot 207, with the camera balanced on the sill of a half-opened side window.

2. The ironing mother
She is angsty, sombre, frayed, yet just a tiny bit fabulous. Think of a fat Joan Rivers cast in a John Osborne play. She's probably 30th in line to being the next Sheila hancock. She needs to be watching a massively crap chat show or a feckless daytime TV quiz. She should shout at the TV as if it can hear her and she will definitely shout at her gay son when he comes in from school.
At first, her dialogue revolves around schoolwork, nagging her son to wear a bike helmet and complaining about his (erotically shot, of course) piles of dirty socks. Later, she will ask if he's gay, then feign shock at the answer. But let's face it, she's already spotted the cock ring and poppers in his bottom drawer. And then there's that Eurovision wallchart...

The intro to a smashing, insightful and very funny thing on the Guardian online by Jack Cullen, The Top 10 Gay Movie Cliches. 
It gets better.
The article that is.
Not your life.
That will always be shit.
You're gay, get over it.
Or maybe, you know, make a broody short film about it?

PS That photo has bum-all to do with the article - apart from ironing and general gratuitous pervability (which Jack kinda touches on) - I just wanted an excuse to print it.
My blog, my rules, dudes.

PPS Who the hellzapoppin' irons their underpants?

The Chantels: Maybe

People Just Want To Dream

Maybe there is no ban on triangular flapjacks? Maybe that Russian oligarch killed himself? Maybe that dad who wrote his gay son a note doesn't exist? Maybe they don't kill kids in Iran just for being gay? Maybe we should bomb them? Maybe the media are more interested in telling entertaining stories than telling the more prosaic truth? Maybe they think people will believe anything? Maybe you've been brainwashed too? Maybe Fagburn is completely pointless? Maybe, if I pray every night, you'll come back to me, and maybe, if I cry everyday you'll come back to stay. Oh, maybe...  
Maybe people just want to dream? 

Monday, 25 March 2013


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Hoax: You Couldn't Make It Up

An hilarious piss-take of that in-no-way made-up "I've known you were gay since you were six - I've loved you since you were born" note to a gay son that WENT VIRAL, from Lampsarepeopletoo.
Rather wonderfully, your actual gay media have fallen for this too.
How thick would you have to be!!?
Oh crap, we are fucking fucked, boys.
But remember, sentimental crap makes the world go round.

PS Check the comments section on the Queerty story - they ran this delightful fiction as fact, of course - and abandon hope. "Man is a rational animal - so at least I have been told. Throughout a long life, I have looked diligently for evidence in favor of this statement, but so far I have not had the good fortune to come across it..." Bertrand Russell. 

Dr Who: Yesterday's News Tomorrow!

Fagburn was wondering last week how long it would take for this story to break.
Christ, if I wanted to read something this old I'd read Gay Star "News".
Journalism - beats working!

Morland: Cartoon Of The Year

Morland in The Times.

Ironically, it's at times like this - when political debate has become so debased by moron-friendly populist twattery - that I start thinking maybe this country really has gone to the proverbial dogs.
Still, best to keep calm and gaymarry on...

Update: 'Dennis Skinner, the Labour MP for Bolsover, told Mr Hunt that “people of… different colours and different nationalities can change the bed sheets and they can operate but woe betide them wanting to put their head on a pillow when they are ill”.' 

Boris Johnson: Checkmate With Queen

Here's the full Eddie Mair interview with Boris Johnson from Sunday's The Andrew Marr Show.
Wonderfully woeful stuff.
More importantly than all that guffy stuff about politics and Boris being a complete shit and serial liar, Fagburn is loving our Eddie's new look; the glasses, the hint of a tan, the bona riah, she's lost a few stone etc etc.
Can TV superstardom be far away?

Update: The Daily Mail asks 'Just who is Eddie Mair?' Unfortunately they got leading gay Uncle Tom Andrew Pierce to answer it. A swine on pearls.

Update 2: The subtext to this Guardian profile by Leo Benedictus appears to be "Is he too camp?" 

Depressing Thought For The Day: John Grant

“It might be a little bit glib to people who have been through genocides in countries where people have actual problems. But yes, there has been a horror movie going on in my head for a long time, that has to do with anxiety and severe depression, and feeling trapped inside this horrible labyrinth of over-thinking and fear. And I am trying to write the soundtrack to that.”

John Grant, The Independent.

Pale Green Ghosts is Fagburn's album of the year thus far.
If you're gay - or even a member of the so-called "heterosexual community" - and feel trapped inside a horrible labyrinth of over-thinking and fear, I heartily recommend it! 

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Jobs Confidential: Priest

People don't really know if you're a real human or not. I was young when I arrived at my parish and lots of my congregation gave me cutlery – because if I wasn't married, I clearly didn't own cutlery. When I started dating someone that was really weird for people. It was weird for me, too – seeing them at the altar rail, knowing that we'd been snogging the night before.
The dog collar can be a help and a hindrance. When I leave the gym, the other gym bunnies tend to do a double take, especially if they've been checking me out a bit. I can walk into a meeting of my peers, fellow professionals, and they won't listen to a word because the fact that I believe in God means that I'm clearly bonkers...
I get asked to pray for some odd things: I know far too much about the continence of my congregation. Sometimes they'll get very upset about something they've read in the Mail and I end up having to pray for whatever's causing cancer in cats this week.

From an Observer article, Jobs Confidential: 15 reveal the truth about their work.

Although it's not stated I get the impression this priest is a you-know-what.

Fagburn: Virtually Nothing

Sorry. Nothing to report today.

But remember YOU can still make a difference today!

Why not take - literally - three seconds to "sign" an e-petition about something - cause right-wing bigots really tremble in fear of those, right?

Why not RT a tweet about how a gay man being killed is wrong - this will really wake people up and show them you care. Maybe personalise it by adding the word "heartbreaking". This also makes it clear you don't think killing gay people is a good thing.

Why not INSPIRE people by retweeting some schmaltzy sentimental old hokum - maybe a made-up letter from "a proud dad to my gay son" that went VIRAL! Maybe add the word "HERO!"

Make the change you want to see in the virtual world!

By showing you virtually don't care!

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Film: Hooray For Hollywood!

No matter who we are, no matter what we are, no matter where we come from, we learn about ourselves and each other in two ways. The first way is what we hear – in our families, from our friends, and from our schoolmates. The second way is what we see – on television and in the movie theater. Now, there is not much any of us can do about what people hear from families and friends, but there is a whole hell of a lot we can do about what people see.
The images that impacted me as a teenager had lasting influences on my entire life and I bet that is true for most of us. What we see in the media today affects everybody, whether it’s film, TV, radio, magazines or the internet. What the media says about your sexual orientation, and the color of your skin, and the shape of your eyes, and your ethnicity… what you look like, what you weigh, what you wear, how poor you are, how awkward you are, how educated you are, and how different you are… this stuff really sinks in. What we see teaches us about how to feel about ourselves and how to feel about each other.
And now, I’m talking about kids who are gay and I’m talking about kids who aren’t gay. One group needs affirmation and the other group needs education. And, if I’m being honest, neither of those issues are high on any movie studio or TV network’s agenda…

The Celluloid Closet was made almost 20 years ago and certainly attitudes have changed, but maybe not quite so much as you or I would want or hope. Television has been much more progressive and credit has to be given to producers like Max Mutchnick and David Kohan and Ryan Murphy for really changing things.
Now movies need to catch up. There are magnificent movies being made about gay subjects with gay characters, like Brokeback Mountain and Milk. Anyone would have been proud to have made those movies. I know I would be. But when you think about some of these films, even our favorite ones, there is a theme that runs through them.
Brokeback Mountain, Milk, Boys Don’t Cry, Philadelphia, The Hours, Gods and Monsters, The Talented Mr. Ripley, A Single Man, My Own Private Idaho, Cloud Atlas – in all these movies, the main character is murdered or martyred or commits suicide or just dies unhappily. And there are far more pernicious and dangerous images that confront gay kids and their parents: the lesbian murderer, the psychotic transvestite, the queen who is humiliated and sometimes tossed off a ship or a ledge. It’s a big joke. It still happens.
How many times have you heard a character imply to another that the worst thing about going to prison isn’t being locked up for the rest of your life, it’s the homosexuality? And old stereotypes still exist. The most benign stereotypes would have a gay kid believe that they will end up being the asexual, witty best friend of the pretty girl, or a drag queen, or a swishy hairdresser. The list goes on.
Of course, there are great images, too, like the family in The Kids Are All Right. The way the boy in Perks of Being a Wallflower and the middle-aged man in Hotel Marigold and the 75-year-old man in Beginners come out to a better, richer, more fulfilled life. It’s treated as a celebration.

And real credit has to be given to the filmmakers of ParaNorman, Chris Butler and Sam Fell, who had the first gay character in an animated movie, and he was the football hunk and it was totally incidental to the plot.
Now it’s time for all of us to take that step. Not every gay character needs to be defined by his or her sexuality. Can’t being gay just be one stitch in the fabric of someone’s life? Can’t we depict men and women who just so happen to be gay – perhaps a lawyer or soldier or business executive or scientist or engineer…
We need to create an atmosphere that encourages people to speak up, so we get this right.
How about next time, when any of us are reading a script and it says words like fag, or faggot – homo – dyke – take a pencil and just cross it out. Just don’t do it.
We can do better and we will do better. We have to. If we just think about that kid in North Dakota, or their parents, we might just do it a little differently.

Amy Pascal, chair of Sony Pictures, in a speech given last night.
Via Hollywood Deadline.

Thought this was interesting - but more because of who said it, than what it says.
It's a bit simplistic and resurrects a rather tired 80s argument about "positive images" in popular culture.
Haven't we got over this by now?
How can you show the fact of homophobia if someone can't say a word like "faggot"?
How can you film a movie about the life of Harvey Milk if you don't have him dying at the end?
And don't get me started on characters "who just happen to be gay"...
Can you imagine how arse-achingly awful a film about some nice gay men having a nice time would be?

PS For the record, can I stress that I find gay men who think they're saying something stunningly original and "radical" by complaining about non-existent gay straw men who they claim are arguing for "positive images" in popular culture as painfully tedious as anal bleaching. 

David Bowie: Top Of The Pops

"I was a gay 12 year-old just starting to take an interest in pop music and I was knocked out.
"I was watching with my mother who said, Oh he looks like Glenda Jackson playing Elizabeth I - which in retrospect was quite perceptive.
"And then came the famous moment on the show when David Bowie slung his arm around guitarist Mick Ronson - which was simultaneously blokey but also a bit gay. It may not sound like much now but in 1972 it was a revolution.
"A few months before the TOTP appearance, Bowie said on the record in the Melody Maker that he was gay - or at least bisexual. 
"Looking back now, the statement was ambiguous but at the time it was a brave thing to say - it was only five years since homosexual acts had been legalised in Britain.
"I didn't find David Bowie at all attractive in any physical way. But I loved what he stood for.
"He clearly knew his way around gay culture in terms of its writing and music and visual art. "More than anyone else, he blasted the closet-door off its hinges. So for that I'll always love him - but his position on the politics of sexuality is a conflicted one. If, like me, you're a big Bowie fan you just have to accept that.
"At the very least in the '70s he was a pioneer of sexual openness in Britain. It was a long time before anyone came along in music who was unambiguously gay. Arguably in Britain, that title goes to Jimmy Somerville but Bowie paved the way."

Rupert Smith quoted in a BBC News magazine feature David Bowie: Did He Change Attitudes To Sexuality?
I've compiled them together and left out all the other bits in the article using Bryon Gysin and William Burrough's cut-up technique - as a tribute to the enduring cultural legacy of David Bowie.
I don't care about you, but I'm a bit over-stuffed with reading everyone saying how wonderful Bowie is right now, but I liked this.

PS I also liked Tilda Swinton's tribute to the Dame at the opening of David Bowie Is.

Duncan James: Out Of The Blue - Or Was He Pushed?

Last night's episode of the ITV2 show [The Big Reunion] was amazing in quite a different way. Lovely Duncan James from boyband gave us a heartfelt insight into how difficult he found having his true sexuality made public back in 2009. "I wanted to still be kind of known as 'Duncan James from Blue, the heartthrob'. The ladies' man. If anybody ever used to say anything about me - 'I think he's gay' - I would get this panic inside me," he said.
The 34-year-old singer revealed that he felt "so frightened" just before The News of the World broke the news that he was bisexual that he  "couldn't even be in the UK" and fled the country. Dunc also opened up about his struggle to coming to terms with his sexuality as a result of his religious upbringing. "Being brought up as a strict Catholic, the whole gay thing in my head was bad and wrong," he said. "And it wasn't until I was in the band, being around other gay guys, understanding that actually you can be gay. It's alright to like other guys."

Duncan (from Blue) in The Mirror. 

Obviously, post-Hackgate and post-Leveson the fact that he "came out' in The News of the World doesn't set any alarm bells ringing.
Hell no.
"Hmm... what shall I do today? I know! I'll tell a journalist on a Murdoch tabloid I fuck dudes!" 
I bet this is exactly what happened, and there was nothing more to it.
The NOTW interview - I Have Feelings With Men - appears on this Duncan (From Blue) fansite....

He’s had female lovers by the score, but now the pop heart-throb reveals the incredible truth
POP hunk Duncan James last night confessed his shocking gay secret and admitted: “I’m bisexual. I’ve been in loving relationships with men as well as women – and I’m not ashamed.
“But even though I fancy men, I still fancy WOMEN too.”
The Blue singer’s revelation will stun his millions of female fans worldwide plus the dozens of women he has been linked with, including Geri Halliwell, Tara Palmer Tomkinson, Martine McCutcheon and ex-Big Brother winner Kate Lawler.
But on the eve of the boyband’s reunion tour, the handsome singer says it is time for him to let his fans know the truth.
In an emotional interview with the News of the World he said: “I was living a secret life. I went through a process of asking what the f*** am I?"

Update: Comments below suggest I may not have made my point here clear, but to paraphrase Boris Johnson on The Andrew Marr Show ^^^, basically the News Of The World would call people up and say; "We've got this story about you - do you want to co-operate or do you not want to co-operate?" 

Cardinal O'Brien: Flaunting It

People are allowed to live their lives however they want. If O’Brien had just decided that he was going to hide the elementary facts of his life from everyone, and if the person he was, it is claimed, in a relationship with had decided that he, too, was going to exercise that degree of concealment, who would care? It was once necessary; for many people, the concealment continued through habit. That is the right of individuals.
But through a familiar quirk of personality, Cardinal O’Brien was drawn to comment on an ineradicable part of his own personality. One can well guess what the process was. Someone hates and fears a forbidden aspect of themselves, and is drawn ineluctably to talk about it, rather than remain silent on the subject. Foucault wrote an interesting series of books about the history of sexuality, in which he proposed that the 19th century placed a prohibition on sexuality, not to silence discussion of it, but so that they could go on talking endlessly about it. Similarly, O’Brien clearly suppressed public knowledge of his own sexuality so that he could go on talking indefinitely about homosexuality. Going on about how awful those gays are – that, I am afraid, counts as “flaunting it”...

Philip Hensher in The Independent.

By far the best and most sensible piece I've see on the archbishop's outing.
I was tempted to post it in full, but I'm sure you can cope with clicking on that link. 
There's a lot to his argument that if someone grew up in a culture of the closet, it's quite a spectacular achievement if anyone manages to break free of that mindset.
Unlike many gay men commenting on this sorry, sad farce, be it in the media, and in the real and virtual worlds, Hensher's article doesn't have the snotty subtext; "Why can't every gay men be as wonderful and perfect as I think I am?"

Nicholas Hoult: Giant Beanstalk

Nicholas Hoult is bigger than you think. He is perched on the edge of a plump armchair in a suite at Claridge’s, his back schoolboy-straight, his hair short and neat, his face lit up with an open smile that echoes the friendly arches of his eyebrows.
Then you notice his legs, splayed like a pair of compasses and bent at the knees, with shins and feet gawkily tucked away underneath. The 23-year-old actor is a strapping 6ft 3in in his stocking feet, but he moves and talks with an elflike twinkle: he’s a winning synthesis of Jack and beanstalk... 

A strangely detailed description by way of an introduction, don't you think?
The interviewer from the Telegraph appears to be getting rather excited on meeting young Nicholas.
Can't say I blame him. 
Oh, and Nic's got a new fillum out apparently, Jack The Giant Slayer.

Peter Tatchell: His Right To Write Rubbish

It's difficult to write about freedom of speech without falling back on the same tired old truisms/cliches.
Ah Voltaire! Ah Mill! Ah Twain! Ah Orwell! 
The First Amendment. 
"Don't shout 'Ice creams and choc-ices!' in a crowded theatre" etc etc.
Peter Tatchell seemed hellbent on proving this in a piece he wrote yesterday on Why Banning The Anti-gay Bus Advert Is Wrong.
"They are offensive but being offensive is not a legitimate basis for banning anything. In a free society there is no right to not be offended... Free speech is for everyone - even those with whom we disagree."
Thanks Peter, but I think we knew that.
However this is not about censorship or "freedom of speech".
Have Core Issues Trust been stopped from promoting their pernicious message in any other way?
Has the state stepped in to stamp them out?
How is hijacking public space with a commercial advert a victory for free speech?
Further a company like Transport For London should be free to choose which adverts they carry.
If Pink News or GT had been asked to run the "ex-gay" ad should they have meekly done so?
Of course not - it's a simple and uncontroversial editorial decision - as was TFL's really.
Just like New Statesman and The Guardian - two sites that ran Peter's piece - are under no obligation to run endless articles on the wonders of Neo-Liberal capitalism.
If Tatchell were continually heckled at a talk so as he could not speak would he be wrong to ask for them to shut up or leave (Chomsky does this, by the way, saying they should organise their own meeting).
If the BNP asked Peter to put a poster in his window would he do so?
For someone who talks so much sense, Peter Tatchell doesn't half say some rubbish sometimes.
Of course I'd defend to the death his right to do so.

Friday, 22 March 2013

Press Regulation: Le Petit Déjeuner Du Chien

The Royal Charter on press regulation is a mess, and an assault on the freedom of the press, cooked up in a hurry by politicians and the increasingly dodgy looking Hacked Off campaign.
It's all ever-so confusing though.
Perhaps it's meant to be? 
Fagburn has got nothing original to say on this cavalcade of nonsense, but the best explanation of why it is was this article by Private Eye's Francis Wheen in The Independent.
If The US Constitution And Karl Marx Can Agree On A Free Press, Why Can't We? 

Update: See also Mick Hume in Press Gazette on how the charter is a victory for state control and a defeat for press freedom. 

Dr Who: WHAT!!!??

Revenge is a dish best served as “one I prepared earlier”, and the publication in May of a book by former Blue Peter editor Richard Marson is likely to prompt headlines as unfavourable for the BBC as those that surrounded his sacking in 2007 after the spate of scandals over faked viewer competitions, for which many felt he was made a scapegoat.

“JN-T: The Life and Scandalous Times of John Nathan-Tuner” is the biography of the producer of Doctor Who from 1980-89, but while it has all the anorak you would expect, it also features startling amounts of dirty mac. An entire chapter is devoted to the sexual activities of Nathan-Turner and his partner and BBC colleague Gary Downie with teenage Doctor Who fans both on and off BBC premises, including Marson’s own tale of fleeing and hiding under an office desk at the age of 17 to evade the latter’s clutches.

Although Marson denies that Nathan-Turner was a paedophile (although his behaviour was illegal at the time given the unequal age of consent), he depicts Downie as an extremely predatory character and the pair’s abuse of the celebrity status that their jobs gave them as very much in the Savile mould.

“It’s helpful when you’re writing someone’s biography to have some understanding of the pressures they were under or the way in which they worked, because it gives you a greater insight,” Marson told science fiction magazine Starburst last month. “What I’ve tried to do is deconstruct or to explain how the BBC worked from within, because I think that’s something that’s very rarely understood.”

From Books & Bookmen in the current Private Eye

When the Daily Mail find out about this "NEW BBC DR WHO GAY PAEDO SCANDAL" - which knowing them will be sometime late next week - the world may well explode.

Breaking!: Bigot Bollocks Bus Ban Upheld!

A ban on a Christian group's proposed bus advert suggesting gay people could be helped to change their sexuality has been ruled as not unlawful.
The High Court ruled Transport for London's process in introducing the ban "was procedurally unfair".
But it ruled TfL was right to ban the Core Issues Trust's advert because it would "cause grave offence" to those who were gay.
The ad posters read: "Not Gay! Ex-Gay, Post-Gay and Proud. Get over it!"
A judge ruled Boris Johnson did not abuse his position as chairman of TfL when he imposed the ban.
'Widespread offence' Mrs Justice Lang, sitting at London's High Court, ruled TfL's process in introducing the ban "was procedurally unfair, in breach of its own procedures and demonstrated a failure to consider the relevant issues".
But that was outweighed by factors against allowing the ad, including that it would "cause grave offence" to those who were gay and was perceived as homophobic, "thus increasing the risk of prejudice and homophobic attacks", said the judge...

BBC News. 

The Core Issues Trust "denied that it was attempting to offer a 'gay cure'", but judging from their website they don't seem to advocate or work on anything else. 
I haven't seen the full ruling by the judge yet, but surely the real reason these ads shouldn't have been allowed is because they promote junk science and voodoo "cures"?
Next stop a ban on all commercial advertising in public spaces?

PS And don't forget, despite it making a false claim, the ever hopeless Advertising Standards Authority okayed this campaign. Astonishing.

Archbishop Welby: The Sin Of Pride

An archiepiscopal enthronement is a joyful thing. A leader is welcomed by a community who, for all their differences, recognise something greater than themselves and want to be good and love their neighbour. Why, why, why, does the unifying moment have to be sabotaged, as it was in a widely reported BBC interview, by cornering him into reaffirming the old tedious, hobgoblin issue of the Church’s opposition to same-sex marriage? Just when it seems that cautiously, painfully, religious liberalism is growing?
Christian churches are weirdly obsessed with below-the-belt intimacies. The Church of England still rejects “homosexual practice” as contrary to scripture, won’t ordain “active” homosexuals or bless gay partnerships. All Christian churches should try a moratorium, promising for five years to utter not a word about consensual, non-violent, monogamous genital goings-on. Just concentrate on cruelty, dishonesty, avarice, pride and injustice, and render unto Eros his due. Reiterate the stuff Jesus actually did say (he was remarkably quiet on the subject of sex, only taking the trouble to deplore the stoning of adulterers)...

When I first saw this headline I thought it was a wonderfully caustic comment on the pride and cruelty of the Church of England.
Bit disappointed it wasn't, but still a good comment piece in the ever-so pro gay marriage Times today by Libby Purves.