Thursday, 31 October 2013

Fagburn: Happy Halloween!

Deck The Halls: Jingle Balls

Remember the controversy years ago with Hallmark’s Kissing Mistletoe Bears? They sold boy/girl stuffed bears with magnets that attracted each other, but if you tried putting two boy bears together, the magnets would repel each other. One enterprising fellow managed to find two boy bears with same-sex attraction, but the store refused to sell them together. I don’t remember how it ended, but I’m pretty sure the bears had a Bravo show for a while.

Now, Hallmark is back in the news for another dunderhead holiday move that is guaranteed to make eyes roll and heads shake. Take a look at their latest keepsake ornament. 
Yes, that’s right, they replaced the word “gay” in “Deck The Halls” with “fun.” 
Why? According to a Hallmark spokesperson, it was to prevent misinterpretation. 

“When the lyrics to ‘Deck The Halls’ were translated from Gaelic and published in English back in the 1800s, the word ‘gay’ meant festive or merry,” Kristi Ernsting told The Huffington Post in an email. 
“Today it has multiple meanings... the trend of wearing festively decorated Christmas sweaters to parties is all about fun, and this ornament is intended to play into that, so the planning team decided to say what we meant: ‘fun.’” 
She added: “That’s the spirit we intended and the spirit in which we hope ornament buyers will take it.” 

This obvious attack on the traditions of Christmas is outrageous, and I can’t wait for Bill O’Reilly and the rest of the Fox News crowd to take on Hallmark. 
Now that would really make the yuletide … “fun.”

A good book about gay men and clothes
The Backlot - the American website that was After Elton before - treating this silly story with all the silliness it deserves.
Here's Gay Star News' typically joyless take on it, complete with some "Outraged of Iowa" comments
I'm not sure Hallmark are selling these "keepsake ornaments" in the UK, by the way.
Nor can I find a reference to the same-sex Kissing Mistletoe Bears.
But anyway...
This must be making hysterical gaybores tiny little brains explode!
Do we applaud Hallmark - or boycott Hallmark???
Is there an e-petition or should we send them a traditional greetings card in protest/support?
Are the mass manufacturers of massively overpriced bits of paper friend or foe?
Ho ho ho!
Fagburn's filing this one under; "Who Gives A Festive Fuck?"
And how recent is that sick new reading of the innocent word "gay" in the song?
Watch The Monkees perform it on their 1967 Christmas show...

Alan Turing: Fuzzy Logic

"I have no intention of obstructing this Bill but I think as it continues on its journey towards the statute book there is something that should be said.
"As we know Alan Turing committed and was convicted of an act that would not be a crime today. Many other crimes have been committed similarly, but I hope this Bill will not be used as a precedent.
"Even more, I hope we will never seek to extend the logic of this Bill to posthumously convict men of crimes for acts which, when they were committed, were not criminal but would be if they were committed today.
"There is a dangerous precedent within this Bill."

Norman Tebbit speaking in the Lords, as the Alan Turing (Statutory Pardon) Bill cleared the upper house.

Bizarre as ever, no-one but the Lord Of Barking has suggested posthumously convicting "men" (Only men? And only dead men?) under newly-made laws.
I'm not sure what he's got in mind anyway; not wearing a seatbelt in 1974?
However, like many gay men I can't see any point in singling out Turing for a pardon - a bit of posturing feel-good gesture politics.
Unless perhaps, seeing as Normal Norman has now raised the issue, it was used as a precedent to pardon all the thousands of men convicted for now legal "homosexual offences" in the UK.
Though their lives can not be saved or rebuilt with an official "Sorry" note, either.

Chelsea Manning: A Statement

I happen to agree with [my attorney David E Coombs'] statement that I was “motivated in my actions not only by transparency beliefs, but also by [my] deep concern for the value of human life.”

These are not mutually exclusive values; rather I see my concern for human life as providing a solid foundation to my dedication to transparency.

I also agree with the [Private Manning Support Network] “that [my] actions in 2010 intersect crucially not only with issues of information transparency but also with a critical discussion about US wars and foreign policy”.

However I would personally extend this further and broaden this intersection of transparency and the value of human life with those of a need for equality and respect for all people regardless of: 
skin complexion, eye color, or hair color; who your parents are; the geographic location you or your parents were born; what you believe or don’t believe; what gender you were assigned or identify as; who you are physically and emotionally attracted to; what job you have or how much money your family makes; whether you’re incarcerated or formerly incarcerated, or your physical and intellectual ability...

For background to this and the confusions over Chelsea's recent letter to the Guardian regarding the Sean MacBride Peace Prize see WISE Up Action Network.
In this memorandum Manning confirms she is requesting a presidential pardon and commutation of her sentence, treatment for gender dysphoria, and a legal change of name - these last two may have to go to court.

PS Wikipedia's argument over Chelsea/Bradley Manning continues...

• The Pvt Manning Family Fund is raising money to help her relatives in Wales afford to visit her in prison in the US.

Update: The Advocate on how the US media dealt with Chelsea coming out as trans, ie not very well.

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Coronation Street: Bizarre Love Triangle

The Sun explain Corrie's EXPLOSIVE love triangle with the help of a handy easy-to-understand diagram.

GAY Todd Grimshaw is set to cause mayhem when he returns to the Coronation Street cobbles.
Eileen’s son will steal bisexual Marcus Dent from girlfriend Maria Connor — breaking knicker-stitcher Sean Tully’s heart along the way.
Todd, played by Bruno Langley, was the Street’s first openly gay character when he was introduced in 2001.
His dramatic exit in 2005 saw him attack ex-girlfriend Sarah-Louise (Tina O’Brien) when he found her in bed with his brother Jason (Ryan Thomas), following his own secret sex romps with a gay nurse.
But he returned for two brief stints in 2007 and 2011.
Now he’s back again in an explosive new storyline beginning on November 4. He is hiding a big secret and showing no signs of having learned lessons from his colourful past...

Confused? You won't be after this week's episode etc etc...

As ever Fagburn wonders, what would Brian Sewell say?

One Direction: Mind Your Backs!

Harry Styles looks panicked and uncomfortable when confronted with pictures of him appearing to KISS Louis Tomlinson.
The snaps were obviously photoshopped, but the curly singer doesn't appreciate the group of fans who fantasise about a gay relationship in the band.
See what happened - and watch his bandmate Liam cover his back. What a legend.
Though Harry doesn't actually look "panicked and uncomfortable", to be honest.
Lucky Mail Online readers meanwhile were treated today to a series of shipped Larry Stylinson pics THAT LEFT LITTLE TO THE IMAGINATION!!!

Thought For The Day: Nick Partridge

"Many people in the gay community thought the 'gay plague' would be used to roll back the small legal advances that we had made towards equality. Actually, the reverse happened. The community's compassionate response to seeing death and dying painted a much richer picture of the lives of lesbians and gay men. It provided the platform for the extraordinary advances to equality that we have seen in the past 15 years."

Nick Partridge, the outgoing head of Terrence Higgins Trust, is profiled in The Guardian.

PS It's often seen as a no-brainer for well-meaning gayers to raise money for the THT, but, with an income of around £20million a year, there may be many other groups far more in need of your money.

Daily Star: Spooky!

Wish me luck today, brothers and sisters.
Fagburn fears today's press pickings could be slimmer than poor uncurvaceous Kate...

Empire: Oops!

Via Loxy Animation.

Update: Michael Fassbender kindly requests people stop talking about his penis.

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Lou Reed: He Wasn't Too Keen On Journalists...

Apparently the last portrait, taken earlier this month by Jean Baptiste Mondino.

Only saw two queer-specific articles about Lou in the British media, which seems rather odd considering his stunning impact on your actual gay culture, but doesn't really surprise me.
Here's Paris Lees on the Channel 4 News website on what he meant to trans people.
And Tom Robinson wrote for The Independent on his "implied bisexuality"...

Perhaps it was our own hunger for affirmation that led my generation to try and cast such a complex – and downright ornery – individual as Lou Reed in the role of Gay Figurehead. If ever an artist saw sexuality as a vast, diverse landscape with many bright wonders and dark private places – and if there was ever an artist unlikely to identify himself publicly with just one corner of that territory – it was Sister Lou.

An Independent reader replies...

And let's not forget the Daily Mail's moving eulogy to Uncle Lou...

A VERY debauched walk on the wild side: He did more than any other rock star to give drugs a false and dangerous glamor. Now, after a liver transplant in May, Lou Reed's own excesses have finally caught up with him

Remember, the life of this rapacious, proselytizing drug-taking pervert was cruelly cut short at the age of just 71.
Just say no, kids!

Update: In Wednesday's Mail Jan Moir writes on Lou Reed and our "dysfunctional relationship with celebrity death."
Yes, that's the same Jan Moir who infamously wrote about Stephen Gately's Strange, Lonely And Troubling Death!

Gay TV Viewing: Tom Daley's Splash! Inexplicably Popular

Many of us probably have a strong hunch on what LGB people watch on TV – fuelled by personal experience or broad assumptions. But there has never been any comprehensive research to support or disprove our hunches. Until now.

Why does it matter? Because LGB
[sic] people are licence payers too, and the BBC, as a national public service broadcaster, has a duty to serve all audiences.

Before we get into the research, I’ll explain how we got here. Three years ago, the BBC undertook a big project looking at how lesbians, gays and bisexuals are portrayed on TV and radio. Diversity is moving up the agenda in broadcasting, and as the leader of the BBC’s LGBT staff network BBC Pride, I’m pleased to report that the BBC has been leading the way (in recent years, the BBC has carried out similar research on age).

As part of that project, we carried out a large survey asking what people thought of LGB portrayal on TV and radio. The scores we got back were the equivalent of a poor to middling school report – improving, but could still do a lot better. LGB audiences wanted not only more portrayal, but also for that portrayal to be more authentic.

The smart people in the BBC Audiences team realised that we’d have an even richer understanding of LGB audiences’ views if we could analyse actual viewing and listening habits, in addition to perceptions of representation and portrayal. So they made a small tweak to a standard BBC survey to ask people about their sexual orientation. This survey regularly captures the views of 20,000 people – and just over 1,000 of that sample have identified as LGB, spread across the UK.

As a result, we can capture and analyse every programme that this LGB sample have watched or listened to – and also ask how much they’ve enjoyed them.

The main headline isn’t going to set the world on fire – when it comes to the biggest shows, we are no different to the rest of the population. The big soaps dominate our consumption – Corrie, Emmerdale and EastEnders.However, dig a little deeper and some interesting differences do emerge. LGB audiences seem to be a little bit happier with what they watch – when it comes to appreciation of all TV programmes, on average we tend to score them a little bit higher than straight audiences of the same age (this was true for all LGB groups except younger lesbians).

Compared to the population as a whole, we watch more arts, entertainment and music programmes – but are less enthralled by children’s, current affairs, news, religion and sport.

Having this scale of data means we can really dig down, letting us look at the differences between gay men and lesbians, and also segment it by age. This is really useful for making meaningful comparisons – for example, young gay men against young straight men – to see what difference being gay makes to consumption.

The results make for fascinating reading. They confirm that LGB audiences are drawn to LGB (or gay-friendly) talent and portrayal – whether as presenters or contestants (Great British Bake Off, Alan Carr,Celebrity Big Brother), subjects, actors or characters (Downton Abbey, Being Human, Modern Family,Vicious, Glee, Kenny Everett and the soaps). While we can all probably hazard a guess as to why ITV’s celebrity diving show Splash! proved such a hit with gay men of all ages, the reasons behind lesbians’ apparent fondness for panel shows such as Never Mind the Buzzcocks and QI may not be quite so obvious. The high percentages simply mean that these programmes appealed much more to lesbians than to straight women of a similar age. While the research can’t explain what drives people’s programming preferences, the beauty of using the panel for this research is that we will keep on accumulating examples, enabling us to gain over time an ever deeper understanding of LGB audience behaviours and tastes...

Note this chart shows the share of a show's male audience who identified as gay/bisexual, and doesn't tell us what gay and bisexual men actually thought about the programme.
So, for example, although a high proportion of male viewers of Vicious identified as gay or bisexual, it doesn't follow that a lot of young gay men thought Vicious was any good.
Or that a lot of us watched it.
[Edit: People were not asked to name their favourite programme, as Pink News claimed].
Other charts can be seen here.

Clayton Pettet: "It's Just Got Bigger And Bigger"

“I didn’t set out to shock,” Pettet protests. “My virginity wasn’t in any sense a gimmick. I’ve been developing this idea for a while. I thought, ‘Well, this might get a little bit of press in London closer to the event.’ But not this.”

He talks earnestly with enthusiasm and at galloping speed. “It’s just got bigger and bigger. They’ve invented quotes from me. They’ve said my parents didn’t know. They’ve said I expect rave reviews, that I would have a Q&A session after the event and that I’m a teenage narcissist. It’s absurd! Crazy!”

For a moment he looks despairing. “And no one even knows exactly what’s going to happen in this performance.” Even he isn’t sure. “I’m still developing the idea.”

Like any self-respecting conceptual artist, Pettet at least sees the potential in negative publicity: “I’m going to use the press and the assumptions made as part of the piece and the exhibition. In some ways it’s quite useful to make my point.”

The Evening Standard actually bothers to talk to Clayton Pettet - the art school kid that everyone else just regurgitated fictions about him staging a "live gay sex show".
Something of a mediaballs studies masterclass.

Daily Mail: Calendar Boys

Daily Mail.

If your eyesight's fading - which I'd warned you would happen - the Mail have captioned this; "DECEMBER: The hunky rowers have already built up an impressive celebrity fan base including Stephen Fry, John Barrowman, Boy George, Gok Wan and Derren Brown."
You surprise me!

PS Naked charity calendarzzzzzzzzzzzz...
Straight dudes getting their kit off 4 TEH GAYZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz...
Though Fagburn finds this one claiming to be of hot young Romanian Orthodox priests amusing, though it is a work of artistic satire.
I think.

Valerie Singleton: Stupid Nonsense

The misapprehension about yourself you wish you could erase… 
That I’m gay! It’s utter, total, stupid nonsense. I’ve always gone out with men, probably far too many. If I wrote the real story of my life it would totally shock a lot of people, but I’m not brave enough.

Daily Mail Q&A.

Looks like another childhood dream has been shattered...

PS Val also denied it all - and specifically the rumour that she was going out with Joan Armatrading - in the Mail here.
Val's best gal pal is Liz McMurtry, wife of the Mail's homophobic cartoonist, Mac, incidentally.

Sochi: You're Welcome

President Vladimir Putin, seeking to defuse criticism over his treatment of gay people in Russia, said everyone will be welcome in Russia's Black Sea resort of Sochi for the 2014 Winter Olympics.

"We are doing everything, both the organisers and our athletes and fans, so that participants and guests feel comfortable in Sochi, regardless of nationality, race or sexual orientation" Putin told Thomas Bach, the head of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), on Monday.

Wow, he really hates them gays, yeah.
This is almost exactly what Hitler used to say about the Jews!

PS Uh-oh, looks like those pointless and ridiculously overpaid gay people at All Out have done something else that's a bit pointless. Take that Putin!

Boybands: How Gay Can You Get?

I was told not to walk down Old Compton Street in Soho because there were ‘rumours’ about me and I was told not to flick my hair on TV because it looked gay. It wasn’t just our career that would have suffered if I’d come out – thousands of pounds were spent on us and many people’s jobs depended on us.

I was living with my boyfriend at the time, a photographer who was quite well known around London. I wasn’t paranoid about people finding out I was gay but I was f***ing miserable – that’s for sure. I lied a few times. I did a magazine interview where I was pointedly asked if I fancied men and I said no. That really upset some of my friends. What was I supposed to say? It’s not as if I was in Erasure – I was in a boy band. There was no space to get activist-y about it – it was a case of do you want a career or not?

I tried to manoeuvre around questions. Whenever I was asked who my ideal girlfriend would be, I said The Little Mermaid – how gay can you get? I had to make it up as I went along – we had no media training, no dance lessons, no singing lesions. Nothing was prepared, we were just thrown out there.

David where's your trousers?
There was no malicious plan, such as: ‘Let’s put two gay guys in a boy band and make sure no one finds out.’ The people who put us together were very short-sighted and didn’t think things through.

Being in the closet makes you absolutely miserable, which is one of the reasons I left the band. It’s horrible. It’s different for younger people now but there are generations of people who had, and still have, to be in the closet professionally. You end up having to compartmentalise your life psychologically, which is very damaging.

You monitor everything you say all the time. You don’t use gender-specific words when you’re talking about your partner or who you’ve been seeing. You end up lying through your teeth. You take on this view that there’s something wrong with you that has to be hidden. It has a negative psychological impact on you. It’s a horrible way to live.

David W Ross, formerly of boyband Bad Boys Inc, writing for Metro.

He forgets to mention their manager was Ian Levine, the former Heaven DJ and Hi Energy producer - and a big ole gay himself. 
David Ross was the gay actor dude taking straight-acting lessons in Stephen Fry's Out There, you may recall.
He has now done a fillum about the gay marriage or something, I Do.
Fagburn has no idea if it's any good or not.

Gay Star News: O Superman!

A Gay Dad Thanks Universal For Ending Bill And Ted’s Homophobic Adventure

The show mocked a scantily clad ‘gay’ Superman, but a real-life Superman gay dad is please his family is not going to be exposed to it

Those shenanigans centered around a cliché-ridden, scantily clad ‘gay’ Superman in numerous homophobia-inspiring situations. The show portrayed gay men as sexual predators and vapid hedonists and included maligning the married and revered out actor George Takei...

Gay Star News.

Almost certainly the biggest tidal wave of sentimental vomit that Fagburn has read since the last one.
This is just record-breakingly, hilariously bad. 
Fagburn wasn't sure whether to laugh or hurl.
I phoned GSN to congratulate the author, Rob Watson, but sadly he was unavailable for comment.
Presumably because he doesn't exist...

PS And GSN's thoughtful and scholarly tribute to Lou Reed is also an absolute must-read!
Little tip: If you can't write for toffee and don't know anything about what you're writing about DON'T BOTHER!

Monday, 28 October 2013

Lou Reed: Nothing Left To Say

Tried to find something to sum up your whole wonderful unsummableupness and stumbled on this video.

"And there's nothing left to say
but oh how I miss him, bab

C'mon baby, why did you slip away?"

PS Fagburn is taking today off, due to an impersonal bereavement. x

Update: Fagburn "accidentally" put some gay porn on while Venus In Furs and Run Run Run were playing - funny and quite hot.
It's what Lou - and Andy Warhol - would have have wanted.

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Lou Reed Is Dead: Magic And Loss

"There's a bit of magic in everything, and some loss to even things out..."

That's all I want to say for now.
Whatever anyone's said you probably said it better.
Playing Songs For Drella.
Thanks for everything.
It's been a ball.

"Linger on..."


PS Thank fuck you're not around to hear all the crap all the phonies are saying about you now, Uncle Lou.

Fagburn: Storm Warning

I am just going to stay inside, I may be some time...

Exclusive: Gay Man Seen With Another Man

The Sun. 

This could be true.
If it is, Fagburn wishes them both every happiness.
But please remember...

1. This is in The Sun.
2. It's according to "a source".
3. And the last person the tabloids said Grimmy was stepping out with was Pixie Geldof.

Jack Laugher: Straight Like Daley

HERE’S British Olympic diver JACK LAUGHER following in the footsteps of his best friend TOM DALEY – by stripping off for a gay mag.
In a revealing interview in this month’s GT magazine, the hunk sets straight rumours he’s gay but says sportsmen should feel comfortable to come out.
He says: “Everyone should feel comfortable to be gay and be who they are. With diving it doesn’t really matter – you’ve got the middle-aged women and young girls anyway, and then gay men.
“That’s the entire fan base, and that following would be supportive.”
On close pal Tom’s heart-throb status, he adds: “Tom Daley is nice and tanned, and that draws in quite a big gay following.
“Tom’s poses are pretty questionable though!”

Erm, "the hunk sets straight rumours he’s gay but..."
That's gobbledegook, love.
So is she or isn't he?
Had to check what this meant.
I am told by an insider; "No, he's not gay at all - his girlfriend was at the shoot."
And I think if "his best friend TOM DALEY had stripped for a gay mag", Fagburn would have heard about that.
Still, now that GT has had both Chris Mears and Jack as their gorgeous pouting coverboys, surely it can't be long before they get our Tom to reveal all, too?

Brian Sewell: She's Such A Bitch!

Dogs are utterly unselfish and will give their little souls to you if that is what you want, responding to your foulest mood by minding their own business, asking nothing more of you than food and water, a daily walk or two and physical gestures of affection.

By many, even by some dog owners, all this will be dismissed as sentimental nonsense. But my affection for dogs is not in the least anthropomorphic and I do not see them as proxy human beings easier to manage than the real thing; I see them only as dogs and it as dogs that I love them.

The fierceness of my affection is, with age, as resolute as ever. I have lost my interest in cars; I no longer have stamina enough for concerts; I could, at a pinch, give up the exhibitions that are my means of earning a living; but I could not bear to be without dogs and I hope that when I die it will be with dogs on my bed.

An extract from Brain Sewell's new book, Sleeping With Dogs (!), published in where else but ... the Sunday Express.
Hope they don't find out the Daily Mail's already run two extracts.
Oh, and here you can watch a videograph of Mr R Sewell reading an exclusive extract for the Standard.

Subbing Fail Of The Day: Daily Star

Daily Star On Sunday.

Unless they mean Paul Burrell?

Property: Pass The Bespoke Sickbag, Alice...

Obviously, it is a cliché to say that rich gay couples always have exquisite taste and are on the lookout for a property project in a new-fangled part of town they can do up to within an inch of its life. It’s borderline offensive and simply not true. Except, of course, when it is. Meet Eric Tokstad, architect to the stars, and his other half, Andy Janowski, CEO of Smythson, a charming pair of alpha gays. They have just put their four-bedroom home on Gayfere Street in London’s “Old Westminster”, on the market for £5.75m. It is the seventh house they’ve renovated in the 21 years they’ve been together. It has laundry chutes, bespoke silk carpets and even a pizza oven, all spread over five floors and within spitting distance of the Houses of Parliament...

Sunday Times.

If you enjoy reading about posh queens so rich they have lost all contact with reality, you'll love Tyler Brûlé writing - somewhat inexplicably - in yesterday's FT about his thoughts while eating breakfast on a Swiss train...

As I pay the well-groomed gentleman who’s manning the restaurant car, I can’t help thinking of the importance of first impressions, staff uniforms and appearances. This chap’s perfectly ironed shirt, trim waistcoat, sharp moustache and haircut, and warm manner all go a long way to making a ho-hum rail journey that little bit more enjoyable. His sunny personality suggests he clearly enjoys his job and his focus on personal presentation also suggests that he takes pride in his post.

How different from earlier in the week, when I paid a visit to a North American company in the business of flying millions of people around and was greeted at its reception by a young woman tucking into a bowl of Cheerios.

Anyone for revolution?

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Marcia Wallace: 1941-2013

School's out, Ms Krabappel.
Doffs non-existent schoolcap.

Fagburn: And Wham...

Today I have nothing of interest to say.
Today I am going through my Nietzschean phase.
The end.

Friday, 25 October 2013

Jovanka Broz Tito: 1924-2013

Hi world, thanks for fucking all that up.

Royal News: James Middleton Pictured With Beard!

Well done James!
Fagburn's trying to think if he's seen a photo of you with a beard before.

Thought For The Day: Rupert Everett

“Today the world has gone full circle. Gay people seem to be doing all the decent things the straights used to do – getting married, having babies and recycling. I feel like an old grandmother, sitting in my rocking chair, writing to you, dear Russell, during a break from my knitting. The past is all twinkling lights in the woods on a snowy night. Was it revolution? Or were we just crashing up and down on a much deeper wave, as history ploughed on regardless? Did everything change in ’67 with the new law? Was Stonewall the defining moment? Were we as free as we felt in the Seventies? Are we as free as we think we are now?”

From Rupert Everett's article on how far we've come from Wilde's day.
In the new New Statesman - guest-edited by Russell Brand.
In the shops now, but not online til Monday for some reason.

PS And here you can watch a bunfight between Mr Russell Brand and Mr Jeremy Paxman on last night's Newsnight.
Some have told me they detected a distinct homoerotic undertone.
Whatever, pseudo-radical wankers across perfidious Albion appear to have taken this as a stirring (not) call to arms.

Film News: It's No Biggie

This weekend sees the UK release of A Magnificent Haunting, the latest film by Italian-based Turkish-born director Ferzan Ozpetek. The publicity material from its distributor, Peccadillo, describes how its lead character, Pietro, encounters ghostly apparitions after moving into a new apartment and refers to the story as a "fantastical comedy that explores themes of love, friendship, and mortality". It makes no mention of the fact that Pietro is gay.
"It's just not that important, really," says Tom Abell, chairman of Peccadillo Pictures. "The sexuality of the main character is incidental to the story. Stranger By the Lake [which Peccadillo will release in the UK next year] is very much a gay film, whereas A Magnificent Haunting really isn't."
Whether a film's publicity campaign should explicitly refer to a leading character's homosexuality may seem a subtle question, but it represents a deeper point: asking whether advertising should emphasise difference or assume commonality is another way of asking whether gay people are still considered "other"...

There are even hints in the right direction in Hollywood's output. Gay characters still tend to be swishy clowns when they're best friends, preening queens when they're villains (Javier Bardem in Skyfall) or sainted martyrs on the rare occasions that they're the lead (presumably Cumberbatch as Turing). But there are some impressively so-what characterisations too, including Kieran Culkin's clued-up roommate in Scott Pilgrim Vs The World, Tom Wilkinson's retired judge in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and the dumb-jock brother in animated movie Paranorman. Lee Daniels has even declared his ambition to create a gay action-hero couple whose sexuality would be revealed at the film's end. (Personally I'm not sure how progressive it would be to watch a couple of closet-cases kick ass, but I suppose we'll have to see.)...

Liked this piece by Ben Walters for The Guardian.
Fagburn particularly liked the phrase "impressively so-what".

PS The Guardian online has also run this historical overview of British drama queens by Thomas Hescott, director of The Act and Tory Boyz.
Gay theatre is at a crossroads, apparently.

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Glenn Greenwald: Enemy Of The State

“I came of age in the late ’70s, early ’80s, when things were way worse than they are now. And, you know, you get this strong sense that somehow the prevailing order is antithetical to who you are—it rejects you, is hostile to you, it teaches you that you’re bad and wrong and dirty. You feel like you can’t reason or deal with it. You just feel it and its powerful force. So there’s a lot of different ways to cope and deal with that.”

“One way is people internalize those judgments. Like, ‘I’m horrible, I’m filthy, I’m broken, I’m wrong, I’m defective, I’m going to go destroy myself’ — which is why gay teens end up killing themselves, right? I just decided to turn the aggression on the people I felt were attacking me. I was like, ‘You’re not going to tell me that I’m wrong, I’m going to show you that your actions are wrong.’ So that was the approach I took toward authority. This very hostile, aggressive way of being that required me to analyze all figures of power and that eventually became waging war on prevailing orthodoxies. And when you do that, it’s an intellectually lonely exercise, but you become much stronger.”

The Advocate run a lengthy, very interesting profile of Glenn Greenwald.

And just to lighten the mood here they give you ten Hello! style fun facts about Glenn and his hot Brazilian boyf David Miranda.

Arts News: "Live Gay Sex Show" To Be "Nothing Like That" Actually!

A STUDENT is planning to lose his virginity in a live sex show - for a university art project.

But campaigners have described 19-year-old Clayton Pettet's idea as "cheap" and urged him not to go through with it.

He plans on having gay sex for the first time in a gallery full of spectators for a show entitled “Art School Stole My Virginity”.

He reckons his bizarre ’performance art project’ will earn him rave reviews for challenging the idea of sexuality.

But religious campaigners have slammed the idea saying "sexuality is gift from God".

The project is set to take place in front of an audience of between 50 and 100 in a space in Hackney, London.

Clayton and his friend will engage in safe sex before asking the audience what they thought of the performance...

The Sun.

Fagburn particulary enjoyed the use of the phrase "his friend".
And if you really think Clayton's a virgin....

"The Huffington Post just wrote about my piece, and as much as I am pleased people are talking and debating the idea behind Art School. Some speak without understanding.
"Firstly I have never communicated with The Huffington and I do not expect rave reviews (I never said that) I never said anything to them.
Virginity to me is conceptual and losing it as a performance piece is the way I have chosen to do that. But for a reason I haven’t said the layout of the piece, the location of the piece. Or what is actually going to happen. So for people comparing it to a live sex show, I can assure it will be nothing like that.
"Please for more real information go to

Update: And finally... the Daily Mail find out about this - see if you can tell any difference between their story and the Sun's and Huff Post's.
Update 2: Ever so slightly mendacious follow-up article on HuffPost Gay Voices. 
Journalism yay!

Kurt Cobain: And On That 20 Year-Old Bombshell!!!

A recently unearthed interview with Kurt Cobain has revealed that the Nirvana frontman thought he was gay as a teenager.

In July 1993, less than a year before his death, the singer chatted with music journalist Jon Savage in New York. The cassette tape recording has now found its way onto YouTube, thanks to US broadcaster PBS.

Cobain claimed that he had a bad time at high school, and when asked whether he experienced any problems with "people thinking that you were gay", he responded: "Yeah, I even thought that I was gay. I thought that might be the solution to my problem [of feeling isolated].

"Although I never experimented with it, I had a gay friend, and then my mother wouldn't allow me to be friends with him anymore because... well, she's homophobic. It was real devastating because finally I found a male friend who I actually hugged and was affectionate too, and we talked about a lot of things... I couldn't hang out with him anymore."

The Independent et al.

This "recently unearthed interview" was actually published in The Observer - a popular British newspaper - in August 1993, and is anthologised in Jon Savage's 1996 book, Time Travel: From the Sex Pistols to Nirvana - Pop, Media and Sexuality, 1977-96.
Perhaps there's a clue in the title?

Competition Time: Spot The Difference!

Dark Knight Rises star Tom Hardy will play Sir Elton John in a biopic of the singer's life called Rocketman, it has been announced...
It follows Reginald Dwight's journey from childhood piano prodigy to global superstar, under his stage name Elton John...

The similarity is uncanny, isn't it?

PS I'm presuming this is more likely to happen than all those "Exclusive: Mickey Rourke to play Freddie Mercury In 50 Shades Of Grey!" or whatever fairy stories.

Egypt: "Gay Websites Spread Confusion"

Earlier this month several gay websites reported a rather puzzling story from Egypt. According to Gay Star News and Pink News, 14 men had been arrested for "homosexual acts" at a "medical centre" in El-Marg district of Cairo.
Neither story gave any details about the "medical centre" or any clues as to why gay sex was supposedly going on there. Meanwhile Pink News, apparently unaware that the military had taken over Egypt last July, warned:
"Activists and LGBT citizens also fear that the new government, lead [sic] by the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party, may soon ... crack down on LGBT Egyptians."
The reports from Pink News and Gay Star News were basically rehashed from an English-language report circulating in Egypt which in turn had been rehashed from a report in Arabic.
By describing the place as a "medical centre", these English reports gave the impression it was some sort of clinic run by people with stethoscopes and white coats – but it wasn't...
From Brain Whitaker's excellent blog about the Arab world al-bub.

PS Brian is the author of Unspeakable Love: Gay And Lesbian Life In The Middle East. 

Hollyoaks: Male Rape

HOLLYOAKS bosses are planning the soap’s most hard-hitting storyline yet — where a gay teacher is raped by his pupil.

After suffering months of homophobic bullying teacher John Paul McQueen — played by James Sutton — will be raped by 16-year-old Finn O’Connor (Keith Rice) in a humiliating assault.

As Hollyoaks is shown on weekdays at 6.30pm C4 bosses will not screen the actual attack. Instead they will focus on the aftermath.

The soap worked with charities, expert advisers and male rape victims on how to bring the story to the screen.

Executive producer Bryan Kirkwood said: “We have an important story to tell that has not been told before. Hollyoaks is known for talking about difficult issues.”

The Sun.

Fagburn's learned to be sceptical of The Sun breaking big scandalous soap stories, but this has been confirmed on the E4 website.
Like Channel 4's recent Sex Box, these TV programmes always tread a fine 625 lines between audience-grabbing sensationalism and helping open taboo subjects up for discussion.
Interesting to note that even The Sun these days use the term "male rape" - not "gay rape".

Update: An eagle-eyed viewer informs me that Hollyoaks has done a groundbreaking and "important story to tell that has not been told before" etc male rape story before, back in 2000. 
Oops to Fagburn and the 'Oaks!

Thought For The Day: Boy George

“[Antony Hegarty] said, ‘Do you realise what you did for little gay children like me all over the world?’ That’s a big responsibility, which I wasn’t really conscious of back in the day. I wasn’t on some political mission, I was just being myself, having a hoot, putting another wig on. Whereas, now, I do feel like I have a responsibility. I feel like in certain moments I’ve been a terrible example of how to be a gay man in public, and I feel like — you know what? — I’ve got a chance to redress that now. Culture Club was a magical thing for a lot of people in the early 1980s. We changed the sexual landscape in a very subtle way and I really thought, ‘Oh, wow, people are just going to be really cool from now on,’ but now they’re not.”

From an interview in this week's Sunday Times' Magazine.
The article's called Man And Boy - GENIUS!
She's got a new album out, This Is What I Do.
You may listen to it for free above.
Hey, don't thank me - thank George!

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

The Prime Minister's Ironing Board And Other State Secrets: EXCLUSIVE EXTRACT!!

Let’s Not Talk About The Queers 1954

An ironing board, pictured recently.
Home Secretary David Maxwell Fyfe brought an awkward problem to the cabinet in February 1954: the proposal for a Royal commission to look into both “the prevalence of prostitution” and “the unexplained increase in homosexual offences [which] constituted a serious social problem which the Government could not ignore.”

To press his case, Maxwell Fyfe distributed a secret report amongst his colleagues. It revealed that the number of “unnatural offences of the gravest kind (sodomy and bestiality)”, along with other offences like gross indecency, had risen “between four-fold and five-fold over pre-war figures.” Actually, the surge in prosecutions for gay sex was all too explicable: the Met had got into the habit of sending their prettiest policemen into public toilets to flirt with strangers and then slap handcuffs on those who responded. The freshly-knighted actor Sir John Gielgud had been caught that way the previous year and charged with “importuning for immoral purposes”, a case which, along with the high-profile jailing of Lord Montague of Beaulieu and two friends after a pair of RAF men testified against them in return for their own immunity from prosecution, had helped force the government into reviewing the situation. Maxwell Fyfe was quick to make clear to his colleagues that “although he himself doubted the expediency of amending the existing law on this subject, it must be recognised that many responsible people believed that homosexual practices between adult males should not constitute a criminal offence.”

The Home Secretary’s preferred course of action was to leave the law as it was – he had told the Commons the previous December that “homosexuals are a danger to others and so long as I hold the office of Home Secretary I shall give no countenance to the view that they should not be prevented from being such a danger.” Instead, he wanted to concentrate on trying to force gay lawbreakers to, well, stop being so gay. Although he admitted that “experience shows that only a minority of homosexual offenders are likely to benefit by psychiatric treatment,” he nevertheless concluded that “there may be some scope for development here, particularly when it is possible to open the new institution for mentally abnormal offenders… I think that the most profitable line of development is to improve, so far as finances permit, the facilities for the treatment of homosexuals sentenced by the courts.” Four months after this was written, the war hero, codebreaker and computer pioneer Alan Turing killed himself after the experimental hormonal treatment he was forced to undergo following his own conviction for having a relationship with another man left him impotent and growing breasts.

Prime Minister Winston Churchill favoured another tactic: to not talk about it and pretend it wasn’t happening. After due thought, he announced the following month that “in his view, the prudent course would be to take no action save to encourage a Private Member to introduce in the House of Commons, under the ten-minute rule, a Bill designed to prohibit the publication of detailed information of criminal prosecutions for homosexual offences.” Maxwell Fyfe, however, “pointed out that such legislation, even if it had the effect of allaying public anxiety about homosexuality, would make no contribution whatever towards a solution of the problem of prostitution. This, in his view, was the more urgent and obvious problem.”

Bring back National Service!
Bananas look like cocks.
One of the reasons put before the cabinet that March as to why action was becoming urgent was that “Lord Winterton had been anxious to raise these questions in a debate in the House of Lords… he could not be prevented indefinitely from doing so.” On 19th May it proved impossible to hold him back any longer: the former cabinet minister stood up in the Lords to denounce “the filthy, disgusting, unnatural vice of homosexuality” and demand that rather than focus on “whether or not the law should be changed in favour of homosexuals”, the government concentrate instead on “the moral issue of how a further rise in criminal vice can be prevented.” He went on to claim to have been reliably informed that “there was no ground whatsoever for saying that it was true that adult homosexualists did not attack children” and that “homosexuals, being admittedly peculiar and in many cases vain creatures, glory in a prison sentence as a form of deterrent.” Winterton, whose political career had kicked off when he was elected as an MP way back in 1904, died five years before homosexuality was legalised, railing against “pansies” and the “propansy press” all the way.

But he was fighting a losing battle. Maxwell Fyfe announced the creation of a Royal Commission under the leadership of university Vice-Chancellor Sir John Wolfenden that August. Wolfenden may have insisted on referring to the subjects of his three-year study not as homosexual offences and prostitution but as Huntley and Palmers, to spare the blushes of the female secretaries to his committee, but he did come up with the proposal that same-sex activity should be legalised in private for men over 21 (it took a further decade for this to be made law). That age was picked on partly “so as to exclude National Servicemen,” which suggests that legislators found a man in uniform so irresistible that they couldn’t imagine them possibly being able to keep their hands off each other. 

From a new book by Adam Macqueen (clue's in the name) of Private Eye fame.
Probably the most amusing and revealing book about British politics since Margaret Thatcher's tell-all bonkbusting memoir The Downing Street Years.

Full disclosure: Fagburn has not been paid for this promotion, but is hoping for a blowie.

PS I only learnt yesterday that the Private Eye offices are next door to Candy Bar.
That London is so so gay (and lesbian)!