Sunday, 22 November 2015

Chemsex: The Horror Story

Still working on a response to Paul Flynn's Observer feature, the latest instalment in the media's moral panic du jour.

But it's hard to get past that headline for one thing.

I know journalists rarely write their own, but really; 'addicted'?!!

A media scare word - crazed, out of control, they can't stop themselves - it is meaningless here.


Great set up, I wonder what we can expect?

A balanced dispassionate piece?

Then there's what appears to be a visual homage to a series of arrest mugshots - guilty men?


More later, check my Twitter 4 teh LOLZ! 

Oooh that looks really scary!!!

Update: Oh, I dunno... Paul's one of the best gay journalists around, but I think he's misunderstood that many people have criticisms not so much of the documentary, Chemsex, but of the media's current hysterical obsession with this subject.

Just once I'd like to read an article about chemsex that didn't buy into that whole 'all gay men are just victims and our pleasures can only be signs of pathology and the wages of sin are death and the chemsex scene is secretly some weird suicide cult coz internalised homophobia' gay mis lit narrative.

Maybe Chemsex: A Horror Story would have been a more honest title for the film?

It does after all come from Tom Abell, the film's distributor, and thus Chemsex's main pusher.

David Stuart, we learn, 'provides Chemsex's voice of reason' [don't laugh], but why is he here as always treated like some charismatic cult leader, the eternally unchallenged leader of London's anti-chemsex cabal, and the beloved guru of the many journalists who are addicted to writing about it?

Fittingly, David, the Mother Teresa of Soho, takes centre-stage in the 'icons of Chemsex' photomontage ilustrating the piece.

Paul Flynn concludes by rightly bemoaning cuts in funding for groups like 56 Dean Street ('The film arrives amid a £200m health cut. Of the many people I hope get to see Chemsex, perhaps Jeremy Hunt will be among the first'), but fails to see this might be a reason David Stuart is hyping the chemsex 'endemic'. *


* Similarly Flynn foregrounds the article with; 'This is the first film to explore a gay subculture that’s recently found notoriety in the mainstream media after the NHS and the British Medical Journal identified it as a health priority,'

He does not mention that the co-author of the short BMJ report and its main spokesbot was Paul Willis, who works at Antidote, another London LGBT drugs service. linked to 56 Dean Street. And yes, one D. Stuart used to work there.

The statistics the BMJ report cited were usually obediently regurgitated without question in the fulsome media coverage, and often further mangled.

1 comment:

  1. "The film arrives amid a £200m health cut. Of the many people I hope get to see Chemsex, perhaps Jeremy Hunt will be among the first"... says David Stuart. Pretty much says it all. What matters most in this day and age is how much publicity a disease or issue gets. Case in point: ALS/motor neuron disease and last year's ice bucket challenge. In the end, less sexy but more urgent and widespread health issues like the UK's still dismally low cancer detection rates will instead have budget cuts.