January 4, 2011

Sad about Pete Postlethwaite. Always good to see a haggard British actor stealing a scene from a bunch of plastic Hollywood faces.

We saw him once, me and Steven, in a Shropshire country pub. It was a Sunday lunchtime and he was propping up the bar looking like a permanent fixture. Which he probably was.

We’d just been for a walk in the hills and had worked up a bit of an appetite, so we ordered that hearty British dish braised faggots in gravy.

We made ourselves comfortable at a table by the window. Eventually a woman appeared bearing a couple of plates.

“TWO FAGGOTS,” she bellowed and looked around the room with a questioning air.

There was a slight pause before we gingerly raised our hands.


Please stick around

October 17, 2010

Joel Burns is the son of a Texas cowboy. He’s also a city councillor in Fort Worth. And faced with a spate of teen gay suicides, he used a council session to give an emotional speech addressed directly to troubled teens:

“I know that life can seem unbearable. I know people in your household or in your school may not understand you and that they may even physically harm you. But I want you to know that it gets better…”

He then talks a bit about his own experiences of being bullied for being different, concluding:

“Yes, high school was difficult. Coming out was painful. But life got so much better for me. And I want to tell any teen who might see this: give yourself a chance to see how much better life will get.”

He goes on to talk about some of the good things that happened to him – including proposing to his husband in a field of cows under a Texan sunset. Which leads him to make a heartfelt plea:

“To those that are feeling very alone tonight, please know that I understand how you feel. But things will get easier. Please stick around to make those happy memories for yourself.”

Do watch the video. It’s much more effective hearing him speak the words. And not just because of the Texan accent.

A scaring sentence

May 23, 2010

Steven Monjeza and Tiwonge Chimbalanga, two men in Malawi who had an unofficial marriage ceremony, have been convicted to 14 years in prison for gay sex. The judge said it was a “a scaring sentence, so that the public be protected from people like you; so that we are not tempted to emulate this horrendous example.” Scaring indeed.

It’s easy for those of us in the UK (and other Western countries), with all the advances in gay rights over the last 40 years, to forget how bad things can still be elsewhere. But before we get too judgemental, it turns out that the law under which they were convicted was introduced under British rule.

Let’s just hope that what’s happened since then over here will happen over there.

Debut the bacchanal

April 17, 2010

On Tuesday, the glad tidings flew round the interwebz – the Scissor Sisters have returned once more to spread their gospel of joy and love among the human race. Their website is currently bestowing upon us the gift of a play-as-much-as-you-like (and we like) new track ‘Invisible Light’, guaranteed to put a smile on your face and a tap in your toe. And to top it all off, there’s a fabulous thriller-slash-two-tribes-esque monologue – could that really be the voice of Gay Knight Ian McKellen? By Wednesday, the suspicion had been confirmed, it was indeed Sir Ian (or Serena as he is apparently known to his thespian chums).

“Painted whores, sexual gladiators, fiercely old party children all wake from their slumber to debut the bacchanal,” intones the voice of Gandalf and Magneto. “Come to the light, into the light, the invisible light.”

Sing it, Sisters!

I actually found Ricky Martin’s coming out article quite moving. Despite going over the top here and there (“…the blood that runs through the streets of countries at war” took me a bit by surprise), the things he talks about are familiar to many of us. The years of keeping a secret (“Many people told me: ‘Ricky, it’s not important'”). The journey to self-belief (“acceptance has to come from within”). The decision to tell everyone (“Enough is enough. This has to change”). The strength (“But fear of my truth? Not at all”) and joy (“The word happiness takes on a new meaning for me as of today”) that flow from that decision – and flow right through his words. And in his case, there’s the extra motive of doing it for his “two beautiful boys that are so full of light and who with their outlook teach me new things each day”.

“I am proud to say that I am a fortunate homosexual man,” he concludes. “I am very blessed to be who I am.”

And you can’t argue with that.


November 8, 2009


Finally got round to listening to episode 7 of Boys for Noise, the excellent podcast by Ingmar and Billy, two gay guys from Melbourne who “are into music, art, movies, popular culture and all that stuff. And they like to go on about it. And they like to listen to each other go on about it. Now you can too!”

Don’t be put off by the highbrow sounding list of topics, we’re talking Beyonce and Project Runway here. And with the mysterious Debbie replenishing their wine glasses as they rabbit on, it’s all most entertaining.

Anyhoo, in episode 7, both Gym Class and Wordage get a namecheck. And whereas I’ve always thought of the last syllable of Wordage as being like the last syllable of porridge, they give me an undeserved veneer of sophistication and glamour by making it like the last syllable of ‘Even Rocky had a montage’.

Before casually writing me off as being ‘too old for boyfriend material’.

Swings and roundabouts, as the saying has it.

No November

November 8, 2009


If you’re wondering why are so many no’s in the above flyer, cast your mind back to a certain nineties Eurotrash dance number…

It’s for monthly night Kiss & Make Up, which we attended on Friday night. A fair amount of lager and bourbon was consumed, we swapped Little Chef experiences with Stuart, one of the not-so-evil masterminds behind the night, Steven got “beard envy” after meeting some of the bear-ier gentlemen present, and as promised there were “spontaneous outbreaks of dancing”.

The next morning we were slightly worse for wear and headed down to our local greasy spoon. There we had a breakfast that in Steven’s words, left us “equally disgusted and delighted”.

The rest of Saturday consisted of Working Girl, Revenge of the Sith and X Factor. Each of which attained that same delicate balance between disgust and delight.

Hubby Hubby

September 8, 2009


Ben & Jerry, purveyors of ice cream and liberal sentiments, have managed the neat trick of coming out (so to speak) in favour of gay marriage just by deleting a single letter. Their Chubby Hubby flavour has been renamed Hubby Hubby in their home state of Vermont for the month of September, the first month that same-sex marriages are taking place there.

As a Hubby with a Hubby myself (we have civil partnerships rather than marriages over here, but it’s all the same to us), I really believe that the existence of officially recognised ceremonies helps gay and lesbian relationships become more widely accepted.

Walt Freese, the CEO of Ben & Jerry’s, says Vermont’s same-sex marriages are “something worth celebrating with peace, love – and plenty of ice-cream.”

I’ll raise a scoop to that.

Gay Man

February 14, 2009


I love San Francisco, the 70s and men. So it was kind of a no-brainer that we would go and see Milk, the film about gay 70s San Francisco politician Harvey Milk.

The Curzon Soho was abuzz with nice young gay men and lesbians. A slightly more earnest and less buffed crowd than you’d find a stone’s throw away on Old Compton Street, and all the better for it.

The film itself was good – San Francisco looked lovely, so did the 70s, so did the men. And one man in particular. A lady friend of mine had previously recommended Mr James Franco to me as a suitable piece of eye candy, but I hadn’t paid much attention. But even with (or perhaps because of) a dreadful 70s ‘tache, I certainly paid close attention this time.

I had to laugh in the closing credits. One minor actor was billed as ‘Gay Man’. Oh, er, right, yeah, him.

Eating out

January 1, 2009

While the pages of Wordage have remained shamefully neglected in recent months, I did manage to cobble together a few words for some good old-fashioned paper pages. This was for issue 01 of Gym Class, “the zine for the guy chosen last”.

In an article titled ‘Eating out’, I describe some of the more memorable restaurant meals I’ve had in my life. 

In retrospect, I can see I ripped off / was inspired by Nigel Slater’s excellent book Toast, in which he examines his past (and developing sexuality) through describing the food he ate. He did it far more evocatively than I ever could, of course.

But how did I get the writing gig in the first place? Well, in time-honoured tradition, sleeping with the editor probably helped. Not to mention marrying him.

If you want to check out Gym Class, you can get hold of a copy here.

Happy New Year, y’allz.