Friday, 18 April 2008

Day by Day...

Before I start today's entry I just want to wish the divine Maggie Jones good health. The Corrie actress who plays Blanche had a fall and is now in hospital. I met Ms Jones on a trip to Canal Street and ended up staying in the same hotel she stays in when filming so we had a glass of wine with Maggie and chatted for hours. A sweeter lady you couldn't find so best wishes darling. I'm at a bit of a loss as to what to talk about today but I'm having a takeaway tonight so it seems appropriate for me to go on a food theme.

When I had my 'mental episode' last year, I had to meet with two psychiatrists to discuss what it was in my life that was bringing me down and thank God I've managed to get rid of old demons and get my life in some recognisable order and a daily routine. I wake up, I make a cuppa and then head back upstairs to sit at the desk and enjoy my breakfast; a cup of tea, a ciggie and Wanda Wisdom. I generally don't eat breakfast and I'm quite happy to have one small meal a day and nothing much else but I know that my relationship with eating is not exactly wonderful and it's one of those old demons I've yet to conquer. I come from a fairly big family and generally the people closest to me are overweight and for some reason I developed this morbid fear of becoming fat. Every day I was getting on the scales and if the little needle went to near the 10 stone point I starved myself for a few days. Size 0, cabbage diets, starvation diets, the lemonade diet, even the Senokot diet; I've tried 'em all. I've never weighted over 10 stone and for me, that's my perfect weight. Actually 9 stone is but I'll settle for 10.

There's so much pressure on people to be thin and perhaps thats what makes shitty food so appealing to the masses. It's like a parent saying, "There's a shiny toy in that box but whatever you do don't open it". Well, the child is going to open that box and all consequences of that action vacate the brain with the pleasure of playing with that toy the paramount feeling. I'm quite lucky in that not many things in my life have been given that status. For example, though I know I drink a wee bit too much I'd say that alcohol was never something I had to steal from Victoria Wines and drink it by a park bench to look cool or feel adult. I'm extremely grateful to my parents for not making what are daily activities seem like a rite of passage that one has to go through to be considered a fully rounded human being. That isn't to say that I didn't try things I knew my parents wouldn't approve of because I definately did but when it comes to potentially harmful things like booze, I was taught a healthy respect for it and what it can do and now I enjoy a glass of wine with friends or a gin and tonic at parties. In other words, I don't drink to give justification to outrageous antics, I drink because I like the taste and I like to relax with a glass or two. And I know that if ever I seriously relied on alcohol, I have people around me who would tell me to sort myself out.

But with food it's different. Even though I know eating healthy and regularly is better for me in the long run, I still deprive myself of food and then binge eat when everyone else is otherwise occupied. Even as I'm writing this, it sounds crazy and maybe that'll help me confront that particular issue in my life but it seems to me that everyone has an unhealthy relationship with something. I have friends who are complete whores and it isn't that they particularly enjoy sex, it's just that for years they grew up being told that homosexuality was something unnatural so there's a perverse thrill in doing something mummy and daddy wouldn't let them do at home. For some people that thrill turns into a real nessecity and that's where I think addictions come from. At first, we do things because we feel grown up or we feel we're breaking a taboo and before we know it, we're being so self-indulgent that our livers are pickled, our lungs are full of shit and we can't sit down without a chair disappearing (think about it). I don't think addictions are anything to be proud of, yet I don't think addictions are anything to be ashamed of and even if that's an addiction to weight watching at some point in our adult lives we have to work out whether we're doing things because we like the effects or whether we're doing it to prove a point. Keep it glam gals. xXx

Thursday, 17 April 2008

Ben and I...

In 2005, the world said farewell to Pope John Paul II and a new guy was chosen to look pretty in white. Now when Benedict XVI was elected it had been a pretty drunken week and I was recovering from the celebrations a friend of mine held for the wedding of the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall. We'd been to Windsor for the day, got a quick handshake with the bride and groom and then we returned to Kennington for a 2 day bender in which we drank everything but Mr Sheen. I stayed on a few days and as we enjoyed a cinzano and prepared for 'Flog It', the BBC announced white smoke had been seen coming out of the Vatican. My first thought was that someone had left their rock cakes in too long but the bells confirmed that the world had a new Pope, "Habeamus Papam" as the Latins have it. Maybe it was the spirit of the occassion, maybe it was the half bottle we'd downed but when we were introduced to Joseph Ratzinger we immediately started clapping and went on an hour-long session of handing out compliments to someone we'd only just been introduced to. In 2008, I can safely say that the compliments I handed out to the German Shepherd ("Look at his lovely little hat" not withstanding) were booze induced because during his papacy we have seen the Catholic Church simply reinforce it's hypocrisy.

My relationship with the Catholic Church is a rocky one. When I was about 13, I discovered the joys of Catholicism and I truly threw myself into it with heart and soul. I decided I would become a priest, more than that I wanted to be a Saint and I was absolutely determined to live by the rules of the Church. I attended Mass every single day before school at the local convent and I prayed the rosary religiously (no pun intended) with a very sincere belief that this was going to get me to heaven. Fast forward a few years and I accepted my homosexuality. I decided that I had to learn to live as a gay catholic and so after my weekly class of religious instruction on the RCIA scheme, I told the priest that I wanted more information on gay catholic organisations. The upshot of it was that he told me I was going to hell, the Church doesn't support any aspect of the gay lifestyle and that he would retract his letter to the Bishop recommending me for baptism.

Fast forward again to the 20 year old me and you find me converting to Judaism. I'm extremely comfortable in the local Jewish community who are accepting, welcoming and laid back when it comes to matters of sexuality, so I've switched off from the homophobia that is inherent in Catholicism. Homophobia is bad enough anywhere but when it's institutionalised and enforced in an organisation that has such a prevalence of gay priests and when there's no legitimate backing for the claims that homosexuality is an evil preference, it becomes intolerable. The Pope is currently on a visit to the United States, a country that has yet to bring in civil partnerships and that still has "Don't ask, don't tell" as a military policy which for those who don't know is the
dictat that gays can't openly serve in the American military. The Pope has apologised for the sexual abuse of minors in the American Catholic church and he's spoken of his great shame over the whole issue of paedophile priests. I applaud his comments but where is his apology to the LGBT community for his continued hypocrisy and double standards on homosexuality? Where is his great shame over that?

The Catholic Church's ruling on being gay comes from this little gem from the Torah; "Thou shalt not lie with mankind as with womankind; it is an abomination". In the same chapter (Leviticus), the kosher dietary laws are clearly spelled out. Catholics in 2008 are still told that being gay is an abomination yet the Pope sits down to roast pork on a Saturday. If the Church still holds to the laws of Torah, then why do the Kosher laws not apply to Catholics? Why do they not apply to any Christian who uses Leviticus as a justification for the exclusion and condemnation of gay people? At no point in the New Testament does Christ say that gay people should be treated any differently to heterosexuals, indeed, his main message was to "Love thy neighbour as thyself". Well, a gay man is a Catholic's neighbour and the contempt the Catholic Church has for homosexuals clearly goes against the teachings of their prophet. You could play devil's advocate and say that Liberal Jewish communities are also hypocritical because of their acceptance of gay people despite Torah telling them to do otherwise but that's a matter for another time.

I respect every man's right to believe in his own God and to practise his own faith but what I don't respect and can never accept is the DIY religion that is Roman Catholicism. The institutional bigotry that it holds so dear is offensive and totally unacceptable in this modern age. It's also deeply hypocritical and needs just as big a change in Church policy as the neglect of dealing with sexual abuse because when the Church excludes anyone it directly contradicts the teachings of the man they call God. That to me is 100% ridiculous and any religious community that has that in it's foundations is headed for a fall. I am in no way suggesting that two men should be allowed to fuck each other on the altar on Palm Sunday, what I'm suggesting is that two men in a loving relationship should be allowed to stand side by side at the communion rail and be treated no differently to the man and woman behind them. The Pope could be going to the United States with a message to Mr Bush to end the homophobia inherent in his government but instead, the Pope is as big a hypocrite as Bush and that's why this papal visit will only be anything but a farce. Keep it glam gals. xXx

Monday, 14 April 2008

Speakin' out...

Ok so it's been a couple of days since my last entry and in that time I've been poked by a dentist and found a fabulous new Barbara Streisand album "Guilty Too" that's 3 years old but is truly the diva at her best. When I say I've been poked by a dentist, my tongue is not in my cheek though my heart is definately in my throat. Truth be told, I won't be blinding anyone with my Hollywood smile and though I'm not exactly Paul Potts pre-pennies I don't have flashy gnashers. A few months ago, I bit the bullet and yanked out a painful tooth with the aid of pliers and a bottle of Scotch and though it hasn't caused me many problems it is a constant bug bear to remember which side to chew on. So I took myself along to the dentist free of fear or panic and sat patiently until my number was called, the inevitable whizz of the drill screaming out around the room of glum looking patients thumbing nervously through old copies of 'Bella' and 'Woman's Own'. I was immersed in a tale of Naomi, a 14 year old from Grimsby who'd given birth in the queue at Salisbury's ("How many Nectar points for a baby Janice?") when my number came up. With the courage of Scott and Nelson, I trolled through into the surgery room and allowed myself to be lowered into the tongue shaped chair that has seen more pain and misery than Britney's bathroom floor.

Prod. Prod. Poke. Scrape. And then a series of numbers which had me convinced for a minute that my mouth had a barcode I hadn't seen before. I looked up at the light, I tasted the metallic tang of the mirror and something inside me gurgled as the inevitable words "root canal" and "local anaesthetic" were delivered with sado-masochistic glee from a man who's seen more open mouths than Jordan and rivals her bust measurement considerably. As the nurse scrambled behind me and the clatter of shiny instruments ceased, I siezed my chance as fear took hold and my stomach retched. "Could I start treatment at a later date?", I said trying to hide my worry behind cut glass vowels. "Of course", replied Dr Drill. So the drums of the gallows can now be heard until Tuesday when I undertake the first of two hideous painful appointments with some of the most evil instruments ever devised. And it got me to thinking, why do we let fear stop us doing something that is so obviously beneficial?

In this case the fear was twofold. There was the expected fear of being faced with pain but there was the unexpected fear of asking the dentist not to stick a needle in my gums. I'm usually not backward in coming forward and I've been known not to suffer fools gladly in times of crisis. For example, I'm the one in the queue at Marks and Spencer's who actually says, "Don't put the gin on top of the rolls please" whereas most folks would happily bite their tongue and go home with flat baps. But when we don't want something to happen, why don't we speak out and stop it? Of course there's some things we can't prevent such as rain. As much as I'd love to, I don't have a hotline to the big guy upstairs where I can exercise my statutory rights and demand an end to those April showers which have been coming our way recently. I do however, have the right and the power to complain if things go wrong or to ask someone not to do something that's going to make my life a little bit more intolerable. The British seem to have been bred into being frightened to speak out, so much so that if someone boarded a train covered in dog shit the majority of passengers would bury their heads in their Harry Potter and truck through it.

Well, the war is over folks and careless talk doesn't actually cost lives. People can speak out about China's occupation of Tibet but of the Dalai Lama pushed in front of them at Tesco's they'd exercise English politeness and let him walk over them in his saffron robes. Why are we so frightened to speak? Yesterday I waited 10 minutes for a bus. When it came, a lady who'd just arrived at the bus stop ran up to the door and pushed me back with her ass. What I should have done is voiced my discontent and actually say, "Do you mind? I was here first". What did I do? I beeped my Oyster card and sat down. Now if I'd said what I should have said, that lady may well have said sorry and never pushed in front of a fellow passenger again. Or she could have said, "Bollocks" and continued to be insufferably rude but I could have satisfied myself with the knowledge that I'd stood up to reclaim my personal space. Life is full of problems and we seem to just let them pass by or we store the anger up for the next barney we have with our partners but I've always been told that speaking about problems actually helps. So come on people, speak out and don't be crippled by the anxiety of speaking your mind. And if they do tell you bollocks, mace 'em. Keep it glam gals. xXx

Thursday, 10 April 2008

In your face...

So tonight I was watching 'Celebrity Come Dine with Me' (Yes, I'm single) and one of the contestants made a very blase comment about a fellow contestant which sent me on a voyage of philosophical thought. The fabulous Lynsey de Paul (Sugar me) was dining with the gorgeous blonde one from G4, Tamara Beckwith and a rapper from So Solid Crew. They all seemed to get on well and it was the usual reality-come-cookery fare on offer with most of them following the new Delia technique of buying dry old shit from Tesco and talking about it as if you've studied under Escoffier. In a break between courses, the marvellous Miss de Paul said, "When they said you were a rapper, I went 'Oh no!', I won't have anything to say to him" and then went on to say how he was very sweet and not at all as she'd expected. It got me to thinking; what is we swapper the word 'rapper' for the word 'gay'. I believe we'd be tapping into a fundamental basis for homophobia with the worry of differing cultures breeding ignorance. It's interesting that recently a chap on a forum I frequent has stated that he feels that if you dont 'accept' homosexuality then you're labelled a bigot, a closet gay or an extremist. Part of me agrees but part of me wonders what the alternative is and what exactly he's objecting to.

I could go into the whole "being gay is natural" and "we don't choose at birth" but those arguments have been done to death and I think most people who feel uneasy about gay people (I'm not talking the out and out bigots here) have legitimate reason, that reason being that they simply don't know how to approach the issue. Over the years I've learned that some people can only accept one type of gay man, that being the John Inman assexual stereotype, and so quite often I would tailor my personality to put people at ease. For example, very macho straight rugby players at school suddenly became adoring friends when I camped it up. Why? Because they felt they knew me and were comfortable. If one of their fellow breeders had suddenly said, "I'm queer", they would have freaked because the idea of 'one of them' slipping under the wire and potentially seeing them in the showers was too much to handle. People seem to be comfortable putting people in boxes and if they can do that well enough, they can then ignore those people they don't feel comfortable with. Why else would we have China town and the huge gay focal point that is Soho? The same goes for the sex industry. Put it in Soho backstreets and the rent boys popping off to an MPs seaside apartment don't exist. People can walk past Soho and ignore what they don't want to see whilst the people in Soho can seal themselves off and do what the like.

I'm not a frequenter of gay saunas but once I was talked into it as something I should experience. So off I went. A huge complex with swimming pools, jacuzzis, steam rooms and about 40 small dark rooms for guys to get to know each other. Condoms were free, attendants kept an eye on the proceedings and generally the place was clean and professional. But how many people know they exist? From the outside, Chariots is a health club. Inside there's a very active part of the gay community. A dear friend of mine who lives in Amsterdam recently sent me some gay mags from dear old Holland and the amazing thing was the advertisements for darkrooms. In Britain, we keep a Victorian view of sex that if we don't see it, it isn't happening. Perhaps because the gay community is more used to hiding away, the concept of darkrooms and sex on the Heath isn't so seedy or strange but rather it's a part of human sexuality. But darkrooms are just that - dark - and nobody from the outside world sees what you're upto unless you want them to. There are exhibitionists but they form a small part of the gay community and in no way should be confused with those who take part in pride parades. They aren't exhibitionists, they're simply proclaiming their gratitude and thanks for being able to be ourselves and they recognise that one can be open and proud without engaging in sexual acts on the street.

When it boils down to it, I believe that there's a fine line between showing off to deliberately make people feel intimidated and in showing pride just as there's a fine line between not understanding gay people and being a thuggish bigot. It's very similar to the immigrant communities and the way they've settled into London. By segregating themselves into communities, the Asian, African and Eastern Europeans in my local area have immediately raised a barrier between them and the natal residents of the community, whereas the Chinese, Indian and Afro-Carribean communities have integrated with ease and with flair. Everyone has a local Chinese takeaway, Chinese food markets are always bursting with English people experiencing new things and there simply isn't the divide that exists between people from Nigeria and people from Dagenham. We have African food markets and meeting points but instead of including and explaining what's on offer and making an effort to mix their culture with the pre-existing Essex culture, they've simply built walls around roads and claimed it for their own. The result? Modern ghettos. And Soho has always been a Ghetto in much the same way. The predominance of rainbow flags serves as a mark of territory and man's natural instinct is to challenge the territorial claim of his neighbours.

So what's the answer? So we stick a sex shop, darkroom and G-A-Y bar on every corner? No but we do need to open the doors of our community and if Mohammed refuses to come to the mountain, take the mountain to Mohammed. This year's London pride will stick to the same old route and the same people will take part. If the gay community wants to begin breaking down the divide that exists between the straight community and the gay community, we have to take pride to places like Dagenham. We have to get our voice heard in the local press and be a clear presence at local events like town shows and carnivals. We have to become a bigger presence in pubs and clubs instead of sticking to those we know we can pick up trade in. And if we do all those things without ramming our cause down people's throats, they'll come to see that although we unite in one community to tackle homophobia, we remain individuals who still live by the values of decency and politeness, tolerance and that all important motto of "the right thing at the right time". It's a case of give and take and I truly hope that in the future we begin to live as members of a national family rather than members of polar communities. End of sermon. Keep it glam gals. xXx

Wednesday, 9 April 2008

Mon Dieu!

Every now and then, you see something that makes you cry. For most people it could be a small child running under a bus, for most gay men it's George at Asda's line of polyester suits. But last night, it was a film that had me blubbing like a baby and not just any film, but the Oscar winning "La Vie en Rose" with the fabulous Marion Cottilard as Edith "Little Sparrow" Piaf. Quite simply, it's a staggering piece of cinematic art but more than that, it's the epic tale of a woman who was crushed by her demons but continued to sing like an angel. Born to a circus performer and a street singer, the young Edith was carted from pillar to post spending most of her childhood in a brothel where she suffered with blindness caused by keratitis. Her teenage years were the welcome mat to years of alcoholism and drug use, whilst her twenties were spent becoming the professional Piaf from the backstreet Gassion she had once been. Now most people know who Piaf was and they can even sing a few songs but trust me, "La Vie en Rose" will make every lyric speak to you and stir your soul even if you don't speak French. For example, "Non je ne regrette rien" (arguably her most famous number) wasn't a part of her repetoire until 1961, just 2 years before her tragic death at the age of 47.

The song has always been beautiful to the ear even if the words are unfamiliar but the background to the piece gives it such an impact that you'll never be able to hear it again without seeing the desperate Piaf running through her Paris apartment screaming for her lover, the boxer Marcel Cerdan, on his way back to the besotted Edith and killed in an air crash. A descent into heavy morphine use left her body ravaged and tired, old before it's time and as weak as an octagenarians. Yet the voice kept growing strong, packed with emotion and tearing into the audience with a message to love. Now it would be easy to watch this movie, cry, hit a bottle and then wake up the next day and get on with the mundane tasks of the morning but something about "La Vie en Rose" stays with you. I've long been a fan of Edith's and so this morning I put on one her records; Mon Dieu. Suddenly it was extremely real and I could relate to Piaf. We've all known sadness, some of us only brief and some of us in a much more permanent sense. It's no secret to most of you reading this blog that I've battled with depression and so watching the story of the Parisian songbird maybe resonated with me more than most. Watching her lowest ebb transported me to my own personal times of desperation and many of you may think that's a set back in the positive thinking process but actually it's remarkably healing.

There's alot in this world to be depressed about and we all have the blues sometimes. How we deal with it depends on our individual strength and so to some it's Lady Gin who soothes the difficult times whereas for others it's God who provides the ultimate cradle out of morbid thoughts, but personally I think "La Vie en Rose" offers something unique to those who have known clinical depression and that is the stark reality of living with old wounds. One thing I've learned is that those memories that make us feel uncomfortable or sad have to be confronted and if possible, put right. If old scores can't be settled and past friendships saved, then the problem has to be laid to rest safe in the knowledge that we've tried our best to remedy the situation. It's like mending a blanket. Set your mind to it and you can fix it. It won't look as good as it did new and people might be able to tell you've put a patch here and a patch there but the rips and tears won't get bigger and the blanket won't fall into such a state of disrepair that there's nothing even the most talented seamstress can do with it. We all have mental blankets and I've discovered that though the patching up isn't easy, it provides some warmth as you go along. Yes you stab your finger with a needle occassionally which hurts like hell but picturing that blanket completely free of holes keeps you mending.

How deep is that? But seriously, Piaf was consumed by sorrow and rather than try to overcome the many setbacks in her troubled life she let them drown her. In today's modern world there's no reason any individual should go down the same route. Not only is there medication to treat depression that provides a crutch but there's 1000s of other alternatives to get you moving out of the rut you might find yourself in. Because despite the fact that her woes got the better of her, Edith left behind some words that she truly believed and were helping her to see a brighter light ahead but poor health and years of heavy drinking had resulted in liver cancer which killed her at the no-age of 47 years old. The words she left behind should be the mantra of every person who suffers with depression; "My memories, my sorrows and my pleasures I don't need them anymore. Swept away the love affairs and all their tremblings, swept away forever - I am starting anew". So get sweeping, clear the attic of your mind of it's crap and then, "your life and your joys will start with you". Keep it glam gals. xXx

Tuesday, 8 April 2008

Lettin' it all hang out...

What is it that makes people confident? No, that's not a Carrie style query for her latest column but a very genuine question. Yesterday I waffled about diversity and in trawling the internet I've managed to find some pretty unique peeps. Without sounding like a tranny chaser, I seriously lurve Wanda Wisdom's podcast series and in her Monday show on Lucky Bitch Radio she spoke about gay people trading stories and making their voices heard. For those who don't know Wanda, she's a 32 year old sober drag queen from Minnesota who is seriously hilarious but very much her own special creation. She even dressed up in a giant pink heart to propose to bigotted American politician Michele Bachman. Now, to me that says confidence. Maybe it's the drag that gives Wanda confidence (I don't think it is Wandita hunnie) or maybe it's that she's overcome her worst trials and can now stand up as her own person free of worries about what others think.

From an early age, I've always wanted to be pretty. Yes I know how gay that sounds and yes I am incredibly vain but I wanted to be pretty. Why? Well, in my early years it was because I thought pretty people were better people. In my teenage years it was because pretty people get laid and in my early twenties, it's because I think pretty people tend to have more confidence. I hate mirrors and the reason is that in one, you can look like Zsa Zsa at her best and in another you can look like a strange hybrid of Vanessa Feltz and the Elephant Man's ugly twin. Some mirrors show every large pore and red patch, others give you that gorgeous soft focus that can only ever make you look like Angie Lansbury in "Murder, She Wrote". I'm lucky to own two such mirrors and so I can sit before them and create something truly gorgeous. I'm not being a twinky bitch here but in those mirrors, I'd lube myself up. They're that good. But then I wander down the street feeling pabulous and I catch sight of myself in a car window.

MAGNIFICATION!! And that equals eww. So then I start pulling my hair down over my eyes and I start looking at the floor instead of holding my head up high and being seen for what I am and not the photoshop beauty I want to be. Or used to want to be. For today gentle readers, I broke through the cliche of the whole "I am what I am" ballad and actually accepted myself as me. And no I'm not talking about accepting myself as a guy who dances at the end of the ballroom, I'm talking about accepting myself for the way I look. Now, I get messages on Faceparty/Facebook/Gaydar/Gay Jews from people telling me I'm cute. It makes me smile and in a way, it's always been a crutch for my confidence in that when I'm feeling low I can go into a room of anonymous horny chappies and be smothered with compliments. But that's a false confidence and I get the feeling it's the same sort of confidence our celebrities get when they see themselves on the front cover of Hello! or OK.

A few days ago in the Dirty Mail, they printed pics of celebs without makeup. The gorgeous Goldie Hawn didn't look quite as gorgeous. She didn't have blinding white teeth or flawless porcelain skin and she was a bit thicker round the middle, her hair was untidy and she looked tired. So how comes just a few weeks ago she was featured in the GayTimes looking absolutely stunning as if she was a resident of an oyster shell? The answer lies in Photoshop but that doesn't mean that the real Goldie Hawn is a dog. It means that the real Goldie Hawn is a real person who has bad days and good days and speaking for myself, I find Goldie Hawn much more endearing knowing that she has flaws. All this talk of size 0 surely backs my theory up that the media provides impossible role models and so when we look in the mirror, if we don't see that role model look staring back at us we lose confidence. We turn to buying celeb style fashions from Primark, men start plastering foundation on, we buy straighteners and crimpers and skinny jeans and why? To look like someone created by a nerd at a computer. I have a friend who loves anime and is currently beating himself up because he doesn't look like the muscular yet boyish hunks he's found on Xtube.

He's no different to the young girls and boys starving themselves to get that 24 inch waist or those middle aged women having glycolic acid painted on their faces to burn away wrinkles and remove all traces of emotion from their worn visage. I've had a bit of an epiphany and I can honestly say that I no longer buy into the idea that celebrities set the standard for how we should look, nor have I ever accepted that so called Roman beauty is something we should aim for. In the gay community there's alot of pressure to fit into a box. If you're a bear you can revel in being overweight and hairy and whats more you'll be celebrated if you let those flab rolls bust out through your leather straps. If you're a twink, you can look extremely feminine and all of 16 and you're in demand by porn studios everywhere. If you're a drag queen, you slap on the greasepaint and a ten foot wig and you'll be the star of every night club you enter. Yet a twink seems to judge a bear by his standards as if to say that being a twink is the only acceptable look for a gay guy much in the same way Vicky Beckham seems to say that being slim with a trout-pout and a dodgy bob is the only acceptable way for young women to look. The amount of guys on Gaydar looking for Johnny Depp is phenominal yet there's only one Johnny Depp and to expect all other guys in the community to match Johnny's physique is not only unrealistic but damn unfair.

Not that I haven't done it and let's be honest, we all have our types. We all find something different attractive and I'm not saying we should all adopt a Chairman Mao one-way image. I'm just saying stop the bitchiness, stop the forcing of unattainable photoshop beauty onto people who are gullible enough to deprive themselves of what they really want to get laid. So from now on, if I have a couple of spots then hey - tough shit. I'm nearly 21, I have naturally oily skin and occassionally I'll get a pimple. If my hair is dodgy - fuck it. I don't control the elements and the wind and rain will spoil my do every now and then. But come acne or split ends, I'm the same guy who can hold a good conversation, give you a giggle and buy you a G and T. I think it's about time society took a stand against the cruel and unreasonable expectations our media peddle by simply not trying to squeeze into a journalist-made mould they can't even get into with a tub of Crisco. You are what you are, I am what I am; so let's let it all hang out, warts and all. Keep it glam gals. xXx

Monday, 7 April 2008

I declare this blog officially open...

And may God bless her and all those who sail in her. Or something like that. Sadly the Duchess of Kent wouldn't cut the virtual ribbon on this one (And don't think I didn't ask) but when you consider the number of old queens likely to visit this blog, the Royal thing is sorta taken care of. So what am I pondering today? Well, I'm pondering the fact that I'm having serious Wanda withdrawal and I'm pondering why I bite my nails which only leaves me with sore fingerinos. If I was a breeder this would pose a serious sexual handicap but as I'm a Homo Homeus I don't really need to worry. Though it does mean my nail varnish won't go on evenly. Speaking of men wearing nail varnish, the BBC treated us on Sunday night to the final episode of "The Naked Civil Servant", the beautiful biopic of the late, great and outrageously queer Quentin Crisp. Now, Mr Crisp was revolutionary to the gay community and was perhaps the first to publicly proclaim his sexuality in a stunning and flamboyant way that left no doubt to his preferences. Until I saw the series, I hadn't realised just how much dyed red hair makes one stand out. Thank the Lordy I got rid of mine this week and traded it for a darker shade of male. But aside from hair, make-up and a mincing step, Quentin was perhaps intentionally a trend setter and though in his early years he was beaten by straight thugs for being different, at the end of his long life he was being celebrated and indeed the gay community of the 70s had adopted the traits of the man himself. They were no longer afraid to stand out and their love for each other was now legal, even if would take a furthur 30 years to get complete equality. Yet you only have to ask a goth and they'll tell you that standing out from the crowd gets you stared at and so one has to ask oneself, how far is individuality actually accepted in the UK today?

On New Year's Eve, I popped along to G-A-Y and was immediately confronted with fabulous diversity. Whilst we bopped to "I am what I am", I kissed a drag queen for luck and slapped the ass of a naked bodybuilder wandering around in nothing but a Frank Butcher bowtie. On stage, the wannabe porn stars did their thang whilst we uglies congregated upstairs swilling old fashioned beverages and looking for single guys to go home with. I left G-A-Y with a couple of gorgeous guys from Welwyn Garden City and ushered in the new year in the only way randy gay guys can. But on the way to the great WGC, something truly magical happened. Complete strangers grabbed us and insisted on forming a conga line down Oxford Street, a woman launched herself at me and kissed me, I led a chorus of "Who the fuck is Alice?" in a crowded tube carriage and our taxi driver waved the fee. In the journey to the station, the world and his wife partied and sang without a care for race, creed or which set of goolies you go down on. It all sounds a little New Seekers I know and though it was the direct result of booze, everyone let their guard down long enough to wish everyone else well.

The next day, I got called a shit stabber and two chavs had a punch up in my carriage. Now I can't deny, I'm an obvious gay and so it isn't rare for strangers to stare or shout obscenities. Once I was trolling down Kennington Road when a kid on a bike asked me quite directly if I was a batty boy. In my grandest Bette Davis voice I said, "I am not, nor have I ever been a batty boy. a homosexual". He didn't quite get it, called me a freak and drove off. Yet on New Year's night, I had a frank chat with a total stranger about whether her brother was gay or not. She offered me his number for goodness sake! There was no dirty looks when I sang badly on the Underground and when I snogged the face off of my bit of trade, there was a round of applause. Does it take mind bending substances to make people drop their inhibitions and insecurities about different types of people? If the guy who murdered a goth recently had been off his face of Pernot, would he really have cared about the two law abiding human beings who's lives he tore apart just because they were wearing black?

Now I'm not suggesting that we all become Yootha Joyce's alkihol rivals, far from it. I'm suggesting we look to the inspiration of people like Quentin Crisp and ask ourselves if we really are as accepting as we claim we are as a society. Yes we have civil partnerships, yes gays can adopt and yes, we can serve in the army - but what's the good of that if holding your boyfriend's hand can lead to you being smacked about by a gang of straight guys with something to prove? Quentin Crisp frequently got attacked because he stood out. If you dress like Quent and totter down Romford on a Friday night, the same will probably happen to you. So depressingly, we conclude that nothing's really changed. And here's where I get on my soap box and say that people like Stonewall and OUTrage have done a fabulous job in getting us legal equality but what they fail to realise is that there's still a long way to go before social equality is achieved. To be honest, I think it'll take a long long time to get that but it's not impossible. We have to integrate with the rest of society just as much as they need to integrate with us. In my recent spiritual escapades, I've been trolling off to shul every week and the stares you get if you wear a kippah in the street are indicative not of blatant anti-semitism but of inherent and very uncomfortable uncertainty.

So what am I really saying I want? I don't want the right to fuck Johnny Depp in Marks and Spencers, I don't want the right to erect statues of Judy Garland on every street corner and I don't want the right to gay-only beaches down in Brighton. In fact, I think I've got enough rights. I just want the ability to show my love and my feelings for someone who hopefully reciprocates those emotions for me, without getting burned by the glares of infuriated confuzzled people. How can I get that ability? Well, I'd be lying if I said I have a plan but maybe it's because we've always held back on the public displays of affection front. The British have moved on from stiff upper lip and now you will see straighties necking on the streets. But gay people rarely do and I wonder if it's because they somehow feel they can't. So let's show we can. Don't sensationalise it, don't make it the attraction in the newspaper - just show your affection as the straight people do. And then maybe we'll finally crack the problem that is the divide between the gay and straight communities. End of sermon. Keep it glam gals. xXx