Monday, November 29, 2004

I watched Mr Gay UK 2004 last night (or rather, I fastforwarded through it on Tivo). It reminded me of sneaking out of bed in the 1970s to watch Miss World on television. Commentators are always saying that gay culture is ahead of straight culture. I think in the case of beauty contests, we're still rather behind the mainstream.

It goes without saying that a lot of the contestants were orange, hairless and in the 20s or teens. I wouldn't abolish a beauty contest entirely, but I don't like that it's the only contest for British gay men. I would like another contest which places less emphasis on looks and more on actual achievements (political or otherwise) by gay men. Previous winners would be people like Will Young and George Michael (who reacted to being "outed" with grace, style and humour), Peter Tatchell (who campaigns tirelessly for gay rights across the world and puts up with a lot of abuse for it), Lord Alli (who as the only openly gay man in the House of Lords is often the voice of reason in the madhouse) and Duncan Lustig-Prean, a naval commander who was sacked for being gay and challenged the UK's laws on letting gay people serve in the military.

Daran Little, who has written excellent storylines handling coming out on Coronation Street (and is probably responsible for changing attitudes at a grassroots level than anyone else) is my nomination for this year's Mr Gay UK. This are people who are inspiring because they are making a difference - their legacy will be around long after the latest gym-queen du jour has been forgotten.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

And who thought this was a good idea? I hope the poor Maplins drone got an early Christmas bonus.

Saturday, November 27, 2004

Mr Gay UK 2004, on tomorrow on Living TV. Officially, I'm against the whole silly thing. But unofficially, I am rooting for Mr Lawrence Oglivie of Newcastle.

Allow me to introduce you to my new hobby - looking at houses for sale on the internet and then making fun of the tastes of the people who've decorate them. Here are some of my most recent favourites.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Groc, who is perhaps the only blogger who is more of a grumpy old man than me, notes that Dixons are stopping selling VCR recorders, which is going to annoy people with a lot of VCR tapes, when their hardware eventually gives out (thanks to that marvel of advanced capitalism - inbuilt obsolescence).

I found the arrival of DVD to be annoying at first - and I'm ashamed to say that I've spent (wasted!) money buying DVDs of the same things I had on VCR, just so the quality will be better (to be honest, it's also about saving space on my shelves). If you want to know why all the charity shops in Lancaster are full of little-known cult movies from the 1970s, then I'm to blame. However, I don't think that DVD will last very long either. Already, High Definition TV has resulted in an even better picture quality, meaning that all the stuff I have on DVD will get re-released as HDTV-DVD and I will need to buy it again. Then it will probably get released as real cinema quality, allowing to it to projected huge onto a wall, with no loss of image. And then there'll probably be a 3D version made, or a holographic version, or a version which beams into your brain and lets you interact in it. So I'm kind of resigned to buying all the films I love, over and over again for the rest of my life.

On the other hand, I won't be updating my mobile phone any time soon (unless it breaks). It has a naff ring tone, no picture or video facility and looks cruddy as most of the surface casing has worn away due to it living in my pocket with my keys. But no amount of "ashamed of your mobile?" adverts will make me change.

Last night, ITV showed a tv programme called Chubby Chasers, which was about the FA (Fat Admirer) Community. There are plenty of websites devoted to this, both of the porn and non-porn variety. The programme focussed on issues of self-confidence and pride that fat women can feel, knowing that there are men who find them attractive. It ignored the fact that it's not necessarily men liking fat women, but there are other combinations such as men liking fat men etc. It also glossed over the more controversial health issues - one of the women had had to have a trachectomy, resulting in there being a white pipe sticking out of her neck. There's also the issue of "feeders", people who want their partner to gain more and more weight. And in a world where so many people are starving etc, aiming to be 25 stone or whatever, could be interpreted as a bit of a global fuck-you! At the same time, Fat Admirers are still viewed as fetishists - being against the norm, and who wants to be someone's fetish? I once had someone email me who had seen my photo on the internet and said I had a big Adam's Apple that turned him on and did I have any more such photos. I'm afraid that email went in my "crazy" archive. Still, I guess it's nice that there's someone for everyone.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Bruce LaBruce's new film Raspberry Reich is out on DVD. Unfortunately it isn't very good. He hit a relative high point with Hustler White. The only good line in the film is when one of the characters is at a shooting gallery, she turns to the camera and shouts (almost all of the dialogue is shouted) "The REVOLUTION is my BOYFRIEND!" A lot has been made of the fact that the film contains hardcore sex. Fortunately, a lot of this is covered over by little images of Tony Blair and George Bush which effectively censor erect penises. It probably sounded like a good idea at the time, but in reality it's just silly. The actors aren't particularly attractive either, so you kind of wish they'd just kept their clothes on (or spent longer in the gym).

On a happier note, I have obtained a copy of a fabulous book called "Reach for The Big Time". It's a book of publicity pictures of wannabe stars from the 1970s and 1980s. They have names like Reggie Mental and Annie Bright, and are so outrageously bad they're good. Apparently, one of the people featured in the book, Eddie Cantor (whose gimmick was that he had huge glasses) complained regarding copyright issues and the book has had to be pulped. Here are some of my favourite lines from the publicity posters:

Jean (Grannie) Cope. Has been playing grannies (sad and funny) for forty years. Has bicycle, will travel.

Gay Duo. Sophisticated Cabaret: songs mostly about the gay way of life. From Goblin Man to My Guy's Gone straight.

Tony James: Tony is a very clean-cut comedian with clean material. The climax being the removal of his hairpiece, which is quite hair-raising.

Disco Kid: Not so much a disco as a happening.

The Sweet Illusion Dance Band: Can create sounds from middle-of-the-road to pop.

I can see myself becoming obsessed with some of these acts and carrying out evenings of google searches in order to find out "Whatever Happened To Lori Wells and The Brothers" etc. It's so much classier to stalk someone who has probably never been stalked before. I'll keep you informed of my discoveries.

Friday, November 19, 2004

I choose you!

It is very common for gay men of a certain age (over 30) to become addicted to certain actresses or pop divas. In fact, you can tell a lot about a gay man through his choice of diva. A love of Judy Garland means you're probably quite damaged and have addiction issues. Bette Davis - you're a bitch. Joan Crawford - you're also a bitch, except you're good at hiding it. If you choose Madonna then I'm afraid you're lacking in imagination. However, my Diva of Choice is Shelly Winters. And to celebrate I've been engaging in a Shellython, watching all my favourite Shelly films again. Shelly is great because the films she chose did not cast her in glamorous roles. Instead she tended to play annoying, whiny victims or bullies. And she usually came to a sticky end (the exception being Alfie, where she ends up with a much younger man in her bed). Here are my favourite Shelly denouements (don't read if you hate spoilers):

1. The Poseidon Adventure - she drowns while trying to save the other members of the cast. It's actually her most heroic death.

2. Cleopatra Jones - playing racist, lesbian drug-baron Mommie - destroyed in a car wrecking yard.

3. Lolita. As the overbearing mother, she practically eats Humbert Humbert alive, and then is killed in a car accident after realising that he's only after her daughter. One two, cha, cha, cha!

4. The Diary of Anne Frank. And we all know how THAT turned out.

5. Night of the Hunter. Note to Shelly: Don't choose a serial killer as your husband.

6. Who Slew Auntie Roo. Burnt to death by plucky orphans. Well, if she does insist on recreating a 1970s version of Hansel and Gretal.

7. Bloody Mama - after a "spree" of robbery, murder and kidnapping, it's only a matter of time before she goes down in a blaze of glory.

8. A Place in the Sun. Murdered in a boating "accident" by Montgomery Clift. The only puzzle is that he kills her to get into Elizabeth Taylor's knickers, not Rock Hudson's!

9. What's the Matter With Helen? I can't remember exactly how this ends, but she does go mad and start killing innocent bunny rabbits.

10. Wild in the Streets. Her tour de force. Sentenced to an LSD "prison camp" along with everyone else over the age of 35 when her son becomes president of the USA. Last heard screaming "Where are my feathers?"

Saturday, November 13, 2004

One of my favourite places in the world is Llandudno, an old-fashioned seaside town on the North Wales coast, where I took my fella for his 40th birthday this week. I think the average age of people who live there is 65, and clearly time has stood still - there are still shops which sell things like gollywogs (I always scream and point at them in horror when I see them). We always stay in the Imperial Hotel on the seafront (it has creaking floors and out of date decor but it's about the best place there is). This time we even paid a visit to "Mint Condition", the hotel gym, although there were so many rules and regulations - guests weren't allowed to use the changing rooms for some reason so you are expected to get changed in your room and parade downstairs in a white terry-towelling dressing-gown, that it hardly seemed worth it).

The trip was enhanced considerably by the fact that there are so many mad people in Llandudno, who don't seem capable of self-censorship. We heard so many bizarre conversations from weirdos ("she married her childhood sweetheart!", "they didn't order MANGO TEA!", "and he looked the spit of David Dickinson") that it was like walking into an episode of Little Britain or The League of Gentleman. And I love it when ordinary people start talking in Welsh in front of me, because I like to think they are talking about me. Even though it was raining, freezing cold and windy most of the time, it is still a wonderful, magical place.

I have been getting lots of emails (OK, 3) about playing gay waterpolo. I have been four times now, and scored a goal (I think that's what they're called ) on Tuesday. I have never scored a goal before in anything, so it felt like quite an achievement. My swimming is also improving a lot - the instructor didn't shout at me at all last week.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

A friend was visiting at the weekend and wanted to see what Lancaster's gay scene was like so I took him to the only gay pub. As they go it's pretty typical - I certainly don't intend to slag it off as being any worse than any other place. However, that Jean Brodie phrase "for people who like that sort of thing, that is the sort of thing that they like" kept running through my head. As it was Saturday night, it was very full, people everywhere. The music was too loud to have a proper conversation, other than a few screamed inanities, most of which I misheard, so I ended up doing what I normally do and just nodded and smiled like I got it. And you know what, if there's anything I don't get - it's nightclubs, pubs, bars etc. Do people really want to stand up all night, getting jostled around, breathing in cigarette smoke, binge drinking, getting tinitus because of the noise? Is that really what constitutes a good time in our society? Is that the best we can come up with? Are we really so undemanding?

I think I will open up my own nightclub. It actually won't be a club, but will occur in a muddy field (and only when raining). I will serve meths laced with sugar and botulism at £3.50 a shot. People will also have bright lights shone into their eyes to give them permanent damage and be attacked at random intervals for no reason. There will also be a drag queen DJ who insults everyone. The "music" will be the sound of seals being culled, over a heavy bass drum beat played at 1000 decibels. You will have to pay a £5 entrance fee for this. I will call it something like "Probe" or "Juice" and advertise it heavily with colourful pretty flyers showing cartoons of muscle-bound Hungarian porn stars. All the cool kids are going to be there. Any takers?

Friday, November 05, 2004

The L Word (Living TV) just gets better and better. This week's episode involved a love triangle between a bisexual woman who looks like a cat, a heterosexual man and a male-identified lesbian who calls himself Lisa. Now you can't say that's been done before! There was also a storyline involving an attack by Christians on a modern art gallery where Jennifer Beals' character was showcasing some art involving Jesus fucking a woman from behind. It all characterised oh so well what Simon Schama in today's Guardian is calling the DSA (Divided States of America).

Speaking of The Guardian, did it really cause the election to go to Bush? A couple of weeks before the election they mounted a campaign asking its readers to write "oh do go on and vote Democrat" letters to voters in Clark County, one of the swingiest parts of Ohio. The responses to some of these well-meaning missives were quite funny, with enraged Americans referring to the British as "stupid, yellow-toothed pansies" with "pansy-ass, tea-sipping opinions". I think the keyword here is pansy. Although I like The Guardian, with hindsight, their "campaign" was one of the dumbest things they ever did.

I have been continuing playing waterpolo every week. Apparently my choice of swim-wear has caused considerable comment among the other members of the group. "You are invited to a bonfire party. You don't have to wear your sexy white trunks - though that would be a bonus!" went one email I got today. I've also been told that they're very revealing, particularly when wet. Have I unwittingly been bringing shame on the street?

The National Lottery is ten years old this week. I remember exactly where I was and what I was doing when it started (an awful night out in Widnes). I've never bought a lottery ticket or a scratch card. Although I'm atheist, my mother was brought up Methodist and I think she may have transferred some of the values to me accidentally.

It is also Bonfire Night tonight. Fireworks are going off continually outside. Is it just me, or are fireworks really boring and crap? Every year, the entire population of Lancaster (minus me) troop up to the Castle to ooh and aah over a firework display. It's usually really cold, the ground underfoot gets muddy and the badly controlled crowd management means that it takes ages to leave. Maybe you can only see so many firework displays before "the magic" stops working and you just feel a sense of deja vu, remembering all the other firework displays you've seen. In any case, I'll be staying in.

Also, in a shameless attempt to garner more readers for Trash Addict, here is a picture of Victor Racek and "friend" from the book A Taste of Italy by Lucas Kazan. To quote Linda Barker, "I like it, I hope you will too."

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Oh Christ!

Fuck the Republicans. Fuck the bigots and their greedy, world-polluting, so-called Christian morals.

It is very hard not to be angry at how stupid and selfish the majority of people in America are right now. However, I keep reminding myself that it was a close vote and that there are plenty of unselfish and intelligent Americans. Also, there are plenty of thick greedy people in the rest of the world, including where I live (which is only marginally Labour).

As I've written here before, I don't believe in God. And normally I laugh at the potty mental illness thought processes that go with religious beliefs (in Simon Hoggart's "The Cat Who Could Open the Fridge" he cites one Christian who explains what God was doing on September 11th, 2001 - he was apparently arranging traffic jams to stop people from getting to the Twin Towers. Hmmm, makes you wonder why he didn't just cut to the chase and turn the planes into butterflies or something). So the increase and mobilisation of Christians to create a hegemonic right-wing America is somewhat worrying. I blame it on those pyschic tv hotlines - you start people off on softcore non-reality based belief systems and then once their worldview is totally skewed you hook them onto the hardcore God stuff. So think on Brits when you're making fun of Evette Fielding running around an 18th century manor in "Most Haunted" - you're being dragged away from empirical, rational thought in order to become a non-reality based goon.

However, live and let live. If people want to believe in something that doesn't exist, and attribute all sorts of weird things to it, then fine. We're all a little crazy. I wouldn't even mind if every election was decided on by Christians - so long as they actually behaved in a way that was Christian - you know, be nice to people, look after the planet - rather than behaving like the total cunts that they are.

Anyway, thank "god" for trash culture - my refuge from reality.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Rant, rant, rant.

The clocks go back, and apart from "an extra hour in bed", what have we got to look forward to. Darkness before 5pm until February. Who the "eff" (my favourite new word) came up with the idea of putting the clocks back in the UK? It's like, OK, the days are getting shorter and shorter anyway, so let's hurry along the process and rob everyone of another precious hour of daylight in the evenings. If anything, we should be putting the clocks forward! Scottish farmers have been blamed - if that's the case, why can't THEY just change their schedules? There can't be that many of them relative to the population of the UK - it's not like their pigs and crops are going to care.

At the same time, Christmas Day is has been moved forward this year to November 15th - or at least that's what it feels like when looking at the shops which are already full of Christmas Crap. It won't be long before every shop will be playing that old 70s Slade "hit", "I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day". At this time of year, you kind of get the feeling that it IS Christmas every day and Slade's wish has finally come true. Anyway, I'm starting a campaign to get Christmas renamed as "Winter Shopping Festival". And to break all the clocks so they can't be put back.