Friday, December 02, 2005

The boy with a turkey-red face has just come from the solarium which is his second home when he's not mincing around this place, his favourite pub and hunting-ground. He speaks 'dead common' and has been around for years: although young, he started young... He calls his friends by various girls' names, and most of them have the characteristics of a Doris or Mavis. They call him Gloria, and he seems to be the queen bee of his squalid little coterie.

I am re-reading a rather nasty book called Queens, which is also very funny. It was written in 1984 and is therefore over 20 years old, but still has a very telling relevance. Set mainly in various gay bars and nightclubs in London it details the thought processes and conversations of a range of sterotypical "queens" - the screaming queen, the old queen, the straight-acting queen, the northern queen etc. One of the premises of the books is that everyone on the scene is a queen and those who protest that they aren't are the most queenly of all. The descriptions of snobbery, bitchiness, sexual predation and sheer desperation of the characters involved are hilarious but also rather depressing - and it's particularly disturbing when the odd line rings a little too close to home... The only things that would need updating would be the prevalence of the internet, the vast array of recreational drugs available and references to safe sex. I especially like the old queen's reminiscences about gay life during the war "there we sat, ladies head-squares flowing from our pastel coloured chemises, quoting Firbank and talking in a sort of Dada shorthand utterly unintelligble to an outsider." The sad thing about the book though, is that it's a testament to the fact that so often the gay scene is less of a community and more simply 1000 men in search of a fuck.

Oh, and you know what - Jamie4U's back. Fins out where he's been the last 6 months. It's sadly predictable.


Reluctant Nomad said...

Invite Jamie and Elaine round for gin and shots....could prove interesting

mike said...

I wish I still had a copy of that book; I read it at an impressionable age, and bits of it still re-surface in my memory from time to time. Very accurate in its little period-specific details, as well.

I've had this barmy theory for years that "Sheila Take A Bow" by The Smiths was inspired by "Camp Sheila" in the book. It's the sort of thing which I could imagine Morrissey doing, and it's the sort of book I could imagine him enjoying.