Make Your Home Gaytop Gay

Gay, resilient, easy to clean, good to look at, made to take plenty of knocks and with a life of give and take. Just the ticket for a hunky handyman in a checked shirt, and a steal at five shillings a foot. Could be my Grindr profile. Swipe right, anyone?

It’s a Beautiful Thing

On our recent trip to London we strolled past the Greenwich Tavern, just outside the gates to Greenwich Park. Before it went all gastro-pub with real ales and posh nosh, it used to be a spit and fairy-dust bar called The Gloucester, with weekend drag to amuse the boozers and cruisers. I went a couple of times back in the day. It was fun.

The Gloucester of old featured in Beautiful Thing, a 1996 Channel 4 film. Shot on a rough and ready South London council estate during a heatwave, the screenplay was written by Jonathan Harvey based on his play of the same name and had a fantastic cast of newbies, many of whom have gone on to bigger things. It’s my favourite coming out tale – warm, grounded, gritty and witty – played to a soundtrack of The Mamas and the Papas. Here’s the trailer:

When we got back to the village, I dusted off the DVD and we watched it all over again for the umpteenth time. A beautiful thing indeed.

Tickling the Ivories

It’s our wedding anniversary today – 14 years (and counting) since we tied the proverbial and Liam slipped his ring on my finger. What adventures we’ve had. I have a feeling in my water there’s many more to come but then that could just be a UTI. According to tradition, ivory is the anniversary theme but it’s not exactly ethical. Of late, Liam has taken up his keyboard once again so I guess we’ll have to make do with ivory tickling instead.

What a ride!

Sucking on a Fag

Who knew that there’s an Italian brand of pizza oven briquettes called ‘Faggetto’? We didn’t until the waitress sat us next to a stack of them at Franco Manco, a pizza parlour in South London. We weren’t offended. The waitress wasn’t making some sort of point (in fact, she was delightful). Besides, the casual use of ‘faggot’ and ‘fag’ doesn’t carry the same meaning here as it does over the pond, at least not for my generation. For us, faggot is a traditional British meatball made from pork, and a fag is slang for a cigarette – giving a whole new meaning to the phrase ‘sucking on a fag’, something I used to do several times a day. Until I quit smoking, that is.

Heroes in Heels

Soppy, sentimental old fool that I am, I’m a sucker for a tear-jerker. I cried during the opening Circle of Life scene of the Lion King when I first saw it in the West End many moons ago. And I started to blub during the first few bars of Billy Elliot at the Victoria Palace and carried on sobbing right through to the finale. Pass the Kleenex.

Last year Liam and I watched the film version of Everybody Talking About Jamie on Amazon Prime. There’s a scene midway through – a flashback to the dark days of the early nineties when the gossip on the street was of a ‘gay plague’ and gay men were dropping like flies to a hostile crowd.

A few brave folk fought back, and the rest, as they say…

“Even the Iron Lady couldn’t stop the show.”

It’s a time I remember well. Too well. Who could forget? Here’s the scene that had me bawling.

But then there are tears of joy too. We also saw Six, a musical about the wives of that old lecherous tyrant, Henry the Eighth. Despite their bleak destiny – divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded, survived – the show delivers an uplifting, defiant message. It’s a message that seems to have struck an inspirational chord with young ladies everywhere judging by the audience at Norwich’s Theatre Royal and the flash mob at the Tower of London, where two of Henry’s queens lost their heads. The young faces say it all. Right, ladies, it’s time for your crowning glory. You’ve earned it.

Now that’s how to teach history.