The annual Norfolk and Norwich Festival is in full swing right now, an eclectic mix of the performing arts in venues right across the city. One of the more original festival venues is the Adnams Speigeltent in Chapelfield Gardens, a replica Edwardian erection with a handy on-site beer garden to quench the thirst. Last night, we enjoyed a night at the big top with Panti Bliss, the Irish drag queen who’s become a bit of a national treasure in Ireland since her famous exposition of homophobia last year. I wrote a post about Panti’s eloquent speech and remarked at the time that it would change minds. And it has. Panti was no less eloquent last night as she revealed funny, absurd and touching titbits from her extraordinary life. Her social commentary was razor-sharp and the copious consumption of gin did nothing to blunt the edge.
Naturally, Panti has been a dedicated supporter of marriage equality in the Irish Republic. In fact, there’s a national referendum on that very subject today. Let’s hope our friends over the water do the right thing. I’m optimistic. It will mean that across these wind-swept islands, only Northern Ireland* will be holding back the tide of social progress. And a yes vote in the Republic might just shame those dusty old Presbyterians into some positive action. But did Panti get back to Dublin in time to cast her vote?
*In fact, there is no marriage equality in the Isle of Man and Channel Islands either. Except in matters of tax evasion, these off-shore tax havens always have be dragged kicking and screaming into the modern era.
2014 has been quite a year for us and our brethren…
Okay, okay, I tried to make it scan to the tune of ‘The Twelve Days of Christmas’ but failed miserably. Liam’s the musical one, not me. With such a helter-skelter year, I guess it’s it’s no wonder I didn’t get the second book out in time for the festive rush. The good news (or bad news, depending on your point of view) is that it’s with my publisher and will be out in the new year. Liam is hyperventilating at the prospect – my fiercest critic seems to like it. The blog’s done brisk business too with over ninety posts. Here are the top ten hits for 2014 – the usual diet of Turkish delights, smut, divine retribution, emigrey nonsense, men in women’s clothes, internet curios, fine guides and the love that dare not speak its name. I’m nothing if not predictable.
There is Bodrum and Then There is Turkey | The Biggest Cock in Town | The Great Flood | | Gumusluk Travel Guide | Pantigate | The Love Letter | Istanbul Pride 2014 | Desperately Seeking Doreen | Bearded Men in Dresses | Norwich-Over-the-Water
There is Bodrum and Then There is Turkey
The Biggest Cock in Town
The Great Flood
Gumusluk Travel Guide
The Love Letter
Istanbul Pride 2014
Desperately Seeking Doreen
Bearded Men in Dresses
Norwich Over the Water
This was the most popular image for 2014. I can’t think why.
Here’s looking ahead to more pansy adventures in 2015. And the Man Booker Prize. And oh, a few less real life medical dramas would be nice. Happy New Year to one and all.
Homophobia, like racism and other types of irrational prejudice, takes many forms – from the subtle to the violent, the barely perceptible to the deadly. It’s all around us and we are all guilty of it to a lesser or greater extent. But, it becomes farcical when those who never have and never will experience homophobia get to decide what it is and how it affects those who are its victims. I can think of no better rebuttal of this nonsense than the one delivered by Panti Bliss, an Irish drag queen following her controversial appearance on RTE, the Irish TV broadcaster. It’ caused quite a ruckus – deliciously called ‘Pantigate’. It’s no bad thing to get the bigots running scared. Here’s what the eminently sensible, gloriously eloquent Panti Bliss had to say on the subject: