Business has been brisk; we’ve been working late to meet immoveable deadlines and we needed a little light relief from our labours. It came in the form of camp and cheery French-language film, The Shiny Shrimps (or Les Crevettes Pailletées).
The story goes like this:
After an Olympic swimming champion at the tail-end of his career makes a homophobic remark on TV to a gay reporter, he is forced to do penance by coaching an amateur water polo team trying to make it to the Gay Games. His charges are unruly, uncompetitive and unapologetically flamboyant. It’s a tough gig but he whips them into shape. Along the way, it’s a journey of revelation and reconciliation to a soundtrack of Bonnie Tyler’s Holding Out for a Hero and Sabina’s Boys, Boys, Boys with a bit of Celine Dion chucked in for good measure.
Billed as a cross between Pride and Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, the film isn’t nearly as good as either and a bit lightweight pathos and politics-wise. Nevertheless, it was feel-good jolly romp at the end of a hard-slog week. Here’s the trailer…
We threw caution to the wind and have a gay old night in old Norwich Town. We are blessed with three bone fide out-and-proud gay bars and one club. Who’d have thought? The Castle Public House was our inn of choice, a popular haunt perched unglamorously on the corner of a ring-road roundabout just outside the city centre. We knew we’d arrived when we spotted their open top Big Gay Bus parked up outside. It’s used to frighten the farmers as it cruises the length and breadth of the county spreading the word. Not quite Priscilla, Queen of the Desert but you get the picture. The bar was a pleasant surprise. We were expecting tired, tatty and torn. We got camp, colourful and clean. The clientele was a manic mix of trendy young things, most of them squeezed into skinny jeans and Primark plimsolls. Metrosexual girls and boys mingled amiably, gossiping and giggling over the latest must-sup alcopop being flogged by the multi-nationals.
We popped across the pretty garden and crept into the glass-fronted club out the back. It was like stepping into a village hall on acid. We didn’t last long. The two old codgers quickly decided they were way too old for the thump, thump, thump and returned to the snug to finish their halves of mild. After a while observing the Norwich queens in their natural habitat, Liam suggested we leave the children to their play and stumble back home for a welcome cup of cocoa. As we strolled past the cathedral, Liam noticed that my ancient legs (the ones that had been given me so much gyp of late) were firing on all pistons. He was right. No pain whatsoever. Remarkable. Sightly sozzled and suspecting divine intervention, Liam looked up at the dreaming spire and spoke to his maker. “Praise the Lord!” he slurred. “It’s a miracle.” Indeed. He’ll be feeding the five thousand next.