A friend complained the other day about just how frustrating gay dating can be. He remarked on the difficulty of building up a dialogue, with gay guys feeding scraps of information about themselves, or simply not replying to messages at all. We all experience similar problems of communication, so I asked myself what is going wrong? It should be easy; we’re all hungry for sex, friendship, or love, in different ways, but I believe a certain attitude of mind may be wanting: a constant state of awareness of sexual possibilities.
Ever noticed those quaint old book titles, published in all innocence, which can now seem funny, and laced with innuendo? I came across one called, A Book of Blank Maps, and immediately thought it would make an appropriate christening gift for future gay men and lesbians. Finding our bearings as we grow up in straight society is like having such a guide, and the dating game can be like an assault course for the emotions without a grid reference in sight. Use of the imagination is one vital part of the equipment we need. Read the rest of this entry »
As a gay man present at Merton Abbey’s second annual Dark Mills celebration of all things Gothic and Alternative last weekend, I was very aware that among the various subcultures which compose the Goth lifestyle, none is identifiably queer. When it comes to politics, religion or sexuality, Goths seem to exercise not so much tolerance, as neutrality, as if the devil and all his works were Swiss.
Patricia Quinn, the festival’s leading patron ( think pretty Bride of Frankenstein), spoke in the programme of a thriving but misunderstood artistic scene, whose contributions range from “Tim Burton to Vivian Westwood to Siouxie Sioux”. She then advocated giving oneself up to sexual abandon, while the main arena proclaimed a “Festival of Sins”. The bands and the music provided a focal point, around which fashion designers, gothic artists, and movie set innovators swirled in a sea of black robes and purple basques. The costumes alone should make this a magnet to gay taste, so how does it remain so irredeemably straight?
Gay interest was surely aroused by the preview of Shame (the single and video), combining the talents of Gary Barlow and Robbie Williams for the first time since the latter went defiantly solo 15 years ago. Since then to his recent marriage, Robbie has pursued an unevenly successful career, teasing us with ambiguous messages as to his queer credentials.
Now we have a song of reconciliation and a video with clear visual references to Brokeback Mountain and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Barlow and Williams dance holding token females in a bar whilst gazing longingly into each others’ eyes. They both strip to the waist (showing some evident gym work), race joyfully to the top of a mountain ridge with a lake far below it, and then turn their faces back to the sun just as you think they will join hands and jump.
The end of this romantic sequence is perhaps symbolic of what Barlow has admitted may be only an eighteen month joint venture with the band, with Robbie likely to resume his lone career after that. What deserves deeper examination is the gay factor in all this, and how it helps us to decode the hidden meaning of the song’s chorus, “What a shame we never listened…” Read the rest of this entry »