Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Something Like Summmer: Review

As you, Dear Constant Reader, know too well I do not generally read fiction outside of some set criteria: if it's not written by Stephen King/Dean R Koontz or it's not about time travel/freaks of evolution/zombies then generally it's not read.

However whilst Jim was in Boston last week he informed me I simply had to, no excuses allowed, read a book by Jay Bell called Something Like Summer. Given I was in the middle of reading a particularly awesome alternate history novel at the time I was not so keen. But, out of both a trust of Jim's taste and fear of his wrath if I hadn't at least started the book by the time he got home, I decided to give it a go.

The book's story revolves around the life of one gay guy from high school through to twenty-somethingness, from his first crush through marriage and tragedy. The main character, Ben, acts in ways I can barely comprehend, but the story drew me in and I found myself actually empathising with the characters so much that I struggled to read through the embarrassing/dangerous situations Ben got himself into because I find those sorts of situations so terrifying. His on/off romance with Tim is well done, even if I couldn't ever imagine acting the way Ben does at times, with Tim reminding me very much of the character of John Dixon in Get Real.

The mark of a good story is how well it makes you care about the characters and, honestly, by the end of the book there were tears in my eyes which was quite embarrassing as I was sitting at my desk at work! And it did a truly awesome job of capturing those early years in a gay guy's life when he's just coming out and gave me a nice nostalgic glow regarding my own misspent youth.

If you're looking for something that's easy to read, engaging, affordable and touching then this book will tick all those boxes. Check it out!

If you feel benevolent and particularly generous, this writer always appreciates things bought for him from his wishlist

Saturday, July 09, 2011

I'm Not Proud To Be Gay: I'm Ecstatic

I may no longer attend pride parades but that doesn't mean I still don't annoy my better half with my constant obsession with all news and affairs which are little bit gay. And I thought it was time to remember why I feel the need to obsess over them... because if I'm not putting my views of things out there then, as sure as summer follows spring, some other gay guy out there will be putting his view across and passing it off as everyone else's.

There are so many self-hating queers out there. Yes I used the q-word, but I think it's far more all encompassing than any other and is far more interesting a word than using "LGBT". I know, I've alienated half my readers already, but that's the other group driving me mad these days "The PC Queers". But I'll get to them in a moment.

Firstly we have the recent Brian Sewell incident where that self-hater, who has described attraction to the same sex as an "affliction", said Coronation Street had gotten "too gay" (4 characters out of 60 regulars is "too gay"?). Of course the Daily Mail loves gay, or in this case bisexual, men who hate. Just look at their love in with Andrew Pierce (see what I've written on him in the past here). These folks are conservative True Believers who will happily join forces with Satan himself if they felt it would advance their political agenda. They've sold themselves out, and would have no trouble selling us all out. This is why I remain ever careful about newly out Tory politicians, like Nigel Evans, because their past actions have shown them for what they truly are... self-haters. Self-hate leads to real hate which leads to the Dark Side. Or something like that.

Which brings us to the other side of the crazy coin. The PC brigade. Once I thought raging against political correctness was something only the Daily Mail reading, tin-foil hat wearing contingent could get away with. But it's becoming ever more obvious that you really CAN'T say what you want to say in this world. From the banning of the word queer in a LGBT grouping at work, to Scotland's latest cunning plan to ban the word homosexual. Worse are those who fought tooth and nail against East End Pride not because the EDL were behind it but because it might upset some fragile community relations (i.e. piss off some homophobes who just happen to share their leftie agenda).

And then on top of that you have actual homophobes and well-meaning leftie "straight allies" (I use this phrase sarcastically as I think I'd get violent if anyone actually used it in real life) who believe I should be nicer to murderers because people used to not be very nice to homosexuals and the two things are, of course, equivalent.

So I say "not in my name". I'm proud to be gay, queer or homosexual. I'm not disgusting or wrong. And I'm not in need of pity or any more sympathy than you'd give to any other neighbour or friend. My sexuality does not shape my political agenda and my political agenda does not shape my sexuality. I'm a free agent and I damn well wish other gay men would stop speaking for me, because they are about as good at it as Stonewall is at fighting for equal rights.

No excuses, no apologies, and no caveats.

If you feel benevolent and particularly generous, this writer always appreciates things bought for him from his wishlist