Stonewall (2015) Review

It’s not uncommon these days for a film to be totally maligned by a weak trailer, which is why most film studios release about ten different trailers on the run up to a film’s release. But Stonewall seemed to be a special case – within hours of the trailer appearing online Twitter went into meltdown with many criticising the film for essentially ‘whitewashing’ historical events by the insertion of a fictional white male character into the narrative. The trans women, drag queens, butch lesbians and anyone of colour who were involved with the Stonewall riots had been conveniently edited of the story and, in a mood of increasing frustration with gay mainstream media focusing on white gay men (and white privilege more generally), the film was effectively buried and audiences ignored it. Continue reading “Stonewall (2015) Review”

Matthew Todd – Straight Jacket: How to be gay and happy (2016) Review

Sometimes a book comes into your life at the exact moment you need it. It’s a rare thing but it can suddenly change the way you look at your own life and if you’re lucky, it can also start to recalibrate the way you think. When I was browsing in Waterstones last week, having gone in with the strict intention of ‘not’ buying anything, my eyes were quickly drawn to the canary yellow cover of Matthew Todd’s new book, Straight Jacket: How to be gay and happy. I read the blurb on the back cover and it resonated so profoundly with me that I almost dropped it. I ran to the cash desk, paid for it, took it home, and immediately started to read it, gripped from the very first page like a deranged person. Continue reading “Matthew Todd – Straight Jacket: How to be gay and happy (2016) Review”

Looking: The Movie (2016) Review

When I found out HBO was cancelling its short-lived TV series, Looking, due to ‘low ratings’ (as they stated at the time) I was completely devastated. It felt like ABC cancelling My So-Called Life all over again. The comparison between the shows isn’t too far-fetched – brilliantly drawn characters, smart, funny dialogue, and a verisimilitude few television series attain – whether it’s examining adolescence in the mid-nineties or being gay in the noughties. MSCL was brutally cut short after just one series, leaving it’s small but bereft audience with the cliff-hanger to end all cliff-hangers and a ton of unanswered questions. Continue reading “Looking: The Movie (2016) Review”

Life… at 37

Isn’t it funny how age creeps up on us? We spend so much of our time with our heads down just trying to get through our day-to-day work life, our social obligations, and the stress of being busy modern human beings, that we often don’t notice how quickly we’re ageing. But once in a while we have pause for thought and take stock of how we got here and what it means to be older.

I’m happy at 37 – well much happier than I was in my tumultuous twenties when I was constantly worrying about everything: whether or not I would be a successful writer, finding a meaningful career, working my way through a procession of unsuitable relationships. Then somehow we pass into our thirties and things start to settle down and suddenly these things don’t matter anymore. Continue reading “Life… at 37”

Where next for Madonna?

If the Sunday tabloids are to be believed, Madonna is in the midst of a full-blown meltdown that has been characterised by keeping audiences waiting for hours before she arrives on stage, swigging tequila during her concerts, calling her ex-husband a ‘son a bitch’, slurring her way through her sets, and latterly dressing up and performing as a clown. The general subtext of these headlines is the same one the tabloids have been spinning since the early nineties; that Madonna’s career is over and she’s in the last throws of her pop superstardom. Plus ça change, right? As one execrable article after another asks ‘At fifty-seven how long can the Material Girl keep going?’ Madonna fans the world over just roll their eyes and spur our girl on to defy the detractors who have maligned her career since the very start. Continue reading “Where next for Madonna?”

45 Years (2015) review

There are few writer-directors like Andrew Haigh who are willing to consistently explore the devastating side of relationships; whether it’s the casual liaison of two gay men who meet up and have only one weekend together in the acclaimed film Weekend (2011); the dilemma of having to pick between two men you genuinely love in the controversial television series Looking (2014); or the predicament served up in his latest film, 45 Years, in which a couple who are about to celebrate their eponymous anniversary discover something terrible that almost derails their marriage. Continue reading “45 Years (2015) review”

Why we write about ourselves

I recently read an interesting think piece by the author Edmund White about ‘life writing’ and the differences between autobiographical novels and memoirs (and even a third category of writing I’ve never heard of before, novelistic memoirs). White writes about how he uses his experiences in his novel writing – how he has transforms them into something that appeals to a broader audience – but how in his memoir writing he is morally bound to tell the truth. As he writes, “If I lose someone’s friendship because of that, so what?” Quite a hard line but perhaps not quite as hard as Czesław Miłosz, who once wrote: “Whenever a writer is born into a family, that family is destroyed.” Families beware! Continue reading “Why we write about ourselves”

A new adventure

2016 continues to be a year of exciting change and new challenges for me as I leave my job of three years to start a new one in February. It was very emotional to walk away as I loved working with my team and also really enjoyed my job but when you outgrow a role, I’ve always believed you should move on and not stick around growing bored and resentful. It doesn’t help the organisation and more importantly, it isn’t good for you. Continue reading “A new adventure”

Where did all the great gay TV characters go?

Speaking to MPs at a parliamentary event yesterday, Idris Elba addressed the lack of diversity in broadcasting – specifically the lack of ethnic diversity on TV – but he also asked the question, “Are gay people always stereotyped [on TV]?” Pink News, a once reputable online resource which now spends most of its time being offended and outraged, immediately posted a story with the headline “Idris Elba wants more gay characters on TV who aren’t ‘stereotypes’“. Not quite what he said but let’s run with Pink News’ slightly more ‘attention grabbing’ version. Continue reading “Where did all the great gay TV characters go?”