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With convenient connections from the UK, American Airlines can take you anywhere in America. American Airlines flies to the U.S. from the UK up to 15 times a day, including up to four flights a day from London Heathrow to New York/JFK. Once you reach America, the entire country and continent are just one flight away. For information and to book your flight, visit AA.com.
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BEIGE IS EVOLVING Cover: ‘Simon’ photograped by Paul Reiffer www.paulreiffer.com
vol 2 iss 4 Features
“It’s very flattering to be regarded as one of the sexiest men alive”
11 When I’m sixty-five
Peter Burton ponders gay life as a pension looms
13 Cameron’s ‘broken Britain’
Labour councillor Simon Burgess contemplates the UK as the Tories see it
Regulars 30 Fashion
Jumpers & Jackets
Inspirational design in Tuscany
Dubai reaches for the sky and Dallas surprises. Yee-Hah!
24 A chance of happiness: Patrick Gale
Peter Burton talks to the bestselling novelist about his own story
The best reads to go to bed with
26 Are gay men obsessed by labels?
This months cinema and DVD biggies
Beige’s resident thirty and fiftyyear-old writers sip a Starbucks whilst typing on their Macbooks.
Andrew Lloyd Webber’s True love Never Dies
28 The need for visibility: the Stonewall Awards 2009
70 Behind the label
After the death of Stephen Gately, this year’s Stonewall Awards are likely to be even more poignant, finds Torsten Højer
The dazzling array of gins on offer
Hanging on the phone?
39 A suit that fits
Doug Mayo finds a tailor that really measures up
Names, numbers, help and social stuff
42 This is it: Michael Jackson
Josh Winning reflects on the man in the mirror’s final film
Artist Sina Shamsavari exhibits his work ahead of this month’s GFest in London
62 Brotherly Love
The seventh sexiest man alive (according to People magazine) talks to Beige about his role in US drama Brothers and Sisters
78 At home with... Nigel Fairs
Brighton-based actor, novelist and composer Nigel Fairs invites us into his cottage
Editor Douglas Mayo email@example.com Features Editor Torsten Højer firstname.lastname@example.org
Travel Editor Darren Cooper email@example.com Advertising/ Subscriptions firstname.lastname@example.org 0203 006 3094
58 Film Josh Winning Books Peter Burton Behind the Label Mark Ludmon Design Phillip Wentworth
Contributors Martin Lewis Sam Peter Jackson Scott Brown Tony Tansley www.beigeuk.com
Beige UK is published by Next Phase Media Suite 404 Albany House 324-326 Regent Street London W1B 3HH T: 0203 004 8133 F: 0871 714 6996 ISSN 1756-7211
All rights reserved throughout the world. No part of this magazine may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise without prior written consent of Beige UK. The views and opinions expressed by contributors to this magazine may not necessarily represent the views of Beige UK. Beige UK takes no responsibility for claims made in advertisements featured in this magazine. Beige UK can take no responsibility for unsolicited material. Information has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but its accuracy and completeness, and the opinions based thereon are not guaranteed. Disclaimer: Publication of the name or photograph of any person or organisation, articles or advertising in Beige UK should not be construed as any indication of the sexual orientation of such person or organisation or advertiser. (c) Next Phase Media
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© 1993-2009 The King of Shaves Company Ltd. K2695 Beige Advert v1. E&OE
The Azor is no ordinary razor. As easy on the eye as it is on your face, thanks in no small part to great design and its unique flexible head innovation that ensures constant contact between blade and skin. Call it the ‘Technology of Bendology’. Or simply better.
© Mark Vessey
‘TAY’, Brighton and Hove’s new Aids memorial, just prior to the unveiling © Dominic Alves
The south’s first permanent Aids memorial is unveiled
lton John’s husband David Furnish unveiled Brighton and Hove’s brand new Aids memorial in October. Mr Furnish, who is a director of the Elton John Aids Foundation, made the trip to the south coast to ofﬁcially present the memorial sculpture, an 11ft-tall bronze artwork featuring two intertwined ﬁgures soaring upwards in the shape of the Aids red ribbon, to the public. David Furnish and Sir Elton have been long-time supporters of HIV/Aids charities and have raised more than £100 million for the Elton John Aids Foundation. Speaking at the launch, Mr Furnish took the opportunity to remind the gathered guests that the problem of HIV and Aids is not going away. “More than 55 million people have been, or are, infected with this disease,” he said. “Awareness, understanding,
de-stigmatisation and prevention is the biggest message we need to get across and I think an Aids memorial can accomplish all of those things.” The sculpture is the result of two years of work by artist Romany Mark Bruce, 49, who lives in Brighton. “My best friend Paul Tay died in 1992 from Aids-related illness and that has really been my motivation in seeing this project through. I feel very privileged,” said Bruce. “It’s the only memorial of its type in the country and one of only a handful of sculptures in the world dedicated to Aids and HIV victims.” After the unveiling a candlelit vigil was held to remember those who have died from the disease. The project was funded through charity fundraising and private donations. The memorial stands in New Steine, Brighton, in the main ‘gay village’ area of Brighton’s Kemp Town.
David Furnish unveils the memorial with sculptor Romany Mark Bruce © Dominic Alves
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When I’m sixty-five
iddle age has its compensations,’ the novelist and playwright W Somerset Maugham wrote in an article published in Vanity Fair in 1923. ‘You feel no need to do what you like. You are no longer ashamed of yourself. You are reconciled to being what you are, and you do not much kind what people think of you.’ Of course, Maugham, an essentially gay man then approaching fifty, was writing from the perspective of a rich man and then – as now – life was very different for the wealthy. Nevertheless, there is much to be taken seriously in the remark. But, firstly, just when is middle age? Traditionally, man’s allotted age-span is three score years and ten. Seventy years. So, by that count, middle age arrives at thirty-five. However, life expectancy has increased (the number of people living to be a hundred is steadily rising), so, middle age is probably somewhere around forty. That means that, whether I like it or not, at sixty-four and with retirement and my pension looming, I’m officially old. And as an older gay man, I can’t help wondering if there’s a place for me and my kind in the modern gay world. I think it all depends on approach and attitude. It is a common complaint that the world today (by which we really mean the media) is obsessed by youth and that nowhere is that obsession more pronounced than in what is inaccurately referred to as the gay community. And it’s certainly true that aspects of gay life are age specific – let’s suggest generally unsuitable for those over thirty. However, it’s worth remembering that there’s a great deal available to the older that’s not usually available to the younger gay man. I’m thinking of security (a career), stability (an established home) and on-going relationships (friendships as much as partnerships). ‘You are reconciled to being what you are’, to reiterate Maugham. A whole load of the stresses of adolescence and young manhood are vanquished. You’ve grown used to what natures equipped you with and know that while shrinkage (as a result of prostate cancer, for example) is possible increase in size simply isn’t. And although sexual desire doesn’t go away (does it ever?), it is likely to be far less frantic (desperate?) and may be channelled into some kind of permanent or semi-permanent relationship (gay men’s relationships can be both imaginative and accommodating). With advancing years, some may find all passions spent whereas others are as likely to find themselves falling in love again. With the passing years, we will find ourselves mourning the deaths of those close to us. Yet, though desolating, the passing of friends should not be the end of friendships. Here, gay men have distinct advantage over their heterosexual
counterparts. In the twilight world of the heterosexual, couples meet and marry, raise children and stay together until one partner dies. Because heterosexual relationships are so frequently excluding of all but the closest family members, the surviving partners more often than not find themselves alone and isolated. But it can be quite the opposite for gay men. Unless entirely welded to the bar, pub or club life, they can establish and nourish entirely new friendships with others met in a variety of social circumstances (a drinks party, at lunch or dinner, for instance). But it should be borne in mind that friendships – like complicated recipes – need attention and careful tending. It is one of Maugham’s compensations that new friendships are more likely founded on compatibility and shared interests than on burning sexual attraction. Of course, older gay men (I’m not even going to cross the great gender divide) aren’t particularly welcomed in gay clubs and look distinctly out-of-place on dance floors. They (we?) look even more outré if they’ve dressed in the same fashion as the young clientele. But, let’s face it, most men’s clothing (discounting tailoring) is designed for lissom youth and emphatically not for the aged. I must remember to try to dress in a style more-or-less appropriate to my years. But I won’t. I’ll stick to what’s most comfortable – and that’s not appropriate… However, nightlife is not everything – thought it’s perfectly easy to have a good time in bars and pubs – for some reason these seem to lack the demarcation line between the age groups. And cross-generational friendships can be another of the compensations of advancing years. They can have benefits for the older and the younger partners – the former maintaining contact with an ever-changing world and the latter learning from the experience and knowledge of the older. Most importantly, it’s essential to remain interested. Far too many people – gay men included – confronting the aging process and retirement simply give up, settle back and wait to die. Activities and interests are vital if you don’t want to ossify.
© Mark Vessey
As retirement and an old age pension loom, Peter Burton ponders his place in today’s gay world.
comment “In the twilight world of the heterosexual, the surviving partners more often than not find themselves alone and isolated. Here, gay men have distinct advantage”
Perhaps it’s easiest to encapsulate what I’m talking about in two simply rules. Don’t look back. Look forward.
Mr Burton’s opinions are not necessarily those of Beige magazine. If you have a viewpoint on this topic, we would love to hear from you. Write to us at email@example.com with the subject line ‘Letter to the editor’.
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As the Conservative Party, under David Cameron, intensifies its attacks on Labour’s ‘broken Britain’, Simon Burgess, former leader of Brighton and Hove Council and Labour’s candidate to succeed Des Turner as MP for Brighton Kemptown & Peacehaven at the next General Election, ponders the effect of such claims.
e’ve all met people who love to moan The other message pushed by the ‘broken Britain’ mantra is one continually. The music was better when they where he feels the traditional ‘family and its values’ are under threat were young, every party they go to is boring, from ‘big government’. That’s why he wants tax incentives to ‘boost’ and their job is the hardest. Some newspaper marriage. This obsession with seeing anything but the nuclear family columnists do it for a living, grimly declaring as a failure also manifests itself in the choices the Tories have made that the country’s going to galloping ruin, to hell in a handcart. Indeed, of their new European bedfellows, homophobic and reactionary. Such David Cameron, the Tory leader who told his party conference three choices are only re-enforced by their repeated opposition to domestic years ago that “sunshine should rule the day”, is now telling us of equalities legislation as ‘interfering’ and ‘big government’. dark, gloomy clouds over what he calls ‘broken Britain’. Politics, especially in tough times, should be about inspiring hope David Cameron’s ‘broken Britain’ is a cynical ploy by an ex PR man. and taking action. Cameron is preying on our fears, and is proposing He wants the next election to be a vote against ‘broken Britain’ and that we retreat in our ambitions for a fairer Britain. It was Labour who inspired hope 12 years ago, and we created the minimum wage and not a choice about which political party has the best record, or the David Cameron civil partnerships to build a more just Britain, we have cut crime by best ideas for the future. Rather than give us a positive vision of what a third, and trebled international aid and introduced the first climate a Conservative government should do, he conjures up a bogeyman, “To the change act to make Britain a world leader. playing on fears and uncertainty, wanting us to believe he is the only millions of Twelve years on, and in the midst of a recession, it is inevitably choice we have. people in harder for us to inspire that same kind of hope, but as our work The problem is that it doesn’t ring true. Compared to other the world gets harder, it becomes even more important. We aren’t resting countries, is our country really broken? To our counterparts in Europe living under on our laurels with a new equalities bill working its way through and America we are a more engaged and stable nation than twelve the threat of parliament. We are working to improve care services to give elderly years ago, and for the millions in the world living under the threat of persecution, and vulnerable people better support. We are seeking to stretch extreme poverty or persecution, the idea is absurd. We are amongst the idea that ourselves and other countries to tackle climate change. Having one of the most successful multicultural societies in the world, Britain is taken half a million children out of poverty, we want to ensure that among the most progressive on LGBT rights, and we lead the world ‘broken’ is no child gets left behind. on international aid and development. absurd” Cameron wants us all to agree with his caricature of a broken Is Britain perfect? Absolutely not, there is so much to do, especially Britain, of a country that should rein in its ambitions, which should now. We are experiencing a tough global recession, which has hit say that some problems will never be fixed so we should declare home with all of us – Cameron is trying to call it ‘Brown’s recession’ ourselves defeated. But broken Britain only exists if we agree with but that simply isn’t true. We have felt uncertain over the last year, him, and agreeing with him gives him every excuse he would need to hoping that our jobs and homes are secure, and taking more care with do nothing. I don’t want us to retreat, to be ruled by our doubts. I want our finances. Some people have suffered considerably as a result of us to proudly stand and say Britain is playing its part in creating a fairer the recession, but many more would have found themselves out of a world, but we can always do more. job or home if Britain hadn’t acted to stabilise our own economy, and On our economy, I want us to be creating more and better jobs, with led other countries to do the same. Simon The main culprit named by Cameron for ‘broken Britain’ is ‘big new skills for the unemployed and school leavers. On our politics, I Burgess government’ which he says needs to be reduced. Public services have signed a pledge as a Parliamentary candidate to be totally open come near the top of his hit list, that’s why he promoted south east Conservative with my expenses. On our society, I will continue to support the great diversity of MEP Daniel Hannan who went to the USA to describe the NHS as a big mistake and Brighton & Hove, my home city, but we still have to fight for greater equality, for something that the US should not replicate. Labour saved the NHS from being broken by women, for ethnic minorities, for the LGBT community and disabled people. the Tories, who watched thousands suffer on eighteen month-long waiting lists. Labour Above all else, we need to fight the greatest inequality, where too many people has replaced the portacabin school buildings that were the legacy of Conservative on benefits and low-incomes can’t get on in life. That is a fight which we must all ministers, and built SureStart centres to give children a better start in life. Is there more continue to rally behind, as more than any other part of society, they would be left to do? Of course, especially in tackling poverty, but faced with the choice between behind if we become resigned to Cameron’s broken Britain. carrying on the hard work of improving services, or giving up and inflicting huge cuts on vital services, it is clear which one really would lead to a broken Britain. Simon Burgess is the Labour & Co-operative Parliamentary Candidate for Brighton Cameron illustrates his point with tragic stories about individual cases of crime, neglect and abuse that have hit the headlines. We should do everything in our power to stop these dreadful events occurring, but it is misleading and cynical to say that these isolated cases represent a wider truth about our whole society or that by cutting police numbers and imposing universal pay freezes that we would solve those problems.
Kemptown. Visit www.simonburgess.org or join his facebook group (search for ‘Simon Burgess for Brighton Kemptown’). Mr Burgess’s opinions are not necessarily those of Beige magazine. If you have a viewpoint on this topic, we would love to hear from you. Write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line ‘Letter to the editor’.
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fresh! the need for speed
Twenty-nine-year-old Briton Jenson Button is seen here gathering his thoughts poolside at his hotel in Sao Paulo ahead of the October Brazilian Grand Prix where he was to become the F1 World Champion. “It’s really amazing,” Button said after the race. “That was just awesome. I deserve the title after that race! Twenty-one years ago I jumped in a car and I loved winning. I never expected to be world champion in Formula One but I’ve done it today.” www.jensonbutton.com
No more dark rooms These night vision goggles are made with kids in mind, but why waste the fun on them? As the nights draw in, don’t lose out on spying on your neighbours or, indeed, being able to see where you’re treading when out, er, taking a late night stroll on Clapham Common (Kevin Spacey keep quiet). Allows you to see up to 15 metres ahead in absolute darkness, apparently. Crumbs! £99.99 from
Shaving Is Spot On For Problem Skin If you suffer from the dreaded zits, shaving can be a bloodbath of nicks and pain. Ouch. Luckily, the guys at OXY (it’s not just for teenagers, apparently) have come up a shave gel that also tackles spots. “Spot Defence Shave Gel’s low foam formula means you can see just where you are shaving so you are less likely to slice the top off an already inflamed spot and its unique lubricating ingredients let the razor glide easily over your face,” they claim. www.oxy.co.uk
Facebook outs unwitting users In the future, being ‘in the closet’ might not be an option if you use online networking sites such as Facebook or Myspace as a bunch of pesky too-intelligent-for-their-own-good geeks at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have come up with software that uses an algorithm to analyse friendship associations on Facebook and predict whether users are gay. And in initial tests, it’s working. “While it is impossible to test the veracity of every prediction, the students - and their lecturer - were amazed at how accurate the algorithm’s predictions were for males,” reported anthillonline.com.
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A photo finish Boys, it’s time to replace the photo you’ve been meaning to change all year! Most of us still seem to take digital photos, only to leave them hiding on our memory card or, if they make it out, merely publishing them on Facebook. These new digital photo frames from Jessops have 2GB of internal memory, allowing you to store hundreds of your photos, and an auto-rotate function, so you can see your favourite snaps changing before your very eyes. The Jessops 8” and the 10.4 “ LCD Frame are priced at £99 and £139 and are available online at www.jessops.com.
A Bigger You As much as we may deny it men have been fixated on the size of their manhood since time immemorial. How do we know this? It’s not rocket science, just look at the huge global sales of pills, potions and gadgets all claiming to give you those few magical extra inches. Over the past ten years, one device has endured and grown in popularity with men. Looking like some sort of medieval torture device it’s not the one that immediately inspire hope and yet the results from its users seem to offer hope. The Andropenis is a traction device for natural penis enlargement. The natural enlargement occurs due to the relative capacity of tissues to undergo cellular multiplication when they are subjected to a continuous traction force. The traction principle is frequently used in plastic surgery to aid in the generation of new tissue used to cover cutaneous defects, burns and hair loss areas. It’s a principle that has been seen throughout history – just think of the Giraffe Women of the Paduang tribe with their extended necks. The basics of usage are very simple. There is an adaptation period lasting 15 days and an evolution period with treatment lasting from 4 to 6 months. Used for about 4 to 9 hours per day (yes that’s right – it takes time) you are estimated to achieve growth of 0.2 inches per month and the manufacturers claim that those results are permanent. Curvature correction is also possible using the device. Wearing the device under your street clothes takes a bit of getting used to but with proper positioning it’s not really noticeable. So if you are unhappy with what Mother Nature gave you what have you got to lose. The device is available in two versions costing £149 and £199 respectively and there is even a spare parts service should you require it. You can purchase online at www.andromedical.com
A firm grip on something big and hard
PURE Launches World’s First Internet-Connected Bedside Radio Radio manufacturer PURE is launching it’s first internet-connected bedside product: Siesta Flow. It’s got radio reception, sure, plus an array of features such as alarms and a powerport for external USB accessories, but, crucially, it also connects to the internet via Wi Fi. This means all of your chosen bespoke content in PURE’s Lounge (www.thelounge.com) can be accessed remotely via the radio, so you’ll never be bored of your sounds! RRP £99.99. Visit www.pure.com
When a gay journalist comes across a story that involves big, hard things that bulge from your pocket, it’s hard to write in a straightforward manner and avoid innuendo reserved for lesser titles. So we won’t mention [deleted – Ed]. The latest portable external USB hard drive from Verbatim boasts an impressive 640GB of space and will be available in stores soon at £119.99. Huge!
Michael Jackson’s live TV seance Sky has announced announced that Liverpudlian psychic medium Derek Acorah will attempt to make contact with Michael Jackson’s spirit on live TV, to be broadcast this month. “The programmes, both presented by broadcaster and Jackson fan June Sarpong, aim to give fans a final chance to connect with their hero, himself a firm believer in psychic ability,” said a spokesperson. “There is an insatiable appetite to find out more about Michael Jackson. He was an extraordinary figure and the curiosity surrounding his life – and his death – stretches well beyond fans of his music. These programmes will explore whether it is possible to make contact with Michael and will seek to give his fans new insight into their idol.” No exact dates were available at the time of going to press, but the programmes will go out in November. Check TV listings for details.
The smell of toasted sandwiches made in a proper sandwich maker is not to be sniffed at on a cold weekend lunchtime. But those old-fashioned ones we inherited from our parents are, as we know, a nightmare because A), they’re pig ugly, and B), within minutes they’ve become magma-encrusted horrors of hygiene. So get rid of it, and get a Diablo, the brand new answer to perfectly-sized and perfectly-formed toasted sandwiches every time. Titanium-coated with a deep reservoir, the Diablo will toast your toasty to perfection, and works over gas, electric or ceramic hobs, as well as over an open fire! £19.99 from
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fresh! Zero-Emission Two-Wheeled Transport Comes Of Age
This smart-looking scooter may be the future of personal transport in London, according to forward-thinking company e-motive. “This scooter will immediately move mains-powered travel towards the mainstream,” they say, rather confidently, of their electric two-wheelers. Yes, it’s a zeroemission vehicle, yes, it costs as little as one penny per mile to run, and yes, they are road tax exempt. But is it enough to lure motorists away from their 4x4s as we plunge into the depths of winter? If you do buy one, perhaps it’s a good idea to check out our ‘Jumpers and Jackets’ feature in this issue... www.emotivelondon.co.uk
Testing Made Easy
Intense Vodka Give your mate crabs They may look inanimate objects but these robotic crabs from Hexbug are packed with sound and object sensors that enable them to dodge obstacles and run away from loud noises. They also don’t like light. So, a good gift for a friend who lives in a minimalist home with no light and hates music. £9.99 - £12.99 from www.iwantoneofthose.com
New app helps you get home If you commute by rail and you’ve missed your usual train home, a new iPhone app from thetrainline.com allows you to find out when the next one is (or even if there is a next one). It’s a free app, and has lots of other functions, allowing you to plan journeys and buy tickets. The app is now available to download for free from the Apple Store:
http://store.apple.com/uk - search for thetrainline.
When it’s cold, do as the Russians do, which melts down to one word: vodka. Respected label Belvedere Vodka is launching Belvedere Intense, its first ever luxury 100 proof vodka. “Belvedere Intense is 50 percent alcohol by volume and boasts essential attributes needed to create exciting and complex cocktails: Intense is full bodied, smooth, and possesses an intense aroma (notes of crème caramel, dark savory spice and rich bitter chocolate). There are no additives in Belvedere Intense, making it an all-natural and characterful drinking experience,” murmured a spokesperson (I think he’d tried some that morning). Find it at posh offies.
Gay men get a lot of stick from the media due to perceived promiscuity. We’ve seen the press blame us for everything from drunken promiscuity to ignorance to online hook ups. However it’s been shown that a significant factor to the spread of STIs is that people simply don’t know that they have one as few infections have obvious symptoms. If you’re unable to spend hours waiting at your local GUM clinic, then a partial solution to regular convenient testing is now available. www.theSTIclinic.com now offers testing for between one and seven specific infections, including Chlamydia, Gonorrhoea and Herpes. Simply register to receive a test kit, based on giving a urine sample, which is then completed and returned by post. Within a few working days results are delivered by email. In cases where an infection is identified, clinics will automatically get in touch to confirm the results. Visitors are then asked to complete a simple online medical questionnaire resulting in the delivery of the correct medication by return. All medication is provided free of charge by the STI Clinic following a positive result. Individual tests start at £29.95 ranging up to £139.95 for the complete screening test. For busy working guys this home testing solution represents a real health alternative. Having tried the process, we can attest to this being a simple, efficient way of keeping tabs on your sexual health. Home testing kits are available from www.thesticlinic.com
Say goodbye to the blade Those Dyson people are at it again: now they’re redesigning the humble desk fan. The Dyson Air Multiplier™ fan has no blades. Instead it uses Air Multiplier™ technology to amplify air 15 times, expelling 405 litres of cool, smooth and uninterrupted air every second. Ready for the science bit? Air is accelerated through an annular aperture set within the loop amplifier. This creates a jet of air which passes over an airfoilshaped ramp that channels its direction. Surrounding air is drawn into the airflow (this is called inducement and entrainment). And, of course, it minimises the danger of your slicing up your fingers when tilting it. Sounds amazing? It is. Just one question: what happens when the sh*t hits this fan? The Dyson Air Multiplier™ fan costs from £199 and is available now (why they’re releasing it in winter is anybody’s guess).
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hotspot High Aspirations...
New places to be seen on the scene...
London’s Altitude 360
we know it first flung open its (beautifully engineered) doors back in 2007 with a glamourous star-studded cast of, er, David Cameron and then later launched its ‘360˚ concept’ with the help of, er, the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, in October 2008 but now the Altitude 360 is back sporting a brand-spanking new ‘expert redevelopment’. The venue, which markets itself as ‘London’s largest venue with a view’, is now a chic, modern venue – the contrast of its bright white marble floors and jet black leather furnishings provide a blank canvas so you (yes you!) can stamp your mark on it if you want to hire it out to impress your mates. Our guess is that American visitors would be very impressed with it… so if Mr Right has been on your New York favourites list for too long, perhaps now’s the time to invite him over? Then again, we’re told that further Altitude 360 venues are planned for Paris, Geneva, and New York, so he might just be inviting you over if you don’t pull your finger out. Altitude 360 London is located in the heart of Westminster, on the 29th floor of Millbank Tower, SW1P 4QP. The venue offers 360˚ views over London. For enquiries regarding private hire contact Jenny Murray on 0845 500 2929 or email email@example.com vol 2 issue 4 | beige | 19
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hotdates pop rock opera music theatre cinema exhibitions events A-Ha! That’s where you’ve been hiding We never thought we’d be shocked by an A-Ha press release, but the latest one informs that the Norwegian trio Morten Harket, Magne Furuholmen and Paul Waaktaar-Savoy are planning a ‘Farewell Tour’ next year. Hang-on-a-minute! A farewell tour? I thought they’d said a long goodbye about fifteen years ago, but apparently not. Since their 1994 ‘hiatus’, A-ha’s record company claims they’ve sold a further 10 million albums, bringing their total record sales to 36 million. Who knew? This time, they’re promising never to release an album or perform together again, so, if you’re a fan of Take On Me, then book your seats early. But there’s another single! On 2 November 2009, they release Shadowside the final single in the UK to be taken from the hit album Foot Of The Mountain. www.a-ha.com
Homotopia NOT Homophobia
Sun 1st Nov – Mon 30th November 2009 This year the Homotopia festival, taking part in Liverpool, offers three jam-packed weeks of gay culture including an art launch of American artist Laurie Lipton’s latest work ‘Extraordinary Drawings’. (Contemporary Urban Centre until 29th Nov); the appearance of Booker shortlisted author Sarah Waters in conversation (FACT Fri 6th Nov 7.30pm); the world premiere of Jiggery Pokery a funny and moving new play about the life and lonely death of Charles Hawtrey (Unity Theatre Weds 11th – Sat 14th Nov 8pm); Alongside Laurie Lipton’s work at CUC. Homotopia will also be showcasing the work of digital French artist Chris Von Steiner (4th – 29th November, pictured). His work combines the pop icons of his youth with bold colours,elements from movies, music, books and television. He draws on dreams and desires to create digital nightmares. He has participated in group shows alongside artists such as Banksy, Tracey Emin, Blek le Rat and Sam Taylor Wood. plus much more. www.homotopia.net
Topping & Butch, one of the UK’s finest musical comedy double acts are back from a hugely successful run at the 2009 Edinburgh Fringe Festival (“cleverer than they’ve ever been’ harked The Scotsman). ‘Sex, drugs & Harriet Harman’ has them dressed up to the nines in DJs and is sophisticated, up to the minute and packed with intelligent and silly satirical songs and stand-up about life, love, celebrity and politics. Also includes special guests 4 Poofs & a Piano, Maria Tecce, and David Benson. Weds 25th November (Preview 8pm), Weds 2nd, 9th & 16th December at 9.30pm. www.leicestersquaretheatre.com
A Puppini Christmas “A three-course Christmas roast and the Puppini Sisters?” asks your boyfriend, eyes wide open. “Yes,” you reply. “I feel like spoiling you.” Back with their Christmas Special, the all-singing, alldancing, flamboyantly-styled girls will perform for five nights at London’s Pigalle Club with a selection from their repertoire along with some specially re-worked Christmas classics. Let’s hope it’s not a turkey. 23rd – 27th November, Pigalle Club, London. www.thepuppinisisters.com
Sword fight with Morrissey 2009 has been quite a year for Morrissey. He’s toured relentlessly, performing to sold out audiences around the world. His 9th studio album, Years Of Refusal, saw him achieve his fourth UK Top 3 chart debut, and he’s overseen upgraded and remastered versions of his ‘90s works Southpaw Grammar and Maladjusted. To coincide with the release of his new album, Swords, which compiles 18 select songs released as B-sides of his 13 hit singles from his last four albums, Morrissey plays a London gig this month on Thursday 5th November at Alexandra Palace. Expect fireworks! www.Itsmorrisseysworld.com
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Enjoy the finer things in life at Decadence
All at sea with the stars at the Wig Party A drunken sailor suspended from the ceiling, hovering dangerously close to superstar Leona Lewis’s hair and a sexy pirate gogo dancer flirting outrageously with ex-Sugababe Keisha Buchanan? Must be HIV/Aids charity Crusaid’s famous Wig Party 2009. “If I ever had a party this would be my dream party. You have to come to the Wig Party, it’s the best party of the year!” said Leona (pictured below with a friend). “It’s amazing, fabulous, it’s like a little adventure land, I love it! And it’s all for a great cause to support HIV charity Crusaid’s work in Africa!” The event, which took place at Café De Paris on Sunday 11th October, raised more than £40,000. www.crusaid.org.uk
After another successful event in October Decadence is coming back to the stunning No5 venue in London for the eighth time. Billed as an event for those ‘who enjoy the finer things in life,’ the Sunday Tea Dance will offer an afternoon of dining, socialising and dancing into the early hours in the sumptuous surroundings of this spectacular venue. Expect exceptional service too, with beautiful boys in powdered wigs adding a touch of Versailles to this special evening. Sunday 8th November, 5pm – 2am, No5 Cavendish Square (www. No5ltd.com) with DJs mark Bambach and Andrew Elmore
Will Young’s hits are out for all to see Will Young, wherever he is right now, can sit back in his armchair, pour a large whisky and say, “I’ve made it”. Why? Because this month (16th) his record company is releasing the first-ever Will Young greatest hits compilation, imaginatively titled, The Hits. He’s sold eight millions records to date, god bless him, and Evergreen (his worst single by far) remains this decade’s best-selling record. And he’s on tour – hooray – at London’s Hammersmith Apollo on 21/22nd November, and at the Brighton Centre on December 6th (for national dates visit www.willyoung.com).
Chelsea knows what’s Sacred in art Chelsea is again becoming the centre of contemporary theatre this month as Sacred takes to the stage for the fourth year running. Celebrating the best of European and British art, performances range from Cezary Tomaszewski’s take on classic operetta The Merry Widow (5 November) where all parts are played by real-life Polish cleaning ladies to NuCabaret talent Bourgeoise and Maurice (pictured). Until 22 November at the Chelsea Theatre (www.chelseatheatre.org.uk)
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hotdates pop rock opera music theatre cinema exhibitions events
Emerging photographers exhibit at the National Portrait Gallery Four photographers have been shortlisted for the £12,000 Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize, the major international photography award showcasing new talent in portrait photography. Selected anonymously from an open competition, the diversity of styles reflects the international mix of entrants as well as the range of approaches to the portrait genre encompassing editorial, advertising and fine art images. The judges have selected 60 portraits for the exhibition from over 6,300 submissions entered by 2,452 photographers from around the world. The exhibition will run from 5 November 2009 through to 14 February 2010 at the National Portrait Gallery, London. Michal Chelbin for Stas (pictured), Sentenced for Murder, Juvenile Prison, Russia 2009 from the series Locked Chelbin’s shortlisted portrait is part of a larger series called Locked and depicts Stas, a 15 year old inmate of a maximum security prison in Russia. Chelbin spent several days in the prison but only noticed Stas on the last day. ‘He was extremely quiet and distant… I could feel there was an enormous burden on his shoulders. I spent several hours with Stas in different locations in order to build up his trust. When we finished I learned that he had been sentenced for murder.’
100 Artists come together for World Aids Day One hundred artists working in the LGBT arena are coming together for a mutual exhibition to benefit The Sussex Beacon, a Brighton-based charity caring for those living with with HIV/Aids. ‘100 Artists for World Aids Day’ includes the Proud Cock oil on canvas painting by Karen Burt (pictured). Twenty per cent of all sales will go to the charity. Sunday 29th November, Concorde 2, Madeira Drive, Brighton. www.100artists.co.uk
Lord of the Mince Doc/Fest goes Bent The Sheffield International Documentary Festival (Doc/Fest) is one of the biggest events in the calendar for British filmmakers. It has a Bent strand, showing films with a gay, er bent, such as the Danish flick Nobody Passes Perfectly, which explores prcreptions of gender, and Yuri (pictured), featuring a German dancer you escaped East Germany during the darkest years of the divide. Doc/Fest will be held 4-8 November in Sheffield and for the third year running, will be partnered with The Independent. www.sheffdocfest.com
“I, Julian Clary, have done for mincing what Michael Flatley did for Irish dancing. But has the bottom fallen out of the homosexual meat market? I must tour my kingdom to find out… In these difficult times I feel I should go and comfort my people in the provinces. My friend Damien tells me the men are very hard up in Sheffield. I only hope I’m not too late. “I’m 50. The shame of it. This will be an intimate evening – a celebration, no less, of my twentyfive years in the camp spotlight: how I got there and why I refuse to leave. Come and see me before they put me in a home for tired old knackers”.We coulnd’t have put it better ourselves, Julian. Leicester Square Theatre, London, Thursday, 19th to Sunday, 22nd November, 0844 847 2475
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29/10/2009 12:38:21 28/10/09 14:45:33
Patrick Gale ÂŠ Mark Pringle
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Patrick Gale A good chance of happiness
With two books published within the last six months, novelist Patrick Gale tells Peter Burton about the relationships in his fiction and his life.
ince publishing his first novel, The Aerodynamics of Pork (1986), Patrick Gale has published a book around every eighteen months. Now in his late forties, he has had two books published in this year – a novel, The Whole Day Through, and a collection of short stories (his second), Gentlemen’s Relish. To ensure that the reading public are well aware of the two books, Gale has been stomping up and down the country – signing books, doing readings, giving interviews – since the summer. When we caught up, he was in Bath, getting ready to take the train to Ilkley in Yorkshire. “It’s been a hectic year,” he confided. “It rather took me by surprise – having two books out in one year. I think it was my publisher, HarperCollins, wanting to cash in on the Richard and Judy after effect.” Gale’s 2007 novel Notes From An Exhibition was on the shortlist for what proved to be the final Richard and Judy Book Club on the now defunct Channel 4 programme. “I was a perfectly respectable mid-list author and then Richard and Judy came along and bumped me to the top of HarperCollins’s sales chart,” he admits. “I think it fairly amazed them. The book had sold a healthy amount in hardback but it certainly wasn’t a bestseller. Richard and Judy gave me sixty thousand readers I hadn’t had before.” The Whole Day Through, Gale’s most recent novel, is set in Winchester over the course of twenty-four hours. The book focuses on Laura, returned to England to care for her elderly mother after some years living in Paris, and Ben, a doctor specialising in HIV and AIDS, moved back to the city to look after his Down’s syndrome and gay – brother. It is an enormously engaging story about love regained and love lost and, most of all, acceptance with grace of what life offers. Gale has acknowledged that The Whole Day Through was inspired by the David Lean film of Noel Coward’s Brief Encounter. “It’s long been one of my favourite old films and, interestingly, I prefer the film to the original play, Still Life, upon which it is based and which I’ve seen a couple of times. I don’t think the play works as well as the film which I think goes right to the heart of a peculiar kind of English romanticism which is essentially about regret and good behaviour. It’s not about wild romance, it’s not about Anna Karenina risk-taking. I mean, the couple never take their clothes off and yet you get a tremendous sense of her hovering on the brink of something – divorce – which was barely talked about in polite society when that film came out. “So I wanted to pay an homage to that story and try to take on the challenge of writing a twenty-first century version of it. But it’s not enough anymore as a bar to happiness. So I made my couple into carers as well, which certainly is a bar to romance. “I also wanted to put in little sly references to make sure that people could see what I was up to and that’s why I had Bobby, the
“At the risk of sounding sentimental, I do always make sure that my gay characters end up with a good chance of happiness. It’s to make up for decades – if not centuries – of gay and lesbian characters dying or committing suicide”
doctor’s gay brother, working in the railway station café making coffee as a reference back to the film. “It’s interesting that Bobby, disabled and gay, is both an entirely joyful character and that he as an entirely happy outcome. “It’s my only sop to gay politics when I’m writing fiction,” Gale acknowledges. “At the risk of sounding sentimental, I do always make sure that my gay characters end up with a good chance of happiness. It’s to make up for decades – if not centuries – of gay and lesbian characters dying or committing suicide. I think it’s about time… “But I’ve also always likes shining a light into the corners of life that aren’t written about much and you don’t come across many disabled or mentally handicapped characters in mainstream fiction, let alone ones who happen to be gay. Bobby ticks two boxes in a rather playful way.” Gale’s latest book is Gentlemen’s Relish, a collection of sixteen short stories, a large percentage of which are either ghost stories – including the comically chilling ‘Cookery’, the erotically charged ‘Hushed Casket’ and the sinister ‘The Excursion’ – utilise gay themes and characters to striking effect. Christmas and ghost stories go rather well together. “It’s not just Christmas,” Gale exclaims, “it’s the time of the year, the drawing in of the evenings. You start wanting to snuggle down by the fire and somehow being scared is part of that winter feeling. Not that all of the stories in Gentlemen’s Relish are scary, but short stories do definitely raw on my dark side.” Patrick Gale is now happily settled in a civil partnership. Does he think it important for a writer to be in a stable relationship? “I do think writers need stability,” he says. “Of course, you could get that from living with your elderly mother. I mean, I don’t think it has to be a sexual relationship. However, I’m very lucky in that I do have a full marriage, effectively. “But I’ve always felt that most creative people need to be able to live a quiet life for the most part because whatever their creativity is focused on – be it writing novels or writing symphonies – it needs to be the most exciting thing in their day and with happiness as a given in the background. “I simply don’t believe that having alcoholic bust-ups can be a complement to creativity. I think you’d just burn yourself out.” Gale pauses for reflection. “I don’t want to be insulting to my hubby, but he us a great source of stability to me. But, funnily enough, since meeting him, my novels have become increasingly darker… “I think that’s a very healthy sign,” he concludes, “I think it means I’m feeling very secure.”
The Whole Day Through by Patrick Gale is published by Fourth Estate at £7.99 Gentlemen’s Relish by Patrick Gale is published by Fourth Estate at £14.99
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30 v50 are gay men addicted to labels?
In an ongoing series, two men, one aged thirty, the other fifty, air their views on aspects of gay life.
WAGAMAMA ANYONE? by Sam Peter Jackson I’m sitting at the computer thinking ‘just do it!’ It’s hard for me to get into the mind of a shallow materialist whilst staring at my Mac and taking pondering swigs of Starbucks. Careful, I don’t want to get any of it on my new Superdry shirt! So why is it that gay men have a reputation for being label-huggers? Is it simply our response to being prime targets of advertising due to our alleged large disposable income? And if this is so where the hell is my large disposable income? This makes me mad, so I call the Gay Stereotypical Society to enquire about details of how to apply for it. The automated phone system answers. “Press 1 to pre-order the new Kylie album, 2 to apply for an open relationship or 3 for your big gay disposable income.” I press 3 and speak to Matthew, who instantly tells me about the great sex life he used to have with his ex-boyfriend and then asks me to allow 28 days after registering at my local bank as a certified homosexual. Great. I’m the homo who saved Christmas. But why would a disposable income instantly mean a penchant for labels? Is there a case to be made for unused paternal instincts that we redirect towards our spoilt materialistic inner child or is the scene’s obsession with short term hedonistic thrills over longterm happiness (as a possible remainder of times when the concept of long-term happiness wasn’t so readily available for gay men) to blame for our love-affair with Selfridge’s? Or is a lack of blue-collar role models making our community of Eltons and Oscars over-identify with all things bourgeois and fabulous? In any case all this talk of brands and materialism has exhausted me. Wagamama anyone? www.sampeterjackson.com
Fashion guru Karl Lagerfeld. (This image is used purely for illiustration purposes and is in no way intended to insinuate this man is gay or into fashion).
“Hello, is that the Gay Stereotypes Society? What do you mean ‘please press two for an open relationship?”
50 BLOOD SWEAT AND PROFIT by Tony Tansley
Throughout the sixties and seventies, Fred Perry, Doc Martens, Burtons, Hardy Amies, Tuf, John Collier, Willerbys and Hai Karate were some of the iconic names on the high street and predominently made in Britain. ‘Made in Britain’, during this time, became the only endorsement necessary to buy quality and fashionable clothes with high profile campaigns on TV and in magazines. Today, our nonsensical addiction to buying labels is not with fashion, not with style, not with quality, but with each other. Just like ageism on the scene, gay men can be ruthless. Wear the wrong label, choose the wrong accessory and you become an outcast. I like to label it ‘fashionism’. Almost everything you purchase today is made in China or the Far East. Your shirts, underwear, trainers, sweaters, belts, socks, bags, and sunglasses are processed for a fraction of its sale cost and more than likely by some poor kid working a 70-hour week for the price of a meal. Of course we have no social conscience as long as the product we buy is perfect and has the right name attached. Blood, sweat and profit. One of my friend’s outfits consists of a Gucci hat, bag, belt, coat and jeans, but the lot was purchased in Thailand for £60 and looks amazing. Another friend is fitted head to toe with original Prada, with the total cost, purchased in UK, in excess of £2600. There is only one real thing about labels and that is ‘the label’. Pop down to your local market and you could probably pick up a roll of them for a fiver to sew in yourself. As they say, it’s just a load of old bollocks … sorry, I mean Prada! www.abstractdreams.org
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The Need For
Gay Visibility The Stonewall Awards 2009 This year’s Stonewall Equality awards will be particularly poignant following the deaths of Stephen Gately, Ian Baynham and Kevin McGee, and the unfolding drama surrounding the public’s reaction to them. “It’s now of utmost importance to get positive images of gay people out there,” Stonewall’s Gary Nunn tells Torsten Højer.
en years ago, in 1999, a 23-year-old Stephen which suggested Stephen died because of his ‘glittering, Gately, riding high on six years of success and hedonistic, celebrity lifestyle’ (or read, ‘because he was gay’). sixteen consecutive top five singles in the UK The article, published the day before Gately’s Dublin funeral, with Irish boy band Boyzone, came out in a storm sparked a record 25,000 complaints to the Press Complaints of publicity. Having been tipped off that a ‘friend’ Commission over its alleged anti-gay remarks. Unwittingly, was going to sell the story of his homosexuality even after his death, Gately’s powerful gay rights activism to a tabloid, presumably embellished with as many sordid details rides high. as would allow, he made the brave and difficult decision to preStonewall, the gay equality organisation, agrees. Boyzone empt the revelations and do it himself. In The Sun. were already nominated for an award this year, in the What followed surprised an entire generation of gay ‘Entertainer of the Year’ category, before Gately’s death (at the activists, teenage girls, Fleet Street workers and White Van time of writing organisers were still pondering what form that Men: The Sun vowed to award should take in light reject its homophobic of his untimely demise). reporting agenda from “Stonewall has a set that point on. “From now of agreed priorities, and one of them is a fair on the Sun will not reveal representation of gay the sexuality of gays and lesbian people in the … unless we believe it media,” says Gary Nunn, can be defended on the Communications Officer grounds of overwhelming at Stonewall. “We want public interest,” it stated. to recognise the positive “If gays choose to come contributions of gay out, we will report it if we people to the British way feel it is newsworthy or of life in all sectors and relevant. Otherwise, we show young people that will not invade the privacy sexual orientation is not a of gay people.” barrier to success”. Whether or not The Sun made true of its promises This, the fourth annual is a matter of debate – Stonewall Awards, is it’s true, however, that the to be hosted by Mister publication has at the very Fashionista himself, Gok least toned down its hate Wan. Last year, One Foot speech - but one thing is in the Grave actor Richard clear: Stephen Gately had Wilson took the reins; The late Stephen Gately with Ronan Keating achieved a wonderful thing before that TV presenter that day, triggering a (partial) U-Turn in anti-gay policy by the Anthony Crank and actor Sir Ian McKellen were the main men, most widely read and arguably most influential newspaper in in 2007 and 2006 respectively. the land. “Stonewall’s main objective is to get positive images of A few years later, Will Young’s New Of The World ‘I’m gay people out there, and this can only be done if there’s Gay’ headline provoked much less of a stir, the pink road a story to tell,” say Nunn. “Involving people like Gok Wan of ‘modern’ popsters coming out in tabloids already ensures the Awards – and the nominees who have all made paved by Gately. Ditto N*Sync’s Lance Bass and Westlife’s a positive contribution to gay equality – get coverage in the Mark Feehily. mainstream press.” Boyzone’s comeback-era single, Better, released in 2008, Indeed, last year, the event was awarded column inches is tagged as the first video by a boy band to feature a gay in The Times, the Guardian, the Mirror, Metro, Time Out and couple. In it, a more grown-up Gately caresses and flirts the Evening Standard, as well as across the board in the with another man. The clip, which was beamed into the gay media. homes of millions of MTV-addicted teens, remains one of a What’s surprising when you look at the nominees this handful of mainstream pop videos in existence that show year is that it’s the usual suspects that appear yet again. same-sex affection. Paul O’Grady, Check; Sarah Waters, Check; Beth Ditto, Check; And then there’s the already infamous Jan Moir ‘GatelyStephen K Amos, Check; Chris Bryant MP, Check; Johann gate’ column, which appeared last month in The Daily Mail, Hari, Check. OK, so there’s no Will Young this year, or Graham
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Stonewall Awards 2009
Nominees Publication of the Year Financial Times G3 Metro People Management The Times Politician of the Year John Bercow MP Ben Bradshaw MP Chris Bryant MP Lynne Featherstone MP Baroness Turner of Camden Writer of the Year Dustin Lance Black (Milk) Geraldine Bedell (The Gulf Between Us) Paul O’Grady (At My Mother’s Knee…) Nicholas de Jongh (Plague Over England) Sarah Waters (The Little Stranger) Entertainer of the Year Stephen K Amos Boyzone Beth Ditto Mary Portas Russell Tovey Sports Award of the Year Allison Fisher Michael Hill HotScots FC Hope Powell Kings Cross Steelers RFC
Westlife’s Mark Feehily and boyfriend Kevin McDaid at last year’s Stonewall Awards
Norton, but the list does smack home the idea that notable gay people who are succeeding in their chosen sector are limited to little more than a handful. “You’re right that there really aren’t that many gay or lesbian role models out there,” admits Nunn. “What we’re trying to achieve, especially with lesbian visibility, is to nominate those who are out and doing well to encourage other women to feel comfortable in coming out. Hopefully in years to come there’ll be a lot more prominent gay and lesbian people to nominate. “Stephen K Amos, the comedian, is a good example of someone ‘out there’ on his own. He has spoken to the mainstream press about being an out, black, male comedian and how he’s pretty much on his own on the circuit”. But is all visibility good visibility? Some might argue that Gok Wan repersents a stereotypically effeminate gay man. Similarly, Chris Bryant MP was ridiculed by the press in 2003 when he was discovered to have solicited anonymous sex and posed wearing only underpants on a gay dating site, Gaydar. Isn’t there a danger that the tabloids could ‘jump’ on this , asking
why Stonewall is celebrating gay stereotypes and gay men involved in very public sex scandals? “It’s certainly an interesting point,” says Nunn. “The message Stonewall sends out is that people perform better when they can be themselves. When Gok Wan is presenting his TV show he is himself, and that’s nothing we would like to criticise. These are people who are being themselves and are achieving. Adhering to certain stereotypes isn’t always a bad thing. But all visibility is not good when it comes to certain shows, such as Al Murray’s Gay Nazi, or Horne and Cordon’s tired gay jokes, it’s just not funny. They use gay people to provoke cheap humour. I think the general public is past that now.” Stonewall’s 2009 Awards ceremony will be held at London’s glitzy V&A on Thursday 5 November.
Journalist of the Year Jane Czyzselska (Diva and freelance) Phil Reay-Smith (Freelance, The Times) Johann Hari (Attitude and The Independent) Joan Bakewell (The Times) Janet Street Porter (The Independent) Broadcast of the Year ‘Corrective Rape in South Africa’ (Samira Ahmed Channel 4 News report) Economy Gastronomy (BBC 2) Find me a Family (Channel 4) FYI Radio (lesbian and gay youth radio station) Pobol y Cwm (BBC Cymru)
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On weekdays, when you leave him wrapped in the warmth of the duvet to brave the weather eager to brrrr you on the way to the tube, you might as well be enveloped in the fanciest and comfiest of outerwear. Here’s a good selection to please all wallets and tastes, all keen to help you keep the warm in. Red Herring Puffer Jacket £50, Black Foam Coated Hooded Bomber £45, available at Debenhams.com
Coat £300, Jacket £280, available at www.austinreed.co.uk
J by Jasper Conran Leather Biker Jacket £185, Hooded Zip Through £48, available at
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Reindeer zip-thru cardigan £25.00 (in store mid November) available from Primark Menswear
Kenton Jacket £59.99, available at www.republic.co.uk
and Belted black trench coat £17.00 available from Primark Menswear.
Camel wool and cashmere double breasted overcoat, available from Gieves & Hawkes £tbc www.gievesandhawkes.com
Balham Knitwear £34.99, available at www.republic.co.uk
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Grey wool herringbone DB overcoat with shawl collar knit, ÂŁtbc, available at Gieves & Hawkes
Blazer grey peacoat,ÂŁ99, available at Moss www.moss.co.uk
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jumpers and jackets
Coat ÂŁ325 Jumper ÂŁ60 available at www.austinreed.co.uk
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jumpers and jackets SoulCal Bubble Jacket II £39.99, available from Republic www.republic.co.uk
Everest Jacket £79.99, Richmond Grey Jumper £34.99, available at www.republic.co.uk
Belted trench coat £17.00 available from Primark Menswear
Brown Leather Biker Jacket £145, available from Next 34 | beige | vol 2 issue 4
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Coat £250 available at www.austinreed.co.uk
Savoy Taylors Guild overcoat, £179, available from Moss www.moss.co.uk
Hayes Knitwear £39.99, available at www.republic.co.uk
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Suit That Fits.com represents a revolutionary new approach to tailoring, allowing anyone to custom design their own individually tailor-made suit, from the traditional to the daring, all at an off the peg price. It used to be the case that tailor made suits were the last bastion of the elite, but international manufacturing and internet commerce has now made these garments available to all. The company was established by friends Warren Bennett & David Hathiramani. Their interest in suits was sparked when Warren had a fine woollen suit made whilst doing voluntary work in Nepal in 2005. On returning to the UK, Warren met up with old school friend David and together they set about applying their knowledge of software and engineering to simplify and improve the business of tailoring. They had soon set up a stall at Hampstead markets, selling two suits within the first twenty minutes. They haven’t looked back since. Their unique online system allows you to build a suit from the ground up from a range of the finest quality materials such as silk, linen and cashmere. All in all over forty billion style, design, fabric and colour combinations are possible. As daunting as that may sound, I went along to test drive the service and was blown away by the simplicity of the process. The first step involved going online and registering for an appointment at one of their consultation rooms across the UK. I chose one in Piccadilly Circus, but if you are in one of the major centres in the UK, chances are A Suit That Fits are there. Each consultation lasts about 45 minutes. My consultant asked me to bring a favourite jacket
“Technology and a bit of British ingenuity have given us men the chance to feel great in something created especially for us.”
fits a suit that
Want a suit that fits like a glove, whatever your shape? Doug Mayo, who dresses to the right (should anyone be measuring him up again), finds that it’s all in the customer service... and a unique online process.
The Picadilly consultation space
with me to give her an idea of my style. It didn’t take long to sit down and pour over the fabric options choosing everything from the exterior and lining fabrics down to the button styles, and other trimmings. The process was never rushed and seemed very natural and exceptionally easy. Measurements were taken and entered into my online profile to be stored. One of the great things about the process is that if I require a second suit I can order the whole thing online using the measurements stored. Consultation over I received a text message thanking me for my business and telling me that my suit would be available in approximately four weeks. About a month later, a text arrived asking me to come and collect my suit. This time I nominated to visit them near Liverpool Street. Once again, the process couldn’t have been simpler. I tried on my suit (which fitted like a glove) and their consultants ensured that everything was just right. Twenty minutes later I was back on the street suit bag in hand with my very first tailor made suit. It’s so much in tune with my character and I love it. On the surface stylish and conservative with a flashy lining and little quirky touches in the stitching of the button holes. It’s not just suits that can be tailor made though. The site also offers dinner suits, shirts, jackets and overcoats. The boys are obviously doing something right. In the past two years they’ve been the recipients of The Retail Week Technology Award in 2009 and several other national business awards. The whole concept is just so simple and affordable. Suits start at £150 and shirts at £75, so you can structure your garment around your budget without too much hassle and still come out with something that is incredibly unique tailored just for you. No longer is this type of quality and service confined to Saville Row. Technology and a bit of British ingenuity have given us men the chance to feel great in something created especially for us. www.asuitthatfits.com vol 2 issue 4 | beige | 39
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terracotta floors, exposed stone walls and bedroom flooring created from waxed reclaimed wood. Property developers RealItalia have worked in collaboration with Lajatico born architect, Alberto Bocelli (brother of classical singer, Andrea Bocelli) to create this environmentally friendly building. The town has a secluded feeling yet is only 30 minutes from the Tuscan Riviera with its choice of spectacular beaches and is close to the historic villages of Volterra, Siena and the cities of Florence and Pisa. Apartments range from ÂŁ200,000 to ÂŁ420,000 and can be viewed online at www.realitalia.co.uk
ille Degli Olivi, in Lajatico, Tuscany, Italy is a rustic 18th century stone house which overlooks the stunning surrounding countryside. It is located in the heart of the village, perched on a cliff, with a large olive tree garden and a heated swimming pool. The property is being developed to create eight 1, 2 and 3 bedroom apartments with a heated swimming pool and solarium. This eco-friendly development has focused on the sourcing of materials locally. The common staircase boasts an original vaulted ceiling and the apartments have solid wooden doors with 18th century style iron hinges created by local artisans. There are hand made traditionally produced
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Dubai Culture Clash
Scott Brown scratches the veneer of Dubai and finds that sand can take the shine off the polish after a while...
‘m trying to find the right words to describe Dubai. I’m trying to find just one line or sentence to encapsulate all that it is, all that it holds dear and all that it stands for. A city without a soul is too easy. Leave it with me awhile and I’ll come back to it. I first reviewed Dubai for another publication back at the start of the financial crisis in 2008, and I think, like many people at the time, I kinda threw the baby out with the bathwater. Contrary to my, and many other people’s predictions, Dubai survived the credit crisis well and came out on the other side quicker and in better shape than most. The theme of my last piece was that Dubai, more than anywhere else in the world, survives on a ‘build it and they shall come’ philosophy, and in every possible way this is still true today.
But Dubai has a new problem. The clash of the cultures that reside in Dubai is now becoming more apparent than ever before. There has always been a perception that Dubai has a lot of rules and laws and to not adhere to these rules would be met with harsh punishment. And that is true, kind of, but the rules were meant more as a deterrent than an enforced policy. But it seems the envelope has been pushed too far. The myth that Dubai is a crossroads of the world’s cultures is just that: a myth. The reality is that people live in enclaves with their own kind and rarely mix with others. And now, increasingly, the locals are vocalising their intollerance of drinking, partying, girls with shoulders on show and boys who are too close to other boys. With this intolerance voiced, the police are now enforcing things that were once overlooked. The secret truth is that the Emirati’s don’t really want westerners and our sinful ways here anymore. But wants and
needs are very differnet things though, so tolerance must be practiced if Dubai is to flourish. It’s a bitter pill to swallow and a hard compromise to make. Luckily, compromise is on the table. A vulgar flaunting of affluence is actively encouraged in this city. And rewarded. Do what the masses do and your sins will be over looked. Come spend your money, support the local economy and all is forgiven. Affluence. Opulence. Ostentation. Words to live by. A guide to how people should act, how they should dress, where they should go and what they should do. Valet park your car in any hotel and you will see an array of Ferraris, Lamborghinis and Aston Martins taking pride of place. If you need a place to sleep then there is the seven star Burj Al Arab, the gaudy Atlantis, and coming soon, the world’s first Armani Hotel. If you want a drink then head to the Cavalli Club, it’s decked out with Swarovski crystal. Nibbles can be had at any one of the world’s finest restaurants that abound this fair city. Ramsey. Nobu. Oliver. Locatelli. All are run of the mill here so you should probably be seen in one of the more expensive places. And the shopping! Too many designers to shake a stick at, so head to Fashion Avenue in the newly opened Dubai Mall and you will find everything your heart desires. There is an Armani Café there too, just in case Nero’s doesn’t cut it. But I mock too much. I’m torn. Torn because the people who behave in that way and who demand such actions are few and far between. Torn as I actually like Dubai, and despite this desire for opulence, a great time can be had for those of us without an oil wealth burning a hole in our pocket. Clubs are aplenty and Paul Van Dyk, Paul Oakenfold and Tiesto all play here regularly. Now winter is
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upon us (it’s 37 degress and sunny) we see the gig season kicking off too, with November and December playing host to The Killers, The Kings of Leon, Beyonce, Alphabeat, Timberland, Doves, Happy Mondays, Aerosmith and The Backstreet Boys, to name but a few. Architecturally, Dubai is a vision of what man can achieve. Buildings soar in every direction; they meet, they touch, they ‘kiss’; they stand in every conceivable colour, size and shape. The coastline is ever changing with The Palm, The World and The Universe all changing not only Dubai’s geographical presence, but also the face of the earth. The Burj Dubai is now complete and sits proudly above everything else in the city, the region and the world. Opening late 2009, the views across the Arabian Gulf from the top of the tallest building in the world will be truly breathtaking. And yet the Burj Dubai is only one of hundreds of projects being completed right now, all of which ensure that this ever changing city offers up a new hotspot or must see attraction on a seemingly weekly basis. Old Town (which is brand spanking new) is a whole area that is just now coming alive, a great place for shopping, souk browsing, casual dining and bar hopping. Left Bank, The Hive and Calabar are all here and all worth having one or two thirst quenchers in. The Dubai Fountain is also in Old Town, which is a worthy addition to a city
that already has too many quirky attractions. For first timers, the Mall of the Emirates houses Ski Dubai, and Dubai Mall has the indoor ice rink, both of which can be reached on the new Dubai Metro, which opened in September and is the world’s longest driverless train network. You see, Dubai is a fun; an interesting and unique sunshine break destination. Socially and asthetically it is awe-inspiring and it gives anyone who wants it a real taste of luxury, quality and fairytale all rolled in to one. But I remain torn as to how much I enjoy it; how much I enjoy being tolerated for my sins as opposed to welcomed for who I am. Scratch beneath Dubai’s veneer and you’ll find very little. Sand takes the shine off the polished glass after a while. She looks really good, but get close and you’ll find she’s a little cheap (the only thing here that is, by the way). The truth is that Dubai needs the rest of the world more than the rest of the world needs Dubai. And with cultural sensitivities coming to the fore the people of Dubai need to fall on one side of the fence or the other. In the meantime, she’s worth a visit. Emirates holidays have cracking deals and Virgin and BA have special offers all the time. If it’s winter sun you want, then Dubai is probably your best bet. She may be a hypocrite in a fur coat with no knickers, but she’s certainly worth a ride (maybe just the once mind), but I promise you won’t regret it.
Architecturally, Dubai is a vision of what man can achieve. Buildings soar in every direction; they meet, they touch, they ‘kiss’; they stand in every conceivable colour, size and shape.
Left to right, top to bottom: Dubai skyline © Britrob Dubai Mall has a large number of gold and jewellery shops that are clustered together in a set of ‘alleys’. It is a somewhat like an oldstyle souq, except air-conditioned and much more glossy © Peter Pedronet Watching and sailing on the Abbras boats on Dubai Creek © BritRob In Atlantis Dubai at Palm Jumeirah © Stefano Sartor Bracelets at the Dubai gold market © Joi Ito The Burj Dubai - the world’s tallest building © Joi Ito
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Luxury Travel to the Far East Visit our website for inspiration or contact one of our specialists to tailor-make your dream holiday
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hate to admit it but my expectations of Dallas as a tourist destination weren’t exactly high but I was pleased to be proved incredibly wrong. After a week in Dallas indulging in everything the city had to offer I was very near tempted to extend my stay.
THE BASICS Dallas is the ninth largest city in the USA. With more than 29 million visitors annually, tourism is big business. The population of the Dallas/Fort Worth area is 6.1 million. Travel by air from the UK takes just over 9 hours and once you arrive you’re looking at a 40 minute cab ride to the city centre. It’s worth knowing that unlike some other US cities Dallas does not have a flat airport cab fare system so you’re paying by the metre. It’s not hugely expensive, though.
ACCOMODATION During our stay we had the luxury of staying in and viewing several properties around the Dallas area. A lot of the big hotels aren’t in the central downtown area so walking to bars and clubs at night is not that easy – in most cases expect a cab fare of $5 - $7. Worth noting as it becomes tricky to dash out and grab something to eat or small conveniences unless you are prepared to use the hotels in house facilities. Properties we stayed at included the Wyndham Love Field – a mid-range airport hotel which has almost everything you could want from a hotel within a short cab trip from the downtown area and about a $15 cab ride from the mall. The Fairmont Dallas is a slightly more upmarket hotel in typical Fairmont style. There were two properties that really stood out at opposite ends of the spectrum for me. The Kimpton Palomar is a newly renovated property that has the style and feel of The W Hotel
Group but on a more expansive scale. Your every whim is catered for and the property oozes opulence on every level. With impecable LGBT credentials this chain really pulls out the stops to get your business. You’ll also be hard pressed to get a better meal (see our review of Central 214). www.kimptonhotel.com
The second that caught our eye was the Daisy Polk Inn. A exquisite B & B located within walking distance of most of the bars on Cedar Springs Drive. The main house has three beautifully decorated bedrooms with a well appointed sitting and dining room downstairs (breakfast is included) and a second bungalow at the rear of the property which has a further three bedrooms with ensuites and a fully functional kitchen and lounge. If you are travelling in a group The Daisy Polk offers best value. The bungalow with 3 double rooms goes for $300 a night whilst a room in the main house will set you back between $139 and $169. This is old fashioned Dallas style and the owners have spared no expense with the furnishings and décor making this a real gem. www.daisypolkinn.com
THE PEOPLE Possibly the biggest thing to attract you to Dallas is the people. The hospitality and friendliness is second to none. I was lucky enough to meet Lupe Valdez who holds the post of Sherriff. An amazing woman in her own right she is also the first lesbian to hold the post.
THINGS TO SEE Dallas has a cornucopia of sights to see. No visit to Dallas would be complete without taking in the The Book Depository. The 6th Floor is now a museum and pays tribute to the Presidency of John F Kennedy. It’s a real eye opener to see this spot both from ground level and from the 6th floor looking down to
With a TV series named after it and the knowledge that George W Bush lives there, Dallas may not be first on your list of US cities to visit. But the best thing about Dallas is that it surprises. ‘Yee-hah’, says Doug Mayo. vol 2 issue 4 | beige | 45
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No trip to Dallas is complete without a visit to the Book Depository. The experience is strangely emotional
Clockwise from left: Paolmar Hotel pool; Paolmar Hotel room; Texas Book Depository, Buli Cafe
get a real perspective of events. I have to say that the whole experience is quite emotional and left me feeling quite weird and moved. It takes about an hour if you do the audio tour which is well worth it. In the process of construction, Dallas will soon boast one of the most impressive arts districts in the USA. The Performing Arts Centre will boast an opera house, symphonic hall, vertical stack theatre, outdoor amphitheatre and galleries. Linked by an enormous amount of public space this is going to be an amazing complex. Worth checking out is the Nasher Sculpture Garden, a beautifully landscaped respite from the hustle and bustle of the city www.nasherscultpturecentre.org
SHOPPING Even with the fall in the USD:UK exchange rate, shopping in the USA is still very attractive. It’s worth hopping in a cab and spending a day wandering around the Dallas Mall. Huge doesn’t begin to describe this complex which includes Macy’s, Nieman Marcus and just about every fashion brand name you could possibly want. There are great bargains to be had and more choice than any self respective shopper could ever hope to be offered. As always it’s worth taking your passport and paying a visit to Macy’s Customer Services to get your international discount card which gives you an automatic discount of 11% on any purchase in Macy’s. Spend a few hours and have a stroll around the Cedar Springs Area. From giftware to underwear there are some great stores in the area with some great bargains.
NIGHTLIFE Many of the gay bars in Dallas are members of the Dallas Tavern Guild and many benefit from having huge space on multi levels. There’s something to suit every taste from traditional clubbing to cabaret bars to bars with more Texan flavour. The smoking ban has just come into play in Dallas but never fear most pubs have enormous outdoor decks and patios thumping with hot boys. Bars offer all manner of drink offers so a night out needn’t be expensive. My favourite during our stay was The Round Up Saloon, a sprawling great bar where hot boys and cowboys mingle to a soundtrack of great country and pop music. Make friends with a barman and get recommendations for shots, each barman has their own speciality. My favourite was a Souther Bomb, Southern Comfort, Malibu and Peach Schnapps shot dropped into Red Bull – divine! The Round Up has Karaoke each night, line dancing and intro classes mid week for beginners, a Tequilla bar and games room. When the joint is jumping it’s a real sight to behold and it kept me coming back. Track down Dade and Glen behind the bar and tell them Beige sent you!
GETTING THERE American Airlines offers a range of flights on a daily basis. Prices for flights vary but there are some great deals on offer which will bring your economy flight in for less than £400 return.
THANKS Beige would like to thank Michael, David, Tony and the new friends we made during our visit for their amazing hospitality. Thanks also to George at American Airlines for making our flights so incredibly comfortable.
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6th Winter Edition, January 9 - 16, 2010
ÂŁ 380 incl. even tpass in apartme nt for 4 pers.
Meet with a beautiful crowd from all over the world and experience Arosa Ski at its best! 6 gay-friendly hotels, fitting any budget 10 apartments for friends or groups 70 km fantastic ski & snowboard runs non-skiers always welcome in Arosa cultural events & great theme parties fine dining, apres-ski & wellness spa
www.arosa-gayskiweek.com email@example.com Infos & bookings hotel Eden : % +41 (0)81 378 71 00
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2 Boys © Sina Shamsavari
‘Two Boys’ is about the detritus of the city, the rubbish that gets left behind in the streets, and how, this kind of urban decay can be really beautiful, and how the city has allowed gay identities and cross-racial relationships to flourish. 48 | beige | vol 2 issue 4
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Alex on Sofa © Sina Shamsavari
‘Alex on the Sofa’ is a portrait of one of my close friends. I use symbols like burning hearts and flames to communicate emotions I feel for a person, they can mean different things, sometimes sexual attraction, but in this image the heart communicates a strong friendship.
Description: Sina’s work is concerned with blurring the boundaries between dreams and reality, the mundane and the fantastic and creating queer worlds inhabited by people who are real and imaginary, strange and ordinary. About the artist: Sina worked in underground queer punk scene at the age of 16. Since graduating from Kingston University in Illustration, Sina has produced illustration work for clients such as Healthy Gay Living Centre, Glam and the Terrence Higgins Trust, as well as exhibiting his personal artwork.
S I N A S H A M S AVA R I
ina Shamsavari is a visual artist, writer, and cartoonist. When he was three years old his family emigrated from Iran to the UK, which he recalls as a dramatic change of environment that made him feel like an outsider, a feeling that became more intense as he became more aware of his attraction to other boys and men. “Drawing, reading, and writing were my ways of keeping myself happy and creating my own world where I didn’t feel as threatened, alienated and alone as in the ‘real world’,” he says. “When I was 16 I came out to my family, and at the same time discovered the underground zine and comics scenes in the UK and America. There was a very active network of diverse queer people self-publishing their own independent comics and zines, and I started publishing my drawings and comics. Later I studied Illustration at Kingston University and worked on commissions for charities like the Terrence Higgins Trust. “The do-it-yourself ethos of the indie comics (and music) scenes I became involved with as a teenager has had an ongoing influence on me. It is important for people
from different backgrounds to take an active role in creating their own culture, and not simply taking in what the mainstream media promotes. Gay and queer culture is much more diverse than what usually gets represented even in most gay media it’s a personal responsibility to put more idiosyncratic and interesting stuff out there for other queer people to interact with and be inspired by. Because of this I enjoy collaborating with other queer alternative artists who work in different genres or media, but who share similar creative concerns with me.” Sina says his influences include superheroes, everyday life, the city, ancient mythology, indie and punk rock, horror and fantasy movies, as well as the work of other indie cartoonists, including other gay comics artists like Robert Kirby, Jon Macy and Michael Fahy. “My art and comics are focused on personal identity, friendship, love, and sex, imagination and experience,” he continues. “On the one hand my art is about documenting my life, and the different subcultural scenes that I’m involved with, but it’s also about my inner world, dreams and fantasies, fears and imaginings. I like to show moments of joy and beauty, but also not to shy away from more difficult or vol 2 issue 4 | beige | 49
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Your journey starts here. The best information on destinations and travel needs all for free. Hotels, Airlines, Travel Agents and More in over 55 countries.
painful experiences like being bullied in secondary school, being in love with somebody who didn’t love me. My work celebrates sex and eroticism but also holds onto an awareness of the potentially disturbing, painful or bizarre aspects of sex. “Ultimately my art is about creating a personal, queer “universe” that’s populated by people I know well and love, as well as people I’ve briefly encountered and fantasise about, along with figures from my imagination - a personal mythology that combines elements from fairytales and folklore with forms of popular culture (mainly comic books and movies) that I have a strong emotional bond with. It’s about blending the fantastic and the everyday, the beautiful and the frightening, mixing together real and imaginary worlds, and in a lot of ways I think that’s what human existence and experience is really about anyway.”
Atash Flying © Sina Shamsavari ‘Atash Flying’ Atash is the god of fire and passion, a character from my personal mythology. He represents sexual energy and desire, as well as the passion to create something, the fire to create art; he’s my ideal symbol of a liberated and passionate way of life, love and creativity.
Discover more about Sina at www.boycrazyboy.com or www.flickr.com/photos/boycrazyboy. He can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org Sina’s artworks are exhbited as part of this year’s London LGBT art festival, GFest, which takes place between 9 – 22 November across the capital and includes visual arts, short films and performances. GFest showcases both established and emerging talent and reflect the ‘confident, queer sexuality of today’s young people’. Visit www.gaywisefestival.org.uk
Gay and queer culture is much more diverse than what personal
usually gets represented even in most gay media - it’s a responsibility to put more and interesting stuff out there for other queer people to interact with and be inspired by...
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Pleasure © Sina Shamsavari
‘Pleasure’ was part of a sequence commissioned by the queer arts journal Chroma, for their queer cinema issue. It’s about the experience of realising your sexuality is different from other people’s, and thinking of this as something monstrous at first, but then learning to enjoy and take pleasure in it.
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Excerpt from Awkward © Sina Shamsavari
‘Awkward’ - From a story commissioned for The Book of Boy Trouble Vol. 2, a gay comics anthology. It’s about the way seeing a person you once loved can bring up a lot of complicated feelings, desires, fears and uncertainties again - and the horrific awkwardness that can ensue! 54 | beige | vol 2 issue 4
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After partying hard at Sydneyâ€™s Mardi Gras, Queensland is simply the best place to chill under the sun: the perfect mix of surf, sun and socialising. Imagine a week at Noosa working on your tan, exploring the wilderness of world heritage Fraser Island and meeting the locals at the gala dinner and then off to Brisbane for the Big Gay Day Street party.
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The Life and Loves of Barbara Stanwyck
The Beats: A Graphic History by Harvey Parker and Ed Piskor (Souvenir Press, £12) William S Burroughs’s novel Naked Lunch, Allen Ginsberg’s poem Howl (both prosecuted as obscene) and Jack Kerouac’s novel On the Road were three of the most influential written works of the second half of the twentieth century. The three authors were the most famous of the Beats, the literary movement that flourished in America in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Fuelled by alcohol, drugs and sexual excess, these writers were highly innovative and their influence percolated from the literature (fiction and poetry) into film, music and theatre. Two of the three were more-or-less openly gay (Burroughs and Ginsberg) and the third (Kerouac) was a troubled bisexual (though he didn’t like it known). The story of Burroughs, Ginsberg and Kerouac has been told on many occasions (there are whole shelves of books on the Beats) but The Beats: A Graphic History takes an original and somehow curiously apt way of telling the familiar tale. Parker and Piskor – and various others who have contributed to the book – utilise the comic book format to good effect to rehearse their lives. The Beats is a brisk canter that entertainingly outlines literary lives in a way appropriate for a generation that might otherwise learn nothing about them.
Royals and the Reich: The Princes von Hessen in Nazi Germany by Jonathan Petropoulous (Oxford University Press, £12.99) Prince Philip von Hessen (1896-1980),a great-grandson of QueenVictoria and a cousin to the Duke of Edinburgh, was but one of the many German royals who idolised Adolf Hitler and supported the Nazi party for much of its existence. The son-in-law of King Vittorio Emmanuelle III of Italy (Philipp von Hessen’s wife, Princess Mafalda, was to die in the Buchenwald concentration camp), the prince acted as a conduit between Hitler and the Italian dictator Mussolini but eventually fell foul of the Nazis as the course of the Second World War turned against them. He found himself in the solitary confinement in the Flossenburg concentration camp and subsequently interned by the Allies once the war had been lost. Once he had gone through the process of denazification, he spent the rest of his life concentrating on his collections of antiques and art. The close links between German royalty and Hitler’s Third Reich (1933-1945) have been little written about, in part because of the secrecy surrounding royalty and also because family papers are not automatically available to historians or researchers. Thus, Jonathan Petropoulous’s Royals and the Reich: The Princes von Hessen in Nazi Germany is to be welcomed. Meticulously researched, Royals and the Reich is a densely written but completely fascinating account of a family and its fortunes and, most especially, of the bisexual Philipp von Hessen (he was lover of the English First World War poet Siegfried Sassoon) who may have been more complicit with Nazi war crimes than was ever acknowledged.
The Incendiary’s Trail by James McCreet (Macmillan New Writing, £16.99) The first in a new series of crime novels set in London in the early years of Queen Victoria’s reign (around 1840), The Incendiary’s Trail pits Detective Inspector Newsome and the stalwart Sergeant George Williamson against a deliciously devious criminal mastermind who delights in burning down buildings. Lucius Boyle first comes to the attention of the police after the brutal murder of conjoined twins, performers in a travelling freak show currently appearing at the notorious Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens on the south bank of the Thames. As the body count steadily rises, the mystified investigating officers decide to coerce onto their side a brilliant criminal, Noah Dyson, with the promise that if he helps them apprehend Boyle then his own crimes will be forgiven and forgotten. Somewhat unwillingly, Dyson agrees to the proposal. However, unbeknown to Newsome and Williamson, Dyson is a former compatriot of the incendiarist and is out for revenge. Although he cooperated with the police, he is usually a step or two ahead of them. The Incendiary’s Trail is an engrossing and happily old-fashioned thriller with a villain who gives the reader the shudders and a hero every bit a brilliantly mysterious as Sherlock Holmes. The stews of London are vividly conveyed (the reek is palpable) and some of the big scenes – murder committed in the midst of a vast crowd at a public hanging outside Newgate Prison – are thrillingly impressive. However, some anachronisms (the use of the term Ms is an example) somewhat mar an otherwise enjoyable tale.
Off the Shelf
by Jane Ellen Wayne (JR Books, £17.99) The film actress Barbara Stanwyck, born Ruby Stevens in Brooklyn in 1907, had a long career. Her first film, Broadway Nights, appeared in 1927; her last, the television mini-series The Thorn Birds, was shown in 1982. She died, lonely and embittered, in 1990. Yet although her filmography lists more than eighty productions, Stanwyck’s career consisted of rather more clinkers than classics. Initially a showgirl, Stanwyck was a tough-talking, hard-drinking ‘broad’ (her own designation) who was reputed to have had her tenderest relationships with women (though there’s not much information forthcoming in Jane Ellen Wayne’s The Life and Loves of Barbara Stanwyck) and evidently the love of her life was her second husband, actor Robert Taylor (reputedly gay). Her most famous movies include Stella Dallas (1937), the original Double Indemnity (1944), The Two Mrs Carrolls (1947) and Sorry, Wrong Number (1948). Younger audiences probably only know her, if at all, for the television western The Big Valley, shown between 1965-1969. Truthfully, she is rather forgotten. Wayne’s biography is readable but lightweight, a somewhat melancholy story of a woman who felt her private life was nobody’s business but her own and wanted to be known only for her screen performances.
New books, reviewed by Peter Burton
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words: Josh Winning
Showing: 13 November
Now here’s the kind of intriguing high concept that really gets the spider senses tingling. A new company called ‘Soul Storage’ have come up with a revolutionary new procedure that can extract a person’s soul from their body. Enter actor Paul Giamatti, here playing himself, who is struggling with his new interpretation of Russian play ‘Uncle Vanya’. Would bottling his soul for a few months give him the release he desperately needs? Director/writer Sophie Barthes came up with this absorbing idea after having a particularly vivid dream, and it shows. Cold Souls functions very much on dream logic, drifting from metaphysical question to metaphysical question in a way that both frustrates and transfixes, splicing comedy with drama to middling effect. Sadly, Barthes’ film suffers from a strange feeling of other-worldly distance, and for all of its discussions about the strength of the human spirit, Cold Souls ends up being frustratingly soulless.
Showing: 6 November
Megan Fox has been starved of decent dialogue for pretty much the entirety of her career, so it’s lucky that her latest big screen outing was scribbled by stripper-turned-scripter Diablo Cody. Having bagged an Oscar for her zing-filled Juno screenplay, Cody here turns her snippy, snarky parlance onto far more grisly fare, casting Fox as a demonic cheerleader with an insatiable hunger for boys. Jennifer (Fox) is just a normal teenage girl – boy-crazy, fashion-conscious and bitchy to the core. But after her geeky best friend Needy (Amanda Siegfried) watches her getting into the van of a popular rock band, Jennifer seems different. Could the cheerleader’s appetite for boys be taking on a more sinister edge? Drawing inspiration from the likes of Carrie and Heathers, Jennifer’s Body has very little new in terms of plotting. But Fox clearly revels in her bloody rampage, chewing lines like “you give me a wetty” with palpable glee. Dark, daft, and a bit of a guilty pleasure.
The Merry Gentleman
Showing: 27 November
He’s most famous for his high profile ‘80s roles as Batman and Beetlejuice, but Michael Keaton has taken up an entirely new position for his latest flick – director. Stepping behind the lens as well as in front of it, Keaton here proffers a restrained emotional drama that belies his previous comic-crazy roles. As Frank, he plays a hired gun who is starting to contemplate the tragic repercussions of his job. Could it be the festive season that’s getting him down? Or could it be the sudden appearance of timid officer worker Kate (Kelly Macdonald)? Having moved to Chicago for a fresh start, Kate’s closet is littered with as many skeletons as Frank’s, and when the two become unlikely friends, their uneasy relationship could change their lives forever. Going intimate, first-time director Keaton impresses, utilising a traditional style of Hollywood filmmaking that is hard to come by these days. Characters overrule plot, while the visuals are unfussy and neat. It’ll be interesting to see where Keaton goes from here.
The Men Who Stare at Goats
Showing: 6 November
Goats? What’s this all about, then? Well, as its kooky title suggests, George Clooney’s latest is something a little bit different. Leapfrogging back and forth through time, it is the (mostly) true story of a top-secret ‘70s movement within the US military that sought to create psychic super-soldiers. But far from hoping for an army of unstoppable X-Men, leader Bill Django (Jeff Bridges) wanted to use his New Earth Army to find ways of fighting a non-violent war. In the present day, reporter Bob Wilton (Ewan McGregor) encounters Lyn Cassady (George Clooney), a once-member of the New Earth Army, and decides to write a story on him. Cue a hilarious road movie romp that errs just on the right side of silliness. Not quite as sharp as Clooney’s other recent comedy offering Burn After Reading, The Men Who Stare at Goats nevertheless revels in its asinine subject matter, while it’s nice to find a war-themed film that doesn’t preach quite so prosaically as other recent offerings.
best of the rest Bright Star | Drama based on the short life of 19th century poet John Keats, from the director of The Piano | Fri 6 Nov 2012 | Big budget apocalypse actioner from the man who brought us Independence Day and The Day the Earth Stood Still | Fri 13 Nov Amelia | Hilary Swank heads up a star-heavy re-telling of the story of legendary pilot Amelia Earheart | Fri 13 Nov The Twilight Saga: New Moon | There will be screams. Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart return for another round of vampire thrills | Fri 20 Nov
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n 25 June, 2009, the King of Pop went to the great disco ball in the sky. For some it was no surprise; troubled former child star Michael Jackson had withdrawn almost completely from the public eye, and lived under a cloud of scandal and rumour. But for his legion of fans – those who ignored the ‘Wacko Jacko’ whispers of alleged child molestation and bombastic behind-closed-doors behaviour – Jackson’s death dealt a heavy blow. Not least because millions of the MJ aficionados had bought tickets for the singer’s last ever UK tour, titled ‘This Is It’, which was set to kick off at London’s 02 arena just 18 days after his collapse from a cardiac arrest. ‘This Was It’ hollered The Sun a few days later, its front page emblazoned with an image of Jackson on stage during rehearsals for the concert. How’d they get their hands on the shot? Well, somewhat luckily, a documentary crew had been tailing the millionpound hit-maker for the entirety of the show’s pre-production. Literally hundreds of hours’ worth of behind-the-scenes footage had been spooled. Is that a bidding war we smell? Justifiably, when film studio bloodhounds realised not only that there were reams of never-before-seen film, but also an inbuilt audience who would do anything to watch the concert they had been promised, a battle for rights to the footage commenced. Sony were the victors. Forking out a not inconsiderable $60m, they bagged themselves every reel of footage that had been shot while Jackson rehearsed at The Forum and Staples Center in Los Angeles. “It’s an adventure, it’s a
great adventure,” the singer is seen telling his crew. “We want to take people to places they’ve never been before.” Directed by Kenny Ortega, the directorchoreographer behind all three High School Musicals, This Is It reveals the sheer scale of what Jackson and the talent amassed around him had in mind for the singer’s swan song. “The world will see what our team was so fortunate to experience, which was the full commitment, passion and creativity that Michael put into this project,” says Ortega of the film. “He was the architect of ‘This Is It’, and we were his builders. The footage that was captured from the early stages of the production to our technical rehearsals will show Michael as he truly was, creatively involved with every aspect of the production.” Early footage revealed includes an ambitious ‘Thriller’ set-up that sees the entire stage being turned into a massive graveyard, as well as some remarkable impromptu singing from the man in the mirror himself. Other highlights include a segment in 3D that would have played while Jackson sang on stage. Shooting on the 3D aspects took place over the first week of June at Culver Studios in California, with the help of Titanic and Terminator director James Cameron. “It’s all for love. L-O-V-E,” Jackson confirms in one of the film’s segments. And so goes the passing of an icon. Celebrated and victimised in equal measure, but still, even now, loved.
This is it is showing now
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beigedvd Christian Bale stars as John Connor, the man fated to lead the human resistance against Skynet and its army of Terminators.
23 Nov, Sony
Yep, he said he’d be back, and he is – except Arnold Schwarzenegger barely gets a look-in for this post-apocalyptic third sequel in the robots-gone-wild action franchise. Taking the lead while Arnie does his political thing, Christian Bale and Aussie newcomer Sam Worthington fight the good fight as the war against the machines rages on. But could Worthington’s ex-con be harbouring a dark secret? Better than T3, but not a patch on T2, Salvation hits higher than it has any right to considering McG is at the reins. The script’s a bit shoddy, but Salvation proves there’s still mileage in the franchise yet.
Make the Yuletide Gay 9 Nov, TLA
Boys on Film 3: American Boy
Just take a moment to recover from that terrible title. Done? Good, because this festive flick has more going for it than its pun-tastic wordplay implies. Student Olaf (Keith Jordan) goes home for the holidays, but his closet status is threatened when his secret boyfriend Nathan (Adamo Ruggiero) turns up on the family doorstep. Could this Christmas become a giant turkey? The key to Yuletide’s success is its stellar casting, with Jordan and Ruggiero proving a cute and believable couple from the get-go. Sure it’s low budget (with some decidedly squiffy sound editing), but you’d have to be a total scrooge not to enjoy this.
Third time’s the charm for this final instalment in the gay shorts series. But where Boys on Film volumes une and deux presented a touch of the exotic with their richly European offerings, American Boy plunders the vaults for an unabashed celebration of all things Yank. Most high profile, of course, is porn star Brent Corrigan’s ‘In the Closet’, a trippy if underwhelming riff on the closets of the horror and the homo world. But most impressive are the quietly sensuous ‘Dare’, and the brittle, powerful ‘The Young and Evil’, both of which cry out for feature-length development. Vive le USA!
2 Nov, TLA
16 Nov, Eureka
Director Simon Pearce was just 21 when he took up a camera and shot Shank, a Bristol-set love story that is as violent as it is romantic. But there’s nary a whiff of amateur clumsiness here, with Pearce’s film proving to be a tight, tender little tale that will speak volumes to the youth of today. Cal (Wayne Virgo) is a closeted teenage drug pedlar who has his world torn apart when he falls for a French exchange student. The acting (from largely first-time talent) wobbles at times, but Shank’s balance of nightmares and naughtiness is uniquely affecting.
Back in 1974, some guy called Mohammad Ali got into the boxing ring with George Foreman for a ‘Rumble in the Jungle’ (quiet down back) that became the subject of documentary When We Were Kings. Now, footage of the three-day ‘Zaire 74’ music festival that accompanied the event has been restored and re-edited into this, a raucous, hugely entertaining music-mentary. Featuring unprecedented, jaw-dropping footage not only of Ali, but also performers James Brown, BB King, The Spinners, and Mirim Makeba, Soul Power is a joyful, soaring musical delight. File this under ‘classic’.
9 Nov, Peccadillo
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New Yorkborn actor Dave Annable is the seventh sexiest man walking this planet of ours, according to People magazine. Having just turned 30, the man who plays Justin Walker in the awardwinning American TV show Brothers & Sisters, has a bright future. With season three of the programme out now on DVD, Beige hung out with him to chat about his work on the family drama, his bizarre fan encounters and how it feels to be ranked one of the sexiest men aliveâ€Ś
Dave Annable brotherly love
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beigeinterview What’s the atmosphere like on the set of Brothers & Sisters?
DA: It’s amazing. The cast and the crew have become my friends and family because we all spend so much time together. It’s great to go to work and see your favorite people, like Rob Lowe. In fact, it’s really awesome.
The Brothers and Sisters family: Emily Vancamp, Patricia Wettig, Ron Rifkin, Rachel Griffiths, Matthew Rhys, Sally Field, Dave Annable, Calista Flockhart, Rob Lowe, Balthazar Getty, Sarah Jane Morris
Do you spend much time with your fellow actors away from the set?
DA: Are you kidding? Of course we do. I can’t get away from these people. We’re like a big family. It rocks. Did you grow up as part of a big family?
DA: I come from a pretty big family, which really helps with this role because I understand family dynamics. I think it would be more challenging if I was an only child. You’d be thrown into the family and not know what was going on. I have two sisters and we are all very similar to the Walkers. When Sally Field starts yelling at me in character, I think to myself, ‘Right, I’ve heard my mom say this before. I know what’s happening here and I know how to react.’
“Being on a successful TV show – and being in 12 or 13 million homes every week – opens up a lot of doors. It’s wonderful to get your face out there – especially for a new guy like me”
What do your sisters think of the Walker sisters on the show?
DA: They love the show and they love that there are a lot of similarities between them. Both of my sisters are the best, but they call me before they watch the show to ask if I’m in any make-out scenes. If I don’t tell them beforehand, I get a call, “How could you not tell me? This is disgusting. I don’t need to see my brother doing this.” It’s funny. Has your family met the cast?
DA: Oh, yes. The two families have met – and my mom almost fainted when she met Sally Field because it’s like their lives are intertwined. I like to make my mom jealous when she yells at me all the time about not calling her. I say, “Mom, Sally doesn’t yell at me like that.”
Your character discovered a new sister in Rebecca – but then he found out that she’s not a sister and he started to date her… What went through your mind when you read that in the script?
DA: It was a little shocking. We don’t know much about the storylines coming our way, so that was a big moment for us. I think that Justin and Rebecca are two souls that have found each other at an important, transitional time in their life – and they cling to each other. The romantic feelings came from that really. I think their relationship is going to be bumpy, but they will always need to be in each other’s lives in some form. What’s the best thing about working on Brothers & Sisters?
DA: I’ve said this before and I know it’s a cliché, but we really are a big family off camera. That’s the most important thing to me about the show because I’ve made some amazing friends here. I think we really lucked out to have such a great cast and crew. What has working on the show taught you professionally?
DA: Being on a successful TV show – and being in 12 or 13 million homes every week – opens up a lot of doors. It’s great exposure and it’s wonderful to get your face out there – especially for a new guy like me who has never really done much before. Going to work is like going to acting class every day. It’s great.
Brothers and Sisters season three is out now on DVD
recharge and then you’re back to work. Sometimes it’s a nice break as we’ve worked really hard – but it’s bittersweet because you start to miss your second family and you don’t want to leave.
How do you recharge your batteries at the end of a season?
DA: I relax and hang out with my family. I don’t get to spend as much time with them because I’m working so much, so it’s always nice to see them. And then there are your friends you’ve got to catch up with, as well as a vacation to take. There are a lot of video games to play, too. I keep myself very busy. Do you get much feedback from fans of the show?
DA: I feel really lucky with my character because I’ve dealt with some interesting issues, such as substance abuse and being a veteran. I’ve had a lot of fans come up to me and say, “I was getting sober when you were getting sober on the show.” Things like that mean the world to me. I also went to a baseball game with my friends the other week where a mother came up to me and started hugging me. I’d never met her before, but she started hugging and bawling because she had just said goodbye to her son who had left for Iraq the day before. She said, “I love your show. You guys are doing it so well.” It’s special when you realise how many people you are impacting in the world. Have you experienced any bizarre fan encounters?
DA: Well, the most unexpected place I’ve ever been recognised was at The Vatican – by one of the guards. What happened?
DA: It was awesome. The guard looked at me and said, “Justin?” I think I hugged him. I don’t even know if you’re allowed to do that in The Vatican, but I was so happy. That was definitely the coolest encounter for me.
How has working on the show changed your life?
DA: It’s changed my life immensely. For starters, I got to go to the Super Bowl this year. That rocked. No, in all seriousness, it’s been a life-changing experience, as well as an incredible learning experience because this is the first show I’ve worked on that’s taken off. I can’t think of a better place to be than here, surrounded by all these great actors. I’m learning from them every day, so I feel very blessed and very lucky. What does it feel like when you finish filming each season?
DA: It’s like the end of the school year. You get a couple of months off to
Before we go, we’ve got one final question for you… How did it feel when People magazine ranked you #7 in its annual list of Sexiest Men Alive?
DA: Oh dear! It was really flattering, but at the same time it was terribly embarrassing because your friends see it and the people at work see it. It’s very strange. A similar thing happened another time with a different magazine. During lunch, I went upstairs and when I came back down to the set, all of the crew were wearing T-shirts with my picture on the front. It was awful and really awesome at the same time. I didn’t know what to do! vol 2 issue 4 | beige | 63
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HAVE YOU MET MISS ‘HAIRSPRAY’ JONES?
When you chat with the fabulous Leanne Jones it’s very easy to get caught up in her infectious, joyful enthusiasm. This 24-year-old is still reeling after a whirlwind period playing Tracy Turnblad in the award winning musical. The role, her first in the West End won her an Olivier Award and saw her performing alongside musical legend Michael Ball. “I’d spent years watching him on the Les Miserables concert DVD so when I was told he was going to play my ‘mother’ it was unbelieveable” she said. “It was a surreal time, people I’d admired for ages suddenly knew who you were,” she jokes. Recalling the recent West End opening night of Alan Cummings show she found herself chatting to Alan Rickman and Sir Ian McKellen, “I had Snape and Gandalf talking to me about my career, I mean these are two of my favourite films, it was bizarre. That said, Sir Ian told me that I should go after things and just get out there” she said, “that night I was introduced to a great new US composer and within 24 hours I was on stage singing a beautiful song that I had learnt overnight”. Now that Leanne has concluded her run in Hairspray she is taking some time to sing some of her favourite songs with friends from the show – Adrian Hansell and Liam Tamne. “It’s great to be able to put together a night of not just showtunes but some great popular music as well”. It’s a mad month for Leanne. She’s appearing with Michael Bruce in his West End concert, has a track on the soon to be released Christmas In New York CD and has her debut cabaret performance and that’s just in the first eight days of November. One thing is for sure, you’ve not heard the last of Miss Jones, this sassy young performer will be around for a long time! Have You Met Miss Jones will be at Freedom in Soho on 8th November at 7.30pm. Find out more about Leanne at www.leannejonesonline.com Leanne Jones
By Jez Butterworth • Review: Mark Ludmon • Royal Court, London Jez Butterworth’s Jerusalem was a sell-out success at the Royal Court, destined for a West End transfer in January 2010 and then possibly Broadway. Its appeal owes much to its lead, Mark Rylance as Johnny “Rooster” Byron, a lord of misrule who lives in a caravan in the woods, defying the authorities and regaling his rag-tag entourage with fabulous tales of his adventures. But the play is populated with a colourful variety of characters who help to build up a picture of a rural England under threat from the controls and conformities of modern civilisation. It is not an idealised world by any means but it is a world of gorgeous anarchic complexity that is being encroached upon by council officers, developers, violent thugs and the law. Ian Rickson’s production turned the stage into a woodland using real trees (diseased Dutch elms that were destined for the chop anyway). Smells seeped off the stage into the auditorium, from the stench of petrol and early-evening woodsmoke to burning flesh, and you see real animals such as hens and a goldfish on stage, adding to its immediacy and vibrancy. It is not all about Rylance, however, with a splendid ensemble of characters making up his retinue of misfits who have little place in the new world order, with Mackenzie Crook particularly notable as Johnny’s oldest friend, Ginger. As they come and go from Rooster’s caravan in the woods, the action shifts back and forth from hilarious comedy to dark drama, with a constant sense of fantasy and myth lurking beneath the surface. Director: Ian Rickson • Cast: Mackenzie Crook, Mark Rylance, Charlotte Mills, Jessica Barden, Danny Kirrane, Alan David (pictured above)
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Love Never Dies Last week in London, Andrew Lloyd Webber gathered the international media to announce his new musical offering. Douglas Mayo went along to hear the news and chat with Lord Lloyd Webber, Director Jack O’Brien and the two stars of the show.
es, the announcement has been made that Love Never Dies, a musical which continues the story of The Phantom Of The Opera will open in London in March 2010. The genesis of this show has been a long one. There have been numerous collaborators and several false starts but this time Lloyd Webber seems convinced he’s got it right. Lloyd Webber started the process of dreaming up a new Phantom story many moons ago with collaborator Frederick Forsythe. Lloyd Webber says “ It was Freddy’s idea to relocate the Phantom to New York where he would rule over Manhattan from above”, ideas which were eventually published in Forsythe’s novella The Phantom Of Manhattan. The duo set to work but ultimately it came to nothing. It seems that the main problem for Lloyd Webber seemed to be based in the story. Original set designer Maria Bjornson once quipped to Lloyd Webber that the ending of the original show was entirely unfulfilling and Lloyd Webber was quick to comment, “there’s unfinished business here, the ending of Phantom is quite enigmatic to put it mildly. I just felt it would be great to come back to the characters but it all came back down to the story”. It was not until Ben Elton entered the frame that Lloyd Webber seemed to have found his solution. It was apparently Elton’s comment that people wanted to know what happened to the characters they already knew that seemed to seal the deal and set the train moving again. Together with Jack O’Brien, director of Hairspray and Glenn Slater, lyricist of Sister Act and The Little Mermaid, a new story was developed and it was decided that Love Never Dies would pick up ten years on. The Phantom has relocated to Coney Island in New York. He lures Christine to the USA with promises of a performance contract.
More than this is being kept shrouded in secrecy at the moment. “It’s a fantastic story” says Lloyd Webber, I have found that in musical theatre, story is fundamental, therefore the story drove this”. Jack O’Brien comments that once on board as director he offered advice to the whole team. “You are playing around with people’s memories and aspects of their imaginations here, you’d better know what you are doing!” he says. “I thought it was a good idea to have some Americans on the team for this one and let’s face it the atmosphere in America was very different to France at that time so it helped to have that vocabulary on tap creatively. When I came on I became the nasty schoolmaster. Yes but why?, Yes but who? How did that happen?, Why did that come about?, because audiences are going to be listening very astutely and we can’t afford to be cavalier. If it doesn’t make sense then we are culpable,” O’Brien said. Musical theatre history is scattered with the ghosts of sequels to hit musicals which failed to achieve the success of the originals. Annie 2, The Best Little Whorehouse Goes Public and Bring Back Birdie also failed spectacularly. Imagine then the pressure to follow up what is now officially the single most successful piece of entertainment ever created. Having taken billions of dollars worldwide, surely the pressure to succeed is huge? Even though the show is billed as “Phantom – The Story Continues”, mention the word “Sequel” to Lloyd Webber as the response received is interesting. “I don’t regard this as a sequel but more as a stand alone piece. There are practically no musical quotes from the original show, none of the original melodies have been used. It’s a completely new show, if you haven’t seen the original you wouldn’t have any problems”.
“It struck me that Coney Island as a setting was exotic, sinister and slightly macabre. You just have to wonder what this place must have been like” said Lloyd Webber. O’Brien comments “I mean no one had seen electricity at that time. When immigrants sailed into New York at night it wasn’t the Statue of Liberty they saw first, it was the electric lights of Coney island. It is in this location we now find the Phantom. He is hiding in plain sight amongst all the other freaks and there is no doubt he is king of his domain”. We talked to Jack O’Brien about a rumour that had been circulated that the show was to open in three or four cities around the world simultaneously, a mammoth feat for any new musical. “Yes, Jerry Mitchell and I saw the value in doing this because first of all the show is completely written. I’m not going to be sitting up til 3am re-doing scenes. Andrew and the team have spent years getting this right and putting together what is in fact an opera. The way that things normally work is that a show is rolled out worldwide over several years. Trying to get the original team together to do that can sometimes be problematic so sometimes direction gets left to people who never had a hand in the original so sometimes motivations are lost in translation. We all know that if the first staging is good, subsequent productions get better and better because you learn shortcuts and staging improvements. Jerry and I felt if we could just get all these companies together in the same place at the same time we could impart some of the fervour associated with a brand new production and have that carried onto productions around the world” O’Brien said. “We soon realised that finding actors for these roles was not going to be easy. These are daunting roles that are vocally punishing. In three or four years you can bet the conservatories will be turning out Christines and Phantoms by the score but in the meantime we decided to slow it down and roll out the show objectively”. What is rather unique about this production is the preparedness. The show is already completely cast and the original cast album is fully recorded and ready to be released on opening night. “I finished it about six weeks ago and I’m very happy” says Lloyd Webber. The role of The Phantom has been given to the current West End incumbent Ramin Karimloo whilst Christine will be played by Sierra Boggess who played the role of Christine to great acclaim in Las Vegas before heading to Broadway to star in The Little Mermaid. “We’re just honoured and looking forward to the challenge” Sierra said. Asked whether he was modelling his Phantom on any of his predecessors Ramin commented “that he had enjoyed finding his own version of the Phantom and was looking forward to developing the role further”. One thing is certain, the box office phones have already started ringing off the hook and tickets for this highly anticipated opening are already becoming scarce. Has Lloyd Webber created a second pot of theatrical gold? Only time will tell – but the signs are looking good.
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Sam: Hello. I’m ‘Beige Columnist Sam’ and I will be interviewing ‘Playwright Sam’. Sam: Hi, I’m ‘Playwright Sam”. Sorry, can I get a glass of water or something? Sam: You’ll have to get it yourself. Sam: Hmmm. Fine. Biscuits? Sam: Same answer. Sam: Do you have any questions for me then? Sam: Not really, we do share the same brain after all. Sam: You got me here for nothing? Get my agent on the phone! Sam: Ok ok ok…Fine. I’ll indulge this giant ego trip. Let’s make this a philosophical self-exploration. We can be like Plato or Freud. Sam: Hmmm, I was thinking more Keanu in the Matrix. Sam: You’re not that cool. So is this the most narcissistic exercise you’ve ever been involved in? Sam: Probably, although my first play Minor Irritations was about 70% autobiographical, so that kind of still tips the balance. Sam: What made you write it? Sam: Well, various things. I was a journalist before I trained as an actor and… Sam: I know you were. Sam: Can you just pretend you don’t for a few minutes? Sam: Fine. Sam: Anyway, I had dabbled in writing a few scenes and sketches at drama school and later after a few years of acting I found that I wasn’t really playing the parts I wanted to play. I’m half German – it’s my first language – which meant my casting became very “Rent-A-Nazi” after a while. So the aim was to write a play that was the kind of thing I would like to be in as an actor. Sam: What was that?...Not that I don’t know… Sam: Shush. I’d always wanted to be in a Woody Allen film, so that was the inspiration. I wanted to use my personal experiences and make them into a modern neurotic romantic comedy. Sam: What experiences? Sam: A break-up after a five and a half year relationship. Sam: Oooh, was it messy Sam: You’re supposed to be on my side! Sam: Sorry! I’ll change the subject. So you very much approached writing as an actor? Sam: Absolutely. At the time I didn’t see myself as a playwright at all, but as an actor who writes. Sam: So what’s changed? Sam: I fell in love with the process. There’s nothing quite like having a project that’s your own and it’s changed the way I feel about performing too. Being in something that you’ve written yourself is such a luxury as you don’t have to artificially create a link between the views of the playwright and your own. Then after Minor Irritations I joined a theatre company called The Factory where I had the chance to develop lots of short plays and explore them with a group of actors. Now I can get the same satisfaction from watching other people perform my scenes that
I used to get from performing them myself. Sam: Do you miss acting? Sam: Sometimes, but I much prefer the lifestyle of being a writer. I hated auditioning. I am quite driven, but I don’t like the feeling of competing. I think it’s unhealthy for any creative person. The arts should be about bringing out the best in yourself, not about comparing yourself to others. Sam: But you just compared yourself to Woody Allen. Sam: No, I didn’t! I said I was inspired by him. That’s different. Sam: Whatever. So tell me about Public Property. Sam: It’s a dark comedy about a newsreader who gets caught in a public sex scandal and I’m really proud of it. We’ve managed to get an amazing cast – Nigel Harman, Robert Daws and Steven Webb… Sam: You didn’t need to say that again, it’s already in the intro. Sam: Some people don’t read the intro, they skip straight to the interview, so I thought I’d just remind them who’s in it. Sam:Does Nigel Harman take his shirt off in the play? Sam: I’m not gonna comment on that. The play is a satire on the state of news-reporting in a celebrity obsessed age. The readers of this magazine are far too distinguished to care that it’s also full of filthy jokes, explicit dialogue about gay sex and that we have some very hot cast members ready to burst out of their suits with fiery testosterone. Sam: See what you did there. Sam: I don’t know what you mean. Sam: So what’s next for you? Sam: Well, whilst we’re rehearsing Public Property, I’m also presenting and co-writing a documentary about my Dad… Sam: Our Dad. Sam: Sorry, our Dad. It’s going to be on TV in January. Then I’m finishing my third full-length play and working on a few short pieces. Also, if there was a chance I’d love to take Public Property to New York. Sam: You’re just saying that because your pretentious accent gets you so much attention over there. Sam: Quiet! Actually I forgot to say something about the play… do we have time? Sam: Sure. Sam: It’s funny and it’s short. Keep those two things in mind. Funny. Short. Funny. Short. Sam: You’re embarrassing us. Are you done? Sam: Yes, you hungry? Sam: Sure, it’s your turn to pay.
Playwright and regular Beige columnist Sam Peter Jackson’s new play Public Property opens the West End with Nigel Harman, Robert Daws and Steven Webb on the 10th November. So who better to interview him about it than… himself? Heaven help us. The ego has landed.
Sam Peter Jackson’s Public Property is at the Trafalgar Studios in London from the 10th November to the 5th December. Tickets are available on 0844 277 4321 or on www.publicpropertytheplay.com
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The Shawshank Redemption
Michael Bruce © Steven Emberton.
MICHAEL BRUCE: Good Enough? Michael Bruce is a young British composer on a roll. He’s currently preparing for an all star concert showcase of his work in the West End in November. Michael Bruce is one of those people who can pretty much turn their hands to anything. With huge amounts of drive and determination he can already claim success as Scottish Highland Dancing Champion, Table Tennis and being a self taught piano player. Diverse, we know but it gives you a measure of this young man. Having seen a documentary on American songwriter Diane Warren he realised where his future lay. His persistence got him a place at the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts (LIPA) where he set to work writing shows that got him noticed. Once he had graduated he went to work for Producer Chris Moreno looking after tours of Hello Dolly, Annie and several cruise ship productions. “It was just a case of getting thrown in at the deep end and I loved it!”
Michael said. Not being one for living in his comfort zone, Michael’s determination to go for it won him a song writing competition which in turn led to the upcoming showcase of his other work. He’s also recently finished working on a cd of the popular Christmas In New York concert series which includes two of his own songs. When asked about his style Michael commented “At the moment I’m really into writing comedy. In the concert I’m lucky enough to have the lovely Julie Atherton singing a new song I’ve written about a jilted Disney princess”. We’re looking forward to hearing more about Michael as he develops further shows. His is currently continuing to develop his musical ED which took Edinburgh by storm this year. Michael Bruce – A Little Less Ordinary is being presented at the Apollo Theatre on November 1st. For further information on the concert and the Christmas in New York CD visit www. notesfromnewyork.com.
Playing now at Wyndham’s Theatre, London • Review: Mark Ludmon The 1994 movie of Stephen King’s novella, The Shawshank Redemption, has attracted so much love and acclaim over the years that it was only a matter of time before it made it to the stage. After premiering in Dublin earlier this year, Owen Neill and Dave Johns’ stage version is a solid rendition of the story of Andy Dufresne, a prisoner wrongly convicted of murdering his wife, and his friendships and conflicts inside the Shawshank jail in Maine. Unlike the film, the play takes place entirely within the walls of the prison, represented by bars the full height of the stage, forming a cage around the actors. Some of the metaphorical power is lost in this version, which comes across as a straightforward prison drama, but it still has powerful moments thanks to the ensemble cast. What is missing is a sense of passing time – you are told at one point that something like 20 years have passed but the characters never change or age. Kevin Anderson (the original Joe Gillis opposite Patti LuPone in Sunset Boulevard) is strong as the aloof self-contained Dufresne, while Reg E Cathey – best know for The Wire – is captivating as his wise, dignified friend, Red. Geoffrey Hutchings gives a moving performance as the bookish Brooksie while Mitchell Mullen is memorable as the dangerously smooth prison governor. Inevitably, the play will be compared to the film and found lacking but, while it may not have some of the Hollywood punch, it is a well paced, unpretentious show redeemed by some excellent performances. www.delfontmackintosh.co.uk/Theatres/wyndhams_ theatre.php
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Gin Pickings behind the label
The Queen Mother had a reputation for partaking in it daily, and hey, it goes well with tonic. And, there’s now more choice when it comes to gin than ever before. Mark Ludmon investigates...
in was so popular in the 18th century that the British government banned it. Because it was cheap to produce and better quality than the drinking water, the population was gripped with a “gin craze” that allegedly threatened the fabric of society. But the ban merely led to the production of harsher, stronger contraband spirit and, six years later, the law was reversed. It was during the 18th century that the sweet Old Tom gin was invented, notoriously available at a London shop with a sign outside of a tom cat. Passers-by would put pennies into a pipe and call out for a shot of gin, which would then be poured back down the pipe into their open mouths. While this retail model did not last, production of Old Tom gin continued until the 1960s. It has now been revived by Hayman Distiller and Jensen’s, part of a new “gin craze” sweeping Britain. “Old Tom is the original,” says Tim Francis of online retailer TheDrinkShop. “It’s a sweeter style of gin and is being revived because bartenders are revisiting all the classic cocktails.” Gin is a spirit rich in heritage. Although the British invented what we think of as gin, its roots are in the Netherlands where the Dutch created a medicinal distillation using herbs and aromatics including the principal ingredient of juniper, whose French name, genièvre, is the derivation of the spirit’s name. These dark little berries are responsible for gin’s distinctive aroma but many other ingredients – or “botanicals” – have been used such as liquorice, orris root, dried citrus peel, angelica and coriander. Traditional genever, often known as Holland gin, is made by blending maltwine with botanicals. It was this that was used in 19th-century America in the original recipes of many of the classic cocktails that we know today such as the Martinez, the forerunner of the gin-based Martini. When genever was introduced into England in the 17th century, distillers left out the maltwine and produced what we know today as gin. Original genevers are still available in the Netherlands but drinks group Maxxium reintroduced Bols Genever into the UK market last year using a recipe dating back nearly 200 years. The most common style in the UK is London dry gin, which includes most of the leading brands such as Gordon’s, Beefeater, Tanqueray and Bombay Sapphire as well as newer ones such as Jensen’s London-Distilled Dry Bermondsey Gin. These are less sweet than other types of gin but, surprisingly, do not have to be made in London, although Beefeater’s distillery can be found tucked away down a side street in Kennington and Thames Distillery, which makes gin for other companies, is in
Clapham. However, the slightly sweeter style of Plymouth gin does have to be made in Plymouth, with its most well-known brand being Plymouth Gin itself. The Scots have made an impact with Hendrick’s, mixing traditional botanicals such as coriander and citrus peel with cucumber and rose petals to create a unique and unexpected flavour. It was Hendrick’s that was chosen for the “walk-in cocktail” built in Soho in April for the Alcohol Architecture installation, where the public stood in a room breathing in a gin and tonic mist. In recent years, growth has come from people trading up to brands like Hendrick’s, Tanqueray and Bombay Sapphire. Beefeater 24 was launched last year, made with 24 botanicals such as Japanese Sencha tea, Chinese green Tea, Seville orange peel, grapefruit peel and lemon peel. Innovation is coming from the different varieties of botanicals, providing a point of difference that even the most expensive vodka cannot achieve without adding flavour. All kinds of exotic fruits as well as heather and bark have been used for other new gins in the UK such as Brockmans, Caorunn and CP (see panel). One of the biggest success stories has been Martin Miller’s London dry gin, which was created 10 years ago by hotelier Martin Miller because he could not find a gin that he liked enough to drink. “With time and money being no object, and some rather obsessive attention to detail, we came up with a fresh, soft gin, unlike anything else on the market which would appeal to connoisseurs - I call them the gin-telligentsia!” he explains. For its 10th birthday, they created the limited-edition Martin Miller’s Anniversary Strength which has gone on to scoop awards including best gin in the International Spirits Challenge in October. But when you are trading up to a premium gin, it seems a shame to mix it with a cheap tonic. Many top brands such as Plymouth Gin, Miller’s and Tanqueray have partnered with premium soft drinks company Fever-Tree – it was their tonic that was breathed in with Hendrick’s at Alcoholic Architecture in April. Charles Rolls, co-founder of Fever-Tree, explains: “What is the point of buying into premium gins if you are going to use a mixer that has saccharine in it like most of the major brands. Our tonic was designed to enhance the gin so you can tell what you are drinking.”
Mark Ludmon is a writer on drinks and the licensed trade and the editor of
Bar magazine, the leading monthly publication for Britain’s bar trade.
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on the block “Gin is a fantastic category at the moment and everybody is getting into it,” says leading mixologist Andy Pearson, who has teamed up with Gerry Calabrese of The Hoxton Pony to launch CP Gin. It is a new style of gin distilled with coconut and grapefruit, with other ethically sourced ingredients such as tarragon and ginger. The Scots are certainly getting into it after the success of Hendrick’s. This summer saw the launch of Caorunn, a super-premium gin made with five Celtic botanicals including coul blush apple, heather, bog myrtle and dandelion. It is named after the Celtic for “rowan berry” and is best served with a slice of apple. Launched in the US three years ago, Bulldog Gin is now making headway on this side of the Atlantic, providing a unique flavour through its use of poppy, dragon eye and lotus leaves as botanicals. Another exciting gin has emerged from a copper still in a garage on a side street in Hammersmith. Sipsmith, a new company founded by Sam Galsworthy and Fairfax Hall, has created the small-batch Sipsmith London Dry Gin. “No batch is more than 300 bottles – often considerably less – so each and every one is given our full attention,” Galsworthy says. “Making spirits in this way is challenging and time-consuming but it does mean that every drop that we bottle has exceptional character and intensity of flavour.” The super-premium Brockmans gin was introduced last year by a group of gin-loving entrepreneurs, positioned as an edgy, sexy product. It is intensely smooth, with botanicals that include Bulgarian coriander, blueberries, blackberries and Valencia orange peel. Newest gin on the block is Bedrock, which was launched this summer by Vince Williams and Tim Moore using ingredients such as spring water and oak bark from the Lake District. “There are a lot of traditional gins for males over-50 but we are trying to give people aged 25 to 45 something that’s more of a brand for their age group than their parents’ gin,” Williams says. To find out more about gin and where to drink it, check out www.gintime.com
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hanging on the
The UK’s cheapest line rental Whether it’s Radio 2 presenters, cabbies, or the airport security guard, it seems people everywhere are infuriated by telephone line rental – or at least it’s the first thing on their mind to ask when they spot me. Perhaps it’s the idea of £100s a year paid for a facility then you’re charged calls on top which makes people’s teeth gnash. Thankfully though, for the first time ever, I’ve an answer and can write about a way to cut the cost of the line rental and calls. Why’s it taken so long? Providers have been competing on line rental deals for a number of years, but the worry has been then they will block the use of override providers that can massively cut call costs. These are specialist companies which you access simply by dialling them up on your existing phone line. Once connected to them, your call costs are slashed, eg, 5p per CALL rather than per minute to call a landline or half a penny a minute, rather than 20p to call many countries overseas. BT is prevented from blocking access to these over-ride numbers, because of its dominant position. Yet the restriction doesn’t apply to other line rental providers. So saving a quid or two on the line can scupper your ability to get cheaper calls. Yet for once, the two cheapest line rental providers have guaranteed me that they’ve no plans to block access, so you can get the best of both worlds. Are you on a BT line? Strange as it may sound, the company that provides your phone line needn’t be the one that you make calls with. Unless you’re with a cable provider (see below), even if you pay line rental to another company such as TalkTalk or Sky, chances are it’s BT providing the hardware that makes it all work. As long as you’ve got that, you should be able to access these deals. The cheapest landline deals Who to choose depends on whether you’re just looking for a phone alone or want bundled broadband too. For that, go to www.moneysavingexpert.com/broadband. Here, I want to focus on phones. The easy option Vast numbers are with BT for line rental and calls, and can’t be bothered to switch. If that’s you, BT gives ‘free’ calls to other landlines at weekends on its standard line rental, yet if you agree to a year’s contract, you get ‘free’ evening calls too. Though ‘free’ just means for the first 60 minutes. You pay after that, so simply hang up and redial to keep it cheap. To pay the minimum £11.25 a month, make sure you pay by direct debit and ask for paperless (email) billing, otherwise it can be £14. £9.50 line rental with evening and weekend calls
The best deal is Primus Home saver at £9.50/month, if you sign up via the comparison site Consumer Choices. It includes free evening & weekend calls to landlines (first 90 minutes) and it’s guaranteed to allow override calls. £11.75 line rental with calls to mobiles at weekends The Post Office’s basic Home Phone package is £11.75/month. This includes the first 60 minutes of evening and weekend calls to landlines. At weekends, there are free calls to mobiles and 40 international destinations. If you make more than ten minutes of mobile calls at the weekend, you’re better off with this than BT’s basic line deal. Override providers are allowed, and it tells me there are no plans to change this. For more info and options on these go to www. moneysavingexpert.com/homephones Now cut the cost further As I’ve already gone on about it enough, no surprise my answer here is using no-frills override providers. To halve many landline call costs without changing provider, set up an account with no-frills phone companies such as www.18185.co.uk. Then simply dial the access code (unsurprisingly, it’s 18185), before the number you’re calling. It charges 5p PER CALL to daytime landlines, no matter how long you speak (BT’s 4.5p PER MIN) and 6p/min to mobiles on weekdays. This works on BT and other lines mentioned, though some other call providers block access. If so, there are other special numbers to dial. Go to www.moneysavingexpert.com/ callchecker for daily updated lists. Tips for cable users For most people, cable means Virgin, which took over the merged NTL and Telewest a couple of years ago. Unlike standard line rental, it automatically provides calls, so it requires specific tactics to save. Haggle. Virgin is fighting to hold onto customers and market share. You can use this to your advantage by noting down the best deals. Call it up and quote these, saying you are considering leaving as it is too expensive. There’s a good chance it’ll offer to reduce your prices or give you a number of months for free. If it doesn’t, do consider leaving, as better deals are likely to be available elsewhere. Cut individual call costs Virgin calls can be expensive, particularly if you are calling mobiles at up to 15p/min Yet you can legally bypass this to nearly halve the cost, just by dialling a special code before calling. The best of these override providers is again 18185. More info at www.moneysavingexpert.com/homephones
money When St Etienne sang He’s on the Phone to a disco beat in 1995, the last thing on vocalist Sarah Cracknell’s mind was the cost of the call the guy was making to her. She realised that there are much more important things in life than the phone bill. But it is irritating when that direct debit leaves your account and you think you’re being overcharged for your waffling, so Mister Money Saving Expert, Martin Lewis (pictured), is here to ensure you can leave him hanging on the phone without worrying about his wallet. vol 2 issue 4 | beige | 73
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gaytoz.com search and find
(www.gaytoz.com) - the search engine for gay Britain. Find thousands of gay and lesbian businesses, organisations, listings and events in the GAY to Z Directory
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Hull LGBT Forum 07743 520 928
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Jewish Gay & Lesbian Group 020 8952 0137 (www.jglg.org.uk) Kairos in Soho 020 7437 6063 (www.kairosinsoho.org.uk)
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Dazz-elle - drug and alcohol support for women 020 8257 3068 (www.dazz-elle.org.uk) Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays - FFLAG 0117 942 9311 (www.fflag.org.uk) Frank - information and advice on drugs and drug use. 0800 776 600
(www.talktofrank.com) GALOP Shoutline - for victims of hate crime 020 7704 2040 (www.galop.org.uk)
London Lesbian and Gay Switchboard 020 7837 7324 (www.llgs.org.uk)
Mobility Advice Line 0121 486 2155
UK Lesbian & Gay Immigration Group 020 7620 6010 (www.uklgig.org.uk)
choirs & Music Diversity Chamber Choir 07976 896 809 www.diversitychoir.org.uk) London Gay Men’s Chorus 08458 382 059 (www.lgmc.org.uk) London Gay Symphony Orchestra LGSO 07963 853 099 (www.lgso.org.uk)
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Midland Mavericks Line Dancing Group Birmingham 0121 454 4245 (www. Manchester Lesbian & Gay Chorus 07931 703 371 (www.mlgc.org.uk) Rainbow Voices - Birmingham’s Lesbian & Gay Chorus 07841 755 379 (www.rainbow-voices.org.uk)
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Gusto Dining Club ‘The set-up is simple: on the first Wednesday each month we meet up for a meal in London. If you’d like to come along then email email@example.com to make your initial booking. ‘The meal is usually a three-course affair with wine and coffee. THE BILL IS SPLIT EVENLY between those dining. Other clubs of this kind do exist. We try to be the best. We are the only dining club that we know of in London run by gay men for gay men. Any and all suggestions are welcome.’
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HOUSING Albert Kennedy Trust - Housing Advice for L&G Teenagers London - 020 7831 6562 Manchester - 0161 228 3308 (www.akt.org.uk)
Lewisham Housing Support Team 020 8463 1170 (www.thamesreachbondway.com)
Stonewall Housing 020 7359 5767 (www.stonewallhousing.org)
OLDER PEOPLE CAFFMOS for older, mature gay men (www.caffmoscommunity.com) Polari 020 7255 4480 (www.polari.org)
COUNSELLING PACE - Project for Advice Counselling & Education 020 7700 1323 (www.pacehealth.org.uk)
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nextphasemedia POSITIONS VACANT
ADVERTISING SALES STAFF Next Phase Media are seeking talented, entreprenuerial sales staff to work on our range of titles including Beige & Beige Travel. The candidates we are seeking should be highly motivated, have good written and verbal skills and work well under pressure. A knowledge of the gay market place and gay publications would be highly desireable.
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At home with
orty-sixMany say that year-old living in Brighton is Nigel Fairs like living in a ‘gay is a Sussexbubble’… born actor, If Brighton really is a ‘gay writer and composer bubble’, then I consider currently residing just myself privileged to live outside Brighton. He’s not in it. A couple of weeks been very good at sticking ago I was seeing a pal at one thing for any length in a play in Worthing of time, and as a result and was trying to find a possesses a remarkable pub for our post-show CV that ranges from a drink. I asked a perfectly caravan-dwelling £30 a normal-looking lady week actor to West End where it was and she star to Dr Who writer to said, quite seriously, ‘Oh composer to novelist. no, don’t go there, it’s Somewhere along the where those gays go.’ It way, he’s also trained seemed so ludicrously as a counsellor, and is narrow-minded that I just currently putting the laughed at her. I mean, finishing touches to his surely homophobia is as first novel, Folding the unthinkable as racism or Corners, and third fullmisogyny these days? Nigel Fairs at his home near Brighton, October 2009 length musical, The Three Lives of Princess Caraboo. Fairs’ picture-postcard, roses-in-the-garden, about as English What’s the best part of living where you do? as can be cottage is what estate agents would probably refer to The neighbours. There’s a real sense of community spirit and social as ‘bijou’: two bedrooms, one bathroom, a tiny creaky staircase network. Sometimes, if I’m hoovering, the couple from across the and the kind of original detail that would provoke Kirsty from street will text me to let me know I’ve missed a bit. We all get together for dinner parties all the time. Location, Location, Location to demand a gushing direct-to-camera monologue. You almost expect the blonde and dippy Alice from The Vicar of Dibley to skip by the window on her way to Geraldine Granger’s thatched cottage… But the characters in this street aren’t quite as run-of-the-mill as Geraldine, Alice and co; there’s Tom and Xavier, the gay couple of fourteen years who are currently in the process of adopting their third child; there’s Sarah and Imogen, the lesbian couple who walk their numerous dogs with military timing four times a day; and there’s the upstanding Christian couple that, knowing the diversity of the street, keep themselves to themselves. It’s all very Brighton. And Nigel Fairs loves it. Or does he? Yes I do! I love the quote, ‘Brighton has the air of a town that’s helping the police with their enquiries’. When I was growing up it had a real ‘naughty postcard’ feel and it’s the heady mix of that, the theatricality of the place and the (thankfully not all too successful) urge to become ‘cityfied’ that appeals to me. Everyone can be themselves here, I think. There’s room for everyone. And the Pavilion is the campest building in the world. Brighton still has the tag of being the ‘gay capital of Europe’ with one in five men in the city identifying as gay. How deserved do you think that tag is? When I was 16 I saw a couple of men walk along the beach hand in hand (people really didn’t do it then) and I knew it was the place for me. I used to love the gay bars because they were exclusive and I felt safe. Now I love them because they’re not exclusive and I still feel safe.
Where would you live if not where you are now? Anywhere where I could hear the sea from my bedroom. That doesn’t mean anywhere, literally – Alcatraz or Guantanamo Bay might be a bit too much. What makes a house a home? Evidence of someone’s life and loves. I can’t understand how people want to live in ‘minimalist’ homes – there’s no personality in those places. My lounge is full of books I’ve loved, my walls are covered with people I’ve loved - pictures of them, not the actual people - and every single room has at least one odd memento. What has been your proudest moment? Well, I ought to say my West End debut [as Christopher Wren in Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap in 1993]. It’s every actor’s dream, I suppose. It was utterly exhilarating walking out onto the stage on my first night, and I was surprisingly calm – more excited than nervous. But really one of my proudest moments was working in Maidstone Prison in Kent as a drama teacher. It was one of the more moving experiences of my career. One prisoner took me aside afterwards and said, ‘that’s the first time I’ve expressed myself in seven years’. He confided that he was too scared to tell anyone inside that he used to be a dancer, as he would probably have been beaten up. Nigel Fairs’ is nearing completion of his novel Folding the Corners, about the Milky Bar kid, who’s now 41, gay, single and living in Brighton and his third full-length musical, The Three Lives of Princess Caraboo, a true story about a servant girl at the beginning of the nineteenth century who convinced the aristocracy that she was a foreign princess. When she was unmasked as a fraud, her true story came out, which was just as interesting as her fantasy. Keep in touch at www.nigelfairs.com
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5 GROSVENOR STREET MAYFAIR W1K 4DJ LONDON 020 7495 3177 WWW.TERENCETROUT.NET
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