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GNIMAG y o u r

l o c a l

h o m o c u l t u r a l

m a g a z i n e

£2 only

The Big Day Issue

Issue 38 Sep/Oct 2019 £2.00 / €2.00

Northern Ireland is on the cusp of wedding equality, in our 24 page feature we look back at some couples from the past year.

John Partridge

This star of stage and screen, talks frankly about cancer, addiction and staying clean.

Iconic Freddie

A man that changed music forever, Freddie Mercury is our icon in this issue.

Eating Disorder Darren shares his story, how food controlled his life and how he got over it.

CELEBS / FASHION / MUSIC / NEWS / REVIEWS / MOVIES / FITNESS / HOME / TRAVEL / REAL LIFE


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belfastinternationalartsfestival.com Box Office: Visit Belfast Welcome Centre 028 9024 6609

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Explore the MAC, a cultural hub located in the heart of Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter. Open 7 days a week, we are home to three art galleries, two theatres and an eclectic programme of visual art, drama, dance, music, comedy, family workshops and lots more. Enjoy a great night out at the theatre with friends, discover something new as you explore our free to visit gallery spaces or get creative in our family room which is packed full of fun for little ones.

Refreshed. Refurbed. Revived. We’ve also just made some changes to our Café Bar with brand new interiors, great tasting coffee and delicious menu options. Our Café & Bar is open from 8:30am Monday - Saturday 10am Sunday

themaclive.com


CONTENTS //

CREDITS //

WHAT’S INSIDE

GO! [ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ [

12 ] 16 ] 18 ] 21 ] 22 ] 25 ] 26 ] 28 ] 31 ] 32 ] 34 ]

JOHN PARTRIDGE CALLUM SKEFFINGTON AMANDA PALMER MICKY MURRAY RICHARD WINSOR JAMES CHARLES STORY STEWART TAYLOR ICON - FREDDIE MERCURY KWEEN JOHNNY LOGAN ALISA ROSE

YOU! [ [ [ [ [ [

36 ] 38 ] 45 ] 46 ] 48 ] 52 ]

POLYAMORY QUEERTURE FITNESS FACE DE’ JON PIER’E HAIR

LIFE! [ 56 ] [ 80 ] [ 85 ] [ 86 ] [ 90 ] [ 92 ] [ 95 ] [ 96 ]

WEDDING FEATURE SAMUEL SHANNON-ANDERSON AGONY AUNT - TRUDY SCRUPTIOUS DARREN CATTERSON OUT ON THE ROOF COMING OUT - LUKE’S STORY CULTURE CLUB SCENE OUT POPPERS

MANAGING DIRECTOR Tony Day OPERATIONS DIRECTOR Daniel May GNI MAG WEDDINGS Daryl Shields EDITORIAL ASSISTANTS Callum Skeffington India Day COVER IMAGE: Bradley Henderson Photography www.bradleyhenderson.co.uk SPECIAL THANKS TO... John Partridge / Amanda Palmer / Micky Murray / Richard Winsor / Callum Skeffington / Stewart Taylor / Glitzy Glamour / Johnny Logan / Alisa Rose / Gavin Rennick / Queerture / Damien Lundy / FacetherapyNI / De’ Jon Pier’e / Alisha Hill / All our wedding couples / Samuel Shannon-Anderson / Trudy Scruptious / Darren Catterson / Luke McKibben / Misstique / Marty Kearney / Keune / The Chelsea / Gavyn Andrews / Myzone / Manual Skincare / Slieve Donard Hotel / Chuff Media / GOH / Project Publicity / Fiona Brown Communications / Little Red Rooster GNI MAG IS PUBLISHED BY... Romeo & Julian Publications Ltd 13 Union Street Belfast BT1 2JF Romeo & Julian P U B L I C AT I O N S LT D

TEST! [ [ [ [ [ [ [

98 ] 102 ] 105 ] 107 ] 110 ] 111 ] 112 ]

[ 114 ]

www.gnimag.com daniel@gnimag.com

RECOMMENDED - MARTY SO PURE FOOD - THE CHELSEA TRAVEL - ITALY MYZONE REVIEW MANUAL SKINCARE SLEEPOVER - SLIEVE DONARD

All submissions to GNI MAG are made on the basis of permission to publish the submission in GNI MAG and its licensed editions worldwide. In the case of a picture selection, the editor’s decision is final. Any material sent is at the owner’s risk and although every care is taken neither Romeo & Julian Publications Ltd or its agents shall be liable for loss or damage. We take great care to make sure all elements of GNI MAG are accurate. However we accept no liabilty for any misprints that appear in this magazine. You should seek professional advice prior to following any advice offered in this publication. Any opions expressed are those of the writers and not those of GNI MAG or Romeo & Julian Publications Ltd.

HISTORY - STONEWALL

Romeo & Julian Publications Ltd 2019


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ABOUT TANYA KHAN I am a fully qualified theatre nurse with over 13 years’ experience and have been working in the field of aesthetics for over a decade. I am trained by the best names in the industry of aesthetics and I continually update my training by attending regular conferences on new innovate techniques and the latest treatments on the market. I understand that the prospect of having an aesthetic treatment can make some people feel anxious, that is why I’ll be with you every step of the way… My clinic creates a tranquil, welcoming environment where

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Kelly’s Cellars is Belfast’s oldest traditional Irish pub, often described as “a hidden gem that oozes old traditional values”. It’s famous for the best pint of Guinness in Belfast, served with our homemade Irish beef stew. Built in 1720, it is situated in the heart of the city. Kelly’s Cellars has changed very little in 200 years and still has most of its original features. Recently we refurbished upstairs into what is now a modern yet contempory bar, currently opened to the public at the weekend and available for private hire

30-32 Bank Street, Belfast, Northern Ireland (City Centre)

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GO!

CELEBRITY, COLUMNISTS, FEATURES, IT’S ALL ABOUT THE PEOPLE


INTERVIEW // JOHN PARTRIDGE

TWELVE // GNIMAG.COM


INTERVIEW // JOHN PARTRIDGE

JOHN PARTRIDGE IN A BEATUIFULLY HONEST INTERVIEW WE TALK TO JOHN ABOUT HIS STARRING ROLE IN CABARET, TESTICLUAR CANCER, STAYING SOBER, HIS OLD PARTY BOY LIFESTYLE AND LOOKING AND FEELING GOOD...

FIRSTLY, TELL US A BIT ABOUT CABARET AND YOUR CHARACTER AND THE SHOW? I play the role of the emcee and you only see my character within the walls of the Kit Kat Klub which is a legendary night club in Berlin, through the 20s, 30s, 40s it was a cabaret and burlesque club. It is also a club that is alive and well today in berlin, I guess you would call it a sex club now. I lived in Berlin for 10 years, I have been to the Kit Kat Klub. The KIt Kat Klub is used as a metaphor for the wider poitical climate that was happening in Germany in the late 20s, early 30s. The rise of the Nazi Party, the rise of far right. The Emcee is the narator and a showman, I am there to both educate, entertain and inform, if only I was like that in real life. It is a hugely political character, it’s a hugely political show. As we see our own political structure right now bend so far to the right with the rise of Trump, Farage, Brexit, the rise of anti-semitism within our own political system ie. the Labour Party and the conversation that that bring. If a show like Cabaret which was written in the 60s seems to be as relevent today if not more so, politically, than it was then and thet to me is both frightning and exhillerating in a way because I think touring this show at this time, through our own political difficulties right now, it’s going to be really interesting to see how people respond to the show and the subject matter. As I grow older, politics obviously becomes very important to me, my husband is european, I wish to be a part of europe and I think, obviously coming to Ireland, you have your own

issues with the backstop and I will move from Southern Ireland to Northern Ireland within the show and I’m really interested to see what audiences reactions are to the show. I think sometimes people think think that Cabaret’s just about “Life is a cabaret old chum” and I think people don’t realise, especially if you haven’t seen the show, I think people don’t realise what it’s about. It is a brilliantly dazzling, clever piece but it also deals with extremily powerful things and I’m rally excited to be a part of this multi award winning show. FOR ANYONE WHO HAS SEEN THE MOVIE, IS THERE MUCH DIFFERENCE IN THE STAGE SHOW? I think there is a difference because our show was obviously created by the artistic director of the national theatre in London. I think our show is a little darker than a Hollywood movie. Although the original movie that was directed by Bob Fosse has all the same elements but obviously I don’t want to give to much away but the final scene in our show is really quite dark and has to be so in a way because it is dealing with genocide and there’s no real way to paint it. It deals with the atrocities that the Nazis committed and I do think that this show holds a mirror up to humanity, showing where we’ve been and where we hopefully can go and I think it’s quite exciting to be a part of this right now. We’ve just been rehearsing for the last three weeks, this is a really great company and I really think that this is going to be a great production.

THIRTEEN // GNIMAG.COM


INTERVIEW // JOHN PARTRIDGE

YOU’VE BEEN REHEARSING WITH THE WHOLE CAST, ANY EMBARASSING STORIES SO FAR OR PEOPLE YOU’VE REALLY CLICKED WITH? I wouldn’t say there are any embarrassing stories right now. It’s not that sort of process. Everybody’s working incredibly hard. Although I will say that our leading lady, she does this flying death drop from the top of the staircase and she managed to punch one of the dancers in the face yesterday. I wouldn’t necessarily say that’s an embarassing story but I guess there is some unity in this show so the embarassment may come a little later on. Nobody’s taken their clothes off yet, I guess once that happens we’ll see whose embarassed then, I can tell you it wont be me. YOU WERE DIAGNOSED WITH TESTICULAR CANCER, CAN YOU TELL US A BIT ABOUT IT AND HOW YOU CAME THROUGH THE OTHER SIDE? I came through the other side quickly and I just didn’t talk about it. Physically I healed very quickly from cancer but it emotionally took me a bit longer. I am a newly sober person, I say newly sober, by the time I get to Dublin I’ll be in my 3rd year of sobriety, a subject that’s really important to me. When I first got clean it prompted a conversation in me about why I’d chosen to live the way that I had for so long and part of my recovery was talking, I guess once I decided to get clean it forced me to have a conversation with myself and in having that conversation with myself I had to open up about a few things in order to get well. Had I still been using drink and drugs I’m sure I would have kept my mouth shut about it because that’s what you do, I’m very greatful I got clean and that allowed me to be open about that. I chose to not speak about it because it hadn’t happened, I didn’t want to face it. I think what a lot of men do, I think I outwardly make my money out of being fit, I tour in huge shows I’ve always been incredibly active, a physical person and especially in my early television career people would look at me and think “Oh he’s got his muscles” and it was the image that I presented, I didn’t want people to think that I’d been sick in any way because it didn’t fit in with the lie I was selling basically. WE ALWAYS HEAR THAT MEN ARE BAD AT CHECKING THEMSELVES AND LOOKING

FOURTEEN // GNIMAG.COM

AFTER THEMSELVES, IS THAT SOMETHING YOU REALLY CARE ABOUT? Yeah, I don’t necessarily think it’s that men are bad at checking themselves. I think they check themselves but once they discover that something’s not right then I think they choose to ignore it. I think we do examine ourselves, I think once you realise that something is wrong that’s when you’ve got to address it, I think that’s what we do. I work with a testicular group at St Bart’s hospital now and we meet monthly and that is what I hear time and time again. People find things: lumps, growths or just a feeling that something’s not right and then they don’t act on that feeling and that is fear. Men are frightened of this and that’s about vulnerability and not wanting to appear vulnerable or weak. That’s what we have to do. With any of these things, be it HIV, cancer, any of these things, to get early diagnosis is lifesaving. If you feel that something’s not right, you owe it to yourself, you must. YOU’VE HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO WORK WITH MANY POP STARS LIKE THE PET SHOP BOYS, ARE THEY AS LOVELY IN REAL LIFE AS WE THINK THEY ARE? Everybody who I’ve ever worked with is like Mother Theresa. You’re never going to hear me say that they’re not. I’ve worked with some amazing people. People say “Out of all the things you’ve done and people you’ve worked with, what are you most proud of?” And what I have to say is I went in to Cats at 16, I’m now 48, I’ve been doing this for 32 years and that’s the thing I am most proud of. It’s not about individuals, although I have done some crazy crazy things. People say “You know when…” and I’m like “I completely forgot about that.” The other day I met an old friend, I’m not going to name drop too much right now, I met somebody who came to see me in this play that I’m doing ‘The View Upstairs’ and they were like “Do you remember when…” and I had forgot, I completely forgot that we did that and that’s the thing that I’m really most proud of is the fact that 32 years later I am still doing this, I am still able to do this. Dreams are what we make them you know? You’ve gotta go hustle for that dream. You can’t sit on your ass, you’ve got to go out and you’ve got to hustle for that dream and you’ve got to be kind, I can’t stress this enough, you’ve got to be nice to everyone. I can’t stress that enough. Since I got sober, I don’t think I was particularly kind before, I think

sometimes I could be really mean and I’m lucky that I’m able to make amends for that and that’s the thing that I’m most proud of really. I’M LOOKING BACK AT YOUR INTERVIEW WITH US 5 YEARS AGO AND I’M AMAZED WITH HOW UNREHEARSED AND HONEST YOU WERE AND STILL ARE. It’s all I can be. I haven’t got time for that anymore. HOW DO YOU COPE IN AN INDUSTRY WHERE THERE IS SO MUCH FAKENESS AND ASS KISSING? I’ve never ass kissed, even as a kid, even when I was young, I was always a bit millitant, I was never an ass kisser, I’ve never done anything innappropriate for a gig. I know people would be like “Don’t fucking lie, yes you have” but I swear to God. That was never my style, I’m not here to judge, there are plenty of ways to skin a cat and you do what you need to do. I know here, now, in my house, I know that I got all of this from me. I don’t come from money, my mum and dad weren’t wealthy, I know I went to one of the best schools in the world but I got scholarships to go to that school. everything that I’ve done, I’ve done through graft, that’s the way I’ve done it and that’s the way I continue to do it. People ask why I work so hard and I’m like “I gotta hustle” I have a job in acting so I say “yes” a lot because that’s what I have to do. There comes a time when you want to hang things up and my desire to act is not what it was. I think I really enjoyed being someone else, I enjoyed stepping out of myself and being somebody else, now that I’m sober I like myself more and my desire to be somebody else has deminished somewhat because I’m getting to know myself for the first time in a long long time. So to answer your question about being fake: I was probably fake, I’ve probably lived a portion of my life being a fony because I lied to a certain degree about how I was feeling, about who I was and what I was. Anyone who used drink and drugs, you are covering up, you are hiding, you are masking something. As far as coping with being fake, that was me too and that’s the truth of it. No matter what your kick is, whether it’s sex, shopping, food, coke, pills, booze, whatever that is, that is about wanting to be somebody else and that is just another definition of fake so in answer to that question: I was once fake.


INTERVIEW // JOHN PARTRIDGE

WE GUESS THAT YOU DRINK FROM THE ETERNAL FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH BUT IS THERE A SECRET, DO YOU HAVE A ROUTINE, WHAT DO YOU DO TO KEEP LOOKING GOOD? Botox. BOTOX DOESN’T GIVE YOU SUCH GOOD PHYSICAL SHAPE, DO YOU HIT THE GYM A LOT? You’d be so surprised, of course not. ANY IMPLANTS? Other than the the fake testical, no. These days I really do take care of myself, I spent 46 years absolutely trashing myself, nobody trashed themselved more than me, I was the eternal party boy and I got away with it. There comes a point where you’ve got to reign it in. I’ve always done physical excersice, I’ve always enjoyed to dicipline of physical activity, make of that what

you will. I’ve alway found it good to have that 45 minutes in the day, I’ve never gone to the gym a lot, I would only ever do 45 minutes but that is something that I still live by because I’ve found that it works for me. Physical activity, be that stretching, pushing up, going for a run, going to the gym. I’ve always watched what I eat, food now is important to me now that my food career is almost as big as my acting career right now because I have my first book coming out and I’m doing food demos up and down the country alongside my acting. Now that I don’t work out with a hangover every morning I’ve got this new energy that I’ve got to put somewhere. You can only do all of these things when you want to do it. Don’t get me wrong I fucking loved partying and I still love partying, I wouldn’t change it for anything because I had the best fucking time and I’d be a liar if I said I don’t miss it but you don’t see any 70 year old coke heads because they’re all dead so I made a choice. I loved it, I loved to party and I still love to party, it just doesn’t go on for 4 days, I’m not one of those ex alcoholics or drug users

where I can’t be around it. I still go out, I still club, I still party, I have a party house, my house is designed for entertaining, they just don’t start on a Friday night now and people are walking out the door on a Monday. My husband said something in another interview we were in together when somebody said “how did you feel about it?” and he said “I always knew he could, I just never thought he would” and that broke my heart because Jon is my life and to know that I’d put him through that and he was so worried about me, all the shit that goes on when you’re living with somebody, that just broke my heart. People don’t need to take a leaf out of my book they just need to go sort their own shit out or not, the only thing they need to do is come and see Cabaret, they can come high, they can come sober, they can come busted up, we take them all, we’ll welcome everybody in, gay, straight, white, black, we don’t care. We just want you all to come, it’s all inclusive.

FIFTEEN // GNIMAG.COM


OPINION // CALLUM SKEFFINGTON

CALLUM SKEFFINGTON WHO AM I? WHEN ASKED TO WRITE THIS column, my initial reaction was sheer excitement. On the day before my 25th Birthday, it was the best present an aspiring writer could have asked for. Then, as I calmed down and realised that I had no clue what I should write about, and with only one day to come up with something, I was quick to ask Daniel for advice. He nonchalantly told me to simply introduce myself, the opening question at the beginning of job interviews that I have always hated; tell us a bit about yourself. The question really makes you think; who actually am I? Born and raised in the small town of Omagh, I moved to the big smoke at the age of 19 when I started university. University was one hell of a ride; emphasis on the word hell! In the beginning, I definitely enjoyed myself, maybe even a little too much at times, but the pressures of my course wore down on me, and it was incredibly hard to motivate myself to study for a degree I had no interest in. If I could do it all again, I would never have chosen to study a Maths degree! If there was one thing I learnt in university it is this; Maths degree + dreams of being a writer ÷ student debts x too much time drinking rather than studying ≠ an informed decision. Maybe it is wrong of me to pass the blame, but I have always felt that my school were more interested in an impressive statistic for the brochure passed out to an incoming group of first years and their parents. Let’s face it, 20% of students went on to study maths, medicine, dentistry and law at a prestige university seems to be a more impressive advertisement than 100% of our students went on to follow their dreams. It’s the sad reality. If there are any Freshers reading this, if you are soon to be embarking on their university courses or even simply narrowing down your options, I will give you one piece of advice; if you have any doubts, consider reconsidering. When I finished university back in 2017, I decided it was too soon for me to jump into a career path laid

SIXTEEN // GNIMAG.COM

out by my degree. Instead I opted to work in a coffee shop, whilst taking the time to work out exactly what I wanted to do with my life. As a way to rekindle a lost love for writing, and to overcome the mental health issues I was having at the time, I decided to start a blog, and it was from there that my passion really blossomed into a dream. A quick look back on my twenty five years reveals little of great excitement. Similar to anyone reflecting on their own journey, I suppose, but when you read between the yearly lines that mark out your life, a progression has occurred that you may never have even noticed. Change is not instantaneous, and had you told me five years ago that I would be openly, happily and proudly gay, and writing for an LGBT magazine, I would have quietly retreated to the corner of the room and prayed for a convincing argument to plead heterosexuality. I wouldn’t exactly classify my childhood as the most opened minded and inclusive of experiences. Thankfully, when I eventually came out at the age of 21, my family and friends were supportive, but 19 years of a small town attitude are hard to shake from memory. I spent a lot of my teenage years wishing for circumstances different to my own. The grass is always greener on the other side; I’m probably not the only person in the world who thinks this way. It’s like when you’re a kid, and you always wanted to go to your friends house instead of them coming to yours, because your house was boring and there was nothing to do. There was an overwhelming excitement when it came to going to someone else’s house, an environment different to what we were used to. Now, as an adult, I have grown to appreciate the comfort and convenience on friends coming to my house instead. The thirst for stepping out of your own shoes and into someone else’s life is something that is prominent in us all from a very young age. That’s why the fictional worlds created by so many brilliant authors are so appealing to us all. We want to absorb ourselves in a better reality, all the while forgetting to acknowledge the greatness in our own lives. The grass is always greener on the other side, only because we are so focused on the patch beyond the fence, and neglect to look down at our own green grass and water it as much as we water out budding ideas of what other things we need to be happy. You are in control of your own destiny. Yes it’s cliche to say, but it is true. Not happy with your job? Get a new one. It’s certainly much easier said than done, but at the same time the job will never change. It is highly unlikely at the very least, so if change is the answer, change your job. Or have a gay-breakdown and dye your hair. If, at any moment, you find yourself unhappy with your current situation, you need to be the one to change. It’s never too late to embark on the path you wish you had taken years before. On the eve of my 25th Birthday, I was already contemplating my life before starting this column. As I sat down and thought to myself, ‘how do I even begin to explain who I am’, ‘how do make a long story short’ (something my friends will happily tell you I am incapable of doing), my mother text me to say that on this day, twenty five years ago, she was laid up in Omagh Hospital ready to give birth to her ‘amazing and talented son.’ Her words, not mine, but who am I to argue with the wisdom of a mother. Instagram: catchingupwithcallum Twitter Callum_Skeff This is an opinion piece from the columnist/contributor and not the opinion of GNI MAG / Romeo & Julian Publications Ltd.

SLANG! CAMP

The word “Camp” is often used to describe something that’s deliberately over the top or effeminate and contrary to the belief of the 2019 Met Gala attendees isn’t just a guy in a white suit or a shirt with some lace. It’s likely to have originated from the French ‘se camper’ which is to behave extravagantly. In 1870 a letter produced as evidence for Frederick Park on suspicion of thenillegal homosexual acts, he referred to his cross dressing as “campish undertakings” which is perhaps where the term was adopted by the LGBT community.

The word was used almost exclusively within the gay community to refer to drag queens or more feminine gay men pre-Stonewall but the rise of postmodernism has led to the word being more widely used to mean ‘tacky’ or ‘cheesy’. The Oxford English Dictionary In 1909 first defined camp as”ìostentatious, exaggerated, affected, theatrical; effeminate or homosexual; pertaining to, characteristic of, homosexuals.” Even though now the homosexual part has been taken out of that definition there is no denying the clear ties this now universally used word has to the queer community and that’s never going to change.


JOHN PARTRIDGE as emcee

KARA LILY HAYWORTH as sally bowles and

ANITA HARRIS as fraulein schneider

BILL KENWRIGHT presents

book by JOE

MASTEROFF

music by JOHN

KANDER

lyrics by FRED

EBB

based on the play by JOHN VAN DRUTEN and stories by CHRISTOPHER ISHERWOOD directed by RUFUS NORRIS designed by KATRINA LINDSAY choreographed by JAVIER DE FRUTOS lighting designed by MARK HOWETT sound designed by DAN SAMSON

TUE 8 - SAT 12 OCT goh.co.uk Cabaret GNI Ad.indd 1

11/09/2019 14:33:28


INTERVIEW // AMANDA PALMER SINGER, SONGWRITER, AUTHOR, PAINTER, THE LIST GOES ON AND ON. IT IS SAFE TO SAY THAT YOU’RE AN EXTREMELY CREATIVE PERSON. WHERE DOES THAT COME FROM? What a question. I don’t know, the sky? My parents were not artists, not even in the slightest. They weren’t even amatuer creative people. My stepdad who helped raise me was a physicist, more of a computer voice automation expert, and my Mom was a computer programmer. They were super straight people, but they were also really supportive. When I got really into music and theatre as a kid, they didn’t stop me. They didn’t understand me, but they didn’t stop me. And from an early age I was writing plays and songs. Just doing earlier versions of what I’m still doing now. EVERYTHING JUST HAPPENED BY CHANCE, NO FORCEFUL PARENTS BEHIND YOU MAKING YOU DO THIS THAT AND THE OTHER? I think it was the opposite. They were a little bit confused that I actually thought I could do this for a living but they didn’t. I think they did the most important thing a parent could do, which was they didn’t shame me for it and they didn’t stand in my way.

AMANDA PALMER EIGHTEEEN // GNIMAG.COM

BRILLIANT. YOU’RE COMING OVER HERE TO IRELAND. I’VE HEARD THAT SOME OF THE GIGS ARE ALREADY SOLD OUT, WHICH IS AMAZING. IS THERE A PARTICULAR PLACE THAT YOU ARE MOST LOOKING FORWARD TO VISITING? Yeah, I’m really looking forward to Belfast actually. I’m really looking forward to both Dublin and Belfast. Dublin actually figures into the album and the tour because I was inspired to write “Voicemail for Jill’ after coming back from that repeal vote. And I talk about that story in my show; I talk about being befriended by these incredible Dublin writers and journalists like Róisín Ingle, and I was really gobsmacked by the fact that Ireland seems to be progressing into the future whilst America was backsliding

into the darkness. These people were fighting so hard for their rights. I THINK IN NORTHERN IRELAND HERE WE ARE SLIGHTLY LAGGING BEHIND. HOPEFULLY COME OCTOBER THOUGH. Well that’s why I’m so excited to go to Belfast. Most of the places im touring right now, alot of them have restrictive abortion laws, but its still legal. Belfast is the city that I’m most excited to get up and say what I have to say about feminism, about autonomy, about not having shame around sharing your story if you have had an abortion, or multiple abortions as I have. It’s not fun to do, it’s not a gas to get up on stage and to tell these stories every night, but it is so fucking important right now. EXACTLY, IT REALLY REALLY IS. YOU PREVIOUSLY DID SOME CROWDFUNDING TO HELP YOU ALONG YOUR WAY AS AN ARTIST. WAS THAT SOMETHING YOU WERE GUIDED TOWARDS DOING OR YOU CHOOSE TO DO FOR A CERTAIN REASON BECAUSE I WOULD ASSUME IT’S KINDA HARD TO PUT YOURSELF OUT THERE AND SAY I NEED HELP, AND FUNDING? Crowdfunding is really difficult because it makes you really open and vulnerable, but the alternative was to stay shackled to the natural label system which was absolutely not serving me as an artist, as a business person, as a woman. I just found their best practices were my worst nightmare, and I just wanted to run as far away from that world as possible so that I could have control. Not only over my art, but also over my community, and crowdfunding seemed like the most obvious way to do it, even though I knew that I was going to get a little bit of flack for it, I knew that I was gonna have my work cut out for me and I knew that it wasn’t going to be easy, but I prefer for things to be more difficult and have control than to seek control and pay the emotional and artistic price for am giving those choices over to a giant boardroom


INTERVIEW // AMANDA PALMER table full of men. That is basically the alternative. I TOTALLY SEE WHY YOU DECIDED TO GO DOWN THAT ROUTE THEN. SO TELL ME A BIT ABOUT YOUR PAST. YOU USED TO BUSK AS A LIVING STATUE. YOU’RE BOUND TO HAVE SOME ODD OR FUNNY EXPERIENCES THAT YOU CAN SHARE. Yeah, I wrote a lot about those experiences in my book. I had the whole spectrum of experiences being a street performer, from some of the most profound, fresh, intimate relationships with people, to getting down right assaulted in the street by psychotic strangers. It’s a really hard job. It really gives you performance balls of steel because when you perform in the street you become galvanised by the universe you have to be a really unshakable stage presence to survive as a street performer. IT’S BOUND TO REALLY INFLUENCE YOU THEN WITH THE WORK YOUR DOING NOW. Yeah because it conditions you to understand that a direct connection with people can be a lot more valuable than going through a middle man. There is something so absolutely magic about having an unsullied exchange with someone walking by you that isn’t negotiated by somebody else who’s standing at the door. It’s not just about money. If you ask any street performer all of them will have the stories where you know somebody’s heart opened up or some kind of magical mutual exchange that came out of nowhere in the middle of somebody’s day IT’S COMPLETELY SPONTANEOUS. Right, and it has nothing to do with money at that moment. I mean the money can be the symbol of gratitude but those moments, those really really magical moments of human connection, you can’t create them when there’s a whole lot of people in the room. It’s really hard. Its like trying to have sex with a bunch of people in bed with you. And

i’m not saying that’s terrible if that’s your thing. That can be nice occasionally, but if you really want to have a deep, intimate, artistic experience with somebody, we forget how much money and marketing and crass comercialism can really fuck up that relationship between an artist and the person recieveing the art. It’s so interesting, I was just - I get to name drop here because I get to. GO FOR IT. Okay, so I was just emailing back and forth with Bono. He was pissed with my kick starter - I don’t wanna say pissed - he was grumpy about my kick starter. I think he misunderstood my intentions, and he thought that my kickstarter was implying that artists shouldn’t get paid for their work. We had a good chat about it at TED when we both gave a talk on the same year. What’s really interesting nowadays is that we’re six years on now, and we have learned all these lessons. He is this giant star whose used the major labels system, and then U2 had their gaff with itunes and apple which, really ironically, was a twist on a kickstarter and street performing because they really were giving away their music. But they were giving it away under conditions that irritated people. He and I have both learned a bunch of the same lessons by going walking through different fires, because everybody agrees on the same basics which is that we have to live in a culture that values the work of the artist. Not just the art, but the work, and the time, and the effort, and the cost of living and the cost of materials; we need to have a special attention on how art is not a shoe factory; you don’t just put something in one side, wait a certain amount of time and then get a predictable product out the other end. Every musician understands this, and technically every music fan should understand this, but I think we are so conditioned to think that people just put in A and get out B, and that it should cost exactly $15. We have a really hard time grasping that there is an

ineffable, impossible element to what has to happen to me before I can put out an album; what I have to go through and what I have to do and what U2 and Bono have to go through, and what they have to do, before they can write, record and then deliver a record. None of these things have a set price tag, they can’t and they shouldn’t. I think this is a problem, especially now that that music in its digital form is freely shareable. How do we actually make sure these artists are paid what they’re worth? THERE WILL BE NO INTERMISSION IN YOUR SHOW AND, YOU MENTIONED THAT THERE IS A LOT OF WHAT PEOPLE CALL ‘TABBOO’ SUBJECTS LIKE ABORTION. WHAT INSPIRED TO WRITE ABOUT TOPICS THAT PEOPLE SEE AS EXTREME, AND OTHERS JUST WOULDN’T TOUCH. The direction of my country has lit a fire under my ass. I don’t think I would have been as inspired to write such a personal, visceral, truthtelling album if the political direction of my country was just zooming towards progress and evolution. When Trump got into office, when Roe v. Wade began to look like it was going to get overturned, when I had to face the reality that it is very possible that in ten years, all of the thousands of abortions that take place in America are gonna be unssafe, and illegal, and bad for society and bad for women and bad for kids. And I have lived such a complicated but privileged existence. I’ve had three abortions, all for different reasons at very times in my life. There were all safe and legal. I had two of them in the States and one of them in the UK - in scotland - each decades apart. I had an abortion when I was seventeen. I got pregnant in high school, and I was lucky enough to have liberal parents who didn’t shame me. My mom took me to planned parenthood. I went with my mom and my boyfriend, and I had to walk through the lines of protesters that were thrusting really grotesque signs of bloody fetuses in my face. I had

to emotionally walk through that gauntlet. And then I had two abortions after getting married. One because I needed it for medical reasons and one because i just chose to have it. I THINK YOU JUST HIT THE NAIL ON THE HEAD THERE, YOU CHOSE. I chose. WHY IS IT ASSUMED A CRIME WHAT PEOPLE CHOOSE FOR THEMSELVES. IT BAFFLES ME AND AGGRAVATES ME. Well, I think you’re seeing it in so many departments outside of just reproduction right now. Especially in America. When you can control women, and control women’s bodies, you can control everything. You control the narrative, you control the power, you control the wealth and this has always been true. You know as soon as we know our history, every facist regime in the history of humankind has had to control women’s body’s. It’s how you maintain power, and this is what’s so deeply unsettling and frightening about the American right, and the European right and the British right. It’s not just one topic, off to the side. I look at it as a massive red flag, a massive warning sign, as to where society could be headed. Where we do not want it to go. LET’S TALK ABOUT SOMETHING A BIT LIGHTER. LET’S TALK A BIT ABOUT YOUR MUSIC. OBVIOUSLY YOU HAVE A LOT OF INSPIRATIONS, BUT WHERE DOES YOUR MAIN INSPIRATION COME FROM, IS THERE A CERTAIN GENRE OR A CERTAIN ARTIST. I talk a lot in my show about seeing a couple of artists in the run up to my album recording and the tour that actually - I inspired is such a hokey word - they infected me, and one of them was seeing Hannah Gadsby. I got to see Nanette in the Soho Theatre. She really turned the dial up for me in terms of just reminding me that our job as artists is not to make the audience comfortable, in fact it’s kinda the opposite. I’ve also been a Nick Cave

NINETEEN // GNIMAG.COM


INTERVIEW // AMANDA PALMER fan since I was fourteen, and watching him put out his latest record and then head out on tour, not just delivering music but also offering himself up for discussion and guidance, was one of those inspirational reliefs. So many of my heros, my personal teenage icons, have calcified and headed into artistic holes and haven’t aged well. They haven’t evolved well as artists, but some of them have just exploded and blossomed into epic awesomeness. Nick Cave was one of them. He could have sauntered off in another direction and become a sad goth cartoon of himself. Instead he turned into this completely evolved and lightened being whose songwriting just becomes better and deeper and better and deeper. I take my inspiration from those guys, I take my inspiration from the artists who keep pushing the boundaries of depth of emotion and truth and what you are and aren’t allowed to

TWENTY // GNIMAG.COM

say on stage. I’m really looking forward to this tour because I learned a lot on the Northern american tour about what i was afraid to say on stage. Every night I challenged myself to just say more, share more, push the line more, and every night it worked. The show just kept getting braver and braver every night and I feel like I’m now picking up where I left off. Last night I went to see Phoebe Waller Bridge do the one woman show Fleabag, and I just sat there thinking why am I not saying more. Why am I not doing a better job at totally casting aside my ego and reminding everybody that we are all here for a really short time and we might as well tell the truth. EXACTLY. ASPIRING ARTISTS OUT THERE ARE ALWAYS INTRIGUED OF SOMEONES CREATIVE PROCESS. WHAT IS YOUR WRITING PROCESS. IS IT A LABOUR OF LOVE, OR IS IT SPONTANEOUS.

Every song has a completely different birth and delivery system. I used to write in isolation, and nowadays because I have patrons. I have gotten into the process of writing incredibly quickly, with a gun - an art gun - to my head, and I have found that the process of writing is more exciting. I give myself harder and harder deadlines. I’m also inspired by my patrons because I deliver my demos to my patrons on self-inflicted deadlines. I’VE READ THAT IF YOU CAN’T WRITE A TUNE IN LESS THAN HALF AN HOUR IT’S NOT MEANT TO BE. IS THAT FAIR FOR YOU TO SAY OR WOULD YOU SAY NO THE LONGER YOU TAKE THE BETTER? Certain art forms and certains songs take longer, and sometimes its really good to let some think-bake in your mental oven for a while before you take it out and check it but you

know from my own personal experience my best song s have been written in under an hour AMANDA I’M NOT GOING TO KEEP YOU ANY LONGER, IT HAS BEEN A PLEASURE SPEAKING TO YOU. WE LOOK FORWARD TO SEEING YOU WHEN YOU GET OVER HERE TO BELFAST I’m really really excited to play in Belfast DON’T FORGET YOUR UMBRELLA Omg I won’t. I’ll throw this out to you. I don’t know if it’s going to happen, but I’m thinking of filming Belfast because I think it’s going to be one of the most powerful stops on the tour. I haven’t played in belfast since 2008. It was a legendary show, because a car ran over my foot that day and I still played the show that night right out of belfast hospital with a cast on my leg.


OPINION // MICKY MURRAY

TAKING TO THE STREETS MICKY MURRAY “THIS COULD BE THE last time we take to the streets demanding Marriage Equality in Northern Ireland” when I wrote this for the previous issue I didn’t think it would happen so soon, albeit we still aren’t there, but this is the closest we’ve ever been to Marriage Equality here. What a summer, and what a way to kick off Pride season than with the House of Commons voting in favour of Marriage Equality, which comes into law on October 21st, if Stormont hasn’t got back together yet, which by the looks of thing isn’t happening any time soon. I made it to three Pride festivals this year, Belfast, Larne, and Newry, and Belfast Mela which were all amazing for their own reasons, and I’m really looking forward to Culture Night 2019. Belfast Pride seen the biggest, most colourful parade we’ve ever seen in Belfast, we stood for an hour in the parade before we started marching, and by that time the beginning of the parade had already made it’s way back to Custom House Square, it was fantastic to see so many people coming out to take part, to watch the parade, to support us, and to enjoy what really was a great day. Larne Pride was wonderful, so family orientated, there were rides for the wee ones, a dog show, and more

SING!

ALL THE LOVERS KYLIE MINOGUE

drag queens than I think Larne ever knew existed, it’s exactly the kind of event that other places should be looking at for inspiration if they’re thinking of starting a Pride festival, although at this rate we’ll be having one every weekend, and I’m not sure if my bank, or my liver, could cope!

“All the lovers that have gone before

Newry is always one of my favourite Pride’s, I’m not sure why, but it’s always up there at the top of the list, and anyone who was there will tell you how enjoyable it was, the entertainment was amazing, they really did go all out to host UK and Ireland Pride, but the highlight was definitely the firework display, nothing says “We’ve Arrived” better than dancing to Heather Small from M People to a backdrop of rainbow coloured fireworks over the canal, we actually got a little emotional.

Kylie Minogue dedicated her iconic 2010 hit All The Lovers to her huge gay fan base. With its boppy tune and fun lyrics it’s impossible to not get it stuck in your head but itís the video that really makes it a gay anthem.

Belfast Mela if you’ve never been, is the best £7 I’ve ever spent going to a festival. It’s a annual festival around the world, and Belfast Mela is a celebration and presentation of how wonderfully culturally diverse Belfast, and Northern Ireland, has become over the years. They have food from all around the world, performances, tea dances, anything you can thing of, they have it. This year really did set the bar for future celebrations as thousands of people arrived in Botanic Gardens to take part. If you’ve never been, definitely get it in the diary for next August! So, that’s Pride season behind us for anther yet, but I always need something to look forward to, whether it’s a holiday, or a concert, or another festival of some sort, so I’m not quite in my Pride blues just yet with Culture Night around the corner. If you’ve never been it’s as if someone has dropped Art Attack, The Magic Roundabout, and the Mad Hatter, into a pot, mixed them all up, and given them some funding (although like any festival of it’s kind its severely under-funded), it’s absolutely, without a doubt, the best event that happens in Belfast other than Pride. Their guides are available in most coffee shops, restaurants, and info points throughout the city so definitely pick one up and have a look, it’s most certainly worth going to. It’s so important to support our local festivals and arts scenes, they’re so under-funded and the majority of people working in the community sector end up paying for things out of their own pocket just to make sure that events like Pride and Culture Night happen. This is an opinion piece from the columnist/contributor and not the opinion of GNI MAG / Romeo & Julian Publications Ltd.

TWENTY ONE // GNIMAG.COM

They don’t compare To you”

In the pre-marriage equality world (well, you know in America) it was rare for an artist to so openly display their support for the community in such a big way and Kylie including same sex couples in her video really showed the world her backing for the community. It wasn’t easy though, she had to fight to get gay couples in the video. Kylie was asked to remove the gay kisses so that the video could air in an international market but she refused. It could have cost her a lot, the video couldn’t be shown in many countries and of course there was backlash in the countries that could see it. Kylie didn’t care, she wanted to pay homage to her gay fans and to show her support so she did, despite others advice. She’s always been vocal about her love of the LGBT community, even vowing not to get married until same sex marriage was legalised. This secures her as a gay icon and secures All The Lovers as a certified gay anthem. It will be loved and appreciated until the end of time.


INTERVIEW // RICHARD WINSOR

RICHARD WINSOR RICHARD WINSOR WILL BE LEADING THE AUTUMN 2019 TOUR OF BILL KENWRIGHT’S REIMAGINED AND REVITALIZED PRODUCTION OF SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER, AS THE ICONIC TONY MANERO. WINSOR HAS PERFORMED AROUND THE WORLD, STARRING AS THE PRINCIPLE DANCER WITH MATTHEW BOURNE FOR TEN YEARS. HE THEN LANDED THE LEAD ROLE IN THE CULT DANCE FILM, STREETDANCE 3D AND THEN WENT ON TO PLAY CALEB KNIGHT IN THE BBC FLAGSHIP MEDICAL DRAMA, CASUALTY. SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER COMES TO THE GRAND OPERA HOUSE FROM TUESDAY 1 OCTOBER UNTIL SATURDAY 5 OCTOBER, TO BOOK TICKETS VISIT, GOH.CO.UK.

TWENTY TWO // GNIMAG.COM


INTERVIEW // RICHARD WINSOR DANCER AND FORMER CASUALTY STAR RICHARD WINSOR TALKS TO US ABOUT STARRING IN A NEW STAGE PRODUCTION OF SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER.

“How far have we come?” 40 years on, and similar families are talking about not being employed and trying to break free. It’s all still there.

show. And Liverpool, because Liverpool Empire is a ginormous, beautiful theatre.

WHY DID YOU WANT TO BE PART OF SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER?

HOW IS SEEING SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER ON STAGE DIFFERENT TO WATCHING THE FILM?

John Travolta’s performance in the film Saturday Night Fever was what got me dancing as a kid. The disco scenes, his solo, his very masculine energy, it inspired me. I remembered all the incredible moments from the film and all its themes, and thought “If we get that clear and honest for a new stage version, it could be really amazing.”

The sheer immediacy, energy and atmosphere you get from the stage adds to the experience. That coupled with beautifully sung live music and amazing choreography is fantastic. You get moved in a different way in the theatre. As an audience you witness something so present and real it hits you differently.

I absolutely loved Casualty. I learned so much there and worked with many great guest artists. I got a lovely big ending as too. When I suggested I was ready to try a new challenge elsewhere, they said my character deserved to be killed. I didn’t know how to take that, but it is a huge compliment. They can only do it once every two or three years.

And we are taking it back to that dark atmospheric setting. We’re not shying away from that. It is still going to be a stage dance show, but we really are finding the realism in it.

ARE YOU EXCITED ABOUT TOURING?

There have been stage versions before. Is this an entirely new production? It’s brand new. Everything is new, apart from the story and the music of course. WHAT IS SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER ABOUT? It follows Tony Manero. He is a young, enigmatic guy who hasn’t had much opportunity in his life. He’s from a hardworking, down on their luck, Brooklyn family, and works in a paint store for minimal wages. But when he goes to the 2001: Odyssey nightclub, he is the king on the dance floor. He’s a different person there. He loves the attention, the sweat, the heat, the women. When the club announces a dance competition with a prize of $1000 and the chance to dance in the discos of Manhattan, it’s a big deal for him. It offers him that chance to escape. The Bee Gees music is one of the most iconic soundtracks in cinema history. How are you using it in this production? We wanted to keep the music close to the brilliant original soundtrack. The music supporting the drama and the tragedies as they unfold. We have an electric band guiding us along and the Bee Gees singing the hits, which all adds to the story. Hearing the music played live is amazing.

I am. I’ve always loved touring. I toured a lot as part of Matthew Bourne’s company. This is going to be a physically and mentally demanding show, but I’m ready to take it to all these different cities. ARE THERE TOUR DATES YOU’RE PARTICULARLY LOOKING FORWARD TO? I’m excited about going to Cardiff, because that’s where I filmed Casualty. I haven’t seen some of my mates there for so long. They’re getting a big group together to see the

HOW WAS STARRING IN CASUALTY?

YOU BEGAN AS A DANCER AND WORKED FOR A DECADE WITH MATTHEW BOURNE. WHAT WAS THAT LIKE? I joined him as my first job out of college. It was a wonderful time. I was 19 when he asked me to join the company. A year later he started creating lead roles on me. I did Play Without Words, Edward Scissorhands, Dorian Grey, which all led to the second generation of Swan Lake. I’m still really close with Matthew. He’s a massive support. When I told him about Saturday Night Fever, he was delighted and said, “Fantastic. About time you got back on stage Dickie.”

HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF JOHN TRAVOLTA? It’s a challenge. I want to draw from him, not imitate him. I’ve got so much to play off – the ways of standing, walking and dancing. But I have to play my own reality, otherwise it becomes contrived imitation. THIS PRODUCTION MARKS THE 40TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE FILM’S RELEASE. IS IT STILL RELEVANT? That’s the thing. With Trump threatening to build a wall to keep the Mexicans out and people with split families striving for a better life, it’s interesting to look at it and think

TWENTY THREE // GNIMAG.COM


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BLOGGER // THE JAMES CHARLES STORY

Image credit: youtube.com

JAMES CHARLES // THE STORY

JAMES CHARLES IS A 20 year old influencer who rose to fame as a teen in 2016 after becoming the first male spokesperson for CoverGirl. He is perhaps best known for his youtube channel where he has posted makeup and beauty tutorials since 2015. Earlier this year his channel reached 16.6 million subscribers making him one of the biggest beauty youtubers in the world but it has since been speedily declining, Charles became the 1st YouTube personality to lose over 1 million subscribers in 24 hours. CoverGirl selecting a male ambassador was a huge deal in 2016 and after seeing James Charles’ makeup skills on youtube they found the right person. Alongside Katy Perry James promoted the brand gaining himself millions of fans in the process, growing his channel and furthering his career. He got the opportunity to work with huge celebrities such as Kim Kardashian and in March of this year, in the height of his success, he did

the makeup for Iggy Azalea’s music video for ‘Sally Walker’ and had a cameo in the video. He had millions of fans that he affectionately calls “Sisters” as well as his own makeup palette so what happened to make him the most contraversial person on youtube this year? The drama with James Charles has been brewing under the surface for years, there have been multiple controversies and apology videos and over and over again people forgive and forget. There was an offensive tweet about Ebola in February 2017, the time people got annoyed about his prom photos being edited (OK I admit I don’t really get that), the transphobic comments in April when he said he was not fully gay as he had been with trans guys in the past not to mention the racism and that thing where he got into an argument with the entire cast of IT. We get it, he’s no stranger to an apology video, change the setting and the lighting a bit, put on less make-up than usual, maybe even cry a little

if he feels like it and bam the world forgives but not this time apparently. On May 10 2019 Tati Westbrook uploaded a 43-minute long video titled “BYE SISTER …”. She accused Charles of “manipulating people’s sexuality” and “using... fame, power and money to play with people’s emotions.” In true James Charles fashion he released an 8 minute apology that for once in his life didn’t work, people stayed mad and the video is now amongst the top 10 most disliked videos in youtube history. What did Charles do to counter this? Did he actually try to help the people he hurt? Did he truly take responsibility for his actions? No he made another fucking video but this time it was 41 minutes and intead of apologising he’s decided to turn the tables and accuse Westbrook of lying. It seemed to work ok though because Tati Westbrook removed her original video and James Charles is back on top of the beauty comunity.

The drama sparked conversation amongst the community about gay men being seen by straight people as predatory and whilst I believe it’s an important conversation to be had, James Charles shouldn’t be held up on a pedestal for bringing it to light, he wasn’t trying to start a conversation he was trying to keep his fame and make more money. After the racism and transphobia and endless other controversies James Charles has been involved in I can’t help but think why the one that effects cishet men is the only one that got him ‘cancelled’. I understand that using fame to manipulate people is horrible but surly he’s done and said things that were bad before so why only now are people talking about it? I honestly don’t care if James Charles’ channel is doing well or not, I just think we shouldn’t be so quick to forgive these ‘influencers’ when they make mistake after mistake.

TWENTY FIVE // GNIMAG.COM


INTERVIEW // STEWART TAYLOR

HI STEWART, THANKS FOR HAVING A CHAT WITH US TODAY, FOR OUR READERS WHO HAVEN’T HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO HEAR YOUR MUSIC YET, HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE IT? I would describe my music as Pop with an R&B twist. I grew up on a lot of Motown, Christina Aguilera, Britney Spears, and Prince, so everything I do has a soulful pop vibe. TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOUR HOME AND FAMILY LIFE? IS THERE A SIGNIFICANT OTHER IN YOUR LIFE OR ARE YOU SINGLE AND READY TO MINGLE? I grew up right outside New York City in a small town in Connecticut. I’m from a family of five kids and my Mom is a schoolteacher. Money was always very tight and my biological father walked out on us when I was in my teens. Iím still close with everyone else in my family though! I’m also newly single and ready to mingle gents! BEING AN LGBTQ+ ARTIST IT’S BOUND TO BE A CONSTANT STRUGGLE, WAS GROWING ALSO A STRUGGLE FOR YOU OR WHERE YOUR FRIENDS/FAMILY SUPPORTIVE? Navigating this business as an LGBTQ+ artist is definitely never easy. Growing up in

TWENTY SIX // GNIMAG.COM

a small conservative town as the gay kid who sang and danced was never easy either. I got bullied relentlessly my entire youth and had a hard time fitting in anywhere. Luckily I had a few good friends who stuck by me and are still close friends to this day. My family was mostly supportive of my dreams of being a professional singer, although it definitely scared or confused a lot of people in my small town. As far as being openly gay, my biological father tried to kick me out of the house when I came out as a teen. Regardless of the struggle, I still got away from my small town life, went to Berklee College of Music, surrounded myself with good people, and finally moved to Hollywood two years ago to continue pursuing my dreams. I always have to look at the positive side when things get tough, and I think that mentality has served me well as an out artist and as a human. WE LOVE THE SINGLE/VIDEO “MESS YOUR HAIR UP”, WHERE DID THE INSPIRATION COME FROM? Thank you! I’m so glad you like it! The inspiration for Mess Your Hair Up came to me when my then-boyfriend sent me a picture of himself after he got a haircut. He looked so sexy and I told him I just wanted to jump on him and mess his hair up. I was singing the chorus within seconds

of sending him that text. The best music comes from those real life moments where you’re not even trying to write a great hook or even write anything at all. It just flows through you! The inspiration for the music video came from old Prince, Grace Jones, and Robin Thicke videos. I wanted it to be colorful, sexy, and fun like the song itself. WE READ THAT YOU REGULARLY PITCH MUSIC TO JUSTIN BIEBER AND SHAWN MENDES, THIS WOULD BE SUCH AN ACCOMPLISHMENT ONE OF THEM SINGING YOUR MATERIAL, DO YOU THINK IT WILL HAPPEN? ALSO IS THERE ANYONE ELSE YOU COULD SEE A GOOD FIT FOR YOUR MATERIAL? It would obviously be a huge honor if either Justin Bieber or Shawn Mendes cut one of my songs. I had a record on hold with Shawn a while back that ended up falling through, but even having an opportunity like that was exciting as hell. My co-writer and I got to pitch multiple songs to Bieber in the past few months before his album closed, so at least I know I’m on to something as a songwriter. I would love to write with Bruno Mars or for Britney Spears one day too. I’m just going to keep releasing my own music and continue writing great pop songs until


INTERVIEW // STEWART TAYLOR

STEWART TAYLOR // MUSIC, LOVE, & BRIEFS

something breaks through. HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH OBJECTIONS AND NEGATIVITY IN THE INDUSTRY AND FROM DREADED TROLLS? Objection, rejection, and negativity are never fun to deal with in the industry. So I constantly remind myself that I have always sang, danced, performed, and written songs since I was a little kid, and that will never change. It’s just something that I have to do because I really love it, no matter what happens. My music or artistry may not be for everyone, but it will be for somebody. As for trolls who may object to who I am, I pay them no mind. The bullies I grew up with didn’t stop me, so I’ll be damned if Internet trolls or haters stop me now. TELL US MORE ABOUT YOUR MUSIC, ARE YOU WORKING ON AN ALBUM? I’m always in sessions writing new music for myself and for pitch. I’m still figuring out what my next single is going to be, even though I won’t be releasing an album anytime soon. I love the freedom of releasing singles and building momentum off of them until I’m ready to release a full body of songs.

WHO IN THE CHARTS WOULD YOU LOVE TO COLLABORATE WITH IF YOU COULD PICK ANYONE? I would love to work with Troye Sivan! I love his music and his aesthetic and how fearlessly open he is about his sexuality in his music. I met him a year or two back at an LGBT music event and told him how much his success and message have meant to our community. Maybe we’ll work together in the future! TOURING AND GETTING YOUR NAME OUT THERE IS ALSO KEY, ANY PLANS TO TOUR AND IF SO WOULD THE U.K/ IRELAND BE ON THE CARDS? I would love to tour! That’s not in the independent artist budget right now, so I’m going to keep performing in Los Angeles and hopefully some dates in New York soon. Performing in the UK/Ireland would also be a dream come true. ON THAT SUBJECT HAVE YOU EVER BEEN TO U.K?, IF SO WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE PLACE AND/OR THING TO DO? I’ve actually never been to the UK. We had very little money growing up and didn’t get to travel much. When I finally got out of my small town, I spent most of my time

in college making music and gigging in Boston and New York. I feel like the UK would fit me extremely well as far as music and culture goes, so I definitely see myself spending time there in the future. LET’S PLAY A QUICK GAME BOXER OR BRIEFS? Always briefs! NIGHT OUT OR NIGHT IN? If I’m with a boo, a night in is always more romantic. SHAVED OR OH NATURAL? Oh Natural ;) SONG, MARRY, AVOID - JUSTIN BIEBER, SHAUN MENDES, AS YOU PITCH TO THEM AND 3RD HARRY STYLES AS HE IS HOT Song - Justin Bieber because his voice and artistry are dope. Marry - Shawn Mendes because heís gorgeous AF and seems like a really sweet guy. Avoid - Harry Styles because heís gorgeous and I canít have him!

TWENTY SEVEN // GNIMAG.COM


.Freddie ICON . Mercury

ICON // FREDDIE MERCURY

TWENTY EIGHT // GNIMAG.COM


ICON // FREDDIE MERCURY

FREDDIE MERCURY, WELL KNOWN AS a singer, songwriter and producer. One of the greatest singers in the history of rock music. He was born in Zanzibar in 1948 to Parsi parents before fleeing to England from the Zanzibar revolution at the age of 18. Just a few years later he formed one of the most iconic bands of all time with guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor. Freddie began taking piano lessons at the age of 7 and his passion for music took off from there. At 12 he formed a school band which he named The Hectics to cover popular rock and roll artists at the time. He was born with supernumery incisors which are likely the cause of his insane vocal range. He also had the rare ability to play any song by ear which impressed his band mates at the time and helped him to improve his skills. The revolution in Zanzibar lead to the deaths of thousands of Arabs and Indians so fearing for their lives Mercury’s family moved to a small house in Middlesex where Freddie studied graphic art and design. He joined many bands before Queen and despite his love of music he was a fairly shy and certainly not the outgoing performer we all remember him as today. In April after graduating he joined a band named Smile after their previous lead singer, a friend from college Tim Staffell left. Smile had previously recorded a few tracks with Mercury Records but they mainly just played gigs around London, still, at the time it was the most successful band Freddie had been a part of. After a new bassist John Deacon joined Mercury decided the band needed a new name, the other members and management disagreed but he went ahead anyway and “Queen” as we know it was finally formed. About the name Freddie said “It’s very regal obviously, and it sounds splendid. It’s a strong name, very universal and immediate. I was certainly aware of the gay connotations, but that was just one facet of it.” To match the new band Freddie needed a new name himself and he legally changed his surname from Bulsara to Mercury. Before the release of their first album Freddie put his art and design degree to use and created the iconic crest. It consists of the bands’ zodiac signs along with the letter Q (for obvious reasons) and faries, flames and a phoenix for the aesthetic appeal. Throughout the band’s early years he had a relationship with a girl named Mary Austin but as the band took off he began an affair with a male record executive, after telling Mary about his bisexuality they ended their realtionship but stayed close friends, Mercury often refered to Austin as his only true friend and said she could never be replaced. He wrote numerous songs about his love for her including

‘Love Of My Life’. The two clearly cared about each other greatly and Mercury was even the godfather of Mary’s oldest son. In 1985 at a club he met a man named Jim Hutton, an Irish hairdresser who failed to even recognise the famous singer. Mercury offered to buy him a drink and he declined and that was it until 18 months later. At the same spot they met again and this time there was a connection. Not long after Hutton had moved in with him but the relationship wasn’t always smooth sailing. Freddie was never one to settle down and Jim saw him with other men on numerous occasions forcing him to tell Mercury to make up his mind. He responded with a simple “Ok” and that was that. Mercury never publicly came out or even told his parents. Jim Hutton said “our relationship, and being gay, was our business.” although it’s likely there were other factors which prevented him from telling the world it also seems he just wanted privacy, a domestic life with his partner that no fans nor haters can speculate about. The two wore wedding rings to symbolise their commitment despite the fact that they could never really be married. After his diagnosis in 1987 Mercury told Hutton he had AIDS saying “I would understand if you wanted to pack your bags and leave.” but he responded just by saying “don’t be stupid. I’m not going anywhere. I’m here for the long haul.” And although the relationship wasn’t as easy going and carefree as it once was it was still just as important to the both of them. Jim nursed Freddie through private treatments in their home but drugs soon started to prove ineffective. He didn’t let this stop him though, he continued to sing and write and perform against doctor’s wishes as he was unwilling to stop living his life because of the disease but all the while close friends noticed him slowly fading. Weeks before his death Mercury stopped taking his medication and seemed to accept the inevitable, the end was near. Due to the large stigma surrounding the disease and homosexuality in the 80s he didn’t confirm his diagnosis until the day before his death when his manager issued a statement in his name. His life was tragically cut short by a disease that took so many more lives than necessary due to other people’s intolerance. He was just 45 when he died in his home, partner by his bedside until the very end. The music world lost a hero but his legacy lives on and inspires millions of people every day to be their true selves and live life to the fullest.

TWENTY NINE // GNIMAG.COM


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KWEEN // GLITZY GLAMOUR

KWEEN // GLITZY GLAMOUR

HOW AND WHEN DID U FIRST GET INTO DRAG? Drag started when I was about nine or ten, I can remember putting on my mum’s high heels and wrapping myself in a bed sheet or duet cover or whatever I could take off the washing line, I would sashey up and down our orchard pretending to be Shirley Bassey or Carmen Miranda. After high school I went to college to study “Performing Arts” and was picked to play the panto dame.... and Glitzy Glamour was born! My first official gig as Glitzy Glamour was 23 years ago in a hotel in Portballintrae and the rest is history. WHERE HAVE YOU WORKED? I have performed all over the U.K and Ireland and a couple of time in Spain also I have been on the John Daly show a couple of times and met Joan Collins! WHO HAVE BEEN THE BEST PEOPLE TO WORK WITH TO DATE? I have to say that I am very lucky that I get to work every weekend with Trudy Scrumptious and Pauletta Stiletta for our Cabargay show every sunday there is never a dull moment working with these two. WHO WOULD YOU LOVE TO WORK WITH? The list is endless but to name but a few...Cher, kylie, Pink, Tina Turner. HOW CAN PEOPLE FIND YOU? I perform every friday night in Union Street Bar ( T.G.I.F ) I do a little bar work and host every Saturday, You can also find me on FACEBOOK Glitzy Glamour INSTAGRAM glityglamour 101 TWITTER @Glitzy_Glamour

THIRTY ONE // GNIMAG.COM


INTERVIEW // JOHNNY LOGAN

JOHNNY LOGAN

C

M

Y

CM

MY

HOW DID IT FEEL WINNING EUROVISION FOR THE FIRST TIME? The feeling of elation is hard to describe. A mixture of pride, excitement, relief and joy . WHAT MADE YOU WANT TO BE A SONGWRITER? To be honest, I always wrote songs but as a therapy more than to be a writer. I began to write professionally because I couldn’t find songs from other writers that tested my range and also I found most of the songs being sent to me to be formula based and I needed to feel the songs I recorded. WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE MEMORY OF EUROVISION? There are too many to single out but, the ones that immediately come to mind are the innocence and wonder of my 1st win. The tears I cried when I was alone after the 2nd and the enjoyment and

satisfaction of the moment we knew the 3rd one would win . WHAT MADE YOU DECIDE TO ENTER EUROVISION THE FIRST TIME? The Eurovision back in 1980 was the only way for a solo singer to enter the international stage and it was also something that brought great pride to Ireland . WHAT MADE YOU ENTER AGAIN AFTER? I had a lot of problems (management / money) after the 1st Eurovision 1980 and became caught in the one hit wonder box . Hold me now was such a strong song and when it won it lifted me out of “Eurovision winners club” and introduced me as the only artist to win twice and as a songwriter. Why me in Malmo in 1992 made that even more clear .

THIRTY TWO // GNIMAG.COM

WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR FAVOURITE EUROVISION ENTRY? Obviously my own winning songs but I loved Gente di mare and Calm after the Storm. There have also been wonderful songs over the years both winners and losers . IT’S CLEAR THAT IRELAND HAS AN INFLUENCE ON YOUR MUSIC, WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE THING ABOUT THE COUNTRY? Everything , the people , the land , the culture , the history . The heart and soul. WHAT’S BEEN THE HIGHLIGHT OF YOUR CAREER SO FAR? The 3 Eurovision wins. Singing fir the Queen, Pope John Paul. Working with some of the finest musicians and producers in the world and continuing to be surrounded by people who I love and who love me .

WHO ARE YOUR FAVOURITE MUSIC ARTISTS? I have a very eclectic taste in music but I love to listen to Tom Waits, Michael O Sullivan . The Black Keys . Little Feet. The list goes on. ANY PLANS ON ENTERING EUROVISION AGAIN? No. YOU’RE NEW ALBUM RECENTLY CAME OUT, WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE SONG ON THE ALBUM? All of the songs on “It Is What It Is” are great. Live it’s so much fun to play. WAS THERE EVER A POINT WHERE YOU CONSIDERED A CAREER OTHER THAN MUSIC? Yes but nothing else belonged in me. Nothing else fills me with so much happiness and need.

CY

CMY

K


BIO-QUEEN // ALISA ROSE

ALISA ROSE // BIO-QUEEN ALISA ROSE IS ONE OF Ireland’s few Bio-Queen which is a drag queen who is biologically female. She is the only female cast member in an upcoming American drag sitcom. She identifies as Asexual and she wants to raise awareness there is little to no representation or acknowledgement for her orientation here even though it is part of the globally accepted acronym LGBTQIA+ Asexuality is a spectrum also often called ACE or Grey A. To be asexual does not mean that you have never had a sexual experience. They are many different types of asexuality from those who have never been sexually active to those who identify as demi-sexual but Ace’s

do not feel attraction to the physical body in the same way either straight or gay people do. Most Ace’s never feel any form of sexual attraction while demi-sexuals may feel it after a long period of forming an emotional connection with someone of any gender identity. Asexuality is not being celibate or picky, it is not a choice, it’s an orientation. In the same way as the average person may find it hard to understand how one can never desire sex, someone who is asexual may have the same difficulty in understanding how sex is desirable. Out of all the orientations that are now known Asexuality is the one that is still least spoken about and in Ireland

THIRTY FOUR // GNIMAG.COM

there is no education or information available on it.

mockery or judgement as it is to be sexually active”

She says “Sex is everywhere, sexual freedom is socially acceptable in a way it never has been before and that is as it should be but in my opinion it makes it even harder to come out as asexual. I am a 46 year old woman and I only came out last year after making a lot of bad choices due to my misunderstanding of my sexual orientation. I can only imagine as a young person these days with the peer pressure and social media trolling how difficult it would be to come out and admit that you are asexual but if there was more awareness perhaps it would be just as acceptable to be asexual without fear of

She states that she would love to take part in Pride but there simply is no group that ACEs fit in with “I don’t think we are deliberately excluded, itís just that as there is no visible education, group, community or information on it here that there is no way of knowing if or how many people identify as Asexual in Ireland” She would love to change this but until there is a safe place for ACE’s to “come out” she believes it will remain the silent letter in the acronym.


YOU!

FASHION, BEAUTY, HEALTH & WELLBEING, TAKING TIME FOR YOU!


OPINION // GAVIN RENNICK

POLYAMORY (FROM GREEK πολύ POLY, “MANY, SEVERAL”, AND LATIN AMOR, “LOVE”) IS THE PRACTICE OF, OR DESIRE FOR, INTIMATE RELATIONSHIPS WITH MORE THAN ONE PARTNER, WITH THE CONSENT OF ALL PARTNERS INVOLVED. IT HAS BEEN DESCRIBED AS “CONSENSUAL, ETHICAL, AND RESPONSIBLE NON-MONOGAMY”

THIRTY SIX // GNIMAG.COM


OPINION // GAVIN RENNICK I’m a believer in trying. Trying to figure out and navigate my way trough this life. This year I embarked on a journey to Australia the land of OZ, where my world was turned upside down…Literally! I would never have described myself as a poly guy before until I took a big step back and assessed exactly what I was lacking from previous relationships, or as to why previous relationships didn’t work out. The word cheating comes into mind far to often when I look back. However I have had a fruitful sex life and some amazing enjoyable experience across the globe, some good and some not so good. So this is really about my discovery of polyamory, the exploration with someone I met of this new age way of relation-shipping. I’ve never been one to find the Australian male attractive, in-fact on living in Sydney several years ago I was rather put off. Being in a nightclub with guys fresh of the beach smelling of stale sweat didn’t really tickle my fancy, especially when in “tongs” aka - flipflops. It just never really appealed to me the image that was portrayed in my opinion by these lazy laid back surfer dudes. I like a guy to take pride in his appearance I always say nice hands, nice teeth and nice feet - and no it doesn’t mean I have a foot fetish or a hand fetish it simply put means cut your nails, get rid of hard skin on your feet and brush your teeth OFTEN. Is that really to much to ask? But as I discovered on my return to Perth, Australia I met an older man who completely stole my heart, in fact he ran away with it and as you will find out ripped it out and stamped all over it on the dance floor. He had broken the mould the pattern and my view of the Australian man, at last I proclaim!!! Lets call him Chook… So Chook and I met and we hit it off, we had so much in common really made a deep connection. We where able to talk openly and freely about many different subjects and I honestly felt like I had met my match. We spoke about sex and what we thought it was all about and what it meant to each other and really covered alot of ground and came to a mutual place where we understood what it was we where both looking for and I discovered alot about myself and that was Polyamory.

To me from our conversations it seemed like it could have eventually became the perfect set up being in a relationship that was built on trust and understanding between to people, that if and when the time was right would develop to have another partner to enter into our unit of 2 that would then become 3. What else would a guy want right, 2 guys that could potentially create their own relationship based on there own terms. So Chook and I agreed that we would be monogamous to each other and really worked on building our relationship until the polyamory presented itself to us. Our relationship was going amazing and was filled with love, respect and compassion for each others feelings. We had went out to a night club and has just moved in with each other, we were creating our home. To which the message I was receiving was a great feeling for both of us. Our sex life was amazing it was full of enjoyment and of course was open to exploring as long as it was consensual and responsible. We did have a threesome and i am not ashamed to admit it I’m only human after all however it wasn’t the right sexual chemistry balance. Chook and I both spoke about the threesome and that the balance that time just wasn’t right with that experience. So weeks passed and our relationship grew stronger and we had been going to the beach having quality time and creating memories and some plans for the future, until we arrive at the game changer of a Saturday night. The Saturday night that changed it all. We had spent a wonderful afternoon at the beach, having fun, listening to music and talking. We had decided to go out and have a big night out. We had drinks in the apartment again listening to music talking and getting ready to go out and enjoy ourselves and that is what we did. We went to a night club in Perth called Connections, danced and drank the night away. I was having the best time, I was being introduced to Chooks friends as his partner and really feeling like this was a great time to be with someone I loved and enjoying every minute. A guy then approached me and asked me for a kiss I said no, but I looked at Chooked and he said to kiss him…. So I did, but I also pulled Chook into the kiss which from the very get go was a threeway kiss, if you haven’t had one do it….

super hot. The three-way kiss happened with 3 different men. All consensual and all inclusive of myself and my partner. So the night went on Chook went to the toilet and I went to the bar. And when I came back from the bar Chook wasn’t there, So I looked about for him on the dance floor I turned around and he came up to me, and told me that he was in the toilet and got a “blowy” from this guy… I replied “Sorry excuse me, what did you say?” and before he could reply I was out the door of the night club. I walked home by myself confused and dazed to the complete shit show that I have just been apart of. Chook arrived home shortly after me telling me that by having a three-way kiss this was me initiating a three-way, another version of the events was that he couldn’t stop it. And the last excuse was that that is just who he is and he can’t change. Needless to say I booked the next flight out of Oz like Dorothy in a hot air balloon. But my reason for sharing this story is to let everyone know that it is ok to try new ways of being. Its ok to explore. But never let someone try and take a piece of your moralistic fibre. We as humans are built to evolve we are meant to grow, I believed that by opening myself up to a polyamorous mind set was the right decision for me, and I still do think that there is something to it. But polyamory by definition does not give someone the right to cheat on you in a night club while you are merely a few feet away. Actions always speak louder than words but what is a kiss versus a verbal understanding. Can the excuse of being poly be used to destroy a relationship in a toilet? Are all relationships in the toilet, meaning that they can be flushed away for the sake of a stolen moment? And do you think we are always in control of our actions? Until next time…..

WORDS: GAVIN RENNICK

THIRTY SIX // GNIMAG.COM


FASHION // QUEERTURE

THIRTY EIGHT // GNIMAG.COM


FASHION // QUEERTURE

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THIRTY NINE // GNIMAG.COM


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FORTY // GNIMAG.COM


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FORTY TWO // GNIMAG.COM


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FORTY THREE // GNIMAG.COM


FITNESS // SHRED

FITNESS // GET SHREDDED

WE WELCOME DAMIEN LUNDY ONBOARD AS OUR RESIDENT FITNESS GURU When speaking with Damien he said “I to can relate to everyone out there who struggle with their weight, I was overweight for years due to the lack of knowledge about how to train and how to eat, one day I simply decided I had enough, I reached out and got help, which was a big step for me though I have never looked back” “I amazed myself by going on to lose over 4 stone in weight, I fell in love with the health industry and pursued a career in it to help others going through the same struggles as I had.

Fast forward a few years and Damien has helped hundreds with their own fitness journeys and has loved every second of it “My goal is to continue to improve as a personal trainer by completing courses in training and nutrition.” Damien has recently completed a course in sports and exercise science and has started to study Mac-uni nutrition. “I believe that providing the best service to my clients is vital for both their fitness goals but being able to teach them in taking control of their own fitness goals just as I did.”

FIVE TIPS ON HOW TO GET SHREDDED

are a great tool to use. FOUR Results take time. Don’t give up if you haven’t abs in a week. Be patient and the results will follow trust me!

ONE Stop buying into quick fixes such as fat burners or shakes. They simply don’t work. They don’t care about your health just your money. TWO Stop doing countless hours of cardio in desperate need to burn body fat. This will soon have a massive impact on your energy which will soon burn you out. THREE Be accountable for what you eat. If you don’t know how much you are consuming then you’re setting yourself up to fail. Apps such as MyFitnessPal

FIVE Quit guessing. Have a professional do the hard work and design an individual programme for you. This will save both time and money. __________ Damien works from B-Fit (Ravenhill Road Belfast) You can find him on Facebook and insta - Damien Lundy Fitness

FOURTY FIVE // GNIMAG.COM


FACE // THERAPY

BEFORE

AFTER

FACE // SUBTLE CHANGES GERI DUFFY IS THE CO-OWNER of

estimated to last upto 18-24

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months.

cream to areas where she could.

Cheek filler to lift the nasolabial

After the treatment, when the swelling

folds and marionette lines.

had gone down Geri sat infront of a

Jaw filler to help to lift pre jowl

mirror and literally cried. Tears of joy

results of the treatments they were

sulcus and help to define the jaw

though. The changes were subtle, but

recieveing. She wanted to be part of

and neck.

she noticed them. She saw a stronger

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she’s not a fan of needles, following on

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from a bad experience years ago with

showing her age – the mental

for her, she says, this has personally

an over-zealous school nurse.

crease and upturn of her chin she

given her not only a new-found

clients come into the clinic and leave

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that but was alway far too nervous -

felt was aging her so the nurses at

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She turned the big four-oh this year

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filler in my chin to soften the lines

feels when they come into her clinic.

this for me. She noticed a few things

and create extension hence a

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youthful chin.

The total cost for this treatment would be £1800, and the look would last for

wife (co-owner of Face Therapy NI) and together they came up with a treatment

The treatment for Geri wasn’t always a

approximately up to two years with the

plan that wasn’t too invasive but would

pleasant experience, but she puts that

Juvederm Vycross Range.

achieve the results Geri wanted.

down more to her own fears than the actual needles or treatment. Of course

Geri had the the following treatments...

you’re going to feel needles being

8mls in total of the vycross range

put into your face, but Geri reduced

of dermal filler from juvederm

the sting of this by applying numbing

FORTY SIX // GNIMAG.COM


Facetherapy NI specializes in Facial Aesthetics including Dermal Filler treatments, Anti-Wrinkle, Thread Lifts, Intravenous Therapies and Skin care treatments.

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FORTY SIX // GNIMAG.COM


FASHION // D’JON PIER’E

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FOURTY NINE // GNIMAG.COM


FASHION // D’JON PIER’E

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FIFTY // GNIMAG.COM


FASHION // D’JON PIER’E

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FIFTY ONE // GNIMAG.COM


HAIR // FAKE IT

HAIR // FAKE IT! FOR MANY MEN, THINNING OR receeding hair is a real confidence blow. There are a few options open; 1 - embrace it, 2 - shave it off, 3 - wig/ hair system, 4 - hair transplant. With hair systems becomming a more and more affordable choice we sent Tony from the office off to try out the process. He tells us about the process... WHY DID YOU AGREE TO HAVING THIS TREATMENT? I’m a 42 year old man, and I seem to be hairy everywhere, except on my head where over the year’s it’s been thinning. I’d gotten sick of looking at photos taken on nights out and seeing how big my forehead had gotten and how thin my hair was at the front. WHAT WAS THE PROCESS FROM START TO FINISH? I attended a consultation with Alisha about four weeks before the treatment, during this consultation she explained what would happen and she colour matched my hair. On the day of the treatment the atmosphere was casual and relaxed. Alisha explaned each step as she carried it out. Firstly shaving the top of my head (kind of monk style), then she made a template of my head so she could cut the system to fit. My head was then cleaned and prepared before sticking down the hair system. Once on, my hair (and my new real hair) was cut and styled. WHAT WERE YOUR IMMEDIATE THOUGHTS? I loved it, although I was exteremly paranoid. I knew it wasn’t my hair but could anyone else tell. I bit the bullet and went out to the bar that night. People asked had I just had my hair cut but no negativity. AND HOW IS IT LIVING WITH THE HAIR SYSTEM? I have to be honest and say I have a bit of a love hate relationship with it. I love having such a great head of hair, and I love the confidence it affords me. But, it’s not all plain sailing - there is maintenance. I assumed it would behave like real hair - it doesn’t. In effect it’s dead hair (not dead people’s hair), it is hair that isn’t attached to your body so it isn’t getting nutrients, so it can dry out if you don’t keep it conditioned with sirum or sprays. Depending on the style you’re sporting you may need to touch up the lace front, this is something I’m doing less and less, I think in time I’m just getting better at it. Also, from a bit of a pride point of view, although I love the look of it, I know it’s a system and if anyone goes to touch my head I panic a bit. I know there’s no chance of it falling off or being pulled off, I just second guess peoples reaction to the realisation that it’s a system. I’ve leared personally that my best response is just to tell people what it is if they comment on how great my hair looks. Listen people get false nails because they want better nails, people get veneers because they want better teeth - I got new hair because I wanted better hair, simple as that. HOW MUCH DOES IT COST? At Belfast’s Original Men’s Hair Replacement Systems the system and fitting it is £550, then maintenance at the salon is £50 per month. I know if you take that over a year it might seem like a lot, but personally I see it as an investment in myself and my confidence, so definately worth it.

Find Belfast Original Mens Hair Replacement systems on Facebook

FIFTY TWO // GNIMAG.COM


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FASHION // MALACHI

BIG DAY // LOVE IS IN THE AIR DO WE HEAR BELLS? WE WAIT IN ANTICIPATION FOR OCTOBER 21ST. IN EVERY ISSUE WE HAVE the pleasure of featuring an LGBTQ+ couples ‘BIG DAY’, within the magazine, we very much hope that come our next edition those two words BIG DAY will be replaced with this one word; ‘marriage’.

Over the next twenty-four pages we will take a look back at five of our previously featured weddings. A beautiful opportuinty to remenise.

Also within this feature you will find a selection of advertisers who are happy to say that they welcome the business of the LGBTQ+ community.

Businesses have changed as has the majority of the general public now we just need the law to catch up, our community has been longing for equality for years lets hope that come 21st October we will have change even if the law passes by default, and then the first same sex marriages in Northern Ireland could be taking place on St. Valentine’s Day in 2020.

FIFTY FIVE // GNIMAG.COM


REAL WEDDING // JOHN & MARTIN

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REAL WEDDING // JOHN & MARTIN

SO TELL US HOW YOU MET, WERE YOU SINGLE FOR A LONG TIME BEFORE YOU STARTED DATING?

HOW LONG AFTER YOU STARTED DATING DID IT TAKE TO POP THE QUESTION, WAS IT AN IMMEDIATE YES ?

JOHN: I had been single for a few months, which not surprisingly led me to set up a Grindr account which is where I first met Martin. I had looked at Martins profile a few times before I had messaged him. We hit it off straight away – mostly around our joint love of musical theatre.

MARTIN: We had been dating about 4 years, and living together for 8 months before we got engaged. It was less of a proposal and more of an agreement. We chatted about it and both said we wanted to get married. I think it took a second for it to completely sink in that we had actually got engaged.

MARTIN: We arranged to meet up for a coffee at the Mac and then met twice more in the coming week. Surprisingly, it was our third date before we had our first kiss. We drove to Bangor to sit by the sea.

FIFTY EIGHT // GNIMAG.COM

JOHN: We got engaged on 15th February, that date is important because WE DID NOT get engaged on Valentine’s day.

TELL US ABOUT YOUR BIG DAY... JOHN: We wanted a straight forward easy going day and that is exactly what we got. We had our ceremony and reception in Cabaret Supper Club, which I think was the only venue we actually visited. We didn’t want to feel under pressure during the day so we tried to get as many photos done before the ceremony as we could with our witnesses and our families. We also wanted to make sure that we got some photos at the Mac – going back to where it all began. We had a pretty clear, and thankfully agreed, vision of what we wanted the day to look like. We decided that we weren’t doing a first dance or a top table and that we didn’t want


REAL WEDDING // JOHN & MARTIN

a cake. Our families in particular were baffled by this. We did get married on the stage at Cabaret though, so I don’t think we could call it low key. MARTIN: We stayed together the night before at the Merchant hotel which was a gift from my sister. We headed off to get our beards trimmed at 9.00am and then straight back to the hotel to watch drag race before getting ready. Our ceremony was simple, but perfect for us. The amazingly talented Ross Anderson Doherty and my friend Megan sang at our ceremony and my nephew and John’s niece were our ring bearers. We had over 150 guests so it was pretty packed. Our entertainment was by the Song Birds and DJ Kenny Kane. We also had a performance from Onya Becks who we both love, an she got my brother in law up to perform as well which was brilliant. WHAT ABOUT THE FOOD AND DRINK? MARTIN: The staff at Cabaret were amazing, they were on hand for everything that we needed. The food was beautiful, but the gin was better. JOHN: We started with a tomato soup, followed by chicken and finishing with lemon pie. Everything was fantastic but I don’t think I ate much of it. We spent most of dinner chatting to guests and sneaking upstairs for a break. DID YOU HAVE A HONEYMOON? JOHN: We only really gave ourselves a year between getting engaged and getting married to make sure that our family were all able to attend. So we didn’t get to have the honeymoon we wanted but we are planning that for next year. We are planning to visit New York to see some broadway shows and also to Vegas. We are homebirds so going on holidays for more than a week isn’t really appealing to us.

FIFTY NINE // GNIMAG.COM


REAL WEDDING // JOHN & MARTIN

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MARTIN: We did go to Gran Canaria for a week where we ran into some people on the plane that John knew from home and we had a fantastic week. It was February so there was a bit of rain but that mostly coincided with the days we were hung-over so it worked out well.

MARTIN: Except for barbequing – John does that.

ARE YOU INTO THE SAME THINGS? WHAT INTERESTS DO YOU HAVE THAT ARE DIFFERENT?

DO YOU DO EVERYTHING TOGETHER OR DO YOU LIKE TO KEEP INDEPENDENT?

MARTIN: We both love musical theatre. We try to get to as many shows as we can and are heading off to London to see a show a few days after Pride. JOHN: I like a lot of trashy TV that Martin doesn’t. I like shows like Supernatural and the Flash, Martin is more into Grand Designs and Nigella Lawson. Martin is also an amazing cook, I blame him for my rotund shape.

SIXTY // GNIMAG.COM

JOHN: John: Though we both love Game of Thrones and Drag Race. We never miss those!

JOHN: We do most things together. We both lead pretty hectic lives so the time we get off we like to spend together. I drag Martin to a lot of things I am sure he would happily not attend. We have three dogs and a cat that take up a lot of our time!


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REAL WEDDING // SAM & ADI

REAL WEDDING // SAM & ADI

SO TELL US HOW YOU MET, WERE YOU SINGLE FOR A LONG TIME BEFORE YOU STARTED DATING? ADI: We initially meet around 10 years ago when we both meet in a hotel in Cookstown the very hotel we had our engagement and wedding reception in, then three years later we met again I bumped into him in the Subway he was working in at the time. After a while of going in we got chatting an arranged to meet for a smoke one night. HOW LONG AFTER YOU STARTED DATING DID IT TAKE TO POP THE QUESTION, WAS IT AN IMMEDIATE YES ? SAM:

It all happened really quick at the start, we where enjoying every minute we had together and after two years we moved to the city (Belfast) for a better way of life, more job opportunities and a more accepting place. So on the 24th March 2014 me Adi and the child (Lee) went to the jewellers and bought two matching rings. That evening when the child was away home to his mum me an Adrian came back up country, heading down to the back off the Titanic slipway and asked one another’s hand in marriage - obviously we both said yes, it was a very happy but emotional time for us both.. TELL US ABOUT YOUR BIG DAY... ADI: Well as the big day approached Sam got

more stressed but then we where doing it within a space of 3 months - he was definitely the groomzilla out of the two of us. We had our civil service in city hall with 35 guests, my father and Sams mother were witnesses to the wedding, and Lee done the rings an presented us with a personalised wreath. After the service we had pictures on the grounds and stairs then continued onto Sir Thomas and Lady Dixons park where a number of guests joined us for our photos. Then onto Cookstown’s Royal Hotel for our reception. We had a few processos on the way and I got a tad tipsy. Upon arrival we had a champagne reception and checked out our reception room before guests entered - it was outstanding. Gerard’s flowers from Magherafelt done outstanding arrangements, and a beautiful naked cake

SIXTY THREE // GNIMAG.COM


REAL WEDDING // SAM & ADI

done by one of Sams friends keeping in within the vintage theme. Then we welcomed our guests into the room where we had a three course cavary and supplied wine along with the meal. We continued onto our evening reception where we had a extra 40 or so guests with a DJ (Alan woods) “Wedding DJ NI” and a drag performance by Kandy Carousel. We just danced the night away before retiring to our honeymoon suite and into our jacuzzi bath. WHAT ABOUT THE FOOD AND DRINK? SAM: The food and drink was outstanding, the beef literally melted in your mouth, there was a great selection of starters, mains and desserts. It suited everyone as they had more choice and could plate as much as they desired. There was a champagne reception before hand and wine with the meal (beer for those who didn’t drink wine). Unfortunately I was that worked up stressing everything was ok for everyone I couldn’t eat too much, however I continued on with the rest of our special day. We also had a sweetie table which we set up with a wide variety of sweets and macaroons for our guests to help themselves to throughout the whole evening - obviously this was Lees favourite thing of the day DID YOU HAVE A HONEYMOON? ADI: We booked a last minute honeymoon to Bulgaria for 10 days we enjoyed however it’s not really a gay honeymoon destination. ARE YOU INTO THE SAME THINGS? WHAT INTERESTS DO YOU HAVE THAT ARE DIFFERENT? SAM: We do everything together mostly unless I have a drag night out with me gurlz as I do part time drag. Adi works long hours as he is a second chef. We both like doing the same things like dinning out a lot, going to the cinema and time to time we head off on last minute nights away. Mainly we

SIXTY FOUR // GNIMAG.COM

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enjoying heading out to the drag shows or Kremlin with our friends on the scene an just generally enjoying life. DO YOU DO EVERYTHING TOGETHER OR DO YOU LIKE TO KEEP INDEPENDENT? SAM: Most things we do together besides working unless I have a drag night out. Adi normally comes with us now, when I’m in drag it’s me and the sister Kandy Carousel who does wee private gigs and events together, Adrian

does stage manager for us to make it easier for costume changes etc. In seven years together we have only had three nights apart due to the passing of my brother and Adi not getting time off except for the funeral - but this made me realise that I’d be lost when he’s not there. nor can I sleep when he doesn’t play with my hair, so yea we basically join at the hip - we come as a package


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REAL WEDDING // MICKEY & ALEX

REAL WEDDING // MICKEY & ALEX

SO TELL US HOW YOU MET, WERE YOU SINGLE FOR A LONG TIME BEFORE YOU STARTED DATING? MICKEY: We met in a total coincidence in a bar in Gran Canaria during pride week just over three years ago! Long story short; I went to get a shot at the bar for me and my friend and when I turned round to give it to him he had vanished! I then turned to the guy next to me at the bar and gave him the shot - this would then turn out to be my husband! I was living the crazy single life for about four years and had no intentions of settling down but this one just kind of happened. We had a few dates on the holiday which could have easily been a holiday fling but I remember

thinking there was something so different about him! I was the last person to want to settle down, never mind be in a committed long distance relationship but it just happened and it felt so right. HOW LONG AFTER YOU STARTED DATING DID IT TAKE TO POP THE QUESTION, WAS IT AN IMMEDIATE YES ? ALEX: I had planned a romantic spa day in the mountains in Zurich which Mikey didn’t know about and was going to propose there. We ended up sleeping in too late and missed half of the day because it was a long drive away. I couldn’t keep it to myself and I later told mikey that I was

going to propose this way. He wanted me to just ask him there and then but I wanted it to be special. He was the one that actually asked me after that because he couldn’t wait any longer, then I said yes. So technically we both said yes! TELL US ABOUT YOUR BIG DAY... MICKEY: Since we met in Gran Canaria and it was our anniversary, Alexs birthday and pride week we decided to have out closest friends and family there for our wedding. We had 40 guests who all stayed for 1-2 weeks so everyone got a great holiday out of it too! We had our ceremony and reception on a beautiful heart shaped island called Anfi which we fell in love

SIXTY SEVEN // GNIMAG.COM


REAL WEDDING // MICKEY & ALEX

with as soon as we saw it. We walked down the aisle to American Authors - Best day of my life which really set the tone for the day. This was the song playing when I got into the cab on my way to the airport the first time I ever visited Alex in Zurich. The whole day was nostalgic of every step in our relationship. WHAT ABOUT THE FOOD AND DRINK? MICKEY: We opted to go for floating canapés all night instead of a sit down dinner. it was so fitting with the theme of the wedding and it meant people could move around all evening and chat to everyone. It also meant not having to organise table plans! There was SO much food even though it was only canapés and choosing everything was one of the best parts of the wedding planning for me! We had everything from sushi to mini burritos and later on when everyone had attacked the free bar we had mini pizzas and burgers. Iím actually starving thinking about this food again! DID YOU HAVE A HONEYMOON? ALEX: We love Gran Canaria there was so much to do for the three weeks and could have stayed there even longer. We are working on some new business ideas which could take us there permanently in the future which we are excited about. Not many people can say they are moving to their honeymoon destination! ARE YOU INTO THE SAME THINGS? WHAT INTERESTS DO YOU HAVE THAT ARE DIFFERENT? MICKEY: Sometimes I think we are so similar then other times so different! When my friends meet Alex they always say how opposite we are which I think is why it works! It’s obviously not sunshine everyday as we both have strong personalities in our own way but we definitely balance each

SIXTY EIGHTY // GNIMAG.COM

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other out. I love reality TV and binge watch series which Alex isnít really into for example - but I got him watching Ru Pauls Drag Race though so he is slowly converting! DO YOU DO EVERYTHING TOGETHER OR DO YOU LIKE TO KEEP INDEPENDENT? ALEX: I agree. It was never anything spoken about we just naturally knew that we

need to to our own things from time to time - we are two men after all. We both have demanding jobs and sometimes not the same schedule so we try to take a weekend break every two or three weeks and go somewhere nice around Europe and just stop everything and be together.


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REAL WEDDING // LAURA & ANNETTE

REAL WEDDING // LAURA & ANNETTE PHOTOGRAPHY: BRADLEY HENDERSON PHOTOGRAPHY WWW.BRADLEYHENDERSON.CO.UK

SO TELL US HOW YOU MET, WERE YOU SINGLE FOR A LONG TIME BEFORE YOU STARTED DATING ? LAURA: I was working in the bank on a six month contract, as I’d wanted to take some time out from hospitality, having worked in bars and restaurants for most of my working life, and a few months before I left, Annette transferred in from another branch. We became friends at first, as we were both recently out of relationships, but I think I knew pretty early on how I felt about her- I was definitely the one doing the chasing! ANNETTE: We both met whilst working at Dankse bank. Laura was a new start, I had worked for the bank for some time so was able to help her when she first joined the branch. At the time

we were both in relationships, however both were coming to an end at that stage. We were quite good friends after we’d split with our respective partners. With another friend of ours we had a bit of a heart break club, as they had also recently broken up with their partner. I had been in my previous relationship for over 9 years and was keen not to jump into another, however we became close over the coming months and I fell for Laura. HOW LONG AFTER YOU STARTED DATING DID IT TAKE TO POP THE QUESTION, WAS IT AN IMMEDIATE YES? LAURA: We were together about two years when I decided to pop the question. I’d arranged for us to go on holiday to the south of France, Marseille and Nice, as I’d seen this perfect secluded beach in a National Park in Marseille,

and I knew as soon as I saw it that was where I wanted to ask. After a MUCH long walk than I anticipated, with the ring in the beach bag the whole time (and Annette getting increasingly confused as to why I wouldn’t let her hold the bag), we finally got to the beach, which was only about 30ft wide in a little inlet, but unfortunately, we were on a bit of a rocky outcrop and couldn’t actually make it down to the beach. It was, however, just as gorgeous as I’d imagined so I decided to go for it. Annette was still trying to get down on to the beach so I asked her to sit down (took a couple of goes- I think I eventually told her to sit down). I asked her if she liked our little adventures, and when she said yes, I asked her if she would go on all her adventures with me. I don’t think she’d quite got where I was going with it at this stage so I popped out the engagement ring and she said yes more or less straight away (in her shock there was a bit of colourful language first...)

SEVENTY ONE // GNIMAG.COM


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REAL WEDDING // ANNETTE & LAURA

ANNETTE: Laura popped the question about 2 years after we got together, I immediately said yes‌.after a few choice words. TELL US ABOUT YOUR BIG DAY... LAURA: We got married in the Clandeboye Lodge and had the most amazing time- the location was gorgeous, we had the ceremony in the Blackwood suite and then moved in the the Viceroy suite for dinner and dancing. I always thought that when people said that it was the best day of your life it was a bit of a cliche but honestly our faces hurt from smiling and the love you could feel in the room all day was overwhelming. I want to give a massive shout out to the Clandeboye staff too, particularly Graham and Ian, who genuinely could not do enough for us and made the day go like a dream. ANNETTE: I was definitely the nervous one on the run up to our wedding day, but with plenty of encouragement and advice from my family and friends I made sure to relax and take in as much of the day as I could. I was assured that it would fly by in the blink of an eye, and I wanted to enjoy every bit of it. It truly was an amazing experience. Nothing went wrong and we both had an absolute ball. WHAT ABOUT THE FOOD AND DRINK? LAURA: Amazing! I’ve never had very high expectations of mass catering, but our food was as good as any restaurant, and the choices we were given to pick our menu from was incredible, it was probably what sealed the deal, for me anyway! We also made mini bespoke sparkly cocktails for everyone as our favours which I loved creating and testing, obviously.... ANNETTE: The food and drink was extremely important to us both and was a massive consideration when choosing our venue. As soon as we saw the menu we were thrilled. And after hearing nothing but praise from past patrons we knew we had picked the right place. Food was beautiful and family and friends had nothing but compliments afterwards.

SEVENTY THREE // GNIMAG.COM


REAL WEDDING // LAURA & ANNETTE

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DID YOU HAVE A HONEYMOON? LAURA: We went on a ‘mini-moon’ straight after the wedding to Vienna for a few days, but we’re heading off to New Orleans and Mexico at the end of April for our ‘real’ honeymoonextremely excited!!! ANNETTE: We had a ‘mini-moon’ in Vienna which was brilliant, but have planned a longer trip at the end of April to New Orleans and Mexico. ARE YOU INTO THE SAME THINGS? WHAT INTERESTS DO YOU HAVE THAT ARE DIFFERENT? LAURA: I would say we share a lot of interests, mainly food and drink, and our pretty-but-dim patterdale terrier Morgan. I would say Annette is a lot more active than I am, and I’d definitely be more into music and comedy, but we love to share these things when we can.

SEVENTY FOUR // GNIMAG.COM

ANNETTE: We very much like the same things. We are both obsessed with cooking programmes and animals. We enjoy being social and eating in nice restaurants. DO YOU DO EVERYTHING TOGETHER OR DO YOU LIKE TO KEEP INDEPENDENT? LAURA: We do quite a lot together (continuing the ‘adventures’ promised in my proposal), but we’re definitely not one of those couples that live in each other’s pockets. We each maintain our own social circle as well as our shared friends, and I think it’s just a bonus now to come back to the best wife at the end of it all! ANNETTE: I think we’ve found a pretty good balance between the two, we always make time for each-other but are very comfortable catching up with friends or attending work functions alone.


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PAGE XXXXX gnimag.com


REAL WEDDING // COLIN & TIM

REAL WEDDING // COLIN & TIM

TIM AND I MET IN Dublin back in 1998

he bumped into Tim and his friends

ceremony followed by a big party that

I was living and working there while

again. Tim was back in Dublin for

night for our family friend’s and work

Tim was visiting for the weekend with

another weekend break. Following this

colleagues. On this occasion it was Tim

a friend. Tim hails from Essex England

meeting Tim questioned my friend

that proposed to me...via Text!! He text

while I come from Co. Armagh.

about me and after a few weeks Tim

me “Mr Morgan will you marry me”. I

obtained my phone number.

replied with one word “yes”.

I was single for a year or more when

To my surprise he called me one day

As civil partnerships are the only option

Tim and I met, and Tim was single for

out of the blue saying, “ Hi I’m Tim

available to same sexed couples in NI

a 2/3 years prior to meeting me. We

from Essex do you remember me”. To

this was the course we took.

met outside a bar in Dublin we were

be honest I was so excited to hear his

both with our own groups of friends, we

voice but played it down as I didn’t

When the legislation changed in the

simply started chatting, Tim was beside

want to sound uncool.

republic of Ireland in 2016 we both

me and began to speak to me, but I

discussed the fact that we would

didn’t ever think he would be attracted

Long story short we chatted for two

really love to have a proper wedding

to me. We departed company without

hours that day and the rest is history as

ceremony and this time a little more

exchanging details or numbers.

they say.

lavish that out first ceremony.

Several months later in 1998 an old

We had a civil partnership in 2008

We got married on 14th sept 2018 at

friend of mine was out in Dublin when

here in NI this was a small intimate

Tranquillity House between Omeath

SEVENTY SEVEN // GNIMAG.COM


REAL WEDDING // COLIN & TIM

10

trip we are spening a week volunteering

TV programmes. We both enjoy the

with the street children of new Delhi.

outdoors e.g. walking along the coast

We are both so excited to go on this

or in the forest etc. We both adore

trip as this has been a life time in the

animals and have had many dogs and

planning and top of our bucket list.

cats over the 20yrs we are together. We enjoy each others company but also

We are both very sociable love similar music and movies however have some differences. I love musical theatre, singing/dancing while also very interested in yoga and meditation. Tim loves TV and particularly reality

and Carlingford. The venue is spectacular with breath taking views of Carlingford lough. We were married outside under a stretched tent by a wonderful celebrant called Lorraine McCarthy. Our food was provided by McAteers Food House Dundalk and was superb on the day. We had a champagne reception and canopies after the ceremony before the main meal was served that evening. We had a live band called Kind Sized Jacks and a DJ that entertained the crowd until the early hours. We has a minimoon in Dublin after our wedding as Dublin has a special place in both of our hearts. We are going to India in January 2019 and during this

SEVENTY EIGHT // GNIMAG.COM

enjoy some me time when it happens.


….your Perfect Day, done your way. It’s what we do.

Chimney Corner Hotel, 630 Antrim Road Newtownabbey, BT36 4RH Tel 02890 844925 www.chimneycorner.co.uk


REAL LIFE // SAMUEL SHANNON-ANDERSON

THE BOY BEHIND THE PAINTED SMILE BY Samuel Shannon-Anderson AKA: Alexis Cox

EIGHTY // GNIMAG.COM


REAL LIFE // SAMUEL SHANNON-ANDERSON

Hey there, for all of you who don’t know who I am; I’m Samuel Shannon-Anderson AKA Alexis Cox and I’m going to give you a bit of a deeper look into my story of the boy behind the painted smile, to share my journey and life experiences also my battle with mental health, there is more to people than what you see or what they show. So I’ll start of with where I was born in Feb 1985 in Co.L/Derry in the small town of Magherafelt, I know what you’re thinking; she’s 34 years young! Born into a family like many others and brought up on a council estate, a sectarian place in it’s day but unlike many other life experiences growing up wasn’t that easy. I was brought up by my mother as my so called father wasn’t around very much and had very little to do with myself. However my mother had a partner since I was about two years old so she wasn’t alone and he was kind of like a father figure in my life growing up, I came from a very large close family. Growing up, not only was our family very close but we were a very close community in that, as much as we killed one another on a daily basis we also had each others backs. Growing up was normal to any other council estate; we got to the port etc in the summers and us kids run riot in our estate in the evenings, especially the summer evenings. The highlight in our estate and our community was of course the 11th bonfire in July, yeah that’s right I was a wee Loyalist Protestant boy but that was normal to where we grew up.

girls so much, it was more I was afraid and simply because that summer, when I was eight, I was taken by an older teenage girl who had only temporarily lived in our estate and things happened, it changed everything! Yes I kissed girls in catch an kiss and 1/2/3 all innocent games kids play but never had I experienced what happened in that field on that specific day! She told me to do things, she took my pants down and put it places within

COCAINE...

At nine years old I started smoking cigarettes my cousin had robbed from the local garage, I started drinking in the back carpark (BCP) by 11 or 12 an by 13 I had started smoking marijuana, but that was normal, I grew up and in a estate where drinking/drugs abuse and fighting was a normal on a day-to-day basis, at this point I was running round with different people and by 15 to the age of 17 I was on hard drugs (ecstasy and cocaine) nearly all the time when I could get it but I was getting it for free, clearly at this stage I was hardly ever at home I was running round with much older family members and staying with them. I mean I done my GCSEs on a come-down from cocaine, something I’m not very proud off but shows how bad I was. The after effects and side effects were not good, I ended up needing major dental work costing a fortune and it affected me mentally and emotionally. I thought I looked normal but when I look back at pictures I look like a skeletor.

Summers came and went and your friend circles changed many times, but like most kids I had my fair share of bullying in school etc being spat on called names pushed about because apparently I was ‘gay’, bearing in mind when this started I didn’t even know what that was and always had an eye for the girls. Though as I got older I started to question myself I didn’t know if it was because of me being called these names for years or if it was in fact actually me. Gay wasn’t a thing where I came from, gay wasn’t accepted .. however at the age of eight or nine everything changed I didn’t like

herself, I didn’t like it! I was scared! It felt wrong! But I didn’t know what was happening, I was confused - as any child of that age would be. She told me if I told my mum my friends my family or anyone the welfare would take me away forever and not only that my mother will go to prison and where I came from we all knew what the welfare was an what that could mean. So I didn’t, before going home I hid on the doorstep afraid to go home thinking I done wrong and I was in trouble thinking what will I do if my mum’s taken away. However, I eventually went home and never spoke of it again until I was 18

By the age of 18 my life had again changed, I had a job in Savile Row shirt factory in Castledawson and I was getting ready to leave home, I couldn’t wait to get my own flat which I did at the other side of the estate and I was back with my original friends again. However, by then with everything that had happened and the struggles of moving in on your own I was rather depressed, sometimes suicidal. I attempted to take my own life on a few occasions ending up in hospital, but I came back from it an battled on with the love and support of my family and friends. At this stage with everything that happened me in life I felt I had grown up, I felt mature, I felt like I was getting older

I WAS RUNNING ROUND WITH DIFFERENT PEOPLE AND BY 15 TO THE AGE OF 17 I WAS ON HARD DRUGS, ECSTASY AND

when I told my cousin and my sister on a night out fuelled by alcohol. By then I was really angry as I understood what had happened, I had been abused and not only the once I’ve spoke about but at this stage. I kind of thought “I have dealt with that” but wasn’t I wrong? You see I thought I had dealt with it because between the ages of eight and 18 I went off the rails as most teenagers do.

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REAL LIFE // SAMUEL SHANNON-ANDERSON

before my time. I wasn’t stupid anymore I had a wise head on me - a lot more than most my age. Even though I didn’t have sex till I was 16/17 and we all know why, everyone else was at high school losing theirs I felt like I was still the kid but I had to live up to everyone else, a problem society has within our young today - we feel we have to live up to others. After a few years of living on my own still in my flat I met the woman who would become of my child. Once my son came along my whole world changed, I felt I had a purpose. I had my little world, my bundle of joy! Though shortly after he was born due to differences and family interference we separated, I was ruined! I never wanted for my child to grow up like me without his father there all the time, I guess I wanted the normal life for him. There were times at the start, having to go to Derry’s High Courts on 3-4 occasions it was hard, it was difficult over a period of years which put me back in the dark place. But I had my strength, my purpose to battle on because I had my son, my drive to keep pushing through and it all worked out in the end. All is good now between me and my ex and the boy is getting big and bad, and thankfully I see him regularly. Then when everything in my life was settling and starting to work out along came Adrian, the boy who I had previously left a job to avoid years before. He came back into my life and then just like that I was experimenting and then in a relationship with a man, my 1st man! Within months we decided to move in together, however in the countryside where he lived not in the housing estate I was from because I didn’t feel we would have been accepted (growing up listening to things that people had said over the years and the abuse I’d previously got in my younger years). But before I’d move, I decided if we felt how we did about one another and we were going into a relationship I wasn’t going to be a secret like his previous partner, so I decided I

EIGHTY TWO // GNIMAG.COM


REAL LIFE // SAMUEL SHANNON-ANDERSON

was coming out and so would he to his family - eventually when he was ready. So I just told my mum I was in a gay relationship with Adrian, I wasn’t going to live a lie because that’s not me, so she could accept me as me or just not be part of my life and who I am. It really was that simple, obviously it was difficult for my mother to accept as for years she fought my corner when people were calling me gay etc. Two years later we wanted to be more us, so we were moving to the big smoke.we moved in to the Fourwinds in Belfast and within a year or so we got in engaged. We had our ups, but our downs too, but after a lot of time talking and working on our relationship we both worked through things and became stronger than ever - a relationship is all about working, making changes, adjusting, taking the good with the bad. I found even though I was being true to who and what I was, I was struggling to accept things within myself looking at others thinking they were looking and judging me and us, but I learnt that this was my own insecurities. I had a breakdown, it was difficult but Adrian got me thorough it. We started going out more going to the gay scene, we just wanted somewhere to fit in, to be ourselves, not to be afraid of looking at each other or touching each other in a bar.. a place where we felt safe within our own community. It’s then that I took this urge, the want to try to do drag. I was dead inspired by local drag queens especially Tina Leggs Tantrum (Momma T) and others like Roxy Tumbledryer. So me being me, I thought to hell with it and threw myself at this, as everyone knows it’s a struggle at the start but I found I was this whole different person in drag, I had no worries I was just this inner ego Alexis, a c**k in a frock, a new found confidence having fun just being the same fun loving fool I used to be only this time I was a dragqueen. I felt like I had found an new life within me and it helped me manage and rebuild myself to the fun happy person I always used to be, the person

I thought I’d lost, I was fun again even when not in drag. Sam was still there, I’d lost friends and family along the way, but I found me, the most important part, and I’d learned that the people I lost along the way wasn’t down to me but that was their choice for whatever reason not mine! Then on the 18th of June 2018 me and my fabulous partner Adrian got married. It was one of the most magical happiest day of my life when three of us became our own wee family, a day when a smile I often had to put on came naturally, I felt complete! Even though half of my once close family didn’t come, for once, this didn’t bother me I thought: well whatever y’all will come to me before I go to you. Anyhow, so we decided we’d move back homeward direction after six years of the big smoke. We wanted to settle down, as you do - married life and all that, and of course mainly to be closer to my son who was now 11. I also wanted to focus on what I plan to do with the next chapter of my life and focus more on Alexis and where she’s going (big things to come for Alexis Cox within the near future so keep your eyes peeled). I learnt a lot along the way and I haven’t had it easy, but we all need to remember that in life no matter what life throws at us we can’t let that knock us down, which it can! But we have to, and can overcome it and get back up. Lifes journeys and experiences teache us that no matter what, life goes on, it’s what we choose to do with it that defines who we are. Now I know it’s not easy for everyone, and as low as Iíve been at times, deep down I know I’m a strong person inside and I believe that’s down to lifes journey and experiences, no matter what people show you or how happy that person comes across that’s not always true. Be kind to people and remember sometimes things you say to others can hurt them in ways you’ll never know or see. I also want people to know that no matter how alone you feel remember you’re never alone, you may feel it but there are people there,

reach out, speak out, it really is ok not to be ok... I couldn’t have done it without my rocks, my mother, my fantastic supportive husband and of course my wonderful son, to them I will be forever thankful ! Be who you are, be true to you, don’t let anything in life knock you down - it’s only a learning hurdle, look at me. Let your inner self shine through and ignore negativity, surround yourself with positive people and a positive attitude! Now my outlook on life is, “If you don’t like my sparkle well simply step out of my rainbow sweetie.” I’m not saying I’m better now, I’m not saying I’ll ever be 100% but I’m in a good place. As most of you who struggle with anxiety and manic depression know, it’s always going to be an ongoing battle, it’s how you choose to face that battle. You can let it take you down or you can fight for you. I believe as any psychologist will tell you, your first step to help yourself is that you need to want to help yourself.

I hope you enjoyed hearing my story and having a deeper look into the fun bubbly face everyone thinks has it all, always smiling, this perfect life, as ones have said to me...well it’s not perfect, it will never be perfect, what even is perfect?? But here, it’s my life and that’s what makes me me and who I am today. Yes I’m proud of me and if nothing else I hope someone reading this can relate and hopefully realise that life can and will get better, no matter how dark it may seem, or even if I just inspire at one person! Remember NEVER GIVE UP !! Thank you all for taking time out to get to know a bit more about me. The boy behind the painted smile x

EIGHTY TWO // GNIMAG.COM


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AGONY AUNT // TRUDY SCRUMPTIOUS

SORT YERSELF OUT! TRUDY SCRUMPTIOUS MY BEST FRIEND’S HUSBAND TRIED TO KISS ME WHILE WE WERE OUT THE OTHER NIGHT, DO I KEEP IT A SECRET SO AS NOT TO RUIN THEIR MARRIAGE? I’d give this one a bi-ball (pun intended) Maybe it was a drunken moment of getting caught in the excitement ... vodka and music can have that effect ... apparently!

I REALLY LIKE THIS GIRL AT WORK AND I THINK SHE LIKES ME TOO, ONLY PROBLEM IS SHE HAS A BOYFRIEND. DO I GO FOR IT? Errrm no there’s a couple of issues there firstly, she has a boyfriend, and second is sometimes known as sexual misconduct in the workplace, but if she likes ya sure go for it ! I’M 19 AND I REALLY LIKE THIS GIRL AT UNI BUT I DON’T KNOW HOW TO TALK TO HER, HOW DO I APPROACH HER? Well that is just adorable but alas your gonna need to woman up ! I’d try engaging with her and a mutual friend first , so that if you loose the ability of conversation there is still someone there to cover ya then when you relax ask some questions so that she does most of talking ! Small steps big results ! If it works I wanna invite to the wedding so I can soak in my Cilla Black skills !

AM I GAY, I HAVE A GIRLFRIEND AND I REALLY LOVE HER BUT SOMETIMES I FANTASISE ABOUT MY BEST MATE. Maybe gay , maybe bisexual , maybe just a horny fecker but either way don’t act on it until your sure you’re not hurting anyone you love, cause then you’d maybe be a dick ! I FINALLY HAVE A GREAT RELATIONSHIP AFTER A LONG CHAIN OF AWFUL ONES SO WHY AM I STILL UNHAPPY? In the words of Saint Alexandra Burke of the gays ... “Yeah, the bad boys are always catching my eye (Ooh way, ooh wha) I said the bad boys are always spinning my mind (Ooh way, ooh wha) Even though I know they’re no good for me. It’s the risk I take for the chemisWith the bad boys always catching my eye (Ooh way, ooh way, ooh wha) Ooh, bad boys!” I’VE BEEN SINGLE FOR 7 YEARS NOW, I’M NOT UNATTRACTIVE AND MY FRIENDS THINK I’M FUNNY SO WHY AM I STILL SINGLE? Well yanno what’s also funny ... life ! Sometimes it’s about the match rather than you so don’t take it personally relax and try talking to new people you need to try mixing in new circles for a fresh pool of possible suitors to laugh at your jokes ! I AM 35 YEARS OLD, I CAME OUT WHEN I WAS 19 AND MY PARENTS HAVEN’T SPOKEN TO ME SINCE. I’M GETTING MARRIED NEXT MONTH, SHOULD I REACH OUT TO THEM? That’s a long time with no communication so dropping a bombshell of a wedding might be a big opener ! If ya want them there go for it but tread carefully straight people can have terrible fashion sense !

Well if it was me I’d be shouting obscenities whilst posing in my glorious fashion finest ! But if that’s to forceful for you try judging him like Miranda priestly from devil wears Pravda ! Make him feel not fashionable for your Eleganza! “That’s all !” I’M DATING THIS GUY AND HE’S REALLY AMAZING AND I WANT TO TAKE IT TO THE NEXT LEVEL, ONLY PROBLEM IS HE HAS KIDS AND I DON’T KNOW IF I’M READY TO MEET THEM. SHOULD I END THINGS? Dating to meeting his kids seems like a very big jump to me ! Maybe explain that you need to go shopping in Ikea first and if your survive that maybe you’s are in it for the long haul ! I’M MARRIED BUT I HOOKED UP WITH A GUY AT A NIGHT CLUB AND HE CONTACTED ME TO SAY HE HAS AN STI, WHAT DO I DO? Go get checked out because if you do have an STI something tells me your wife may find out! Just think of it like sitting an exam ! Nervous for the results but the relief is worth it ! The only difference is the ‘D’ comes before the test! MY ROOMMATE’S GIRLFRIEND IS A NIGHTMARE, SHE’S A MESS AND A TOTAL B*TCH ANY TIME SHE COMES OVER, HOW DO I DEATH WITH IT? Find your roommate a new girlfriend! Sounds like she could do with the help! MY GIRLFRIEND IS AMAZING IN EVERY WAY BUT EVERYTIME I GO TO HER’S SHE WANTS TO COOK ME DINNER, HOW DO I TELL HER NICELY THAT SHE CAN’T COOK? Tell her you are vegan I’m sure she won’t hang about for long !

MY BOYFRIEND KEEPS STEALING MY CLOTHES, AT FIRST IT WAS CUTE, JUST TAKING A HOODIE HERE AND THERE BUT NOW IT’S LIKE HALF MY WARDROBE AND HE HASN’T GIVEN ANYTHING BACK, HOW DO I ASK HIM TO STOP?

EIGHTY FIVE // GNIMAG.COM


REAL LIFE // DARREN CATTERSON

REAL LIFE LIVING WITH AN EATING DISORDER DARREN CATTERSON

EIGHTY SIX // GNIMAG.COM


REAL LIFE // DARREN CATTERSON

TELL US ABOUT YOUR YOUNGER DAYS... I had a pretty ideal childhood in my early days. I’m the eldest of two boys, lived with both my parents and had more cousins than I could shake a stick at. I grew up in a pretty standard rural town right on the border of Tyrone and Donegal. Seeing police checkpoints on my way to my Granny’s house seemed like a normal thing. Everyone in the town knew each other and knew everybody’s business, this was only exaggerated by being nearly related to everybody in some shape or form or my dad being a council worker and knowing everybody. No six degrees of separation there, more like 2. HOW DID YOU FIND SCHOOL? I was always a shy child. Stayed within the lines and did what I was told. I picked my friend’s carefully. Some stayed my entire life. The other children weren’t always the best people to be around. If you weren’t speaking out, doing sports or obsessed with tractors like the rest of the town you were a freak or weirdo. I remember being called gay or fruit in P5 and not even knowing what it meant, all I knew was that Michael Barrymore was one apparently. This continued for years and years even throughout secondary school only now new kids I had never met were calling me it. By the time I started high school my body changed. I was gaining weight rapidly. I was always the thin one between my brother and myself and now it was both of us. I went more into my shell, I got glasses, shyed away from others. It was a lonely life. WHEN DID YOU RELEASE YOU WERE GAY? I always knew I was different. Admiring Catwoman over Batman, being the witches in Hocus Pocus, doing art instead of playing football with the other boys. I remember being terrified of P.E. knowing I had to get changed in front of other boys. I chalked it down to my body image, but as time progressed and a lot of self realisation, I realised it wasnt just that, I liked boys. I didn’t admit that to myself until I was

15, and my girl friends the following year. They were all amazing! One even wanted to bring a guy to the formal that I liked. Coming out to my family was another issue though. It was hell for lack of a better word. I did that thing that nobody should do and use bisexuality to ease the transition. It was

THERE WAS SUCH SHAME IN WHAT I WAS DOING. I SOON HATED AND WAS REPULSED BY THE FEELING OF BEING FULL. THAT WAS LIKE THE WORST FEELING, THAT MEANT YOU WERE GETTING FAT. childish stupidity and I guess gave some false hope to my family that someday I will be “normal” and marry a woman and have the whole 2.4 lifestyle. I was called the worst names by the people I looked up to my whole life and who taught me to stand up to bullies when they turned into it themselves. Uncles and aunts were amazing and my cousins were fantastic. I hold so much gratitude to them. YOU’VE STRUGGLED WITH AN EATING

DISORDER... My weight was always on my mind. Covered up heavily over summer months, tried to hide any flaws I seen constantly. As things worsened with my immediate family my weight only gained. When I got away for university, the weight dropped to some degree with my independence and relaxation for the first time in a long time but it was not enough for me. I took up a job in the main gay bar in Liverpool. There was a not so unspoken thing with punters that they only hire the best looking etc. and that word echoed with me. The best. I wasn’t the best. How could I be? I had man boobs. A jiggly belly. Thunder thighs. So I took things into my own hands and funny thing is the weight dropped and my health got worse. I refused to see the correlation of what I was doing and what it did to me. I was getting skinny. Uni ended and I moved home and in no time I was at my biggest size. Now I had nobody to impress, nobody to care, not even myself so I let go. I met my partner that year and he fell for me at that time. I still felt ugly. After we split for a time, I finally after years escaped that traumatic environment and took all the baggage with me here to Belfast. But now there were new people. New life. I couldn’t be this grotesque thing anymore. I was single in a new city and it started all over again. I had no control over my relationship with my family, no control over my emotions but what I could control was food. My partner and myself reconsiled later on down the line but I was too far gone. I hid what I was doing for years. The weight dropped and dropped and with it the comments came. “Awk but aren’t you lookin well.” “How did you lose the weight?” I lied time and time again. How could I admit to it? This is something teenage girls go through or models on a runway. Not a bog standard country guy whos a grown man. There was such shame in what I was doing. I soon hated and was repulsed by the feeling of being full. That was like the worst feeling, that meant you were getting fat. I got to a stage where I “knew” my limits, meaning I

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REAL LIFE // DARREN CATTERSON

my comfort zone. I did Belfast Alternative Fashion week earlier in the year as a model in my drag persona and will do it again soon. Being told you look like a model now is something extremely foreign but not going to lie it is nice. I am making more of an effort on myself now too. Getting healthy. Getting fit. The proper way. I still get the notions to do it again especially on my low days but I get through it. I’m proud of how I’m getting on now.

knew the exact amount to survive but not gain anything. Any time I looked in the mirror it was a thought of “I’ll stop after this bit flattens.” But it had flattened. It took its tole on my relationship, there were so many arguments over it and I denied it the entire time. It took comments from friends who hadn’t seen me properly in a while on top of my partner’s as well as his family’s concern to snap me back. I went out one night and Fefe Geisha came right up to me and said “Darren please don’t lose anymore weight.” and another commented on seeing my ribs while we filmed for my youtube channel. Maybe it was getting too much. I never went to my GP though and in hindsight I should have. I went “cold turkey” on it. Massive adjustment to my lifestyle. I eventually sought out counselling and I

EIGHTY OUT // GNIMAG.COM

continue to work my way through it. AND HOW ARE THINGS NOW? Now things are so much better. Hugh and myself always kind of knew one day we would marry and last year after 5 years, my amazing partner got down on one knee in the best way ever to ask me to marry him. I didn’t reply. I bawled my eyes out and hugged him tight and went home to a surprise party with my nearest and dearest. The boy did good. Now its just wedding planning and looking forward to the future and hopefully it will be legalised before the big day. We have a gorgeous home. Have amazing friends. I recently changed my career path, I used to work with nursery children and now I work in hospitality. I made big steps for myself to go out of

ANYWORDS OF ADVICE YOU WOULD GIVE TO SOMEONE STRUGGLING WITH A DISORDER? I know there is all too much temptation in this world we live in. Firstly social media lies. Fact. Nobody is perfect 24/7. Don’t hurt yourself aspiring to be that. Be the best version of you that you can be and that means not just surviving but thriving. You’re still perfect as cheesey as that sounds. We all have our flaws and things we hate. I personally believe it is all the harder in the gay community for us to be so judgemental on ourselves. We compare ourselves not only to people we see in media or on social platforms but to our friends, lovers etc. We see a body we want reflected on someone else and think the only way to be is to be that idealistic sense of existence. Body positivity is something I am all too supportive of now for everyone. Always have been for others but never for myself. Do it for yourself. Be proud of your skin. To quote the legendary movie “Death becomes her”. “You and your body will be together a long time. Be good to it” If you are ever struggling, do what I should have. See your gp. Speak to someone. DO NOT GO THROUGH IT ALONE. I attend the PIPS charity for my sessions with my counsellor. They are amazing and specialise in self harm and suicide prevention and realistically an eating disorder is self harm.


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SCENE OUT // OUT ON THE ROOF

OUT ON THE ROOF

PROMOTING DIVERSITY & INCLUSION

NINETY ONE // GNIMAG.COM


SCENE OUT // OUT ON THE ROOF

Leading businesses across Belfast kicked off 2019’s Pride celebrations in style to promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace for employees and also give a boost to worthwhile causes. The popular ‘Out on the Roof’ initiative, now in its fourth year, is a summer networking event for like-minded businesses who recognise the important contribution that the LGBT+ community makes to the Northern Ireland economy. The event has grown year on year and is sponsored by Allen & Overy, Pinsent Masons and Santander with further support from Allstate, Liberty IT, CME Global, KPMG, Royal Mail and Citi. ‘Out on the Roof’ has raised £65K to support the work of LGBT+ projects since its launch four years ago. This year, two local charities Sail NI and The Rainbow Project are set to receive £15K towards their work. For many companies, diversity and inclusion has become a core part of their business offering and a key consideration for potential employees as they develop their own careers. A richly diverse workforce can help promote creativity, increase productivity, boost engagement and help foster stronger client relationships. ‘Out on the Roof’ it is an important occasion that encourages the business sector to help evolve a Northern Ireland that is both equal and inclusive. Angela Clist, Allen & Overy Partner says: “As a firm we are proud of the progress we have made in relation to LGBT+ inclusion and work hard to ensure our support for our LGBT+ colleagues is practised in our offices across the world. In Belfast we are always keen to collaborate with others in our sector and clients because we appreciate the role business can play in driving change in society.” John O’Doherty, Director at The Rainbow Project says: “The Rainbow Project are delighted to once again be a beneficiary of OUT on the Roof and would like to thank the organisers, sponsors and everyone who attended. The funds raised through this event will help our organisation deliver front line services to LGBT people across Northern Ireland – services that literally save lives. We would also like to thank these businesses for their commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion. This commitment contributes to a happy and productive workforce and helps in attracting global talent to Northern Ireland as well as ensuring LGBT people can bring their full selves to an open and inclusive workplace. Nicola Doran Director of SAIL NI comments: "Sail families and everyone we work with are absolutely delighted to be involved with this year's event and grateful to all the partners for naming us as a beneficiery of this amazing fund raising initiative. It is so important for businesses to consider their own diversity and how inclusive they are as an employer and service provider. It sends such an affirming message across all the community and promotes a brilliant positive image of this country where we live. Being included in this event told us clearly, we see you, you are not alone, you matter and that is just invaluable.” The event was held in the Ivory Restaurant with guests including Deputy Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Peter McReynolds. Attendees were treated to top class entertainment, cocktail, canapés and a silent auction for a range of prizes including a signed Derry Girls script.

NINETY ONE // GNIMAG.COM


COMING OUT // LUKE’S STORY

COMING OUT // LUKE’S STORY LUKE MCKIBBEN IS 31 (BUT DON’T CALL HIM DADDY), HE’S A MORTGAGE RELATIONSHIP MANAGER FROM LISBURN (VIA NEW JERSEY). WE TALKED TO HIM ABOUT HIS COMING OUT...

When I was 17 I started working for a family who would later end up on a reality show called Real Housewives of New Jersey! My Boss Dina knew I was gay, I shared everything with her and she became more of a mother figure than a boss.

My coming out story is very different! It starts with how I came out and what happened in my life that led me to that place.

I had this hidden secret from my American host family because I knew once they found out they would disown me. I struggled from the age of 17-19 to keep my feelings hidden. I took a girl to my formal and my prom and I snuck in and out of NYC each weekend going to gay clubs.

I was born in Lisburn, Northern Ireland, but grew up in America. When I was 10 I had a great opportunity to spend a summer in America. This was through an organization called Project Children! They took kids from conflict area across the country and sent them to host families in America. The idea was that as kids we would get a break from the violence, and by integrating with other kids from different backgrounds that the issues of the past would go away the older that we got! After four summers of me visiting, my host family offered to send me to

I KNEW ONCE THEY FOUND OUT THEY WOULD DISOWN ME, I STRUGGLED FROM THE AGE OF 17-19 TO KEEP MY FEELINGS HIDDEN. high school! I jumped at the chance and with a lot of convincing my mum agreed! At 15 I started a new part of life with a new family new school and a very different dress sense lol. I knew at this point I was 100% gay! My eyes just naturally went to guys and not girls. My issue was that as the older I got I realized more and more that my American family were very religious and conservative.

NINETY THREE // GNIMAG.COM

When I was 19, during the first season of the show I was outted by a cast member during the reunion show. I didn’t know this was going to happen. So as I sat down one night to watch the show. I watched as Andy Cohen asked questions about Dina’s relationship with me. My friends they said they kind of knew! One tried to set me up with her gay friend! Over all the reaction was great except for the American family I was living with. I was shocked but also at the same time happy. I watched the reactions from the girls on the sofa and Andy, they didn’t seem to care, and the love on twitter started to come in. For such a small role on a show I certainly felt the love that night! As expected my host family kicked me out but I found myself living in a very cute apartment and coping well on my own! When I Mum and my sister came to visit me from Ireland for my 21st birthday I broke the news to them and they just laughed. Mum said from when I started nursery school she had always known! We asked luke what advise he would give to anyone else coming out, he said... “Don’t hide away. Live the life you want! Friends and family should hopefully understand! If they don’t you will make friends in the community that supports you! I have always looked at things this way. Family is who you make not who you were born into. “


COMING OUT // LUKE’S STORY

NINETY THREE // GNIMAG.COM


DRAG, SASS & ROCK ‘N’ ROLL

With Northern Ireland’s only GenderKing Carl Connie Lingus Doors open at 8pm Show starts at 9.30pm £5 Admission

Every Friday Night

Drink promos: > 2x Vodka & Boost £6 > 4x Blue Wkd £12 (Ice Bucket) > 4x Bud/Coors £12 (Ice Bucket) > Cocktails £4.50 > Fishbowls £15.00 > Bottle of Prosecco £15

THE CULTURE CLUB VERNER STREET, BELFAST

DANDY L I ON HOLYWO OD S HOP OF U NEXPECT ED THIN GS DAN DY L I ON H OLYWOOD 118 HI G H ST RE E T, H O LYWO O D, BT 1 8 9 H W (BESI D E BAY T R E E R E STAU R ANT ) T E L : 07 7 4 676 6 01 5 DA N DY LI O N H O LYWO O D HE L LO DA N DY L I O N


CULTURE CLUB

SCENE OUT// CULTURE CLUB

LOOKING BACK AT SOME GREAT NIGHTS.

NINETY FIVE // GNIMAG.COM


SEX // POPPERS

SEX // POPPERS YOU’VE PROBABLY SEEN THEM: A TRAY of brightly-coloured bottles lurking mysteriously behind the bar of your favourite gay club. Maybe you have only ever heard of them. You might even consider yourself an expert. If not, here is everything you always wanted to know about poppers but were too afraid to ask.

until the early 1990s that they became truly mainstream. Having narrowly escaped a blanket ban on legal highs by then Home Secretary Theresa May in 2016, poppers are now more popular than ever. Misstique— Belfast’s award-winning adult superstore— stocks the widest selection of poppers in Ireland.

WHAT, EXACTLY, ARE POPPERS? Poppers are part of a family of chemicals known as alkyl nitrites, a non-addictive party drug popular in the LGBT+ community. The most common varieties—isopropyl nitrite and isopentyl nitrite—are sold in bottles with names like Liquid Gold, Super Rush and Jungle Juice. When poppers were first synthesised as a treatment for chest pains in the 1800s they came in small glass capsules that had to be popped open, hence the name. Poppers, as we know them today, become synonymous with the gay scene at some point in the 1970s, but it wasn’t

SO WHAT DO POPPERS DO, EXACTLY? Poppers are usually sold as ‘room odorisers’ or ‘leather cleaners’, but they’re not really used this way. Poppers have to be inhaled to have an effect, either sniffed straight from the bottle or from something absorbent like cotton wool. Sniffing poppers increases blood flow around the body; this results in a sense of euphoria, an increased sex drive, and pleasurable head-rush that usually lasts for about a minute. Poppers also relax the muscles in the vagina, throat and anus, easing the discomfort that can be associated with penetration.

NINETY SIX // GNIMAG.COM

ARE POPPERS SAFE TO USE? Alkyl nitrites are legal to buy and sell in most countries, including the United Kingdom and Ireland, but as with any drug their use can carry a small risk. Because of the way poppers lower blood pressure and increase heart rate, it is recommended that they aren’t used alongside Viagra, particularly BY PEOPLE WITH HEART OR BLOOD PRESSURE PROBLEMS. FOR MORE INFORMATION VISIT TALKTOFRANK.COM

WRITTEN BY MISSTIQUE Misstique is located at : 27 Gresham Street, Belfast, BT1 1JL and at 281 Gallowgate, Glasgow G4 0TR www.misstiquebelfast.co.uk


TEST!

TRAVEL, FOOD, HOMES, TECHNOLOGY, MOVIES & TV, WE TEST AND REVIEW!


RECOMMENDED // MARTY KEARNEY

RECOMMENDED // MARTY KEARNEY JUDY // RENEE ZELLWEGER IS BACK ON the big screen, after playing the amazing role of Anne Montgomery on Netflix’s What/If. No doubt she will get her third Oscar nomination and possibly her second win. And I dare say the movie itself will have plenty of Oscar buzz about it perhaps a supporting actress nod for Irish actress Jessie Buckley who was last seen in the amazing movie Wild Rose. If you haven’t seen it go rent it. Renee will take on the iconic role of Judy Garland. Set in 1969 when a broke Judy played a 5 week sell out show in London. Zellweger definitely has the acting chops and the singing voice as seen in Chicago to take on this iconic role. We fellow gays are going to lap this up.

IT CHAPTER TWO // OK SO TWO YEARS AGO WHEN I wrote a piece on the first IT I said the best thing about this remake was the fact that it didn’t have the Adults in it, I still stand by my opinion, like I said before when IT turns into an alien spider in the 90s TV movie that’s when it stopped being scary and don’t get me started on the stupid love triangle, poor Annette O’Toole, not only did she have a scary ass clown tormenting her she also had John Ritter and John boy Walton himself Richard Thomas fighting over her. Anyhow back to the remake. The cast is very impressive Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy play the adult versions of Beverly and Bill and from TVs Power super sexy Andy Bean (Who you say? Google him .Thank me later).

NINETY EIGHT // GNIMAG.COM

Choose your show favourite show or purc Choose your favourite or purchase Grand Opera Gift Vouchers now at goh.c Grand Opera House GiftHouse Vouchers now at goh.co.uk


RECOMMENDED // TV & FILM

FLORIDA GIRLS // IF YOU ARE LOOKING SOMETHING to binge in one afternoon something funny, light and breezy then look no further than Florida Girls. Don’t let the title fool you this isn’t a girly show. Its offence, rude and laugh out loud funny. The best way to describe this show is Claws meets E4S Drifters. Florida girls follows four friends who all live together in a trailer park. While Shelby tries to better herself by getting an education the rest of the girl’s Jayla (My Favorite) the opportunist husband seeker, Body Confident loud and proud Kaitlin and Erica the kleptomaniac of the group, party the day away. With a talented cast of unknown actress I recommend you watch this on a Sunday when you are dying you will soon laugh your hangover away.

READY OR NOT // ONE OF MY STALKERS/FANS/READERS suggested I do a piece on Ready Or Not a dark comedy horror based on the game hide and seek, upon viewing the trailer I thought this is right up any horror fans street. With blood, guts, jumpy scares and sick one liners that even got a chuckle out of me. Ready or not stars Australian Actress Samara Weaving as the newly wed bride who must survive a game of deadly hide and seek while her in -laws hunt her down with guns and cross bows. The in laws include Andie (what ever happened to her) McDowell, Henry Czerny from TVs Revenge and The OC alumni Adam Brody as a wicked Brother In law. This has been a hit with critics in the states and with 87% Score on rotten tomatoes it’s definitely worth checking out why my stalker/fan/ reader is so keen for me to recommend this Five funerals and a wedding meets The Strangers movie in this issue. Oh the penny just dropped Stalk Marty. Marry Marty. Kill Marty

NINETY NINE // GNIMAG.COM

NEW DIGITAL BROCHURE The final shows before restoration


RECOMMENDED // MARTY KEARNEY

TERMINATOR: DARK FATE // OMFG THE LATEST TRAILER FOR this give me goosebumps, cheesy AF but great, this is a Terminator movie to get excited about. A direct sequel from T2. Judgement Day which means as an audience we ignore the lesser Terminator movies that followed T2. Rise of the machines, Salvation and Genesis. What’s so good about this movie is that Linda Hamilton is Back as Sarah Connor. Lena Heady took on the role in the TV series The Sarah Connor Chronicles that lasted two seasons and Emilia Clarke did what she could with the role In Terminator Genesis but it was Hamilton who made the character iconic. And it’s Sarah Connor who takes center stage in this story along with a female hybrid human

cyborg (Mackenzie Davis) who must save a teenage girl from a new upgraded liquid Terminator. Three female leads so prepare for plenty of girls kicking ass. Big Arnie will appear in a reduced role which is a perfect creative idea not to take the shine away from Linda Hamilton. Also reprising his role is Edward Furlong as resistance Leader John Connor. This is the first Terminator movie James Cameron has anything to do with since T2. So expect a James Cameron feel to it (Trivia: He used to be married to Linda Hamilton #ACKWARD.) Deadpool director the talented Tim Miller Directs.

EUPHORIA // THIS HBO SHOW ABOUT TEENAGERS is not to be watched by teenagers. This isn’t Riverdale this is very much an adult show. Probably the best show I’ve watched this summer. The gorgeous and multi-talented Zendaya stars as Rue a bi-polar teenage drug addict. Euphoria follows a group of teenagers who struggle in a life filled with drugs, sex, social media, death and trauma. The performances of the young cast are superb especially Zendaya and Trans actress Hunter Schafer who plays Jules, Rues best friend. The shows Antagonist Bully boy Nate played brilliantly by Jacob Elordi has a gay subtext to his part and at times would give King Joffrey a run for his money. Eric Dane plays a creepy DILF and if possible is even more sexier now than he was when he was Mark Slone aka McSteamy in Greys Anatomy. A creep but a DILF all the same. Everything about this show is fantastic. The performances are amazing Emmy worthy even. The Cinematography is gorgeous and the soundtrack is on my Spotify. If you haven’t already seen this catch up on sky Atlantic now.

ONE HUNDRED // GNIMAG.COM

Choose your show favourite show or purc Choose your favourite or purchase Grand Opera Gift Vouchers now at goh.c Grand Opera House GiftHouse Vouchers now at goh.co.uk


RECOMMENDED // MARTY KEARNEY

BH90210 // DON’T WORRY IF YOU HAVE NEVER seen a single episode of Beverly Hills 90210, I haven’t and I’m in love with this show. You also didn’t need to be a fan of the show to know that there was more drama and feuds behind the scenes than on screen with Shannon Doherty, Tori Spellings, and Jenni Garths name regularly popping up in the tabloids. But seeing all these actress on screen along with Jason Priestley, Brian Austin Green, Gabrielle Carteris, Ian Ziering you can see why the show was a massive hit in its day as they all have a great chemistry and connection to each other. They all play exaggerated versions of themselves bought back together when Tori Spelling gets to go ahead from FOX executives to do a reboot. Its quirky, funny and just a fun show. Four episodes in and I can’t help but wonder if Shannon Doherty has buried the hatchet on the feud as she’s barely in it and when she is it looks like it’s all smoke and mirrors to make it look like she is really there. I’m enjoying this show so much I think Beverly Hills 90210 ten season run will be big winter binge.

THE BOYS // AMAZON PRIME HAS FINALLY MADE a show worth of subscribing to their service. Do you ever hear about a movie or TV show and it turns out you thought of a similar idea ages ago and now Hollywood have took your concept and more or less copied your idea and now it’s made into a medium only you could have dreamed off well that the case here. It’s not what you know it’s who you know. A comic book show about a group of vigilantes known as “The Boys” set out to take down a group of narcissistic and corrupt Super Heroes. Karl Urban and Elisabeth Shue Star but its Anthony Star who steals the show as main antagonist Homelander, if Superman was A C U next Tuesday this would be him. It’s not Marvel nor DC but it’s just on par with any of those Netflix, DC universe shows if not better.

ONE HUNDRED AND ONE // GNIMAG.COM

NEW DIGITAL BROCHURE The final shows before restoration


TEST // KEUNE

KEUNE // SO PURE

JUST OVER A MONTH AGO WE WERE ASKED BY KDCM HAIR BELFAST TO TRY OUT THEIR KEUNE SO PURE COMPLETELY VEGAN RANGE. I WAS GIVEN A SHAMPOO, CONDITIONER AND A STIMULATING HAIR GROWTH LOTION. GARY CAMPION ONE OF OUR GUINEA PIGS SAID “HAVING KNOWN KAREN FOR YEARS, SHE KNOWS I AM ALWAYS UP FOR TRYING NEW THINGS WITHIN THE HAIR INDUSTRY AND EQUALLY SHE IS AWARE THAT MY FINE THINNING HAIR IS FAST BECOMING AN ISSUE FOR ME. SO HERE WE HAVE MY HONEST AND FRANK OPINION ON THE THREE PRODUCTS PROVIDED BY THEM AND

CAPITAL HAIR AND BEAUTY”. DANIEL MAY OUR OPERATIONS DIRECTOR WAS ALSO GIVEN 3 PRODUCTS TO TEST “I’M REALLY LOOKING FORWARD TO TRYING OUT THE SO PURE PRODUCTS, ADMITTEDLY I JUST GRAB SHAMPOO/ CONDITIONER WITHOUT GIVING MUCH THOUGHT TO WHAT WILL WORK BEST FOR MY HAIR TYPE, SO WILL BE INTERESTING TO SEE HOW I GET ON”.

ONE HUNDRED & TWO // GNIMAG.COM

GARY - SO PURE ENERGIZING SHAMPOO FOR FINE AND THIN HAIR First thing that struck me was the trendy green and chrome design of the bottle with its pull up lid. Once I popped the lid up I was hit with a really refreshing smell of Ginger and Lemon. I squeezed out the size of a 5p-10p coin into my hands and lathered up as I would normally


TEST // KEUNE with my shampoo. The zingy smell was so awakening in my early morning shower and my hair felt super soft and clean once I rinsed it out. I then moved onto the foaming conditioner. GARY - SO PURE VOLUMIZING CONDITIONING FOAM FOR FINE AND LACKLUSTER HAIR I found the concept of using a foam in the shower to condition my hair a bit strange but I was either going to do the whole range review or not at all. So after using my shampoo I pumped out one full pump of the conditioning foam into my damp hair, lathered a little, massaged in and left it in as directed for the time period it took me to wash and rinse the rest of my body (so approximately 3-5mins). It took a little bit of extra rinsing to get rid of the conditioner and the residue, I jumped out of the shower and towel dried my hair. My hair definitely felt temporarily fuller and healthier each day with using this. Only thing I did find is if you use too much or don’t make sure that you have totally rinsed it out of your hair it can leave your hair looking a little greasy, moral of the story make sure and rinse it well out of your hair each time you use it. DANIEL - SO PURE EXFOLIATING SHAMPOO FOR SCALP CLEANSING This product is perfect for those who have a dry/ flaky scalp, if you are prone to dandruff or if you have mild skin conditions like psoriasis or eczema. I personally don’t have any skin conditions though found the Exfoliating Shampoo great for a good deep clean, my head/scalp really felt really revitalised afterwards. This is probably not recommended to use every time you wash your hair if you have ‘normal’ hair though once a week is what I have been doing and it feels great DANIEL - SO PURE CALMING CONDITIONER FOR SENSITIVE SCALP

This was right up my street, I struggle to relax at night and get over to sleep, I found the Lavender and Chamomile supper relaxing. Using it made me feel like I was getting a Spa Treatment. This is a great companion to the Exfoliating Shampoo as it really soothes and nourishes the scalp and Hair. The Conditioner also has Argan oil which is proven to make hair softer, silkier and shinier and it can even help to treat split ends and tame frizzy hair.

through the years I have tried everything from wet look gels to ultra-hold sprays and everything in between. First off, I have got to say the Moulding Mud smells amazing, fruity without being feminine. The Mould was super to use, I won’t explain application as its self-explanatory. I found it gave my hair the perfect about of hold without looking full of product which is really important to me. At the front of my hair I have some regrowth after the result of a bad cut, I found the mould great to keep the baby hairs together with the rest of my hair.

GARY - DERMA ACTIVE LOTION – STIMULATING HAIR GROWTH I am realistic when it comes to these types of products, I know I’m not going to wake up one morning with a full head of thick luscious hair to rival a Jonas brother but I do expect some results no matter how slight. What you do with this product is while your hair is just towel dried damp you give the bottle a good shake and squeeze out the size of a 10p into your palm, massage into your hair\scalp and blow dry \natural dry as normal simple as that! This product hasn’t disappointed I have noticed some good regrowth in areas where I was starting to notice thinning. I would say one thing though use it at night as it can leave the hair feeling a little heavy\greasy if used in the morning\ during the day but all in all it does what it says on the tin as the saying goes and I’m looking forward to seeing further results the longer I use it.

SUMMARY This hair care range is fresh, deep cleansing and gives the results it promises as long as you take the time to use them correctly, bonus points to the fact you’re doing your bit for the animals and plants to by using this totally vegan range.

These and the full KEUNE range are available at KDCM Hair, 585 Lisburn Rd, Belfast BT9 7GS. If you want to know more why not pop in and see Karen or Claire or give them a call on 028 9099 5399.

DANIEL – SO PURE MOULDING MUD I love styling products, like most guys

ONE HUNDRED & THREE // GNIMAG.COM


OKTOBERFEST 12TH & 13TH OCTOBER STEINS

|

FOOD

|

LIVE MUSIC

- General Admission £3 Reserved Table & Steins Package for 4 people £50 (limited availability)

Book Online - thedoyenbelfast.com


FOOD // THE CHELSEA

FOOD // THE CHELSEA LOCATED ON THE FAMILIAR LISBURN Road, the Chelsea Bar & Restaurant is one of the mustgo places in Belfast, being a staple for over 20 years. Back in my student days I popped in for cocktails on many occasions though this was my first-time having food and boy was I impressed. Positioned on the corner of Marlborough Park Central, those driving, getting a taxi or bus will find it with ease while if you are wanting to pop a train, Adelaide is a literally across the road so you won’t have any excuses for not sampling the vino. When we arrived, we were seated, ordered drinks and had a good examination of the menu though the first thing and rightly so to grab my attention was the large bright and modern circular bar, such a lovely feature making all feel part of the room. It was surrounded by bar stools for those wanting to enjoy a drink and dining tables were positioned around the walls/windows for people enjoying food. The Chelsea is self-described as a Gastro Pub, with options on their menu that are bound to please even the fussiest of diners and in my opinion just the correct amount of choice 7 starters, a dozen mains, a great selection of sides & deserts and lighter/healthy options for those watching their waistlines lol. They also have a separate Vegan Menu which was particularly thoughtful as most establishments have only 1 or 2 options. Ok so let’s jump it, to start I ordered the Jumbo Pil Pil Prawns, WOW, super succulent

as prawns should be served with Chickpea and Chorizo Paella, this dish transported me to the Mediterranean, I was there merely weeks before on a Cruise, I would return to The Chelsea for another helping of this in a heartbeat. My guest ordered the Spiced Chicken Skewers these were Asian inspired served with fresh Pineapple and Chilli and a large ramekin filled with Coconut and Lime Satay, she enjoyed it that much she asked for a 2nd portion of the sauce to accompany her main. Other options that I could have easily been swayed to order where the Goats Cheese Fritters or Crispy Masala Squid. For the main event as I briefly mentioned there was just the right amount of choice, Chicken Dishes, Fish, Steak/Beef, Pasta and Lamb, I opted to stick to the Sea theme and ordered the Grilled Hake, typically I am a steak boy though I think it’s important to tickle your taste buds with different dishes. The fish was cooked perfectly this was served on a bed of Patatas Braves cooked with Red Wine and Chorizo with a Salsa Verde. It was so rich, and Smokey and the portion size was just right. If memory serves me correct this also had a portion of asparagus which I love. My guest not being quite as adventures ordered the Corn Fed Chicken, served with a smoked pomme puree, black pudding bon bon’s and Spring Vegetables, she assures me it was delicious. Given the chance I would have pinched

a bon bon but she was simply to quick lol When I return, I would like to try either the Chargrilled Rump or Lamb or possibly the Ham Hock Carbonara, the guests eating beside us ordered these and they looked and smelt divine, I am guessing by the empty plates this was certainly the case. Ordinarily when I go out to eat I make sure I leave room for a desert though we were both bursting at the seams, after a tad of precision from the helpful waiting staff we decided to order the Carmel Cheesecake to share, this was just the perfect amount, super creamy and rich served with both ice cream and fresh cream, I am drooling now just thinking about it. All in all The Chelsea was a thoroughly enjoyable which we highly recommend and will most certainly be back too. Food aside they have so much to offer, Friday night Swing Supper Club, Resident DJ on Saturday and they also cater for small parties, larger functions, Weddings and much more The Chelsea is located on 346 Lisburn Road, Belfast. Tel: 028 90687177. E. info@thechelseabar. com Thanks to the Chef, Management and staff for a lovely evening. Words by Daniel May

ONE HUNDRED & FIVE // GNIMAG.COM


TRAVEL // ITALY - ROME

ITALY // ROME WORDS: GAVYN ANDREWS

ONE HUNDRED & SEVEN // GNIMAG.COM


TRAVEL // ITALY - ROME

FOR MANY YEARS I ALWAYS wanted to travel and experience Italy because its

the former Roman Empire •

men seemed so stylish, so very handsome and well the language just made me weak

at the knees. • I have been very luck now to have

in Rome.

Vatican City the HQ of the Roman Catholic Church

Rome is a sprawling city and the city

Trevi Fountain which is such an iconic

offers you anything and everything from

18th Century sculpted fountain

cheap hostels, Airbnb, 3 start boutique

St Peters Basilica World’s largest

hotels to 5 star luxury where you can

Basilica of Christianity

be waited on 24 7 and be treated like a king or queen if that’s your thing. I

experienced many different parts of this truly stunning and picturesque country

Shopping has to be one of the top things

also noticed many very smart apartment

but want you all to focus your minds on

to do in Rome and this city offers so much

rentals which would suit families and or

Rome and what it offers of the gay tourist.

choice you might even take up shopping

groups if you wanted to stay away from

as your holiday pastime. Of course Italy

hotels. Personally I always research the

Firstly some history, Rome is the capital of

is well known for housing some of the

area I am going to and then decided

Italy and is Europe’s 4th most populated

best Clothes brand and designers the

what are the key things that I want from

city which interestingly has The Vatican

world has to offer so make sure you have

my stay i.e. Comfort, Good Price, Great

City within its boundaries you might even

plenty and yes I mean PLENTY of Euros

location, modern style and more often

say two cities within one. Thankfully

to spend. Via Condotti, Via Borgognona

than not I like to stay in LGBT friendly

Italy has to be one of the most LGBT

and Via Frattina are the three key streets.

accom close to the local scene. My

friendly countries I have ever visited and

Start near the Piazza di Spagna that runs

personal recommendation would be

its attitudes really do shine through and

parallel until they reach the Via del Corso

Hotel Twenty One which offers modern

welcome you. Male and female same

(also known as “The Corso”). They are

Accommodation with excellent standards

sex activity has been legal since 1890.

the best known highly expensive fashion

and close to the Spanish Steps.

(Amazing considering where Northern Ireland currently stands on the subject). Now when you ask most people about going to Italy the first thing most people think is the connectivity of it from Ireland to which I am very pleased to say has improved massively over the years both North and south of the Border. Daily frequent Low Cost Airlines like Ryanair and EasyJet are regulars as well as the usual more scheduled links from the likes of British Airways and Aer Lingus. You will also find many of the big international Tour operators linking Rome with other Italian coastal resorts for twin centre holidays or other cities like Milan and Venice. Why Rome you might ask? Rome is the cultural heart of Italy and has way too many specific tourist attractions too mention but some of the city’s top ones are as follows... •

Ancient ruins such as the Forum and the Colosseum evoke the power of

ONE HUNDED & EIGHT // GNIMAG.COM


TRAVEL // ITALY - ROME

Rome’s Gay nightlife and what to

. It would be my suggestion that you try

would highly recommend that you check

expect...

them all especially if you are staying for

out its website and or social media for

a good few days to get the feel of the

any upcoming events.

Rome like many European cities offers a

local scene and the types of bars and

vast array of gay friendly venues , specific

atmospheres you usually enjoy. Some of

Like any city break it is always down to

bars and clubs as well as many events

the other bars you might like to check out

the individuals going as to how much

aimed at the community throughout the

would be G Bar, Company Roma (Bears)

you do or don’t want to do. For me

year where venues can differ year on year

and My Bar.

Rome has way much more to offer than I ever expected the city to have and

or even summer to winter. One thing you will notice however is that the scene here

K Men Club is a gay almost sauna type

ok yes the scene is slightly different to

is slightly different though as Rome’s bar

club that was inspired by the owners

what I imagined but I think it adds to the

scene is quieter than you’d expect from

who felt Italy was missing out on a safe

excitement and its character.

such a large city and has more of a focus

space for same sex men to explore sexual

on cruise bars and dance clubs rather

desire and everything that it offers and

Planning what you want to see before

than traditional small bars etc.

because of this K Men club was born

you arrive will help you save time as well

A quick overview of some of the venues

with its leather gear styling taken from

as money. Use the Internet and social

you should visit are, Coming out which

Germany.

media to check out the hotels bars, clubs and saunas because Rome really is a

is a lovely modern New York Style Bar, restaurant which has become a real

Gay Sauna’s are a big thing in Rome and

fascinating historic city and I want you

meeting point and Rainbow flag hub

for me the best one has to be Europe

have a truly exceptional time.

for social events. Censured Club Roma

Multi-club where you will find some of

Finally Italy will 100% surprise you and

Cruising bar does exactly what it says on

the best facilities at a sauna anywhere

make you want to come back and explore

the tin and offers two bars ample dark

including 3 pools, Sauna and Turkish

more so what’s stopping you?

rooms and lounges as well as glory holes

bath, Gym and meeting rooms.

etc.

also host many weekend events and I

They

ONE HUNDRED & NINE // GNIMAG.COM


TESTED // ADVERTORIAL

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ONE HUNDRED & TEN // GNIMAG.COM


TESTED // MANUAL

SKIN CARE // MANUAL

AFFORDABLE LUXURY SHOULD BE WITHIN every-man’s hands and Manual.co have just launched 3 super charged men’s skincare products that are set to keep your skin & hair, in tip top shape.

breakage yet keeping your hair hydrated.

moisture and unrivalled skin protection.

The 3 products they have launched carry the fundamentals of hair & skin rejuvenation Here is the breakdown of the 3 new hero must haves from Manual.co

WRINKLE WARRIOR Vitamin C, Coenzyme Q10, Peptides and Hyaluronic Acid form an elixir of powerful antioxidant protection, combating wrinkles and signs of ageing. This product is amazing… it acts like an immobilizer around the eyes and forehead it really does work, you don’t need a lot and gives a great dewy look to the skin.

Over all I have to tell you that I am really impressed with the skin care the smell is amazing and it isn’t over powering and does vanish which I think is a great aspect to this powerful skincare duo.

POWER SHAMPOO infused with caffeine which stimulates hair follicles to promote hair stimulation. Biotin is vital for keratin production and this is what your hair is made of. Saw Palmetto is known to strengthen and revive hair to help combat

MR MOISTURISER Hydration is the name of the game and one pump of Mr Moisturiser will honestly set you up for the day. It’s the Hyaluronic Acid which is the perfect carrier to deliver hydration to the skin and Allantoin that blast’s you with extra

The shampoo is lovely results wise ill have to wait a little longer to actually see if it is true to its claims however the starter kit is an amazing price and if your in the market for a new skin care & hair regime then give this ago. All Manual products are available online via www.manual.co

ONE HUNDRED & ELEVEN // GNIMAG.COM


SLEEPOVER // SLIEVE DONARD

SLEEP OVER // SLIEVE DONARD NEWCASTLE HAS BEEN A FIRM FAVOURITE OF LOCAL BEACH LOVERS FOR YEARS, THOSE FAMILIAR WITH COASTAL RETREAT WILL BE NO STRANGER TO THE SLIEVE DONARD THOUGH MANY NOT HAVE HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO EXPERIENCE THE HOTEL AND SPA YET, MY AIM FOR THIS PIECE IS SIMPLE, SHARE MY THOUGHTS ABOUT MY RECENT STAY. Firstly, a spot of History, according to the books the first mention of the name “New Castle” was back in 1433, in fact, the town has been of historical importance in the centuries that followed. A stone was found with the inscription 1588, this was over the castle built by Felix Magennis, in 1642 Newcastle was besieged and captured by Sir James Montgomery of Ards, 1700 the Castle was modernised though demolished 130 years later in 1830. 1897 royalty visited to open the Slieve Donard Hotel, none other than the future King George V. 1910 seen Harry Ferguson fly one of the first engine-powered planes over the beach. This century the town has won many awards and been the venue to the Walker Cup in 2007 and more recently the Irish Open in 2015. All of this shows that Newcastle is as important now as ever. So on to my Stay, I don’t often getaway to the coast so when an opportunity arises, I

jump at it, my guest and I arrived at about 3 pm, the drive was wonderful, I have heard that traffic can be busy though we experienced no problems. Once you pass Castlewellan you are on the home straight with the iconic views of the Mournes filling your car window, you know the city is long gone. I visited the Slieve Donard around 18 months ago yet this experience could have been the first, the facade is always breathtaking, the beauty of a Victorian building of such grandeur really is otherworldly, I am so happy that the building has been very well maintained, in my opinion, it gives you those butterflies that you don’t get from a newbuild though I can appreciate both.

looking for me lol

Upon arrival, we were greeted, offered assistance with our bags which we politely declined as we had minimal luggage and we checked into our room. I must say that the interior was just as beautiful as the exterior, oh and the staff uniforms also need a mention I could have pinched one of the tweed blazers and/or waistcoats so luxurious if one goes missing don’t come

The main living area of the room was complete with a desk area for those maybe working, a sofa facing the window to sit and take in the views and a large king/super king bed.

ONE HUNDRED & TWELVE // GNIMAG.COM

Our room, (232 from memory) was welcoming, well proportioned and equipped with all the mod cons and the most amazing views of both the sea and the mountains. We were only in a room a few minutes when one of the staff knocked on the door and presented us with a welcome card from the General Manager Michael Weston and a platter with the word ‘Welcome’ written in white chocolate, this had a selection of treats on it, macarons, fudge etc, I devoured them myself, this was such a lovely touch which I won’t forget, thanks.

I have stayed in many hotels of varied standard over the years but without a doubt, was the most comfortable bed I


SLEEPOVER // SLIEVE DONARD have ever experienced so much so that I actually feel asleep sitting up, I will get into that later lol. In the bathroom which had both a full-size bath and large shower was one of Hastings Hotels signature rubber ducks waiting for us along with supplies of luxurious Espa toiletries. With around an hour to kill we lay upon the bed, watched some trash tv, poured some vino and chilled before heading off to the Spa. The Espa Spa is nothing short of EPIC, built over two floors looking out to the sea and the mountains. The ground floor is open to all guests, and the first floor is exclusively for people who are having spa treatments. I had pre-arranged to have a treatment so it was straight upstairs, I filled in some forms while chilling and enjoying some fresh fruit and flavoured water. Not long after I was brought into the treatment room, talked through what my treatment would consist of and asked to help select what products would be used throughout my facial and scalp massage. This was a lovely added extra that is usually ignored, though it made the experience really personal.

Lounge beside the Spa which is great for sandwiches, salads and light bites, Chaplins Bar which serves light snacks and relaxing cocktails, Percy French Inn which is a beautiful restaurant on the grounds by the main drive with an extensive menu and the last being the Oak Restaurant in the main hotel which is slightly more formal. They have all avenues covered

it with both cheese and bacon, I’m not a typical burger eater but he assured me it was fantastic.

We opted to go to Percy French, a short 3-minute stroll away, the restaurant/bar area was around half full with a mixture of guests, some golfers who were visiting from America, young local families and a group of girls celebrating a birthday, was great to see such a mix of people.

We finished our meal with a shared portion of Sticky Toffee Pudding, by now the trouser belt had already been loosened after 3 glasses of wine and 2 beers I think it is allowed. The pud was perfect, piping hot served with Sticky Toffee Sauce and a large helping of Glastry Farm Vanilla Ice-Cream.

The treatment lasted around an hour in total though I was so relaxed I think I slept around half of the time, shows how peaceful the treatments rooms were. The oils I selected were full of wonderful natural ingredients which are really important to myself and many people.

We were seated in the corner with a lovely view of everyone, I love people watching so was the perfect position for me. Our server took our drink order and gave us a few minutes to look over the menu. I didn’t need long though as an avid lover of food I had already read the menu the day prior with anticipation.

My skin and hair were left feeling soft and revitalised, nothing beats a good massage and when it is in such beautiful surroundings its a double whammy.

I love Seafood so ordered the Chowder, this was packed with fresh fish, in my eyes a must to order if you are on the coast, it was delicious and so moorish. My guest ordered

When finished I was shown to the relaxation room, this was the ultimate chillout zone with soft music playing, magazines to read and loads of fresh & dry fruit and waters, it backed out to the private male quarters that was complete with steam room, jacuzzi and sauna, we took in all there was to offer which I may say was over and above what many establishments consider luxury before going to the ground floor to have a swim in the pool. The open-access area also had a sauna, steam room and vitality pool, we enjoyed the facilities, relaxed on the loungers and read for a while. With it now approaching 6 pm we retreated back to our room for a shower, some more vino and to get ready to go out for something to eat. Off for grub, the hotel boasts 4 restaurants/areas for dining The Lighthouse

a bowl of the mussels, wow was this a big helping so no complaints. For my main rather than getting the usual Chicken or Beef I ordered the Irish Lamb Shank, the lamb was cooked to perfection though slightly lacking in flavour if I’m honest though a good helping of pepper sorted that out, it was served with a pile of fresh veg, lovely potatoes and lashings of rich gravy. My guest went for the Hannan’s Glenarm Shorthorn Beef Burger, he topped

The menu had so many options from Light Bites, Vegetarian, Salads, Beef, Chicken, Pasta, Fish and loads more so none could possibly go hungry regardless of how fussy you may be.

Back to Bed, although still being relatively earlier we decided to go back to the room to chill, let the food digest and enjoy more wine (think that’s the 3rd time mentioning wine in the room, don’t tell). The bed which I briefly touched on earlier needs a mention. OMG it is clear no expense or thought has been spared when it came to the bedding, I can honestly it was the most comfortable bed I have slept in, the mattress was topped with Egyptian cotton bed linen, generously sized duvets and large square pillows, you simply melted away so much so that I managed to fall asleep half perched up watching TV. I make no qualms in being outspoken, Slieve Donard, if you happen to read this, should you decide to change the beds or if one gets damaged I want to know lol. The next morning after a wonderful extended sleep which I don’t often have the opportunity to get we headed to breakfast in Oak Restaurant, a grand, opulent room with views out to sea. It was a buffet breakfast with all of the usual options, porridge, cereal, fruit for those wanting something light and full scale cooked offerings, you name it they had it. I tried to be good, had a small bowl of porridge and a breakfast bap that I assembled myself with toasted soda with lashings of butter filled with fried egg, sausage and brown sauce. I washed this down with a gallon of tea. Just what the doctor ordered after all the vino To close all I can say is I thoroughly enjoyed staying at the Slieve Donard and would definitely recommend it. The room, Spa, food and service as a whole couldn’t be faulted. Thanks for being so accommodating Words by Daniel May

ONE HUNDRED & THIRTEEN // GNIMAG.COM


HISTORY // STONEWALL

HISTORY // STONEWALL IN THE EARLY HOURS OF June 1969 a small gay club located in Greenwich Village was raided by the New York City police. This raid led to a riot which sparked 6 days of protests in Christopher Street and beyond, these protests were the beginning of a huge gay rights movement around the entire world.

singing and shouting “Gay Power!” but as officer’s grew more hostile so did the watchers. Things were thrown at the police as they came out of the inn, at first pennies, then beer bottles. As a lesbian customer was beaten over the head screams grew louder and rocks were thrown, in that moment the scene became explosive.

The 1960s weren’t the best of times for LGBT people. Homosexual acts were illegal in many countries throughout most of the decade making finding a safe space to be who you are almost impossible. There were a few well hidden gay bars but if they were found out they’d be shut down immediately, in New York it wasn’t until 1966 that gay patrons could even legally be served alcohol.

Police desperately tried to control the riot but they were soon outnumbered by over 500 people, gay and straight who witnessed the injustice and came to help, this had happened too many times before and people were sick of it. The Mattachine Society Newsletter wrote “It catered largely to a group of people who are not welcome in, or cannot afford, other places of homosexual social gathering... The Stonewall became home to these kids. When it was raided, they fought for it. That, and the fact that they had nothing to lose other than the most tolerant and broadminded gay place in town, explains why.” Drag queens and homeless teens began throwin whatever they could find at the building, breaking windows and stuffing flaming rubbish through them. People swarmed into the bar and the police took out their pistols it was at this moment the wailing of fire engine sirens could be heard in the distance and the Tatical Patrol Force arrived to free the humiliated officers.

Gay bars being technically illegal as well as a good way to make some money if done correctly is what led the Genovese crime family to purchase Stonewall Inn and convert it to a gay club. It was technically BYOB at the time and the Genovese family had to bribe the police to turn a blind eye to the activities ocuring there. The whole club was ran as cheaply as possible, a total dump by today’s standards, no fire exits or clean toilets, not only that but customers were repeatedly blackmailed by the mafia. It became a place for the queer comunity to meet people similar to them and for drag queens to perform, it was also one of the only gay bars to allow dancing so despite it’s (many) flaws it was the only place for people to enjoy themselves without fear or judgement, it was important becasue it was all the community really had. June 28th changed that, police officers entered the club and lined everyone up, arrested 13 people, including employees and crossdressing or transgender patrons who were seen to be violating the gender-appropriate clothing act after having their sex checked in the bathroom. A woman named Maria Ritter, then known as male to her family, recalled “My biggest fear was that I would get arrested. My second biggest fear was that my picture would be in a newspaper or on a television report in my mother’s dress!” About 150 people gathered outside of the small inn, some were non-arrested patrons from the bar, appauled by the officers treatment of their friends and some were passers-by who encouraged the police’s actions. Even in the face of such an awful situation the crowd were heard

ONE HUNDRED & FOURTEEN // GNIMAG.COM

As the crowd cleared a kickline formed and people began to sing “We are the Stonewall girls/ We wear our hair in curls/ We don’t wear underwear/ We show our pubic hair.” and the police fougght back, not with song but with nightsticks and they beat the singers until they ran. But it wasn’t over yet: There were more riots and protests and demonstrations throughout Christopher Street that week. Sylvia Rivera and Marsha P. Johnson were both transgender women who helped lead the fight against injustice, they shattered a windshield of a police car and rallied others to act in a similar fashion. The rebellion on christopher street had sparked a movement throughout New York, America and the world, it helped to spread acceptance and led to the LGBT community gaining many of the rights we have today. Each year we celebrate Pride not only to remember that day on Christopher Street and the recognise how far we’ve come but also to fight for what’s next, the world may be a better place now but it’s not perfect and we need to be inspired by the brave people in Greenwich Village to never give up on the fight.


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GNI MAG ISSUE 38  

Hopefully, we are on the cusp of marriage equality here in Northern Ireland and to celebrate, we present to you our wedding issue. Inside w...

GNI MAG ISSUE 38  

Hopefully, we are on the cusp of marriage equality here in Northern Ireland and to celebrate, we present to you our wedding issue. Inside w...

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