GNI mag TIMEWARP FOUR DECADES OF ROCKY HORROR
Ru PAUL MEET THE QUEENS OF SEASON 8
LOUD & PROUD NORTH & SOUTH
Issue 21 April / May 2016 £3.95 / €4.95
M U L CA N
A G G I McSW
S ON HI R A T BE S DID YOUTU N PAST: “I POR O DO” T D A IH WHAT
EUROVISION OUR GUIDE TO THE GAYEST SHOW ON EARTH
Y B R L E CO KELL
E OOD S W U T M S E WE STAR N N N E R I O E VIV THE P M A D OF
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EDITOR’S letter SEX TOYS We tried them so you don’t have to. Still sore tbh I AM NOT MYSELF THESE DAYS We catch up with writer, actor and all round gorgeous human being Tom Stuart
FASHION Pants and polaroid’s – it’s Boys On Film GET THE LOOK Do we really need to spell this out?!
@GNI MAG PREVIEW Our roundup of the newest, hottest shit around TRIED AND TESTED Film reviews, tech, and who’s treading the boards this month BLIAINE FITZPATRICK The gay guy and Grindr HAYDEN McGEHAN Our resident translad talks sex ed and misogyny
FOOD Just in time for Easter: chocolate meets Guinness. Wait – don’t run away! TRAVEL: STOCKHOLM We get the inside track on this year’s Eurovision host city FITNESS Real men getting their kit off. You’re welcome. DATING Your dating problems solved by our agony aunt Eamon McAuley INTERIORS
GNI MAG WEDDINGS
DAMN IT, JANET! We chat 40 years of Rocky Horror with pop supremo Diana Vickers RUPAUL’S DRAG RACE Meet the queens of season eight EUROVISION 2016 The Gastrogay guide to the gayest night of the year (no, not Christmas)
THE SEX ISSUE
COLBY KELLER That sound you hear is your jaw hitting the floor LIFE IN THE CLOSET Inside the dating world of a closeted bi guy AODHAN WOODS Surviving sexual assult CALUM MCSWIGGAN The rising star of YouTube dishes on his porn past
Ryan and Patrick tie the knot in the swank Glasgow Corinthian
HEALTH Combating stress through exercise COMING OUT Electra La Cunt shares her story
Can you feel it? Spring is in the air. After what feels like an eternity we’ve finally banished the gloom of winter. Very soon every other ad on our telly boxes will be tarting up patio furniture, so we’ve decided to preemptively stock the fridges here at GNI Towers with Pimms and lemonade, With summer right around the corner that means most of us are about to start having a lot more sex. That’s right. You do it, I do it, and I’m fairly sure the birds and bees do it too. Having it off. Getting down and dirty. Playing hide the sausage. No matter what hilariously inappropriate thing you call it, whether you are having sex or not having sex, too much or not enough, our attitudes to sex shape our lives. So who better to front our very first sex issue than the most eligible man on the planet? If you don’t know him, please surrender yourself to the nearest gay bar for immediate reeducation. With a loyal coterie of fans, devotees, and worshippers, there is no doubting that Colby Keller is the porn star to know and love. In addition to making porn for a living, Colby is an artist, a qualified anthropologist, and a self-confessed “sex nerd.” And doesn’t he look pretty on the cover? We are also extremely proud to chat with dishy YouTuber Calum McSwiggan. His channel (eatgaylove) is everything you could want, which probably explains his 50,000+ subscribers. No sex issue would be complete without acknowledging the darker side of sex. This is why we sat down with an incredibly brave young man named Aodhan Woods who suffered a horrific sexual attack at the hands of his two best friends. With his attackers starting lengthy custodial sentences, we ask Aodhan how to recover from a sexual assault. In this bumper edition we preview the queens of the newest (and so far best) season of Drag Race in Ru Paul herstory, and get the inside track on Eurovision 2016 Contest. Enjoy our first ever supplement for your gay marriage needs. Kieran Clarke GNI MAG Editor
@ gni mag Jayce @Just_Jayce
The studies have ALREADY been
rates by 30%. Long term it WILL
has the potential to revolutionise
done. #PrEP HAS reduced infection
Offering a tokenistic nod to what
save millions. @NHSEngland have
HIV prevention in the UK is
Last month NHS England scrapped plans to make Truvada - the revolutionary drug that prevents HIV - available on the NHS. The National AIDS Trust called the decision to delay a decision for another 18 months “a shocking U-turn,” while The Terrence Higgins Trust said the decision was “shameful.” Many of you took to Twitter to express your shock, disbelief and sadness. Darren Scott @darren_scott
The NHS decision about #PrEP is maddening.
HIV Scotland @HIVScotland
We want to see #PrEP made
available to high risk MSM in high prevalence areas in Scotland
Efficacy of #PrEP has been
Shameful on @NHSEngland to
trial. We need access to #PrEPnow
U-turn that ignores all findings.
established. We don’t need another for the 1000s most vulnerable. Tom @PositiveLad
Once again the establishment, in this case @NHSEngland, have
shown that they don’t care about the health of gay, bi and other MSM
abandon rollout of #PrEP - a total
Jord Muckley @JordMuckley
The argument/evidence for
vaccination is irrefutable. #PrEP is
like a vaccination against #HIV, so if it can be stopped, then why say no? Patrick Strudwick
I’m sick of the bureaucracy which
20,000 people to get help to prevent
kick #PrEP into the long grass.
England. How many people will be
allows @NHSEngland to effectively More HIV infections, less funding
them getting diabetes says NHS
given the drug that prevents HIV?
ON THE COVER
#PUPsofinstagram LOOKING AND THE HISTORY BOYS STUD (AND GNI MAG’S OFFICIAL BOYFRIEND) RUSSELL TOVEY LOOKS CUTE AF COSYING UP WITH HIS FRENCH BULLDOG ROCKY IN NYC. IF YOU’VE EVER WANTED TO FEEL JEALOUS OF A DOG, NOW IS THE TIME. 8 | GNIMAG.COM
‘INDIANA’ COLBY KELLER PHOTOGRAPED BY GABE AYALA FOR COLBY DOES AMERICA
For further information and bookings: T: +44 (0)28 9023 4888 E: firstname.lastname@example.org
PREVIEW__ WHAT’S NEW
THE PASS @ bFI FLARE Ben A. Williams’ gay drama The Pass had its world premiere at the BFI Flare LGBT Film Festival this month. In this adaptation of John Donnelly’s critically-acclaimed West End original, Russell Tovey reprises his role as footballer Jason. With a story spread over 15 years, Jason’s promising career is thrown into question after a steamy clinch with teammate Ade (Arinze Kene) on the night before their first international match. Any film that challenges the taboos of out gay players in football can only be a good thing. FOR MORE INFORMATION VISIT BFI.ORG.UK/FLARE
10 | GNIMAG.COM
PREVIEW__ WHAT’S NEW
30 years since their first seminal album and the Pet Shop Boys are back with possibly their most accomplished offering to date. Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe have once again teamed up with producer Stuart Price to deliver a confident and catchy album that harkens back to the band’s heyday in the late 80s. Special mention goes to lead single, The Pop Kids, is a deliriously wonderful single that is already an instant classic. SUPER BY THE PET SHOP BOYS IS AVAILABLE NOW
APRIL 5 EXHIBITIONISM 50 years of Rolling Stones history will combine in the band’s first major exhibition. Join Mick Jagger, and the rest of them at the Saatchi Gallery until September. SAATCHIGALLERY. COM
APRIL 28 GAME OF THRONES After an explosive season finale last year, GoT returns to answer the big questions: Is Jon Snow alive? What the hell’s happening with Bran? Could Jorah Mormont be any hotter?! HBO.COM
APRIL 29 THE FESTIVAL OF FOOLS This much loved yearly tradition returns to the streets of Belfast over the May bank holiday weekend. Expect frolics and street theatre aplenty when it hits. FOOLSFESTIVAL. COM
MAY 4 DUBLIN GAY THEATRE Founded in 2004 to mark the 150th anniversary of the birth of Oscar Wilde, the Dublin Gay Theatre festival showcases the best in local and international LGBT theatre. GAYTHEATRE.IE
MAY 14 EUROVISION Eurovision turns 61 this year, which means if it was a resident of Albert Square it would be ready to keel over in the Old Vic. Decant to your nearest gay bar for an evening of trashy Europop. EUROVISION.TV
GNIMAG.COM | 11
23 APR – 14 MAY 2016
The new play by Rosemary Jenkinson Directed by Jimmy Fay Starring Michael Condron, Niall Cusack, Susan Davey, Thomas Finnegan and Kerri Quinn
TICKETS FROM £10
TRIED & Tested TECH / Movies / BOOKS / stage
Drones. So hot right now. Whether it’s shooting nature documentaries in the Peak District, entertaining small children on a frosty Christmas morn, or drone bombing villages in Pakistan, you can’t go anywhere these days without hearing about drones. It is well documented that footage shot from drones accounts for at least 63% of all internet traffic*. Next to self-driving cars, drones are already changing the ways we live, work, and even shop, with Amazon Prime Air due to begin their drone delivery service later this year. Drones can also come equipped with a multitude of cameras, from the lowly megapixels to GoPro quality high def captures. So why shoot from the hip when you can shoot from the sky in glorious HD? No matter what your budget, we’ve rounded up the best drones around for you perusal. ( Just don’t come running to us when you crash your latest purchase into the neighbour’s chimney.) *Not a real statistic.
CODE BLACK DRONE £140 The Code Black is best selling drone of all time. A popular choice for amateurs and experts alike, this hefty drone utilises six-axis gyro technology for a speedy, stable flight and a guaranteed smooth landing. It can flip in the air, range as far as 100 feet away, and capture stunning GoPro-style video. Spare blades, replacement motors and more are available for the accident prone.
CHEERSON CX-10C £83 At about the size of an Oreo, the diminutive little quadcopter is the smallest commercially available camera-enabled drone in the world. It’s so small it can navigate through the tightest of spaces, and even has built-in LEDs to make night flying as simple as crashing a drone into a large body of water. With four replacement blades, the Cheerson CX-10C is ready to fly right out of the box.
HUBSAN H501S X4 FPV BRUSHLESS DRONE £323 This high-end drone uses the latest advances in drone technology to allows it to follow the remote control user wherever they go. With a twenty minute flight time on each charge, the Hubsan H501S captures real time in HD, and its powerful, durable motors allow users the chance to set the drone in one direction and allow it to run a solo course.
GNIMAG.COM | 13
2 5 -26 J U N E 2 E IKO N E X H IB
6 1 0 2 Y L U J 2 -3 R IDG E R D S - BA L LS B
- D U B LIN
ITIO N C E NTR
E - B E LFAST
TRIED AND TESTED__ MOVIES
BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE
What it’s about:
What it’s about:
Wayne gunned down for the nth time was
1975. Outside London, neurosurgeon
Two years after Superman (Henry Cavill)
all a dream, the first of MANY this film has
Dr. Robert Laing (Tom Hiddleston)
levelled half of Metropolis to stop General
to offer, most of which require a Ph.D. in
moves into a newly-built high-rise.
Zod (Michael Shannon), public spirit has
DC mythology to understand. Complicating
Initially sold as a dream of modern
turned against the Last Son of Krypton.
matters are stilted performances, bad casting,
living, it isn’t long before the
Fearing the power of an unchecked alien
questionable CGI, and storytelling designed
building’s amenities begin to break
with God-like powers, billionaire Bruce
simply to establish DC’s cinematic ambitions.
down. Caught in an uncomfortable
Wayne (Ben Affleck) decides to put a stop to
It’s no surprise that critics are falling over
middle ground between the upper
The Man of Steel before he can kill again.
themselves to write the most scathing review imaginable. If it wasn’t for Gal Gadot as
and lower floors, Laing surrenders to madness while the high-rise
Is it any good?
Wonderwoman, this long awaited slugfest
descends into all out war.
Zach Snyder opens the film with a fine (if
would be a waste of your hard-earned cash.
surreal) retelling of Batman’s origin. It’s all Is it any good?
downhill from here. Seeing mama and papa
Based on the acclaimed novel by J.G. Ballard, few films are audacious enough to open with a blood-splattered Tom Hiddleston barbecuing a dog on the balcony of a ruined building. It’s a credit to director Ben Wheatley for filling the ensuing two hours with enough violent and kaleidoscopic imagery to make Laing’s Alsatian hors d’oeuvres seem positively tame. High-Rise is destined to become a cult hit. It is worth the price of admission if only for Portishead’s dreamy cover of ABBA’s ‘SOS’, and the best delivery of “Right! Which one of you bastards is going to fuck me up the arse?” you will likely ever hear. OUT NOW
CLOSET MONSTER What it’s about: Oscar Madly (Connor Jessup) is desperate to escape his hometown. An aspiring makeup artist, he struggles with his absent mother and emotionally unstable father. Everything changes when Oscar
time director Stephen Dunn applies an
falls madly in love with a hunky colleague.
autobiographical brush in this charming and surrealist debut. Full marks to the
Is it any good?
propulsive soundtrack that features the likes
This offbeat Canadian coming-of-age
of Ladytron, Allie X, and Nils Frahm.
story features the vocal talents of Isabella Rossellini as a talking hamster, and
AVAILABLE NOW ON BFI PLAYER, AND
how often do you get to say that? First-
ON PECCADILLO PLAYER GNIMAG.COM | 15
TRIED AND AND TESTED TESTED__ BOOKS && THEATRE WHAT’S ON TRIED | BOOKS
THE 39 STEPS
LYRIC THEATRE, BELFAST
MARCH 29 - APRIL 16
APRIL 20 - APRIL 30
In this faithful and wildly inventive retelling of the classic Hitchcock
Based on the 1963 novel by legendary British comedian Spike
thriller, a Harris tweed wearing, pipe-smoking everyman is thrown
Milligan, Big Telly’s critically-acclaimed production of Puckoon
into a world of espionage, vaudeville and murder most foul when a
returns for another tour the UK and Ireland.
Set in the titular Irish village in 1922, the residents of Puckoon
female spy is murdered in his flat. The 39 Steps is peopled by a dizzying number of policemen, secret
wake to find that the map of Ireland has been redrawn overnight,
agents, and femme fatales, all of whom are portrayed by a tiny cast of
with the border between North and South cutting the village in
4. Michael Johnston’s performance is deeply indebted to the one made
two. With drink 30% cheaper in one corner of the pub, life in the
famous by Robert Donat in 1935 while Hannah Brackstone-Brown
newly divided Puckoon is thrown into an uproar. Director Zoë
channels the spirit of Madeline Carroll as the prissy Pamela. The show
Seaton describes the production as “the perfect blend of chaos and
is stolen by the double act of Michael Condron and Liam Jeavons, who
comedy.” The extremely dextrous company of six actor-musicians
play every other part between them with wit, charm, and creativity. It
go hammer and tongs with Milligan’s absurd comic work. Be sure
may have a criminally short run, but The 39 Steps is not to be missed.
to catch Puckoon before it finishes its tour in Glor, Ennis on June 4.
WESLO’S HOME-O-EROTIC COOKBOOK WESLEY SMOOTH / WESLO PUBLISHING / £27.99 Do you like your food piled high with lashings of
look — assuming you haven’t been hospitalised
innuendo? If you just shouted “Yasss!” on a train
with melon-baller induced injuries — but this one
packed with commuters then boy do we have a
goes a step further by accompanying each recipe
treat for you. Weslo’s Homo-O-Erotic Cookbook
with a picture of a dishy hunk. Bellissima! etc.
features over 100 tantalising recipes. If your
16 | GNIMAG.COM
Chapters include Rise and Shine (breakfasts),
culinary skills piqued with the perfect Pot Noodle
Afternoon Delight (lunch), Foreplay (starters), On
then fear not, each step of the process is carefully
the Side (sides), All The Way (entrees), A Sweet
explained. It’s traditional for cookbooks to show
Finish (desserts), What Happened Was… (cocktails)
you how your plate of gastronomic guff should
and Recovery (smoothies and protein shakes).
COLUMN__ BLÍAIN FITZPATRICK
MEAN GIRLS: THE MUSICAL
Tina Fey swears it’s happening. So fetch etc. LEGAL POPPERS
Excuse us while we throw an entire bottle in our face in celebration
Sex and the single man.
THE BOY GEORGE BIOPIC
We agree, Gazza. The boy playing you *was* too pretty JADEN SMITH
So hot right now. Tearing down the gender binary and looking fan-fucking-tastic THE POP KIDS
10/10. Would bang AND recommend to a (gay) friend. Playing on a loop in your nearest gay bar from now until the eventual heat death of the universe
Let’s face it: as human beings, we
memory, so it’s perhaps unsurprising that
all have wants and needs. No matter how
until recently young gay men had few role
old you are our sexual appetites demand
models and even fewer guidelines on how
our attention. How we choose to deal with
to behave. Times have moved on, it’s now
our cravings provides a lot of insight into
time attitudes moved on too.
the way men’s minds work. Take Grindr. Every gay man under the
Scrapping plans to make PrEP available on the NHS will cost lives. #PrEPnow EUROVISION
Drink in hand, cackle at the ready, waiting for those “nul points” to come pouring in #MASC4MASC
Covered in glitter. Blind with makeup. Looking like you’ve fallen over in Lidl “SPRING”
@Metoffice Where’s the sun??
in the UK where marriage equality is
sun knows Grindr is primarily for hooking
still not a reality. The demand for legally
up. Yes? Not quite. I have always had an
recognised partnerships that aren’t civil
issue with the assumption that what a
unions is huge, so why when we are so
guy with a Grindr profile really wants is a
close to winning the right to marry do we
passport to unlimited sexual fulfilment. But
kick the legs out from under the stool?
there are those out there, myself included, who use it for entirely different reasons.
Northern Ireland is last remaining part
Last week I found myself under fire for
People have the right to live how they see fit, and so by that logic are free to fuck whomever they like, but I can’t help
my “naive” approach to the world of dating.
wondering if winning the right to marriage
Trust me, if I had a tenner for every time
equality while throwing monogamy out
someone told me “Promiscuity is the new
the window doesn’t defeat the purpose?
monogamy”, I could probably retire.
When you cut out the religious aspect of
Whether I like it or not, promiscuity
marriage what’s left is a bond between two
is the default setting for the majority of
people who have promised to love only
mankind. But promiscuity is not some
each other for the rest of their lives. There
chronic addiction, it’s a mindset that
really is no room for flexibility here.
has been encouraged over time until we
Weakening that bond by sleeping around is
reach the point where partnered guys will
the sexual equivalent of having your cake
happily sleep around because logic tells
and smearing it all over your greedy face.
them that’s okay. This negative feedback loop has become the new standard. I for one am supportive of all forms
Take a straw poll of a dozen gay men. Chances are that those of them who cheat on their partners rationalise what they
of sexual liberation. So long as we put
do by saying “If I can’t get my sexual
protection like condoms and PrEP firmly
kicks from my partner, I’m going to find
between ourselves and harm’s way then
it elsewhere.” I’m sorry, but doesn’t that
by all means go forth and rut like MDMA-
totally devalue what love is? Don’t get
enhanced rabbits. If you are single, I mean.
me wrong, I fully support and admire
These days you’d be forgiven for thinking
the unshackling of sexual potential that
that “monogamy” was a word we’d all
modern gay life provides, but when it
tricked ourselves into forgetting.
comes to bending the rules of a devoted
But why might this be, I hear you
MOVIE BUST UPS
ask. It’s no secret that for most human
Batman vs. Superman Ironman vs. Captain America Us vs. bored now
history gay people only existed on the
relationship where do we draw the line? If all we see is an endless buffet of sweaty torsos, can we ever enjoy the main course?
fringes of society. For many men, the age of criminalisation is an all too recent
GNIMAG.COM | 17
COLUMN__ HAYDEN McGEHAN
Everybody take some rubbers.
Hayden McGehan CRUSH SIGH. IS THERE ANYONE MORE PERFECT THAN TROYE SIVAN? WELL, APPARENTLY, YES. IN A NEW INTERVIEW WITH OUT MAGAZINE THE 20-YEAR-OLD AUSSIE HEARTTHROB CREDITED HIS “BEAUTIFUL BOYFRIEND” FOR HELPING HIM MAKE HIS BREAKTHROUGH ALBUM BLUE NEIGHBOURHOOD A REALITY. WE ARE QUITE LITERALLY DYING OF JEALOUSY OVER HERE. WHEN THE WORLD’S TWINKIEST YOUTUBER DEDICATES AN ALBUM TO US WE WILL KNOW WE’VE MADE IT. REACHES FOR THE VODKA*
HOW GAY IS... JAMES FRANCO
I came out swinging. The doctor
fully appreciate ‘people not parts’ being
collected me, took one look between my
a tagline to live by - both in the bedroom
legs and labeled me female. For 23 years
and on the streets. Sex isn’t about what’s
that was how I lived and learned. From
in somebody’s pants, it’s about the person
what I remember, the first 10 or so years
and their emotions. As a transman I am
were okay. We’re all kind of the same before
hyper-aware of the fact that what’s in my
puberty starts to do its thing.
pants isn’t the same as most other guys’, but
Then comes sex-ed, feelings, insecurity, and confusion. From learning about the pill to putting
have any less real. Discovering the gender spectrum places
condoms on fake penises, sex education
me right down the far end of being a man.
had me feeling like I was pretty abnormal.
And though there are guys I can level with,
I had no sex drive. I thought that the
there are also those with a shit attitude
sex act was disgusting. I believed that
to women that I definitely cannot. Man-
masturbation was only okay for guys,
exclusive groups and spaces can wear you
and that I was going to be a virgin forever
the fuck down.
because I was crushing on girls and girl/
As one of the guys I’m expected to join
girl sex wasn’t a thing. This same mind-
in, to talk dick size, the girls I’ve slept
set continued into my early twenties. It
with, to promote gender role nonsense
was only when I started discovering more
like ‘women can’t drive’. The pressure to
about myself and my gender identity that
be as misogynistic as my cis brothers is
anything started to shift.
overwhelming. When you’re living as cis,
Now that I’m six months on testosterone
you don’t really think about these issues.
I’m starting to look back at everything that
Life and sex are a wild ride. Boys are blue.
being a transman has taught me, like a
Girls are pink. And it is what it is. This
maturity towards sex. Sex is everywhere.
adventure has for sure complicated things,
But for the most part the representation of
though at the same time it has offered a
it pushes the idea that sex is only meant for
refreshing sense of freedom. I now know
Adam and Eve and is all about the orgasm.
my place in the world (and, thanks to a
Orgasms aren’t the only reason for a ACCORDING TO THE MAN HIMSELF, GAY “UP TO THE POINT OF INTERCOURSE,” WHATEVER THAT MEANS. IN A REVEALING INTERVIEW WITH ROLLING STONE THE CALIFORNIA NATIVE OPENED UP ABOUT HIS “ARTISTIC PREOCCUPATION” WITH GAY MEN AND LGBT STORIES. FRANCO’S NEWEST FILM KING COBRA — ABOUT THE 2007 MURDER OF PORN DIRECTOR BRYAN KOCIS — HAD ITS WORLD PREMIERE AT TRIBECA IN NYC THIS MONTH. PREVIOUS CREDITS INCLUDE THE GAY BEAT POET ALLEN GINSBERG IN 2010’S HOWL, AND A STARRING ROLE IN GLORIFIED PORNO INTERIOR. LEATHER BAR. SO… QUITE GAY?
I know that my junk doesn’t make the sex I
night of passion. Sex is for girls, boys and
certain injection, I get to party hard). Sex can be straight-up confusing. But as
everyone in between. STIs are not limited
a passing transman with (terrifying) white
to P+V sex. Sexuality is fluid. It is okay to
male privilege, I feel as though I have
just fool around and make each other feel
the power to do something about it by
good. Safe-words rule. Respect is cool. Not
educating my new brothers. And I get to do
wanting sex is a-okay. And consensual sex
so while standing beside the sisterhood, cis
is important no matter how you identify.
and trans encompassing.
Without exploring the world of trans, I wouldn’t know any of the above. I’d still
Catch ya on the flipside,
be living clueless and terrified of a dick coming anywhere near me. I get sex now.
I understand it. I’m in a place where I can
GNIMAG.COM | 19
DAMN IT, JANET!
(l-r) BEN FREEMAN,DIANA VICKERS, PAUL CATTERMOLE, LIAM TAMNE
20 | GNIMAG.COM
FEATURE__ ROCKY HORROR
Last year The Rocky Horror Picture Show turned 40. With a new show selling out theatres around the UK, we get the inside goss from pop starlet Diana Vickers. Altogether now... it’s just a jump to the left!
Everyone remembers their first time watching The Rocky Horror Picture Show. I was 13-years-old, and newly out to myself. One look at Tim Curry dressed in a basque, fishnettights, platform heels and made up to the nines connected with me in a way nothing had before or since. Besides holding the record for the longest-running film release in cinema history, since its debut in 1975 The Rocky Horror Picture Show has grown to become a cult hit of mega proportions, and rightly so. “I SEE YOU TREMBLE IN ANTICI... Originally performed in 1973 as a stage musical under the slightly shorter name of ‘The Rocky Horror Show,’ the show opened to great success at London’s Royal Court Theatre. A satire of vintage horror and science-fiction monster films, Rocky Horror found a welcoming home in a 1970s Britain in the midst of major social upheaval. Its liberal use of rock ’n’ roll and the rising importance of gender identity meant it resonated well with its 1970s audience. Within a year of its stage debut, a film adaptation of the stage show was already well under way, with a cast that numbered several of the show’s original actors, including Tim Curry, Nell Campbell, and Patricia Quinn. In the film as in the play, and in the finest B-movie tradition, The Rocky Horror Picture Show begins on a dark and stormy night. The movie begins with lovebirds Brad Majors and Janet Weiss professing their love for each other at a friend’s wedding. On the way to meet their friend and former tutor Dr. Everett Scott their car breaks down, forcing them to seek shelter in a nearby castle, a castle that just happens to be hosting the Annual Transylvanian Convention... Brad and Janet are introduced to the Transylvanians by the hunchbacked Riff-Raff, his sister Magenta, and their tapdancing groupie Columbia. Immediately the floor show breaks into the film’s most famous number: The Time Warp. It isn’t long before Dr. Frank’n’Furter makes his grand entrance. This mad scientist, “sweet transvestite”, and the host of the evening’s festivities, was played with demented glee by British thesp Tim Curry. In his violently kitsch lab, Frank’n’Furter unveils his latest creation: a bodybuilder named ‘Rocky Horror’ who Frank built himself. Dressed in nothing but a pair of golden briefs, Rocky has “the Charles Atlas seal
WORDS | EVAN ARTHURS IMAGES | SEAN WEBB
of approval”. The story soon descends into murder, sex, and cannibalism. It isn’t long before the truth is revealed: that Frank’n’Furter and his company are aliens from the planet GNIMAG.COM | 21
FEATURE__ ROCKY HORROR
DIANA VICKERS AS JANET WEISS, BEN FREEMAN AS BRAD MAJORS
Transsexual, in the galaxy of Transylvania. When the film premiered in August 1975 it made household names of its cast of relative unknowns, with Barry Bostwick as Brad, Susan Sarandon as Janet, Tim Curry as Frank’n’Furter, Patrica Quinn as Magenta, Little Nell as Columbia and Rocky Horror writer Richard O’Brien as the manservant Riff-Raff. It was also considered to be a critical and commercial failure. It was only when the film became a fixture on the midnight movie circuit across the pond that its cult status as a rock and roll embracing, sexually dynamic classic was born. Over the next few year, audiences at midnight screenings around the world began ad-libbing lines of dialogues, which they would shout out to interact with the film, traditions that have since transferred to the live stage productions. If you have ever been to a live performance, you will know that the show is just one part of this unique experience. Decades after its release, fans still show up at to shows dressed as their favourite characters. Some fans went as far as bringing their own props to mime what was happening onstage. 22 | GNIMAG.COM
From ad-libbing lines of dialogues, to throwing rice on the stage, the audience is a huge part of what makes The Rocky Horror Picture Show so special.
Since then, a number of famous Rocky Horror traditions have been born, including throwing rice during the opening wedding scene, holding up candles during ‘There’s A Light (Over at the Frankenstein Place)’, and squirting water pistols during the storm. (Almost all of these traditions are now severely frowned upon by most official performances. Dressing up is, however, encouraged.) ... PATION” These days Rocky Horror is more popular than ever. Later this year it will have an all-star remake starring Laverne Cox as Frank’n’Furter (yes, you read that correctly) and Adam Lambert as the doomed motorcyclist Eddie in a role made famous by Meat Loaf. Even Tim Curry -- Rocky Horror’s most famous alumnus -- will return to play the Narrator. A brand new stage production of the show is also currently touring the UK. In this new production stars of the X Factor, Emmerdale and S Club 7 unite to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the critically acclaimed musical. In this production, Janet is played by Diana Vickers,
FEATURE__ ROCKY HORROR
PAUL CATTERMOLE AS EDDIE, DOMINC ANDERSON AS ROCKY
GNIMAG.COM || 23 23 GNIMAG.COM
FEATURE__ ROCKY HORROR who audiences will no doubt recognise from her stint on
YOU ARE STEPPING INTO SOME SERIOUSLY BIG SHOES
The X Factor. Fresh from S Club 7’s sold out Bring It All Back
BY TAKING OVER FROM SUSAN SARANDON. I KNOW
Tour, Paul Cattermole will be treading the boards as rock n’
YOU HAVEN’T MET HER YET BUT DO YOU FEEL UNDER
roll renegade Eddie, and as wheelchair-bound Dr. Scott. Ben
PRESSURE TO MAKE SURE YOUR PERFORMANCE LIVED UP
Freeman aka Scott Windsor from Emmerdale and from various
TO THE ONE SHE MADE FAMOUS? “I love Susan Sarandon! I’m such a big fan.
other West End shows like Legally Blonde, Wicked, and the UK’s touring production of Happy Days trades Fonzy’s trademark quiff for Brad’s thick-rimmed glasses. All three will be forced to contend with The Voice’s Liam Tamne as Frank’n’Furter; Kristian Lavercombe, who is reprising his role from the previous UK tour as Riff Raff; and the rolling roster of narrators. It is a certifiable musical extravaganza features all of its famous musical classics including ‘Science Fiction/Double Feature’, ‘Dammit Janet’ and the timeless ‘Time-Warp.’ To find out more about this production we sat down for a quick chat with Diana Vickers. HI DIANA. YOU’VE PERFORMED ALL AROUND THE UK, ESPECIALLY YOUR AWARD-WINNING TURN IN JIM CARTWRIGHT’S THE RISE AND FALL OF LITTLE VOICE. YOU ARE FAR FROM BEING A STRANGER TO THE STAGE. DO YOU STILL GET NERVOUS BEFORE STEPPING OUT ON STAGE? “I’ve been doing musicals since I was younger, but obviously not to the professional standard of a big West End show. During rehearsals for Rocky Horror, I was finding it really difficult. A lot of the company had done it before and felt a lot of pressure. By the end of rehearsals I felt like I’d come such a long way, but at the beginning, it was really daunting. “The audience is such a huge part of Rocky Horror. I was so terribly nervous about what to expect from them that during rehearsals the director came over to me and said: ‘Diana
The story soon descends into murder, sex, and cannibalism. It isn’t long before the truth is revealed: that Frank ’n’ Furter and his company are aliens from the planet Transsexual, in the galaxy of Transylvania.
She was fantastic as Janet. Have I taken any characteristics from her? I guess a tiny bit. I wouldn’t say I’ve based my performance on hers. You have to put your own spin on it. “The major difference between our performances is probably in terms of my singing voice. I sing things a lot more of a rocky, sexy vixen sort of way. I love comedy too, that’s my thing, any opportunity I get I try and be funny I take it.” YOU ARE LUCKY TO WORK WITH A PRETTY FANTASTIC CAST, INCLUDING SOME ROCKY HORROR REGULARS. WHAT’S IT BEEN LIKE WORKING WITH YOUR CASTMATES? “Oh God, I have such a talented group of people around me! Liam Tamne who plays Frankenfurter is such a talented man. I just love him. I’m very, very, very close to him. We have such a great bond. He makes me laugh every single night, like smudging my lipstick on my face during a show. He’s so cheeky! He knows I’m the weak link when it comes to laughter. “Ben Freeman who plays Brad is great fun. He’s fantastic. His take on Brad is so funny. Honestly, everyone is fantastic.” ROCKY HORROR IS KNOWN FOR HAVING SOME OF THE CATCHIEST SONGS AROUND. WHICH IS YOUR FAVOURITE TO PERFORM? “Oh, there are so many! I enjoy doing ‘Eddie’ because it’s the point where all of the company is on the stage and it’s very funny
calm down, they aren’t going to eat you alive!’
and the choreography is fantastic. I also
It was terrifying! So that was a big challenge.
really enjoy doing ‘Floor Show/I’m Going
Nothing can prepare you for that first time you
Home’ because that’s the moment when
walk out on stage. But I’m used to it now, I’ve
Janet really comes out of her shell. It’s so
conquered my fears!
“I do still get nervous, especially right before the second half, which is odd because you’d think it’d be easier. But in the second half, you have the bedroom scenes which are quite kinky, and you have ‘Touch Me’ which is always a big number to do. There’s lots of jumping around and singing at the same time, so you do always feel a
THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW IS ON TOUR NOW
little bit more nervous about that.”
FOR TICKETS VISIT ROCKYHORROR.CO.UK/TOUR
24 | GNIMAG.COM
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girl you better werk!
FEATURE__ RU PAUL SEASON 8: MEET THE QUEENS
WORDS | CHRISTOPHER MEGRATH IMAGES | LOGO TV
You ready kitty girl? Season 8 of the worldwide phenomenon that is RuPaul’s Drag Race is back with some of the fiercest queens and sickening looks that America has to offer! Ru is back on her search for a queen with charm, talent and looks to be crowned America’s Next Drag Superstar. GNIMAG.COM | 27
FEATURE__ RU PAUL SEASON 8: MEET THE QUEENS
1. 2. 3.
Acid Betty Cynthia Lee Fontaine Naysha Lopez
OVER SEVEN INCREDIBLE SERIES, Ru
based fail. Episode 1, the 100th episode, set a
Paul’s Drag Race has gifted us with more
new all-time high that forthcoming seasons
non-stop drama, death-drops, wig snatches
will struggle to better.
and high-fashion runways than we’ve ever seen before. Now, thanks to the acid-tongued and comedic talents that host RuPaul has
Michelle Visage, Carson Kressley and Ross
handpicked from thousands of entries, season
Matthews - have their nails well and truly
8 promises to be a standout year.
polished this season, and they haven’t
With a wealth of incredible talent and
Bob the Drag Queen
Thorgy Thor Chi Chi DeVayne
held back. Michelle is throwing challenges
queens who had us enticed from the moment
left, right and centre, the guest judges are
they were announcedy, this season has no
shadier than ever, and Ru herself is taking
clear victor (unlike the inevitable win that
no excuses (witness the ruthless and now
was Bianca Del Rio back in season 6). We
iconic sashaying of two girls who failed to
haven’t seen this much talent and personality
deliver on - ironically - Gloria Gaynor’s ‘I Will
in Drag Race herstory, making season 8 the
Survive’). Ditto for guest judges Faith Evans,
most promising season yet.
Nicole Richie and Gigi Hadid, proving that no
Season 8 is also the first year to include queens from all around the world. Anime
Ru PAUL - JOINED BY past judges
queen is ever safe. (Can we also talk about how gorgeous Michelle looks?!)
queen Kim Chi hails from Korea, Chi Chi DeVayne from Texas and Cynthia Lee
UNTUCKED! IS BACK FOR another year,
Fontaine from Puerto Rico. (Think aUnited
maintaining the format put to such great use
Nations conference, but with less sass). Before
in season 7. Thefly-on-the-wall style gives the
the first episode of the new season even aired,
queens a chance to appear in more than just
early favourite Bob the Drag Queen was
their drag persona, the viewers also feeling
booked in the UK, while Chi Chi flew off to
connected to the rising stars. Season 8 of
Europe and Kim Chi explored Asia.
Untucked! kicks every Wednesday, filled with
Come through, continental queens!
more hard truths, cat fights, backstabbing and eye rolling than we can handle.
10. Derrick Barry 11. Dax Exclamation Point 12. Robbie Turner
SEASON 7 LEFT A lot to be desired, whereas within the first 20 minutes of season 8
NO ONE CAN SAY at this stage who will
we saw a dramatic and sketchy history unfold
be crowned top queen in the live final due to
between Thorgy Thor and Acid Betty. We have
every queen being on top of their game. Past
everything crossed that this escalates into
queens, and even some winners, couldn’t
Alyssa vs Coco level rivalry. We also saw the
compete with the talent and personalities
entrance of Drag Race’s historic 100th queen
RuPaul has picked. Season 8 comes with the
in the shape of Britney impersonator Derrick
fiercest, talented, hilarious bunch of shady
Berry, Drag Race alumni returning for an
queens America has to offer.
iconic photoshoot, a runway challenge based
Never before has Drag Race seemed so
on looks past, and a lipsync battle to the tune
polished: from the queens to the judges, the
of Lady Gaga’s ‘Applause’. And all this in the
proof is in the ratings, with the 100th episode
first episode. The first goddamn episode!
being the most watched ever. The little drag
It’s fair to say that no previous season has
show on LogoTV has moved from the fringes
been packed with this much content from the
to be a mainstream hit. We can’t wait to see
get go, and all signs point to season 8 being the
what else Ru and the queens deliver. Werk!
fiercest yet. We’ve seen the queens pushed to
28 | GNIMAG.COM
their physical and emotional limits, from on
Ru PAUL’S DRAG RACE SEASON 8 AIRS
stage break downs to an incredible roller-skate
MONDAY NIGHTS ON LOGO.
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FEATURE__ THE EUROVISION SONG CONTEST 2016
If all you know of Eurovision is Buck’s Fizz ripping skirts, ABBA slaying Brighton, and Saint Cliff then you don’t know Eurovision. From the hosts to the acts, the inside goss to the biggest shakeup in voting history, GNI MAG’s Gastrogays get the inside track on the 61st Eurovision Song Contest.
WORDS | GASTROGAYS IMAGES | EUROVISION
GNI MAG | 35
GNIMAG.COM | 33
FEATURE__ THE EUROVISION SONG CONTEST 2016
The musical highlight of the year is almost upon us.
pop track titled ‘You’re Not Alone’. Bringing back the You Decide
No, not the Grammy’s, it’s not even The X Factor final – it’s
format after a six year break and putting the selection process
the Eurovision Song Contest! Now in its 61st year, and with a
firmly back in the voting public’s hands is likely to pay off for the
worldwide audience of over 500 million worldwide, the Contest
UK, who have previously sent big names like Bonnie Tyler and
is more popular than ever. It’s camp, it’s fun, it’s everything you
Engelbert Humperdinck to the Contest to often woeful results.
could ever want from a cheesy europop competition.
Who could forget last year’s cringeworthy finish at almost at the
This year the competition returns to Sweden thanks to Måns
bottom of the table for Electro Velvet?
Zelmerlöw who (with an Avicii-style anthem, never-before-seen
Speaking of dramatic changes, this year the Swedish
visuals and chiseled good looks) stormed to victory last year in
broadcasters who are producing the show have announced one
Vienna. Next month the reigning champ will co-host the Contest
of the biggest shake-ups to the contest in its history: a complete
in Stockholm alongside Petra Mede (who eagle-eyed viewers
overhaul of the voting process. Until now, most of us spent the
will remember as the 2013 presenter). The Swedes have been one of the hottest contenders in recent memory. At the turn of the Millennium, Sweden were the surprise winners with Charlotte Nielsen, following fellow diva Carola’s win in 1991, the gold-shoed Hereys brothers in 1984, and of course the iconic ABBA victory with ‘Waterloo’ in 1974. Throwing the 2012 winner Loreen’s ‘Euphoria’ into the mix, Sweden now sit on the cusp of matching the record set by Ireland who have won the Contest seven times compared to Sweden’s more modest six. For Ireland, some will say the finger has finally been pulled out following the threat of having its pristine title taken away. This year’s entry is former Westlife star Nicky Byrne, who will be performing ‘Sunlight’. The track is co-written with Lord of the Dance composer Ronan Hardiman, and Wayne Hector, a songwriter best known for his work with Nicki Minaj, One Direction and Olly Murs. ‘Sunlight’ has been well received by fans.
The UK reaches the Eurovision final every single year, not because they are consistently amazing (they aren’t) but as one of the so-called Big Five the UK is granted a space in every final . Who could forget last year’s cringeworthy finish at almost at the bottom of the table for Electro Velvet?
It’s a refreshing departure from recent Irish
night of the Eurovision final labouring through two hours of results, with clear favourites often obvious from the start. This year each country’s independent panel of experts will vote and their points, ranging from one to twelve, will be delivered via satellite by each country’s spokespeople, but then the total public vote will be added in a shock new move that will rank each country by total points received. Working from the lowest-scoring country to the highest will mean huge leaps and jumps across the leaderboard in the final part of the Contest, injecting a new energy, drama and excitement. Eurovision has delivered some historic moments to living rooms around the world, particularly its celebration of LGBT culture. Dana International became the first transsexual act in the Contest’s history, winning in Birmingham in 1997 with her legendary hit ‘Diva’. Conchita Wurst - the bearded drag queen with a Bond theme ballad to rival Adele’s - was a runaway winner two years ago, while Eurovision’s first and second gay kiss were broadcast
entries and stands a good chance of winning. Despite a back-to-
the year before that. Conchita may have been the most famous
back winning streak in the 90’s, Ireland has continuously fallen
drag queen to compete, but she wasn’t the first. Ukraine’s Verka
short over the past 15 years. Only Jedward saved face with their
Serduchka came second place in Helskinki in 2007, whilst in
joke act ‘Lipstick’, which saw the Dublin duo finish eighth in
2002 Slovenia sent Sestre, a cabin crew-themed trio who Sir Terry
Düsseldorf in 2011.
Wogan suggested should be hired by Richard Branson.
The UK reaches the Eurovision final every single year, not because they are consistently amazing (they aren’t) but as one of the so-called Big Five the UK is granted a space in every final alongside Italy, France, Spain and Germany. This is thanks to
THE EUROVISION SONG CONTEST 2016
their contributions to the European Broadcasting Union, who
Hosts: Måns Zelmerlöw & Petra Mede
organise the Contest. This year, former The Voice rivals Joe and
Venue: Globen Arena, Stockholm
Jake are the British entry. They will be competing with an upbeat
Grand Final: 14th May 8pm (BBC One and RTE 1)
34 | GNIMAG.COM
FEATURE__ THE EUROVISION SONG CONTEST 2016
Eurovision Facts: MORE PEOPLE WATCH EUROVISION (197M VIEWERS) THAN WATCH THE SUPER BOWL (160M VIEWERS)!
Having withdrawn from the contest in
A change of pace for power ballad-
2015 due to the ongoing conflict in the
loving Spain, but proving to be
country, Ukraine is back with a highly-
extremely popular amongst fans.
charged, haunting track, the noticeably
Barrai’s ‘Say Yeah’ will annoy you and
political ‘1944’ by artist Jamala.
have you singing along simultaneously,
Traditionally, Ukraine has sent
this will split opinion.
high energy electro and pop bangers
ABBA WERE RUNAWAY CHAMPIONS WHEN THE UK HOSTED IN BRIGHTON IN 1974, AND YET THE UK DIDN’T AWARD THEM A SINGLE VOTE. UNTIL 1999 EVERY COUNTRY WAS OBLIGED TO SING IN THEIR NATIONAL LANGUAGE, WHICH GAVE A SNEAKY
that go down a storm, but given the
UPPER-HAND TO THE IRELAND ACT WHO
circumstances, the country has played
COULD SING IN IRISH OR ENGLISH.
the position they’ve been dealt with a song that some claim throws daggers
NOT MANY PEOPLE KNOW THAT ABBA
at Russia with a defiant chorus sung in
ATTEMPTED TO ENTER THE CONTEST
THE YEAR BEFORE THEIR ICONIC WIN, BUT FAILED TO PASS THE SWEDISH SELECTION PROCESS.
DENMARK Denmark could send Dustin the Turkey to be honest. Why? Though Lighthouse X has a strong song in ‘Soldiers of Love’, the stats speak for themselves: on two separate occasions when Sweden hosted, its neighbour Denmark took home the title. Coincidence? Maybe… ICELAND
SUNG IN ENGLISH. THE LAST NONENGLISH LANGUAGE ACT TO WIN THE CONTEST WAS SERBIA IN 2007. FRENCH IS CONSIDERED TO BE THE NATIONAL LANGUAGE OF EUROVISION. DURING THE FOUNDING OF THE CONTEST, FRENCH WAS CONSIDERED TO
Though they’ve come close a few times,
BE THE LANGUAGE OF DIPLOMACY.
Iceland is one of the longest-waiting countries gunning for that illusive first
EUROVISION’S ARRIVAL OFTEN MEANS
win. Could 2016 be the year they finally
THE BUILDING OF ENTIRELY NEW
grab the top spot? Greta Salóme, who
STADIUMS. FOR THEIR HOSTING DUTIES
competed for the Nordic country in
IN 2011 THE GERMANS SIDE DIDN’T
2012 as part of a duo, returns to try her
BUILD A NEW STADIUM, INSTEAD THEY
luck solo this time with the incredibly
BUILT ANOTHER STADIUM TO REHOUSE
catchy ‘Hear Them Calling’, which is impeccably current and uses powerful
interactive visuals, not dissimilar to last
Eneda Tarifa was one of the very first
year’s success story for Sweden.
acts confirmed for the Contest last year
There’s also returning contestants
A HUGE AMOUNT OF ENTRIES ARE NOW
and her track powerful rock ballad
for Macedonia, Bosnia & Herzegovina,
‘Përrallë’ will be performed in English
Bulgaria and Malta.
as ‘Fairytale Love’. Albania usually slide
THE NATIONAL FOOTBALL TEAM WHOSE STADIUM THEY COMMANDEERED. SPEAKING OF ‘NUN POINTS’, IN 2015 AUSTRIA BECAME THE FIRST AND ONLY COUNTRY TO RECEIVE NOT ONE SINGLE POINT WHILST ACTING AS HOST. RUDE!
GNIMAG.COM | 35
FEATURE__ THE EUROVISION SONG CONTEST 2016
WON IN SPECTACULAR STYLE, BUT
into the final comfortably but have yet
SO DID SPAIN, THE NETHERLANDS,
to clinch a top 10 spot, so we think this
Following last year’s joint last position,
AND FRANCE. ALL FOUR COUNTIRES
might stand a good chance.
Germany was left red-faced with nul
RECEIVED THE SAME NUMBER OF
points. Not without controversy,
POINTS. THE RESULT WAS A FOUR-WAY
for two years running Germany has
SPLIT. THE HAGUE WERE CHOSEN TO
switched acts but Jamie-Lee Kriewitz
HOST THE FOLLOWING YEAR.
has a haunting number in ‘Ghost’. If she hits every note and enchants the
THE UK HAS THE DUBIOUS TITLE OF
crowd this could very well saddle itself
MOST RUNNER-UP VICTORIES IN THE
within the top ten on the night.
HISTORY OF THE CONTEST, COMING IN SECOND PLACE A RECORD 15 TIMES! NO NATION WANTS TO END UP WITH
THE DREADED ‘NUL POINTS’ BUT
With the power back in the public’s
NORWAY HAS MORE REASON TO FEAR
hands to decide, the UK chose two
IT THAN MOST. THEY ARE THE WORST
former The Voice rivals to compete
PERFORMERS IN THE CONTEST’S SIXTY-
together to try bring the trophy back
ONE YEAR HISTORY, RACKING UP AN
to British soil. ‘You’re Not Alone’ is a
IMPRESSIVE 11 CONTESTS OF ZERO
refreshingly upbeat duet and stands
a chance, but in the context of every
entry it’s probably the weakest of the
The biggest prospect for a Big Five win,
Francesca Michielin’s ‘Nessun Grado Di
THE ORDER IN WHICH A COUNTRY PERFORMS IS CRUCIAL. TOO CLOSE TO
Separazione’ is already a No.1 on home
THE START AND ACTS ARE FORGOTTEN
soil. This would be an interesting win –
BY THE END. AND NOBODY WANTS TO BE
the first non-English language song to
SECOND IN THE LINEUP, AS NO SECOND
take the title in a decade.
ACT HAS EVER GONE ON TO WIN. EUROVISION HAS STRICT RULES ABOUT WHAT’S ALLOWED AND NOT ALLOWED. SONGS AREN’T ALLOWED TO EXCEED THREE MINUTES AND NO ACT CAN HAVE MORE THAN SIX PEOPLE ON STAGE AT
ONCE. IN 2012 THE ROMANIAN ACT
France has languished at the bottom
MANDINGA HAD TO MAKE ONE OF THEIR
of the leaderboard for the past 4 years
OWN SIT BACKSTAGE WHEN THEY TURNED
but this year’s entry is sure to do well.
UP WITH SEVEN MEMBERS.
Though the French staunchly sing
in their native language, Amir’s ‘J’ai
...Oh, that’s it? Yes, if you watched
BLOCK VOTING IS NOTHING MORE
Cherché’ has a rousing English chorus
Melodifestivalen – Sweden’s selection
THAN A EUROVISION URBAN MYTH. IF
that’s guaranteed to stick in your head.
show – you may have also been
WE’RE NOT BLAMING THE SCANDIS WE
disappointed in the runaway winner,
ARE BLAMING THE FORMER SOVIETS.
17 year-old Frans with ‘If I Were Sorry’.
IF IT’S NOT THE BALKANS, IT’S
An almost spoken-word number with
THE BALTIC’S. WESTERN EUROPE
an Ed Sheeran vibe and not much in
HAS WON AND HOSTED THE MAJORITY
the way of performance visuals, if we’re
OF THE CONTESTS IN THE PAST
to judge this entry’s popularity based
DECADE. ISN’T THAT RIGHT DENMARK,
on its storming of Melfest... this could
GREECE, AUSTRIA, FINLAND, NORWAY,
actually win the whole thing. Bummer!
36 | GNIMAG.COM
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COLBY KELLER: ON A LIFE IN PORN AND DAME VIVIENNE WESTWOOD PAGE 40
CALLUM McSWIGGAN: THE YOUTUBE STAR DISHES ON HIS PORN PAST PAGE 52
PLUS / CLOSETED LIFE PLUS / SEXUAL ASSUALT PLUS / SEX TOY T’N’T
40 | GNIMAG.COM
ll the world’s a stage,” says Colby Keller. “And all the men and women
merely players. They have their exits and their entrances, and one man in his time plays many parts.” His accent is ambiguously mid-western; it is also rumbling, rich, and curiously exciting. As he narrates, his voice a good semitone lower than usual, there is an
indefinable something that compels you
for a feature about one of the best-loved
to listen on. For the uninitiated, these words form the opening part of one of the most quoted passages in literature: Jacque’s Seven Ages of Man monologue from William Shakespeare’s ‘As You Like It.’ If this strikes you as a curious jumping off point faces in the adult entertainment industry then you don’t know Colby Keller. As the schoolboy “with his satchel and shining morning face,” he suggestively sucks a lollipop dressed as a smirking, halfnaked boy-scout. As the lover, “sighing
COLBY KELLER IS AN ARTIST FIRST AND A PORN STAR SECOND. WE
like furnace”, he reclines in an armchair,
CATCH UP TO TALK ART VERSUS SEX AND THE TRICKS OF THE TRADE.
wreathed in cigarette smoke, naked as the day he was born. As the soldier, “jealous
WORDS | KIERAN CLARKE
IMAGES | LEIF PARKER
in honour”, wearing nothing but a helmet and vest, he carries a fallen ally from the battlefield. The staging is immaculate. The play of light and shadow is reminiscent of Caravaggio, or, at least, vintage aftershave commercials. This short film is no full-frontal staging of Shakespeare designed to leave Daily Mail readers frothing at the mouth, but rather a promotional video to celebrate Grindr’s seventh birthday, and Colby Keller is the man tasked with bringing the sole character to life. “The Seven Ages of Man is one of the most iconic stanzas in [English Literature],” says the film’s director and Grindr’s VP of Marketing Landon Smithers. “We wanted to commission a piece that GNIMAG.COM | 41
FEATURE__ COLBY KELLER: MAN vs NATURE
took this timeless exploration and updated it to a modern gay man’s experience.” Explaining the seemingly unexpected decision to cast one of the world’s most famous porn stars in the lead role of a promotional video that will be seen by millions, he added, “While physically, [Colby] is an idol for many, emotionally he is raw, able to broadcast a beautiful range of interests. He isn’t afraid of expression on all fronts.” Colby Keller is as unafraid of expression as he is a varied and singularly talented artist. A collaboration with Grindr, he explains, was the ideal opportunity to “reach more into that space where sex and art have a relationship. That’s an area I’m also interested in.” To say that Colby Keller is interested in the space between sex and art is like saying that the Pope is interested in the Catholic church; at the risk of unfairly compartmentalising his entire artistic output, his collaborations and projects to date heavily suggest that the landscape between sex and art dominates who and what Colby Keller is. Colby — not his real name, “Colby like the cheese, Keller like Helen” — has turned his own identity into a weird metatextual side project. In interviews, he has been known to slip into the third person when discussing the finer points of who and what he represents. “I put a lot of effort into what I can do with Colby,” is just one example of his urge to turn everything into art. “Having a pseudonym, I can step back from reality and think about what that personality is, and who I am. We all have multiple faces and masks that we put on.” An apt casting, then, for this 35-year-old, 6-foot, 200-pound mass of muscle, fur, and contradiction.
orn in Ypsilanti, Michigan in October 1980 and raised in Houston, Texas, Colby’s father — an engineer who designed parking lots — came from a working-class Ukrainian family. His mother
converted to Christianity in the 1970s. Every Sunday she would take her four children to a local “Pentecostal, speaking-in-tongues church,” as Colby describes it while his father stayed at home. His obsession with all things Native American started young. In elementary school, he once performed a rain dance for showand-tell, while a framed print of Chief Sitting Bull remains one of his few treasured possessions. His fascination with human nature led him to enrol at the University of Houston where he later graduated with a Bachelor in Anthropology (“a degree that I use to this day but is not very useful in making money”, he admits). Later, this peripatetic porn star moved to Baltimore to study a Master of Fine Arts at the Maryland Institute College of Art. By the time Colby finished his degree in the early 2000’s, America was once again in the grip of an economic recession. 42 | GNIMAG.COM
“There have always been attempts to bridge the gap between art and porn. Jeff Koons, Asa Akira, Bruce LaBruce. I love the exploring the in between, the gaps themselves.” “I couldn’t find work to save my life,” he explains, preempting his imminent and unanticipated move into porn. “I was pretty desperate, honestly, so it was mainly poverty that motivated me to put in my application at Sean Cody. I saw it as something fun and sexy to try. And I had to pay bills. “I thought they’d reject me and was so depressed I wanted that negative affirmation. I was hungry for rejection.” Much to Colby’s surprise, a rejection was not to be. In 2004, he shot with his very first scenes with Sean Cody. Appearing on camera for the first time, he recalls, went about as badly as could be expected. “I was so nervous that in my first solo scene, I actually shot my load prematurely. I was mortified, but recovered quickly and ended up shooting again. To this day, I still get nervous. I’ve become more comfortable on a porn set because I know what to expect, but it took a long time to get there.” In the twelve years since shooting his first scenes, he has appeared in more than 90 movies and worked with studios including Randy Blue, Falcon, Men.com, Naked Sword, and Cockyboys. A single shoot can earn him up upwards of $2,000. With an army of fans, devotees, and worshippers, there is no denying that Colby is the one porn star to know and love. And yet he also happens to be far more than the sum of his admittedly attractive parts. He is a talented writer, with a regularly updated blog called Big Shoe Diaries (bigshoediaries.blogspot.co.uk). In addition to being a veteran porn star, he is also an artist and a selfdescribed “sex nerd.” Amusingly, he tells me he defines himself “a goofy, laid-back foodie that loves good beer.” With his tousled hair and boyish good looks, the man has earned an enviable star in the adult entertainment firmament.
n recent years, Colby has become increasingly known for his modelling work. In the autumn of 2015, he featured in a collaborative film between CockyBoys and BCALLA (the maverick designer better known as Brad Callahan).
FEATURE__ COLBY KELLER: MAN vs NATURE
GNIMAG.COM | 43
FEATURE__ COLBY KELLER: MAN vs NATURE
The result was a surrealist DayGo inspired autumn-winter
of “rebel” status — to the fashion world. Working in the adult
campaign that merged high-fashion with hardcore porn. The video
industry is a form of modelling. They’re actually quite similar. You
saw Colby making out with an Avenue Q style puppet, climaxing
are using your body as a vessel to communicate a story.
with a shower of glitter to mirror a very real climax of his own.
“Vivienne Westwood is not only a hero of mine, she’s a
“This isn’t art,” the campaign declared, “this is faggotry.” Quite.
passionate advocate for the environment. We all need to focus our
In January 2016, Colby traded BCALLA’s homoerotic designs for
attention on the problem of climate change, especially when our
a pair of couture leather heels when he became the newest face of Vivienne Westwood. Shot by photographer Juergen Teller in the
political culture fails to address the catastrophe coming.” Keller’s involvement in the project was very nearly shelved
alleyways, canals, shipyards and palazzos of Venice, the Mirror
when a scheduling conflict meant he would be filming a HBO
the World campaign aimed at “highlighting the beauty and decay
comedy in New York on the day Teller intended to shoot in Venice.
of the ancient city.” Beyond elevating the boundaries of wearable
A last minute reprieve meant he worked a 10-hour day filming in
fashion to new heights, Mirror The World was inspired by the
NYC before heading straight to the airport, flying to Venice and
urgent need to save the City of Bridges from mass tourism and
getting off the water taxi to shoot for Westwood. “It was pretty
its worsening subsidence into the rising waters of the Venetian
surreal,” he admits. “An amazing, crazy experience.”
Lagoon. Keller was handpicked by Dame Vivienne herself, after a photograph of him posing in a pair of vintage Westwood pants was seen by her 23-year old husband Andreas Kronthaler. Posing in little more than a pair of knee-length Westwood heels, the moment was a surreal achievement for Keller, himself a long time fan of the British fashion world’s septuagenarian enfant terrible. “She’s true to herself and her version,” says Colby. “She brings a much-needed dose of revolution — and not just the appropriation
44 | GNIMAG.COM
urreal experiences are increasingly the norm for Keller, who in 2014 agreed to have his face and torso duplicated by artist Cameron Stalheim for his Master’s thesis project: a 30-foot long merman in
Keller’s image titled Myth as Object. As a counter to the surreality of Myth as Object, Keller’s newest
project is more indebted to Jack Kerouac’s gonzo travelogue ‘On
FEATURE__ COLBY KELLER: MAN vs NATURE
The Road’ than Hans Christian Anderson’s ‘The Little Mermaid.’
For Colby, this was more than an opportunity to explore all that
Unable to afford a massive rent hike on his Baltimore apartment,
America has to offer, more than a solution to getting his “well-
Colby faced the very real prospect of homelessness. It was then
fucked ass” off the streets. Behind the pretty cinematography of his
that he struck on the idea of taking the Colby show on the road.
50-something travelogues is the question: Do we use art, and to a
To make that quintessentially American concept of a road trip into a reality, Colby gave away everything he owned. Titled
lesser extent porn, to breach the divide between love and longing? “As much as we want to penetrate [other people], throw one
Everything But Lenin — a reference to his beloved bust of the
body inside the other, we’ll never truly get entirely ‘inside,’,”
communist leader that he refuses to part with — Colby gave away
said Colby in a 2013 interview with the Huffington Post. “We
everything from his clothing to his beloved Native American
never succeed. All sex is a type of failure. Sex is a failure we feel
blankets and even his Instagram account.
compelled to reenact over and over, anticipating different results.”
The next part of the plan was to travel across America to meet his fans, blog his adventures, and most importantly of all make porn in every state. “Watch me fuck, join in the fun, or simply help me get a bite to a eat,” was how he introduced the concept on IndieGoGo. In less than a month, he raised more than $45,000, enough to buy a used Ford Escape, a mattress to sleep on, plus a few cameras. We caught up with Colby a few weeks after the project had come to an end. With certain corners of the internet anonymously decrying Colby Does America as “self-serving hipster porn,” I’m keen to see how Colby himself rates his success and to find out what it’s like to the turn the world of airbrushed studio porn a kind of cottage industry (albeit a cottage industry in the form of a red Ford Escape). Colby is quick to appreciate the metaphor but admits he is hesitant to agree.
While this may seem a surprising stance
“I’ve learned to differentiate enough between art and porn to know what I enjoy doing for myself and what other people enjoy watching me do.”
“I haven’t made any money from CDA so I don’t think it counts as a cottage-cum-SUV industry. I think the
for a man best known for fucking other men on camera, his comments struck a chord with my own complex relationships with sex, love, and porn. Three years after this interview, I am determined to find out if this is still the case. “Yes, I think [art and porn] help us breach that divide between fantasy and reality. Art is a representation, sometimes idealised, at other times critical. And importantly, how we perceive it is what gives it its actual meaning. The exact same thing is true for porn. “There have been and will continue to be countless attempts to bridge the gap between art and porn. Jeff Koons, Asa Akira, and Bruce LaBruce come to mind first. I love the exploring the in between, the gaps themselves. I wanted to make films that both blurred the lines between art and porn and explore the parts of the country that I think are just as, if not more beautiful, than California and New York.”
In the 12 years since Colby starred in his first solo scenes with
internet had already turned porn into a cottage industry. CDA is a
Sean Cody, the world of porn remains largely the same. Colby Does
collaborative art project paid for by amazing supporters of my work
America and crowdfunded projects like it are the crests of a wave
and collaborators in the project.
which, if successful, will change the way we think of porn forever.
“And yes, I love road trips, they are absolutely transgressive.
While some male porn stars happily work into their forties and
The very nature of travel is. Coupled with a remove from NYC and
fifties, we hope our favourite Texan has no plans to retire just when
southern California to create art and porn, it becomes triply so. I’m
the landscape of porn is just beginning to get interesting.
an explorer at heart and though tiring, I treasured the opportunity
“I’m not the type of person who likes to plan ahead,” he says. “At
to visit so many places I’d never seen and meeting new people
this point, I’m constantly surprised that porn companies out there
with whom I had the privilege of collaborating.
want to work with me. If I can make it in five years, if I can make
“I loved hiking, exploring caves, kayaking, surfing (my first time!)
it in 30 years, it’s like, sure, why not? If I could be the 90-year-old
and pretty much anything related to the outdoors, not to mention
porn actor, that would be great. I have no idea what tomorrow will
visiting hundreds of amazing museums and galleries in smaller
bring! But whatever it is, I’m ready.”
cities and towns across the country. “We learned quickly that the best way to get a video done was to show up somewhere and start hunting…”
WATCH THE COLBY DOES AMERICA SERIES NOW AT COLBYDOESAMERICA.COM GNIMAG.COM | 45
LIFE IN THE CLOSET
46 | GNIMAG.COM
LIFE IN THE CLOSET
Girls, Guys and Sex in the Closet WORDS | CHRISTOPHER MEGRATH
David is a businessman. Like many guys in their mid-twenties,
‘especially if I’m with a girl. If it was friends with benefits thing
David is well travelled, cultured and enjoys a drink. He also
with a guy then I’d usually tell him, but I still like to keep my
happens to be bisexual. Like thousands of gay and bi men around
sexuality to myself.’
the UK, he refuses to out himself. ‘I don’t want people to know about my sexuality because there’s
Coming out is an experience most gay man have to grapple with at some point in their lives. On the whole, reactions tend to
a chance they might think differently about me,’ he tells us. ‘I
be positive, or at least cooly muted. Only a small proportion face
know I shouldn’t care but no matter how much I’m reassured
rejection as a result of coming out. Nevertheless, the negative
there’s a constant voice telling me that everything will change. I
impacts of staying closeted are well documented, something David
know it’s 2016 and no one gives a shit but it still makes you think
knows all too well when it comes to meeting guys who are already
that something will and that instantly makes me not want to.’
out. ‘Generally, they understand my reasons because they’ve been
We’ve all been there. The faceless Grindr profile, the notable lack of girlfriends, the curious fascination with Eurovision: all classic signs of the closeted gay and bisexual man. We all know the
there at some point themselves and generally, if they’re decent people, they won’t try to out me. They know it’s important.’ Asking if he’s had any negative feedback from telling partners
difficulties and the stress that closeted guys face. It’s a known fact
he is closeted, David goes on to say, ‘Not really, but I can tell it sets
that life in the closet stunts our ability to show affection. Under
some guys back a little. It’s sad to see but what can I do?’
these circumstances it’s impossible to flourish emotionally or to
Apart from the occasional fling and - as he calls it - an “intimate
even grow as a person. Even with a growing acceptance of LGBT
relationship” with a friend, David doesn’t have a long history of
people among newer generations, that one simple step out of the
serious sexual partners. We can’t help but ask if all this secrecy has
closet can be the most difficult step some people ever face.
had a negative influence on his levels of intimacy. The strains this
When it comes to his friends David is blunt about his sexuality, but to his family it remains a closely kept secret. When we ask
puts on any potential relationship are obvious, but for David he sees this as more of an issue for his partners than an issue for him.
what it is that keeps him closeted, he explains: ‘People never seem
‘It probably does affect them negatively,’ he tells us, before
to understand what it means to be bi. They don’t get that you can
adding, ‘but they wouldn’t stay in my company if not being out
be attracted to both sexes and it gets pretty annoying.’
had a huge effect on them. I can guess that maybe they’d like to
This inability to connect with the people they like leaves
be a bit more social, to go out for dinner or drinks, but they can’t
people like David in a bind. Relationships, understandably, can
be open with everyone. So yeah, it does hinder things a bit. I’m
be difficult. ‘For the most part, I usually end up in friends with
sure they’d like to have a “normal” relationship and not a secretive
benefits situations,’ David explains. ‘Chatting to guys online can
one, but I’m just not ready to give them that yet. Hopefully in the
be difficult because you don’t always know who you’re talking.
It makes you wary to go on dates at all in case you meet with someone you work with or have a connection to. ‘If I really wanted a relationship, I’d stay discreet about it until
With no interest in finding love or even a serious relationship, dating apps like Grindr and Tinder are the go-to for many closeted men. David counts himself among the vast sea of blank profiles
I was sure we would stay an item. Not being “out” is definitely a
and faceless torsos that litter hook-up apps. (Pictures, he tells
factor for me not wanting a relationship. I prefer fun partners but
us, are “too risky.”) With his closeted status safe for now, David
for obvious reasons they need to be very mature.”
has decided to stay anonymous. He tells us that until the day
It’s not all doom and gloom for closeted guys like David. Being secretive about his preferences means he doesn’t need to discuss
he feels comfortable taking that one small step for gaykind he is determined to stay ‘a faceless profile on Grindr.’
his sexuality with potential partners. ‘If it’s a one-night stand then I wouldn’t tell them anything about being bi,’ he explains,
NAMES HAVE BEEN CHANGED
GNIMAG.COM | 47
REAL LIFE__ AODHAN WOODS
IN 2014, AGED JUST 17, AODHAN WOODS WAS SUBJECTED TO A HORRIFIC SEXUAL ASSAULT. HERE HE TELLS US HIS BRAVE AND REMARKABLE STORY .
It’s an unseasonably warm
hands, which tremble throughout
day in early March when I meet
our interview. ‘They were just so
Aodhan Woods for the first time.
mentally draining. I didn’t know
He is an hour late for coffee - I
what to say, you know?’
would be worried our meeting
braving the collective attention of
ahead to apologise. When he
the UK media, Aodhan is handling
arrives at the riverside cafe where
things remarkably well. ‘I think
we arrange to meet, he tells me has
I’m getting the hang of it now,’ he
come straight from filming a BBC
admits with an embarrassed smile.
documentary about sexual abuse. Since his attackers were jailed
The reason for this attention is
last month, Aodhan has been at
because as a survivor of sexual
the centre of a media circus. He has
assault, he has become an
been interviewed by every major
unwitting campaigner in battle for
news outleek. ‘Next week,’ he tells
justice for other men like him. After
me, ‘it’s the Guardian.’
a gruelling trial, he has bravely
‘The first interviews were the WORDS | KIERAN CLARKE IMAGES | BRAD MCCLENAGHAN
48 | GNIMAG.COM
For an unprepared 19-year-old
was cancelled if he hadn’t phoned
and selflessly waived his right to
worst,’ he explains. When he speaks
anonymity to raise awareness of
his voice is far steadier than his
this sensitive subject.
REAL LIFE__ AODHAN WOODS
“I’m not a victim. A victim is someone who lets what happened to them ruin their lives. I almost let that happen to me, but I reached the point where I realised I was letting them make a victim out of me. But I’m going to get through this. I’m going to be a survivor.”
In May 2014, aged just 17,
‘I had no idea any of this would
Aodhan suffered a brutal assault at
happen; I never thought I would
the hands of his two best friends.
get justice. At the time it felt like
Over a period of hours he was He
it was my own fault, almost as if I
was threatened with a knife and
deserved it. I know now that that’s
burned with cigarettes before
what they made me think. They
being locked in a cupboard with a
manipulated me. I can’t believe
pillowcase secured over his head
I ever thought that way. But the
with a belt. In court, it emerged
thing is, there are people out there
that a drumstick and a microphone
who do think that things like this
stand were used on him as part of
are their fault, even though it never
a series of serious sexual assaults.
is. It’s the fault of the person who
Drugs, the court was told, played a
does the thing to you.’
“significant role” in events. ‘About a month before it all happened they asked me to start
It’s this determination to help others that keeps Aodhan focussed. ‘The reason why I waved my
selling for them,’ Aodhan recalls. ‘It
right to anonymity is because I
was totally out of the blue. I knew
know people who have been in
they were big into drugs but I kept
similar situations to me, and they
my mouth shut because I didn’t
are still too afraid to come forward.
want to get involved. When I told
I thought, “If these people are too
them I didn’t want to sell drugs
afraid to come forward, how many
they started threatening me. They
other people must there be?”’ By
said, “If you don’t sell this for us
coming forward I wanted to give
we will send people to your house
people the confidence they need to
with crossbows.” What choice did
come forward by showing them the
support I’ve had.’
When he returned a few days
‘Before I came out with my
later having sold nothing, things
story I thought, “If I do this and
quickly turned nasty.
even if one person comes forward
‘When it started I had no idea
it will have all been worthwhile.”
if they were being serious or not.
Even if it meant helping just one
They were telling me what they
person. My family and friends
were going to do but I thought
are extremely proud of me, it’s
it was some kind of sick joke.
been incredible, they have been
That’s not the way things went,
supporting me since day one. That
support really inspired me. My
At one stage Aodhan was told
mum says I’ve been so strong about
that photographs were being taken
the whole thing. I’m really happy
while the pair tortured him. He
to make people proud of me. I
was warned that if he told anyone
never would have had the strength
what had happened, the pictures
to come forward if I didn’t have
would be released.
that support, without it I would
When he was eventually let go his attackers gave him more mephedrone to sell. He was
still be too frightened to speak about it.’ ‘I don’t regret coming forward.
warned that the same thing would
It’s been one of the best things I’ve
happen if he failed again.
ever done. I’m really proud of the
‘It was the worst experience of
people who have come forward
my life,’ he reflects. ‘The whole
with their own stories. That’s all I
time I was traveling home after it
wanted to do. I wanted to try and
happened I thought: “What will
make the best of a bad situation
happen if I don’t tell anyone?”’
and I think I’ve succeeded.’
GNIMAG.COM | 49
Nexus NI provides specialised counselling for survivors of sexual violence and sexual abuse across Northern Ireland. If you or someone you know has been affected get in touch with Nexus, our services are open to anyone in need of support, no one should suffer in silence.
ised counselling available across Northern Ireland victims of sexual abuse and violence.
ni.org028 9032 6803 firstname.lastname@example.org nexusni.org 32 6803
REAL LIFE__ AODHAN WOODS
“When I heard how long they got I wanted to scream with happiness. I’m hoping that they come out of prison better people than when they went in.”
The first was handed an 11-
but you can’t move or speak. I’m
year sentence, half of which will
still trying to cope with that.’
be spent in custody. The second
Aodhan has been praised
- who claimed in court that he
far and wide for his incredible
was threatended into doing as
strength and determination for
he was told - later admitted six
justice. In court, Judge Gordon
counts, including one count of
Kerr spoke of the humiliation and
false imprisonment and two counts
degradation Aodhan suffered that
of sexual assault and attempted
night. Detective Inspector Trish
rape. Both were placed on the sex
Higgins from the PSNI said: ‘These
offender’s register for life.
were despicable crimes carried
With his attackers beginning
out against this young man. He
lengthy prison sentences, Aodhan
endured a terrifying ordeal at the
says he feels like he can finally start
hands of these defendants and
to move on. He is determined to
I welcome the sentences they
stay positive. He has a passion for
have now received. I encourage
music and is a talented musician,
anyone who has been a victim
something he hopes to pursue
of sexual assault to come forward
to university next year. ‘When I
and report it to police so that we
heard how long they got I wanted
can investigate and bring those
to scream with happiness into my
responsible to court.’
hands. It’s really
Regardless of the long-term
hard to describe how
problems he has been left with,
I felt. I’m hoping
Aodhan insists he doesn’t want
that they come out
to be seen as a victim. ‘To me a
of prison better than
victim is someone who lets what
when they went in.
happened to them drag them down
I hope they become
and ruin their lives,’ he explains. ‘I
almost let that happen to me, but I
reached the point where I realised I
to struggle with the
was letting them make a victim out
of me. But I’m going to get through
he sustained that
this. I’m going to be a survivor.
‘I feel like after all this time I
can finally start to move on. The
stress disorder. He
only way to move forward is to tell
admits he still has
someone and you’ll soon realise
flashbacks to the
there is so much support out there.
night of the attack.
Don’t be afraid to speak out.’
‘Sometimes it’s so bad it makes me feel as if I’m still locked in the cupboard. Things have gotten better in recent months, but I still have a lot of nightmares. At one point I was getting sleep paralysis where it actually BRAVE AODHAN HAS WAIVED HIS RIGHT TO ANONYMITY
feels as if they are standing beside you
IF YOU ARE A SURVIVOR OF SEXUAL ASSAULT CONTACT NEXUS NI ON (028) 9032 6803 OR EMAIL INFO@NEXUSNI.ORG ALTNERATIVELY CONTACT CRIMESTOPPERS ON 0800 555 111. THEIR NUMBER WILL NOT APPEAR ON YOUR TELEPHONE BILL
GNIMAG.COM | 51
INTERVIEW__ CALUM MCSWIGGAN: LIGHTS, CAMERA, CALUM
52 | GNIMAG.COM
INTERVIEW__ CALUM MCSWIGGAN: LIGHTS, CAMERA, CALUM
C A L U M The internet is the 21st century way of reaching global celebrity status, and no corner of the web is responsible for churning out more fully fledged celebs than YouTube. The UK is home to its fair share of internationally famous vloggers. With the ten most popular British YouTubers having a combined following of more than 30million, Calum McSwiggan knows exactly what he’s up against. WORDS | CHRISTOPHER MEGRATH IMAGES | INSTAGRAM
An addictive content creator and generally gorgeous
‘When I started out on YouTube I fought really hard
individual, this 25-year-old Nottingham lad has one of
against becoming an LGBT YouTuber. I didn’t want my
the fastest growing YouTube channels in the UK. From
sexuality to define me. I just wanted to be a YouTuber
mental health to sex ed, baking rainbow cupcakes to his
who just so happened to be gay. But seeing the response
What’s In My Mouth? challenge, there’s no topic too
my LGBT videos had completely changed my mind.
taboo for this rising star.
Now I’m happy making LGBT content and I’m thrilled
He hasn’t yet reached the career highs of the likes of Joe Sugg (ThatcherJoe), Alfie Deyes (PointlessBlog) or Dan Howell (Danisnotonfire), but since starting out two years ago Calum’s channel (Eatgaylove) has already racked up an impressive 54,000 subscribers. We catch up with him after a brief stint exploring New York. It’s
with how my audience respond.’
o call that response enthusiastic doesn’t begin to cover it. Calum’s success has led to collaborations with some of the most famous faces around, from porn star Jake Bass to
a big start for 2016, but he assures us he has no plans to
Olympic poster boy Tom Daley. Just when we begin
start slowing down.
wondering what it’s like to work with such famous
‘All my evenings are spent filming and editing!’ he
faces we’re told: ‘Having Tom Daley and Willam in my
gushes. ‘It makes having a social life a struggle, but it’s
videos was absolutely amazing! There are dozens of
absolutely worth it. I try to surround myself with other
people I’d love to collaborate with. It’s one of the things
YouTubers because they’re in exactly the same boat. We
that keeps me motivated to succeed.’ Anyone else still
support each other, and that’s what keeps us going.’
to be ticked off the collab bucket list? ‘Troye Sivan! It
would be a dream come true!’ upport is a major part of what Calum does so
Of course, having a big name attached to your video
well. These days he is known as one of the most
doesn’t guarantee success. YouTube is cutthroat market.
vocal supporters of LGBT rights on a platform
For every hit (Gay Sex 101: Penis Size - 227,000 views /
that’s well known for inclusivity.
Gay Guys Try Weird Condoms - 69,000 views) an equal
But as he explains, LGBT videos weren’t always what he
number flounder, relegated to playlist history, never to
set out to create.
be watched again.
GNIMAG.COM | 53
INTERVIEW__ CALUM MCSWIGGAN: LIGHTS, CAMERA, CALUM
‘It can be incredibly frustrating to pour so much of yourself
‘I never want to turn on the camera
into your videos and then see them fail,’ he tells us. ‘Some of my
and talk about something unless I fully
favourite videos have had only a handful of views and that’s
understand it. This forced me to get a better
a difficult thing to face up to. I have had moments where I’ve
understanding of my own mental health,
wanted to give it up altogether, but you have to keep going
and I think talking about it in an open and
though. That’s the only way you can succeed. I guess the thing
objective way has been crucial to keeping
that keeps me going are my subscribers.
me healthy. When viewers leave comments
‘I have such a supportive audience. I always make sure I
about how I’ve have helped them deal
read every single comment. I usually just laugh off the hate but
with depression, it’s an indescribable
sometimes it can be really personal. There are vindictive people
feeling. It’s all I’ve ever wanted to do with
out there who will figure out your deepest insecurity and then
my videos. Seeing that become a reality
attack you for it over and over again. People comment on my
means the world to me. It’s the reason I
weight and my voice and my femininity all the time, but I try
not to let it get to me.’
Being so influential gives Calum the
Internet nastiness aside, few can argue that Calum isn’t
potential to reach a wide audience,
downright gorgeous. Before we can remind him just how
something he has put it to good use. When
gorgeous he is, he is quick to point out he doesn’t get more
it comes to the LGBT community there are
attention than the average guy. While we find that a little hard
few YouTubers more open or vocal than
to believe, past squeezes have included a high profile YouTuber.
him. He regularly works with charities
Being a hottie is, of course, the least of Calum’s talents. He uses
like Stonewall and the Human Rights
his channel to tackle subjects like depression, coming out and
Campaign. We let him explain why giving
gender identity. Making videos, as he tells us, helped him come
back to the community means so much.
to terms with his own personal demons.
‘These are all charities that I have admired and looked up to while growing up. It was seeing the Some People Are Gay, Get Over It posters from Stonewall that helped give me the courage to be myself. ‘Working with them has been a dream come true, it’s everything I ever wanted to do with my life, and I feel so honoured to be a part of something so big and so important. ‘I’ve always been passionate about words and language and the power of persuasion. I guess that’s why I make videos. I love having the opportunity to change people’s minds, to share my opinions, and to help make a positive change. ‘I’ve witnessed a lot of discrimination against LGBT people in my time. I’ve been beaten up, I’ve had my teeth broken, and I’ve seen my friends torn apart. I’m not the kind of person who can sit around and do nothing about that. I can’t stand idly by and do nothing. So even if my videos make no impact, at least I can say that I tried to do something.’
54 | GNIMAG.COM
INTERVIEW__ CALUM MCSWIGGAN: LIGHTS, CAMERA, CALUM
n January of this year Calum became
checked the small print on the site where
a household name. He released a
their shows were being streamed. He was
video - a touching and thoughtful
assured that live performances could not
reflection on his recent past - that was
be recorded. ‘Obviously that was stupidity
watched more than 50,000 times in its first
and naivety because people did record it,
day. To date it has racked up half a million
and now it’s everywhere.’
hits. Within days the story made headlines around the world.
‘People started noticing and recognising me from those videos. Somebody even
‘It’s something I’ve hidden from family
threatened to send the videos to my mum.’
and friends until very recently,’ he said
Worried that his young fans might discover
at the time, ‘and something that I’ve kept
the videos online, Calum decided to tackle
hidden away from pretty much the whole
the problem head on, and publicly came
world. There’s no easy way to say this, but
out with the truth.
when I was a teenager, I did gay porn.’ The
‘I don’t regret what I did. I do admit that it
video (titled I Did Gay Porn & I’m Sorry)
was stupid. It’s very noble and admirable to
revealed how, aged 19, Calum was fired
stand up to homophobia but it’s not worth
from his job at a postal delivery company
it if you’re putting yourself at risk. Doing
for standing up to homophobic abuse.
porn helped me get through university and
‘The bills were coming in fast and I had
that’s great, but knowing that those videos
to find a way to pay the rent. Two friends
are now out there permanently for anyone
suggested we try out webcam shows.
to see makes me extremely uncomfortable.
They’d seen people making money off it
‘I think that’s the thing that people
and hoped I would do it with them. What
need to consider before going into the
started off as nothing more than chatting to
porn industry. If you’re happy with videos
viewers on a live feed with our clothes on
of you being available to your friends,
escalated into much more.’
family and future employers forever then
After a month of shooting four or five
great. Go ahead and do it. If you’re not
times a week in Calum’s student flat at the
comfortable with that then maybe you
University of Derby where he was studying
should reconsider. I did what I had to do,
for a Creative Writing degree, the group had
and that’s unfortunate, I just wish that I
performed ‘around 10 or 12’ live shows. The
had found a better solution at the time.’
shows ranged from half an hour to an hour,
‘This was the only secret I ever kept from
with members of the public telling them
my audience and it was an enormous relief
what to do in exchange for money. The site
to be able to share that with them. I got
even awarded them £2,000 for becoming
thousands of hateful comments for it, but
the most popular account. It was enough
sometimes you just have to take the hit and
to pay his entire rent for a year.
try and move forward.
Porn companies started to approach
‘My fans have been unbelievably
them, asking the trio to appear together.
supportive. All the hate has come from
All three declined. Despite his growing
people who don’t usually watch my videos.
income, Calum had many reservations
I think it’s important for something like this
about appearing on cam.
to get a lot of coverage, because it opens up
‘I wouldn’t say I was enjoying it,’ he recalls. ‘There was no part of it that was
some really important discussions, so I’m happy that it got the attention it did.’
really fun. We’re smiling and laughing on camera but it was all for show.’ Before the shows turned X-rated, Calum
GNIMAG.COM | 55
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56 | GNIMAG.COM
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FEATURE__ SEX TOY TNT
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GNIMAG.COM | 57
INTERVIEW__ TON STUART: AM NOT MYSELF THESE DAYS
LIFE’S A DRAG WORDS | EVAN ARTHURS IMAGES | MANUEL VASSON
58 | GNIMAG.COM
INTERVIEW__ TON STUART: AM NOT MYSELF THESE DAYS
I AM NOT MYSELF THESE DAYS IS AN EXHILARATING ONE MAN SHOW ABOUT LIFE, LOVE AND GOLDFISH. IT’S THE STORY OF A PERPETUALLY DRUNK DRAG QUEEN AND HER LESS THAN HEALTHY RELATIONSHIP WITH ESCORT BOYFRIEND JACK. WE CHAT TO WRITER AND ACTOR TOM STUART ABOUT PERFORMING IN HEELS AND BRINGing YOUR ART TO LIFE.
First off, congratulations! You
Your performance is incredibly
premiered the show at the 2015
physical, how do you deal with those
Edinburgh Fringe to rave reviews, and
challenges that every night?
you’ve just finished your first UK
I have no idea! Everybody asks me that, but I really
tour. The show is destined to become
don’t know. As an actor you just have to do it. I
a cult hit. But how does a trained
always feel exhausted before the play starts and
Shakespearean actor wind up playing an
right after it finishes, in the moment when you’re
alcoholic drag queen?
doing it with a whole new set of people in front of
Thank you so much! Well, someone gave me a copy
you who haven’t heard this story. I feel so compelled
of the autobiography by Josh Kilmer-Purcell…
to tell the story that I just give it everything I’ve got. You just find the energy. When you love something
Not just someone – a certain Kathy
it’s never a labour.
Burke had something to do with it, if we aren’t mistaken.
There’s a real vulnerability to
Yes! Kathy is a good friend of mine. We often
Aqua. Does that bring any particular
exchange books if we think the other one would
challenges to your performance?
enjoy it. And I did enjoy it. I enjoyed it so much I
The whole show is full of challenges. Before this
ended up practically stalking poor Josh for about five
I’d never done drag, or lip-synched and danced, or
years to get the rights to it. There were lots of TV and
performed a one-man show. The biggest challenge
film companies in America who owned the rights,
was being so vulnerable on stage. There are times
which meant they wouldn’t be available for about
when I feel like I don’t have any skin on.
a year. So I would have to write to Josh every six
What’s extraordinary about Aqua is that I get to
months and then someone else would have taken it.
go onstage with loads of makeup and layers on and I
And he never got bored of me asking, bless him.
look completely different. In some ways I’m almost
So it’s been a real labor of love. I immediately fell
protected by the costume, so there’s this strange
in love with it. Josh’s writing is so honest; you can’t
dichotomy of being so vulnerable but also feeling
help but connect with it. I fell in love with the story,
really protected at the same time. And then of course
and I knew it was an important story that I wanted
throughout the play the armour comes of. Every
to help retell. Over the five or six years I’ve been with
step of the way has been a challenge, but a joyful
it I fell in love with it more and more and more. It
challenge. Each challenge has changed me, Tom, in
took a lot of perseverance.
Can you tell us how you went about
Josh came to see the play during the
adapting the book for the stage?
London leg of the tour. That must have
I’d never done anything like this before, so I didn’t
really know what I was doing. All I knew was that
That was possibly one of the most extraordinary
I had this story that I really loved, and I knew I
experiences of my life. It was bonkers. It was
wanted to turn it into a one-man show. The truth is
incredibly emotional for both of us. It was amazing.
that I really just gave it a go, and then went with it.
Afterwards I sat with him for a couple of hours
The hardest thing was trying to whittle down this
because we’d never met or anything. We just sat
beautiful 200-page book into a 70-minute show. You
and talked. He just absolutely loved it, and was
have to find the bare bones of the story, and which
very moved by it, and very proud of it. That was the
bits you can afford to lose without losing any of its
biggest validation I could have hoped for. I’ve never
depth, or poetry, or humour, or any of it’s layers. That
experienced anything like that as an actor. It’s an
was the difficulty. But I knew the story so well by
incredible privilege to meet your character.
this point that I inhabited it myself, so I instinctively knew what to cut and what to keep. I’ve spent such a
What’s the future for Aqua?
long time alone with the story – literally alone in my
The play will definitely have another life. I don’t
own kitchen – not knowing whether this was going
quite know that is yet. Aqua is too special to me,
to mean something to anyone but me, or whether
and the story is too special to me, to let go of just yet.
it was even going to happen. So to be touring the
We’re definitely going to restage the show, hopefully
country with it is particularly incredible. Hearing
later this year, maybe next year, but we will carry on
other people’s responses to it is mind-blowing.
GNIMAG.COM | 59
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Ireland 1922, and the Ulster Boundary Commission has drawn the new border straight through the small town of Puckoon. With the church separated from its own graveyard and drink now thirty percent cheaper in one corner of the pub, life in the newly divided village will never be the same again...
Directed by ZoĂŤ Seaton. Music and songs by Paul Boyd. Based on the book by Spike Milligan. Dramatised by Vincent Higgins and the Company.
â€œA PYTHONESQUE PIECE OF ODDBALL ENTERTAINMENTâ€? Irish Times
TOUR SCHEDULE Pavilion Theatre, DĂşn Laoghaire Thurs 7th & Fri 8th April, 8pm %R[2IÂżFH ZZZSDYLOLRQWKHDWUHLH(free booking online)
Theatr Clwyd, Mold 0RQWK 7XHVWK0D\ %R[2IÂżFH ZZZWKHDWUFOZ\GFRP
Theatre Royal, Waterford 7KXUVWK$SULOSP ÂźÂź %R[2IÂżFH ZZZWKHDWUHUR\DOLH
Stourbridge Town Hall Theatre, West Midlands :HGWK0D\ %R[2IÂżFH ZZZGXGOH\JRYXNVHHDQGGR
The Playhouse, Derry~Londonderry 6DWWK$SULOSP %R[2IÂżFH ZZZGHUU\SOD\KRXVHFRXN
Key Theatre, Peterborough 7KXUVWK0D\ %R[2IÂżFH ZZZYLYDFLW\SHWHUERURXJKFRP
The MAC, Belfast :HGWK6DWWK$SULO %R[2IÂżFH ZZZWKHPDFOLYHFRP The Alley Theatre, Strabane 6XQVW0D\SP %R[2IÂżFH ZZZDOOH\WKHDWUHFRP Axis Theatre, Ballymun 7XHVUG0D\ %R[2IÂżFH ZZZD[LVEDOO\PXQLH
Borough Theatre, Abergavenny )ULWK0D\SP Â…Â… %R[2IÂżFH ZZZERURXJKWKHDWUHDEHUJDYHQQ\FRXN Span Arts Theatr Pop-Up at the Millennium Hall, Llanfallteg 6DWWK0D\ %R[2IÂżFH ZZZVSDQDUWVRUJXN
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LIFESTYLE__ FOOD & DRINK
CHOC GUINNESS CAKE
WORDS | GASTROGAYS
We want to have cake as often as possible, but it’s not always possible. By making slightly healthier choices it’s definitely less of a guiltridden sin. There’s almost no sugar in this Chocolate Guinness Cake recipe and it’s filled with fresh and natural butter plus topped with pure, whipped fresh double cream. We also gave this stout cake a kick up the arse by adding to the earthy undertones with a sharp shock of espresso to add richness and complement the chocolate and vanilla. Another surprising aspect of this rich, chocolate Guinness cake is that there is actually no real chocolate in it! It’s all down to the cocoa powder and Guinness to give it its colour. . RECIPE
Stew on a medium-low heat
and vanilla together until the
for 30 – 40 minutes or until just
250g plain flour
for about 15 minutes and then
mixture becomes pale and
cooked i.e. firm on the top and
allow to almost cool. Using a
fluffy, then incorporate each egg
a pricked with a skewer that
blender, blitz them into a thick
yolk one by one.
comes out clean. Allow the cake
250ml bottle of Guinness
paste with a jam-like consis-
250g stewed raisins
1 tbsp vanilla (paste preferably)
halves to rest in the tin before 5. Introduce the raisin mix and
turning out and taking off the
cooled espresso shot and whisk
paper, then allow them to cool.
1 shot of strong espresso
2. Re-weigh the raisin paste to
vigorously. Alternate the dry
50g caster sugar
get 250g as the mixture will
mixture with the Guinness in
8. Whip your double cream
2 large eggs, separated
have adjusted weight during
about 3-4 additions each.
until it is stiff enough to hold its
50g caster sugar
the previous step.
2 tbsp bicarb of soda
shape, and then refrigerate until 6. Finally, whisk the egg whites
ready to use. Once the cake is
1.5 tbsp baking powder
3. Pre-heat the oven to 170°C
until fluffy and just holding
cooled, sandwich the two layers
250ml double cream
and grease and line two same-
their shape. Stir the mixture
with a layer of cream about 1cm
sized baking tins.
into the cake batter lightly but
thick. Be careful not to reaching
quickly. Then decant between
the sides or the cream will spill
the two tins.
out. Then top the cake with the
1. Soak and stew your raisins. Pop them in a small pan and
4. Separate and weigh all your
cover them with just enough
ingredients. In a large bowl
water to submerge and no more.
whisk the softened butter, sugar
remaining cream and sprinkle 7. Bake in the centre of the oven
with cocoa powder to taste.
GNIMAG.COM | 71
LIFESTYLE__ FOOD & DRINK
LATITUDE Located in the leafy suburb of Stranmillis in Belfast’s University
Starters include traditional prawn cocktail, calamari served in sautéed
Quarter, Lattitude is a globally inspired restaurant which offers a more
in garlic lemon and parsley, served with garlic mayonnaise, Moules
relaxed dining experience compared to its more up-market peers. Since
marinière cooked with white wine garlic, shallots, cream sauce, and a
opening in 2015, Latitude has become a hotspot for its emphasis on
surprisingly hefty portion of grilled children salad.
fresh, local fare served in a relaxed and unfussy setting.
The mains leave nothing to be desired, with an ample selection including: Warm chicken and beetroot salad char-grilled chicken
Latitude’s menu takes a little bit of inspiration from every corner of
breast served with mix leaves, beetroot and house dressing Cod
the globe in its dishes, all of which make full use of the freshest and
goujons fat cut chips and lemon mayonnaise Grilled beef burger
finest ingredients when seasonally available. Tasty grilled meats are
caramelised onions, lettuce, cheese, relish Pulled pork burger salad,
always a popular dish whilst main courses include daube of beef
cheese chips, relish Chicken Shashlik skewered chicken, salad, tomato
brisket with creamy mashed potatoes; pan seared sea bass fillet; beef
chutney Daube of beef braised beef with creamy mash roasted root
burger with pulled pork and skinny fries and moules mariniere with
vegetables, red wine jus
garlic bread. Portions are huge and guaranteed to leave patrons with a full stomach. There are also some delicious light bites to sample too for
The wine list is amply stocked and drinks are reasonably priced.
those who prefer a smaller dish. Latitude is a cool dining destination with a friendly team who are
more than happy to assist with menu recommendations and drinks
66 Stranmillis Road, Belfast
choices. The trendy dining room boasts a laid back atmosphere where
028 9066 8087
the drinks flow and the food always pleases.
772 | GNIMAG.COM
STOCKHOLM SYNDROME IN THE LAND OF BJORN BORG’S, IKEA AND THE BRIDGE
Eurovision season is upon us, and this year it’s the turn of Sweden to play host to this year’s contest in May. This will be the third time the contest has taken place in Stockholm. The first followed ABBA’s iconic win in Brighton in 1974, and again in 2000 after Charlotte Nilsson’s victory in Jerusalem. Eurovision fans and tourists are set to descend upon Sweden’s LGBT friendly capital, setting it ablaze with color, song and dance. GNI MAG’s very own Gastrogays say “Hej Stockholm!” WORDS | PATRICK HANLON & RUSSELL ALFORD ABOUT
the city’. Gamla Stan, literally ‘Old Town’,
hour travel card will set you back around
57 bridges cross the city of Stockholm,
in the centre boasts buckets of old world
250SEK (approx £20).
which is spread across a collection of
charm with its cobbled medieval streets,
14 main islands within a wider Baltic
and is home to most of the city’s tourist
archipelago. This makes Stockholm one
attractions, including the Royal Palace,
Of course, you knew already knew that
of the most unique cities in Europe. Come
the Stockholm Cathedral and the Nobel
the Swedes are a beautiful, Elfin race of
knee-high snow or balmy sunshine,
Museum. In the south is Södermalm
platinum-haired, blue-eyed models, and
Stockholm is a must-visit port of call in
and SoFo, home to the bohemian set, an
you aren’t wrong. Another surprising trait
area where independent cafes, quirky
is their command of the English language.
Each of Stockholm’s islands has its own
boutiques, and speakeasies abound.
The Swedish command of English is
identity. Östermalm to the northeast is a
Provided you’re staying somewhat central,
exceptional; everyone from waiting staff
series of pristine boulevards for the well
Stockholm is very much a walkable city.
to retail employees will happily switch
heeled. Djurgården (with its acres of rolling
To get around you can take your pick
between the two.
green space) is known as the ‘lungs of
from the metro, bus, tram or rail. A 72-
74 | GNIMAG.COM
There are two important things to note
TRAVEL__ STOCKHOLM about Swedish culture: the first is that
ultra trendy restaurant/bar in Södermalm
and airport in 20 minutes. Perched on
alcohol is limited to bars, clubs, restaurants
serves meatball dishes of every variety.
a boulevard corner overlooking a leafy,
and few other places. You won’t find wine
From traditional balls with lingonberry
tree-lined park which houses the national
in supermarkets. You won’t see people
and mash, to wacky options of salmon,
library, the Scandic Anglais is a decadent
drinking on the streets. Off-licenses are few
moose or rooster, it’s all washed down
and glamorous hotel with over 200
and far between, and all of them operate
with a great choice of craft beers and
rooms, gym, two bars, a Jamie’s Italian
strict opening hours and rules. The Swedes
wines. Get here early before they sell out.
restaurant and bar serving sensational and
take alcohol abuse seriously, so beware. A
Pocket (Norrlandsgatan 31,
affordable rustic Italian plates. Our top
search for the nearest ‘systembolaget’ will
pontusfrithiof.com) is a restaurant from
floor double room boasted its own balcony
find you that bottle of Sauvignon Blanc if
the stable of Sweden’s celebrity chef
with stunning vista of the city as well as a
you really need it.
Pontus Frithiof. A fantastic option for
built-in sauna. Those little added touches
The second noteworthy aspect of
lunch or dinner whilst not blowing the
that elevate a hotel stay to another level
Swedish life is that, surprisingly, they’re
budget, the menu at Pocket is casual
– fluffy dressing gowns, designer toiletries
not entirely uptight. Swedes enjoy taking
brasserie, balancing French classics with
and platters of fresh fruit – were all present
time out daily for the important cultural
seasonal Swedish influence. This is a great
ritual of kaffe och kakken. That’s coffee
option for walk-ins in a city where pre-
and cake to you and I, served in a ‘fika’ (a
booking is very nearly a pre-requisite.
colloquial term for a café). Café culture is
Smoked birch scents the air and a fierce
THINGS TO DO Whether you are a fan or not, a visit to
rife in Stockholm. On average, the Swede’s
heat emanates from the kitchen of Ekstedt
the ABBA Museum (abbathemuseum.
down 4.5 cups of the stuff each day. In
(Ekstedt.nu), the eponymous restaurant
com) is a must. Located on the quieter side
Stockholm the coffee shops open until
from Niklas Ekstedt. Ekstedt is one of
of Stockholm at Djurgården, the ABBA
late, with natives meeting for their daily
Stockholm’s most celebrated restaurants,
museum is an interactive and exciting
cuppa around 3pm when the cafés are at
situated alongside Humlegårdsgatan.
celebration of song and dance where you
their busiest. Chokladkoppen (Stortorget
The chefs cook without electricity or gas,
can follow the band’s rise to fame with a
18, chokladkoppen.se) is a must-visit gay
instead using wood-fired ovens, charcoal,
handy audio guide narrated by Benny,
café in the heart of Gamla Stan that serves
soot, ash, smoke and open fire. The end
a famous bowl – yes, bowl, you read that
result is a complex, diverse and exciting
and Anni-Frid. See their iconic costumes,
right – of hot chocolate that no trip to
seasonal four or six-course menu. The
sing along to their greatest hits and
Stockholm is complete without.
food is worth the expense, and if you are
even star in a music video as their ‘fifth
travelling with your partner try to dine at
member’. Entry costs 195SEK (£16). We
the chef’s bar for a bird’s eye view of their
recommend you visit on a Thursday to
The heady scents of cinnamon and
fascinating preparations. (If you are lucky
take advantage of the late night openings
cardamom waft through Stockholm.
you might even be allowed a glimpse into
and get your Dancing Queen fantasy on
You are never more than a few metres
a Michelin-starred kitchen in the literal
while no one is watching.
from freshly made semlor (cream cakes),
heat of service.)
kannelbulle (cinnamon buns) or slices
Another popular way to spend a few hours is at the Vasa Museum (vasamuseet.
of prinsesstårta (princess cake). Our tip is
WHERE TO STAY
se), which details the story of a giant 17th
to try the cardamom and pistachio buns!
We stayed at the Scandic Anglais
century warship which sank in Stockholm
Fabrique (various locations, fabrique.
(scandichotels.com/anglais) in the heart of
harbor on its maiden voyage and lay
se) is a Stockholm institution that has
Östermalm. It is seconds from some of the
untouched for 300 years until it was
now also branched to London and offers
city’s best shopping, and just one metro
reclaimed and restored. The museum is a
delicious sourdough breads and sweet
stop away from Centralen station, where
surprisingly engrossing tale of Stockholm
bakes made using traditional methods. Il
the ultra-convenient and surprisingly
through the ages told via its seafaring
Caffe (various locations, ilcaffe.se), Albert
luxe Arlanda Express connects the city
heritage. Entry costs around 130SEK (£10).
& Jacks (Skeppsbron 24, albertjacks.se) and Snickarbacken 7 are all excellent outposts to enjoy artisanal treats in a relaxed and cosy setting. It is practically impossible to visit Sweden without sampling the meatballs. Meatballs For The People (Nytorgsgatan 30, meatball.se) is the city’s first selfproclaimed ‘meatballaria’. This cheap but
MORE INFO: Both Dublin (Ryanair) and London (Norwegian, SAS, British Airways, Ryanair, Finnair) operate daily services to Stockholm’s airports. For up-to-date information, Stockholm’s tourism board run a Facebook page and website that is regularly updated at
GNIMAG.COM | 75
FITNESS 10 — Earn your carbs.
FATLOSS TIPS 1 — When it comes to training and nutrition, consistency is key. 2 — Find a physical activity that you enjoy and plan around it, but make sure you’re goal driven otherwise you will find yourself running in circles. 3 — Success depends on You. 4 — Find an experienced coach 5 — If you’re not nervous about your next training session, you are doing it wrong. 6 — Find a good programme and stick to it. 7 — When training remember: The bigger the base, the taller the peak. Too many people try to work at their physical maximum, only to find it later. 8 — Mobility comes first. It doesn’t matter how big or how strong you are, if you don’t have the flexibility you’re going to do more harm than good. 9 — Replace your weights each time you use them. Trust me on this one.
11 — Eat the rainbow. No, not skittles, but loads of differently coloured veg. 12 — Drink at least a half litre of water before breakfast and keep drinking it throughout the day. 13 — With protein powder, you get what you pay for. At Hybrid, we opt for ICON whey (see sidebar). 14 — Avoid coffee after 1pm. 15 — Cooking with coconut oil. 16 — Opt for dark chocolate over milk. The bitterness will stop you eating as much. 17 — Treat yourself every now and then. Don’t make yourself feel miserable. 18 — Eat a good source of protein like chicken or fish with every meal. 19 — If you do slip up, remember it’s not the end of the world. Put it behind you and get back on the wagon. MICHAEL LENNON PERSONAL TRAINER HYBRID FITNESS, BELFAST
ICON WHEY PROTEIN POWDER (AVAILABLE IN A RANGE OF FLAVOURS) £29.99 ICON Whey Protein Evolution is the purest form of muscle recovery and performance protein powder on the market. Sourced from hormone free Irish cows that are grass fed year round, this protein powder contains significantly more naturally occurring branch chain amino acids (BCAA’s) per serving than other whey protein products. Free from GMO ingredients, ICON Whey is non-denatured, nonacid treated, cold pressed whey protein designed to target type II muscle fibres and improve a person’s size, strength and lean body gains. ICONNUTRITION.COM
It’s not just feeling good that matters, whether you are pre- or post-gym, looking and smelling good is half the battle.
JIMBAG RED HOLDALL £49.99 JIMBAG.CO.UK
76 | GNIMAG.COM
EAU DE LACOSTE ROUGE 100ML £47.00 LACOSTE.COM/GB
AMI ALEXANDRE MATTIUSI TRAINERS £235 SSENSE.COM
NAME: DANIEL MAY AGE: 32 LOCATION: BELFAST OCCUPATION: GNI MAG BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MANAGER HEIGHT: 5’ 8” WEIGHT: 10st 2lb
TRIMMED OR NATURAL? DEPENDS ON THE TIME OF THE YEAR, FURRY FOR THE WINTER, CLEAN CUT IN THE SUN. BOXERS OR BRIEFS? BOXER BRIEFS, NO LOOSEY GOOSIES. GUILTY PLEASURE? SWEETS AND CHOCOLATE. FAVE PRODUCT? DISPOSABLE FLOSSERS; A MUST HAVE IN A MAN BAG.
“In an ideal world I would be in the gym every day but life gets in the way.” GNIMAG.COM | 77
YOUR DATING PROBLEMS ANSWERED__
Big moves and saying “I love you” Dating expert Eamon is here to help. Depression affects every aspect of our lives, including our relationships. Some days will seem better than others. On your better days, try to make an effort to show love and appreciation to your partner.
Hi Eamon, I’ve been dating my new boyfriend for a few months. Things are pretty great if I’m being honest. We click really well and I’m lucky to see him as much as I want. I like him enough to be honest about my feelings – whenever we say goodbye I always tell him I love him, but so far he hasn’t said it back and it’s starting to worry me. Should I stop saying it in the hope that he gets the hint? I don’t want him to think I’m angry or upset at him. Help! Paul, Cork Hi Paul. Telling someone you love them and not hearing it back is something I’m sure we all have experienced, so please don’t feel alone. It’s important to understand that many people associate saying “I love you” with new expectations or changes to a relationship. From what you have said about spending plenty of time together and clicking, it may be just the case that your boyfriend is enjoying keeping everything moving along pressure-free at this stage. As for you saying it, I think you need to do what feels right. If you want to express your feelings then do so, but instead of worrying about him not saying it back, perhaps just focus on all the good aspects of the relationship you have. Putting pressure on things, in my experience, only leads to more problems.
If you want Eamon to answer your dating problems email firstname.lastname@example.org. GNI MAG reserves the right to publish submitted material in whole or in part.
GNIMAG.COM | 78
Hello. My wife and I have been married for almost ten years. We are both teachers (in separate schools), which really puts a huge strain on our marriage. After feeling low for a long time I decided to see a doctor who diagnosed me with depression. The anti-depressants are helping a little, but not much. How do I get through this without hurting the love of my life? I don’t want her to suffer because of me. Louise, Dublin Hi Louise. I’m sorry to hear you are having a hard time at the moment. Depression affects every aspect of our lives, including our relationships. Some days will seem
better than others. On your better days, try to make an effort to show love and appreciation to your partner. Try to go for a walk, preferably with your partner. Make the effort to have a cuddle and above all else be honest with your other half. It’s possible that she won’t fully understand how you are feeling, but I’m sure she is trying hard to understand and help. It may also be the perfect time to perhaps reevaluate your working lives, as a change there could lessen the strain on your marriage, help with your depression, and improve your relationship overall. A good relationship is very therapeutic for somebody with depression, so try to keep positive and remember that this won’t last forever.
Hey Eamon, I’m moving to Liverpool in September for uni. I’ve been seeing a guy for a couple of months but he won’t commit to a relationship. Because I don’t want a ‘friends with benefits situation’ I’m happy to move on and make a fresh start. But how do I meet people in a city I’ve never been to? The gay scene there looks enormous. I’ve no idea where to start! Johnny, Belfast Hey Johnny. It sounds like you have an exciting move ahead of you. The truth is you won’t have to worry about meeting people because the gay scene in Liverpool is much, much bigger than either Belfast or Dublin. So you definitely won’t have a problem when it comes to picking people to choose from. If anything you will robably struggle to keep up with so many new faces. My advice would be to find a good group of friends. If you are new to a city it’s always a good idea to explore the sights and nightlife with friends as opposed to doing it on your own. When it comes to dating and potential new boyfriends love can strike when you least expect it. You could easily end up with a classmate or someone you meet at the student union bar. Above all else, be careful and stay safe until you are confident you know the city well. Good luck and let me know how you get on.
UnitShore 3 Lough Shore Courtyard, Shore Road, Jordanstown Unit 3 Lough Courtyard, 626 Shore626 Road, Jordanstown BT37 0ZT BT37 0ZT Telephone: 028 9086 000007761 Mobile: 07761 147757 Email: email@example.com Telephone: 028 9086 0000 Mobile: 147757 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
clients rably etail can see or the or design ok 6 ening of
s Eamon rniture, ns.
“The response from the local area hasproducts already been fantastic and I Eamon can provide have been inundated with jobs from an for entire house remodel, numerous a client, from kitchens and living space refurbishments, bespoke sized sofas, a private home bar to bathrroms, bespoke furniture, living bedrooms, commercial spaces. I’m delighted with the list ofspaces, new clients and the uptake wallpaper, fabrics to custom from the retail customers.” made curtains. “The response from the local The final design of the studio makes it possible for people to come in area has already been fantastic and get inspired. “Nothing gives me more pleasure in this job than seeing and I have been inundated a clients face on the final reveal of my design, which willan have beenhouse a with jobs from entire collaboration with the client to their specification.” remodel, numerous living space refurbishments, bespoke sized sofas, private home If you haven’t already, call into the residential andacommercial studio for barwith to commercial I’m inspiration or to getstarted some great a great range spaces. of accessories Eamon McAuley his gift idea’s delighted with directly the list for of new interior designAlternatively, business in you can phone for your home. the studio a clients and the uptake from the 2013 and quickly learned that private consultation at your home. retail customers.” working from home was only The final design of the studio ever going to be a short-term To book an appointment at the showroom makesemail it possible for people solution. email@example.com or call to come in 07761147757 and get inspired. Having found himself lucky “Nothing gives me more enough to gather a fantastic list HOWROOM pleasure in this job than seeing of clients very quickly through a clients face on the final reveal 13 and quickly recommendation, the business a short-term of my design, which will have grew considerably in the first been a collaboration with the year. Entering his second year ist of clients client to their specification.” onsiderably he started to look for a retail for a retail To get some great gift ideas premises that would enable an om you can see base for the with a great range of accessories expansion into the showroom n interior design for your home why not call into oom took 6 you can see today. Having the opening of the residential and commercial resided in Jordanstown, he studio for inspiration wanted to have a base for the roducts Eamon Alternatively you can phone poke furniture, “Thebusiness response from thethere local area has already been fantastic and I too, as for many curtains. have been inundated with jobs from an entire house remodel, numerous Eamon McAuley started his interior design business in 2013 and quickly the studio directly to arrange years the area had lacked an living space refurbishments, bespoke sized sofas, a private home bar to learned that working from home was only ever going to be a short-term commercial spaces. I’m delighted with the list of new clients and the uptake solution. a private consultation at your interior design service, which from the retail customers.” home. Having found himself lucky enough to gather a fantastic list of clients he learned from previous The final design of the studio makes it possible for people to come in very quickly through recommendation, the business grew considerably and get inspired. “Nothing givesshowroom me more pleasure in this job than6 seeing clients. The took in the first year. Entering his second year he started to look for a retail a clients face on the final reveal of my design, which will have been a premises that would an expansion into the showroom you can see To book anenable appointment at months to be transformed from collaboration with the client to their specification.” today. Having resided in Jordanstown, he wanted to have a base for the the info@ businessshowroom there too, as for manyemail years the area had lacked an interior design the shell it started with to the If you haven’t already, call into the residential and commercial studio for service, which he learned from previous clients. The showroom took 6 inspiration or to get someof great gift idea’s with a great of accessories opening it’s doors in range late 2015. eamonmcauleyinteriordesign. months to be transformed from the shell it started with to the opening of for your home. Alternatively, you can phone the studio directly for a com call its doors or 3 weeks ago. 07761 147757 The studio private consultation at your home.was designed to showcase the entire list of The studio was designed to showcase the entire list of products Eamon To book an appointment at the showroom email
INTERIOR STYLING BY EAMON McAULEY
W O N T N E V E G N I SPR
rest 2 4 M o n t h s in t e f r e e f in a n c e *
STUNNING NEW SHOWROOM
firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07761147757
can provide for a client, from kitchens and bathrooms, bespoke furniture, living spaces, bedrooms, wallpaper, fabrics to custom made curtains.
Furniture, Sofas, Giftware New cafe open in Boucher Crescent Belfast City Centre 17-21 Bruce Street, Belfast, BT2 7JD (028) 9032 3197
TORE Boucher Crescent NEW S45-56 Boucher Crescent, Belfast, BT12 6HU Tel: (028) 9521 5899
“The response from the local area has already been fantastic and I have been inundated with jobs from an entire house remodel, numerous living space refurbishments, bespoke sized sofas, a private home bar to commercial spaces. I’m delighted with the list of new clients and the uptake from the retail customers.”
Ballymena 33-35 Mill Street, Ballymena, BT43 5AA (028) 2564 9787
The final design of the studio makes it possible for people to come in and get inspired. “Nothing gives me more pleasure in this job than seeing a clients face on the final reveal of my design, which will have been a collaboration with the client to their specification.”
Newtownabbey Unit 5b, Longwood Road Retail Park Road, Newtownabbey, BT37 9UQ If you haven’t already,Longwood call into the residential and commercial studio for inspiration or to get some great gift idea’s with a great range of accessories 02890 for your home. Alternatively, you can phone the Tel: studio directly for a 862223 private consultation at your home.
* Terms and Conditions apply
To book an appointment at the showroom email email@example.com or call 07761147757
HOME We have a look at freshening up your dining room in this issue. The Travers Diner set in Creations caught our eye. This oak set has a distressed finish, giving you a homely feel with a modern twist.
SP R IN G EV EN T N 24 Mo nt hs in te fr ee fin an ce *
Travers Diner £499 (event price) Travers Bench £225 (event price) Silla Chair £59 (event price) Set price for Travers Diner + Travers Bench + 3 Silla Chairs: £899 (event Price) Furniture, Sofas, Giftware New cafe open in Boucher Crescent Belfast City Centre 17-21 Bruce Street, Belfast, BT2 7JD (028) 9032 3197
ORE Boucher Crescent NEW ST 45-56 Boucher Crescent, Belfast, BT12 6HU Tel: (028) 9521 5899
Ballymena 33-35 Mill Street, Ballymena, BT43 5AA (028) 2564 9787 Newtownabbey Unit 5b, Longwood Road Retail Park Longwood Road, Newtownabbey, BT37 9UQ Tel: 02890 862223
Clock £249 Vase £99 Man ornament £74.99 (small) Prices will revert to After Event prices once the Creations Spring Event is over (spring event starts at the start of April). 24 months interest free finance (with 10% deposit) Terms and conditions apply.
* Terms and Conditions apply
GNIMAG.COM | 81
Corick House Hotel and Spa is the ideal venue for a Civil Ceremony/Partnership with a variety of suites available to cater for your wedding party, from our secluded Library Room which accommodates intimate celebrations for up to 20 guests, to seating 200 guests in our elegant Garden Room and 350 guests in our stunning new Orchid Suite. The advantage of having your civil ceremony in Corick House Hotel and Spa is the professional dedicated time and attention devoted to you and your wedding day. From the initial planning stages right through to your wedding day we will ensure that you get the highest level of personal service. No request is too big and no concern to small. For more details contact our wedding co-ordinator today on firstname.lastname@example.org or 028 8554 8216
20 Corick Road, Clogher, Co. Tyrone, Northern Ireland, BT76 0BZ T: +44 (0)28 8554 8216 | E: email@example.com www.corickcountryhouse.com/civil-wedding-ceremonies
GNI MAG Weddings
GNI MAG WEDDINGS__
Not many couples can thank not getting into a club for bringing them together. Ryan and Patrick made it work.
RYAN & PATRICK
We met though friends. We had crossed paths
We moved in together quite quickly, before that
so many times over the years without realising.
I had been living in Glasgow and just couldn’t
I still think it was fate. As soon as we met we hit
stick living with my mum again after being
it off, I only thought we’d be great friends.
independent for so long (sorry mum!).
Ryan ended up splitting from his ex, and
About six months after getting together
then one night when I was out with friends
we were away for the weekend and started
and we didn’t get into the club because I
drunkenly talking about getting engaged.
was far too drunk I ended up sitting outside
Neither of us ever imagined getting married, let
McDonalds drunkenly eating a Big Mac and
alone getting married to each other. When we
throwing chips and texting him to tell him I
got home and talked about it again I thought,
really liked him!
actually, why don’t we?
I wasn’t long out of a relationship when I met
Neither of us had that much of an opinion on
Patrick. I’m really glad I texted him back!
marriage before we that conversation. To be
GNIMAG.COM | 85
GNI MAG WEDDINGS__ RYAN & PATRICK
honest it was one of those “When you
Corinthian was spectacular; they were
of transport and time restrains etc., so we
know, you know” situations. We moved in
so helpful, from our first time organising
arranged to have our photographs be
together almost straight away. It felt right
everything through to being there on
taken in the morning by the amazingly
and we didn’t want to miss the chance
the day. I’m still devastated it’s over! The
talented James McGrillis. It allowed our
to do it. It’s not like someone asks you to
day passes so quickly. You really have to
wedding party plenty of time to get ready.
marry them every day. It felt like the right
appreciate every moment.
next move, even if it was a bit earlier than
After that we quite literally strolled through Glasgow from our hotel right the
way to the Cortinthian. Well, it wasn’t
The wedding day was unreal. When we
quite direct. We made a few fun stops
chose Glasgow we thought hardly anyone
along the way… Not many couples get
The wedding day was amazing. I couldn’t
would come, but they did! So we really
to say they went to the funfair on the day
have asked for nicer day. Originally
made a weekend of it. Even with the travel
they get married.
we decided to get married in Northern
we ended up with about 70 guests. The
Ireland but going away to get married
fact we run a wedding company together
was the perfect solution. We’d both spent
really put the pressure on to make our
The food at the Corinthian was beautiful.
a lot of time in Scotland, so I mentioned
own big day extra special. Our friend and
I’ve never seen a wedding meal like it. Of
the Corinthian Club in Glasgow. Ryan
family were expecting a lot!
course the drinks were flowing.
most couples make that step.
instantly fell in love with it. We turned the wedding day on its head
The Corinthian had a style and
One thing we both agreed from the
atmosphere that made us fall in love with
beginning was that we wanted brilliant
by having our photographs taken in the
it. It’s an old building with a lot of modern
food and loads of drink, and we didn’t
morning. This meant that we got to spend
twists. It oozes style and class and we
disappoint. We didn’t have a live band
the afternoon after the ceremony with
knew it would be the perfect backdrop for
– we aren’t that kind of couple – so we
our family and friends. I have family who
opted for a DJ to play our favourite music
live in England that I don’t see very often,
We wanted a really classy event, but
so it was important for me to be able to
still with a casual feel. We didn’t want to
spend time with them. Everything at the
put any pressure on our guests in terms
throughout the night. RYAN The food is such an important part of every wedding ceremony. Working in the industry you always hear what people complain about, and a substandard meal is top of the list, so we opted for a modern menu with a great selection. And who doesn’t love a few bottles of champagne? For fun we made each of our guests a little personalised gift bag. Every one of our guests got a totally customised present from us, something personal or special. It was a huge undertaking but it was worth it to see their faces when they realised what we had gotten them. We haven’t taken a honeymoon just yet. Our business is doing great so we can’t really squeeze any time off just yet to have one yet.
86 | GNIMAG.COM
THE BIG DAY__ TONY & DARREN
“I’m with the person who makes me smile more than anyone else. I can’t really remember what single life was like anymore” GNIMAG.COM | 77
GNI MAG WEDDINGS__ RYAN & PATRICK
change from the way other people treat us
Married life is good. We haven’t killed
a couple. I suppose it means we get taken
We do enjoy a lot of the same things. We
each other yet. I guess once you start
more seriously now that we’ve tied the
are big into our movies and binging on box
living together things tend to be very
knot. All in all it’s been fantastic. Married
sets, then again what couple isn’t? We love
similar once you get married.
life feels wonderful.
our nights out too, and of course our art
Not a lot changes, but I couldn’t be
and design. I think that’s how we manage
happier. I’m with the person who makes
to live and work together so well. Having
me smile more than anyone else. To be
We are into a lot of the same things, so
the same interests reduces the chances of
honest I can’t really remember single life
we spend quite a bit of time together.
us eventually killing each other.
Everyone wonders how we can go to work together and then come home and still
have things to talk about, but at work we
It’s been great so far. Because we live and
are both constantly doing different things
work together it means business as usual,
so we aren’t always tripping over each
IF YOU WANT TO SHARE YOUR
but it’s a lovely feeling of security and
other (only sometimes!). I think we’ve
BIG DAY STORY WITH US, EMAIL
comfort. I think we’ve noticed a bit of a
found a good work/life balance.
88 | GNIMAG.COM
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Northern Ireland Chest Heart & Stroke
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STRESS! Sandra*, a healthcare professional in her 40s, has been with her partner for almost 20 years and they have just celebrated the 5th anniversary of their Civil Partnership. But despite being happy to make a public declaration of her love for her partner in front of her friends and family, she has always been more circumspect when it comes to her colleagues.
Recently, one of her close colleagues asked
bound to have mental health problems.”
her, “Sandra, is there no one special in your life?” The concern in her colleague’s
SO WHAT IS STRESS?
voice and her obvious desire to see Sandra
Stress is a natural reaction in the body
in a happy relationship, finally prompted
designed to give short bursts of heightened
Sandra to say…”well actually, I am gay
energy or awareness such as the “fight
and I’ve been with Mags* for around 20
or flight” reaction which helps us run
years.” And with that, Sandra burst into
away from danger. In caveman times, the
tears. At first she couldn’t understand why
danger may have been a saber-toothed
she felt so emotional, but then later she
tiger, but nowadays the body is more
realised it was the relief from no longer
likely to experience stress because of
having to hide such an important part
worries about relationships, money, work,
of her life from someone she was with 8
unemployment or ill health.
hours a day. She had been unaware of the
Everybody, regardless of sexual
underlying stress that not feeling able to
orientation can have these worries, but
be truly open about her personal life was
for people within the LGB&T community,
there can be the additional stress of
The underlying stress that Sandra felt
coming out to family, friends and
was low level but this is not the case for
colleagues, ongoing concerns about
everyone. If stress is not managed, it can
their level of acceptance and bullying,
cause mental health problems such as
harassment and stigmatisation.
anxiety or depression, and increase your risk of physical health problems. In 2014, researchers from the University
WHAT ARE THE EFFECTS OF STRESS ON YOUR HEALTH?
of Cambridge reported that 12% of lesbian
As well as its potential to lead to anxiety
women and almost 19% of bisexual
and depression, extended periods of stress
women reported mental health problems,
can lead to a vast range of health related
compared with 6% of heterosexual
problems such as high blood pressure,
women. Meanwhile 11% of gay men and
heightened risk of blood clots and
15% of bisexual men reported problems,
increased risk of obesity due to the release
compared to 5% of heterosexual men.
of the hormone cortisol. These risks are
The 2012 report “All Partied Out?” by
worsened by the ways that we choose to
The Rainbow Project primarily looked at
cope with stress, such as smoking, alcohol
substance abuse. But the report also stated,
or comfort eating.
“Numerous comments from participants
Stress also seems to worsen or increase
in the survey, interviews and focus
the risk of conditions like Alzheimer’s
groups suggested a connection between
disease, diabetes, gastrointestinal
stigmatisation, mental stress and the use of
problems, and asthma, so being able to
substances.” One participant commented,
spot the early warning signs is important.
“I grew up thinking I’m not normal….. When you go through those formative
Physical early warning signs:
years and you’re thinking that, you are
- Insomnia and sleep disturbances
Sponsored by Northern Ireland Chest Heart and Stroke
events that are stressful but how we
your readiness to cope with the stress of
- Muscle tension and pain
perceive them. Having a supportive group
- Heart palpitations
of friends and family members to talk to
- Stomach upset and gastrointestinal
and give you a different point of view is
Avoid unhealthy coping behaviours
often key to successfully dealing with the
Smoking, drinking, taking drugs and
- Breathlessness without exertion
stress of day-to-day life. If you are unable
comfort eating are all normal reactions to
to get social support from your friends
stress. They may all make you feel better
- Weakened immune system which can
and families, you can try finding support
in the short term but they actually have
by becoming involved in community,
a negative impact on your ability to cope
the arts, social, athletic, artistic and other
result in more coughs and colds. Psychological early warning signs:
groups. Mental health counselling and
- Inability to focus and concentrate
support groups that are sensitive to the
NICOTINE releases adrenalin which
- Loss of sense of humour
needs of the LGB&T community can be
increases your heart rate, blood pressure
- High levels of anxiety and worry
especially useful if you are coming to
and your breathing. The part of smoking
- Constant irritability towards others
terms with your sexual orientation or are
that does relax your body without
- Withdrawal from social contact
experiencing depression, anxiety, or other
harming it is the deep breathing and
- Lack of motivation to get things done
mental health problems.
inhalation. ALCOHOL as a chemical, is a depressant so
DEALING WITH STRESS
RELAXATION - If you can find a spare
can actually make feelings of depression
If you recognise any of these signs then
15 minutes, just lie in the dark, with gentle
or anxiety worse not better. It also disrupts
you need to learn how to cope with stress
music on or just in silence. Breathe deeply
sleep leaving us tired, irritable and less
in a healthy way. Of course the best way
so you are very aware of your breathing.
able to cope with what is stressing us in
to deal with stress you are under is to
Don’t think about what is worrying you.
the first place.
tackle what is causing you stress in the
Think about your breathing. If you can
DRUGS can increase our chances of getting
first place. But if the source of stress is other
do this regularly, it will help your blood
heart disease, stroke or lung damage, as
people’s attitudes towards you, which
pressure and help reverse some of the
they can cause high blood pressure, blood
is not something you can control, other
physical effects of the stress you are under.
clots, cardiac arrest or heart failure, as well
techniques are required.
as the dangers of addiction, overdoses and DO EXERCISE - Exercise uses up the
RE-FRAMING - If you can’t change what is
chemicals that stress releases into the
FOOD is sometimes used as a means of
causing you stress, you can try to change
blood system in a good way. Exercise
de–stressing as it is something we have
how you feel about it or how you respond
also lowers blood pressure which can be
control over. When we comfort eat it is
to it. There are many ways to interpret the
increased by prolonged stress.
often it is carbohydrates that we crave but
same situation so pick the one you like
these can make you sleepy and so are not
best rather than the one that upsets you
GET MORE SLEEP - According to many
what your body needs when it is trying to
the most and causes you the most anxiety
experts, most people need between seven
cope with a stressful situation. In addition
and stress. Re–framing does not change the
and eight hours of sleep each night. When
to this, an increase in weight due to
external reality, but helps you view things
you don’t get enough sleep, symptoms
comfort eating could lead to future health
in a different light and less stressfully.
such as moodiness, anxiety, aggression
problems, and have an adverse effect on
and increased stress levels can result.
your self image and confidence.
GET IT OFF YOUR CHEST - A problem
While sleeping more certainly won’t
shared is a problem halved. It’s not always
eliminate all stress, it can help increase
*Name has been changed.
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COMING OUT__ ELECTRA’S STORY
Electra La C*unt is one of the most recognisable faces on the Belfast scene. GNI MAG catches up with her to talk coming out as a queen, MASC4MASC and dating nightmares
Tell us a little about yourself. My name is Electra La C*nt, I am one of the resident drag queens at Boombox nightclub, hosting Satisfy Saturday’s and performing at Sunday Service - Northern Ireland’s Biggest Weekly Drag Spectacular!
dress waving at her but she waved back politely. Eventually both her and my dad cottoned on (after a lot of back and forth shouting!) and realised it was me. My dad just said “you make a quare looking girl son” so I guess that’s a seal of approval!
When did you first realise you wanted to do drag? I’ve always been interested in transformations; like plastic surgery - the more extreme the more fascinating! I used to sell makeup, and the power of makeup through being able to change gender and your physical appearance really appealed to me. So I started doodling on my face with makeup I had left over, and then eventually I started going out in drag!
How did people react when you told them? I always say I am blessed when it comes to family and friends and they were all behind me 100%. It’s never been an issue at all because people understand why I do it, for expressing myself and my art.
Tell me about your coming out experience. When I came out as gay, my parents just got drunk and asked me. They were hugely supportive and I couldn’t have had a better reaction. Drag was a little bit more complicated. I didn’t really know how to say it! So my first ever Pride in drag, I was on the back of the Boombox float in a wedding dress in the pissing rain, and there in the crowd, like 20 feet away from me, were my parents. I thought well this is my chance. So I started waving down and I could see my mum sort of wondering why was this man in a
0808 808 8000
Was coming out a big deal for you or did it feel natural? For my friends it’s always felt natural to tell them anything. For people who don’t know me so well, it’s complicated because we live in such a small, sometimes still narrow-minded community where there is a lot of internalised homophobia within even the gay community. Anything “feminine” or “camp” is an automatic no no. Masc4masc and all that crap. I have a day job, so when I meet people I usually tell them I do that first then the drag kinda comes out later on in the conversation. So dating is hard, and I find it a hard to be open about it because for me it’s a job whereas others view it as a big thing and sometimes a “major turn off ”. Which I guess is a shame.
Textphone 18001 0808 808 8000
COMING OUT__ ELECTRA’S STORY
ELECTRA tells hER story. 0808 808 8000
Textphone 18001 0808 808 8000
COMING OUT__ ELECTRA’S STORY
Has anyones opinion of you changed since you first did drag? Over the past two years of doing drag I find time is incredibly precious. So there’s a natural ebb and flow of friends that happens as a result of not being able to fit people in, but it’s opened up so many doors and new opportunities. I’ve made some life long friends in my sisters at Boombox, most definitely. I’m from Belfast which is a little bit more progressive than other places in Northern Ireland, so I struck lucky there.
What are the most important things in your life? Aside from alcohol, my family and friends. They keep me sane. What are your plans for the future? I’m always looking to push myself in my drag; go that extra bit further, make something bolder or bigger, shock and make a statement. I’m never going to stop that. My biggest critic is myself, so I’m always going to want to improve no matter what people tell me. The future for me is always how can I do better than what I did last.
0808 808 8000
Textphone 18001 0808 808 8000
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S I X T E E N
C O M I N G S O O N
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Colby Keller, Calum McSwiggan, Rocky Horror Show, The Drag Race Queens, Eurovision, Sex Feature, Homes and Health, Coming Out, Theatre, Tech...
Published on Apr 5, 2016
Colby Keller, Calum McSwiggan, Rocky Horror Show, The Drag Race Queens, Eurovision, Sex Feature, Homes and Health, Coming Out, Theatre, Tech...