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GNIMAG y o u r

l o c a l

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

m a g a z i n e

Will Young

The new album Lexicon, marriage equality, and looking for Mr Right.

Issue 37 June / July 2019 £3.95 / €4.95

Olly Alexander

Years and Years, collaborations and a summer full of festivals.

Iconic Cher

A career that has spanned decades, showcasing Cher, our icon in this issue.

Kevin Clifton

Winning Strictly, headlining Rock of Ages, and his go-to karaoke tune.

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


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CONTENTS //

CREDITS //

WHAT’S INSIDE

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

12 ] 18 ] 20 ] 22 ] 24 ] 26 ] 32 ] 34 ] 36 ] 38 ] 40 ] 42 ] 44 ] 46 ] 48 ] 50 ]

WILL YOUNG ALICIA V PERRY MICKY MURRAY SAM MCKINSTRY OLLY ALEXANDER ROCK OF AGES YOUTUBE SENSATION KWEEN ART - CHARCOEN RIYADH KHALAF MATT SIMONS ICON - CHER PRIDE IN NEWRY WORLDWIDE PRIDE GNI AWARDS HISTORY - ALAN TURING

YOU! [ 54 ] [ 62 ] [ 63 ]

FASHION - MALACHI ACCESSORIZE - SUNNIES FITNESS - ABS FOR PRIDE

LIFE! [ 66 ] [ 70 ] [ 73 ] [ 81 ] [ 82 ] [ 84 ] [ 88 ] [ 90 ] [ 92 ]

DARKNESS TO DISNEY COMING OUT - GARETH THE BIG DAY - AMANDA & CARA AGONY AUNT - TRUDY SCRUPTIOUS LGBT FAMILIES - CONOR’S STORY A POST TROUBLES UPBRINGING SCENE OUT - SUPERVALU THE RELATIONSHIP PEOPLE ADOPTION

TEST! [ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ [

94 ] 98 ] 101 ] 102 ] 105 ] 108 ] 109 ] 110 ] 112 ] 114 ]

RECOMMENDED - MARTY SLEEP OVER - GRAND CENTRAL FOOD - THE PARLOUR GAME OF THRONES COUNTRY TRAVEL - SAN JOSE HEX CONDOMS WAR PAINT MACEDONIA SMILE SEX// TOM OF FINLAND GALWAY FILM FLEADH

MANAGING DIRECTOR Tony Day OPERATIONS DIRECTOR Daniel May GNI MAG WEDDINGS Daryl Shields GNI AWARDS Nicole McKeown EDITORIAL ASSISTANT India Day SPECIAL THANKS TO... Will Young / Alicia V Perry / Micky Murray / Sam McKinstry / Olly Alexander / Rock of Ages / Kitty Catt / Charcoen / Riyadh Khalaf / Chuff Media / Gavin Rennick / Matt Simons / Malachi / Gyasi Sheppy / Gareth Cochrane / Amanda & Cara / Conor Douglas / Brandon Cana / Supervalu / Trudy Scruptious / Leo @ TRP / Feile an Phobail / Relate / Adoption UK / Frank and Johnny / The Grand Central / The Parlour / Gavyn Andrews / Misstique / Hex Condoms / Dental Care Macedonia / Galway Film Fleadh / Black Arts PR / Grand Opera House, Belfast GNI MAG IS PUBLISHED BY... Romeo & Julian Publications Ltd 13 Union Street Belfast BT1 2JF

Romeo & Julian P U B L I C AT I O N S LT D

www.gnimag.com daniel@gnimag.com All submissions to GNI MAG are made on the basis of permission to publish the submission in GNI MAG and its licensed editions worldwide. In the case of a picture selection, the editor’s decision is final. Any material sent is at the owner’s risk and although every care is taken neither Romeo & Julian Publications Ltd or its agents shall be liable for loss or damage. We take great care to make sure all elements of GNI MAG are accurate. However we accept no liabilty for any misprints that appear in this magazine. You should seek professional advice prior to following any advice offered in this publication. Any opions expressed are those of the writers and not those of GNI MAG or Romeo & Julian Publications Ltd. Romeo & Julian Publications Ltd 2019


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


INTERVIEW // WILL YOUNG

WILL YOUNG WE CAUGHT UP WITH WILL IN THE LEAD UP TO HIS NEW ALBUM RELEASE. HE WAS CASUALLY LOUNGING IN THE GARDEN WITH HIS SAUSAGE DOG AS HE TALKED TO US ABOUT DATING, DICK PIX, EQUALITY, AND OF COURSE LEXICON...

TWELVE // GNIMAG.COM


INTERVIEW // WILL YOUNG

THIRTEEN // GNIMAG.COM


INTERVIEW // WILL YOUNG

YOU’RE LIVING A QUIET LIFE ON THE COAST WITH YOUR DOGS, DO YOU FIND THAT GOOD FOR YOUR CREATIVE MIND AND YOUR MENTAL WELLBEING? Exactly, mental wellbeing, physical wellbeing, ability to kind of have space around stuff and not be rushing around. Obviously there are busy days, it is the beauty of the job that I can do a lot of work from home, I mean it’s still work. To be honest the most tiring thing about this job and living in a city is just travelling. It just takes so long to get anywhere. IN A PAST INTERVIEW YOU SAID YOU WERE SURPRISED THAT PEOPLE HAD NOT SEEN EXPLICIT IMAGES OF YOU BECAUSE YOU’VE SHARED ONE OR TWO ON GRINDR. WE WON’T GO INTO DETAIL ABOUT THAT BUT DO YOU FIND IT DIFFICULT TO MEET GUYS? No, I think it’s about owning up to things. One of the things about being so famous, it’s like “Ah we caught you out!” No, everyone sends dick pics, everyone’s got pictures on their phones, who gives a shit? So that was the reason I said that, it was just like don’t get involved in that “I’ve been caught out,” and don’t be ashamed of it because you’re only ever answerable to yourself really. Ther’s no big deal, depending on the size I guess. ON THAT NOTE IS THERE A SPECIAL SOMEONE IN YOUR LIFE AT THE MOMENT?

I THINK DATING IS A THING OF THE PAST NOW.

SO THERE WAS NO SPECIFIC INSPIRATION BEHIND IT, IT WAS JUST CREATIVE?

Really? I don’t feel that so much. I think dating or ow people meet has been changed a lot more to online. Go online, stay open in everyday life, see what happens.

No, it was more about just creating like sound scapes and it’s what Richard does very well, is create atmosphere. So that’s what I knew I wanted musically and then we just took it from there.

HERE IN NI WE’RE THE ONLY PART OF THE UK THAT DOESN’T HAVE MARRAIGE EQUALITY AND IT’S 4 YEARS NOW SINCE IRELAND HAD IT’S OWN EQUALITY. WHAT MESSAGE WOULD YOU SEND TO THE LGBT COMMUNITY HERE REGARDING THAT AND EQUALITY IN GENERAL? The first thing I think about is safety because when one feels like there is a government and a legislature that is supporting one’s rights then you do feel safer. When I put myself in the shoes of not having marraige equality I think I wouldn’t be feeling so safe and I wouldn’t be feeling to supported. It kind of intrenches centuries of feeling like an outsider. IN THIS DAY AND AGE THAT SHOULD NOT BE THE CASE... Well you know, it depends how secular society is but I think that’s all an ilusion anyway. If you’re going to look at religion, I mean if everyone was truly living to religious things… WE’D ALL BE IN THE PRIESTHOOD OR NUNS. FOR ANYONE WHO HASN’T LISTENED, HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE IT?

There is not no. HAVE YOU HAD ANY DATE DISASTERS? I don’t think I’ve had any disasters, just more like dates are such a weird thing, they’re so unnatural. My brother actually talks about dating online and he says you should just treat it like another day because what we do is we put a lot of pressure on and you know, you can go from “hello” in your head to “how’s our wedding going to be?” And I think that’s quite a lot of pressure on meeting a stranger. I think it’s about being in the moment and being like “I’m just having a conversation with someone” and take it from there.

I find it very hard to do this- someone’s having an argument with the traffic warden I love that- I find it very hard to describe the record because I feel like when you do work it’s for other people to make their own opinions and say “Oh I think that’s interesting.” But it’s definetly an out and out pop record. It’s about embracing pop and it’s about doing good pop. I wanted to do another song with Richard X, I’d done a song called Jealousy and an album called Echoes with him and it was my best record to date and then I just wanted to do another one, almost like a part 2 of that so It is electro mid-tempo songs with a good amount of space in it so that you can hear the voice and hear the lyrics.

WHAT TYPE OF A CREATIVE PERSON ARE YOU? DO YOU SPONTANEOUSLY COME UP WITH IDEAS OR DO YOU HAVE TO BE SITTING ALONE? I have to be in the studio for the songs, if I’m doing music then I’m very much like leave it to the moment and leave it to kind of the magic in the room and I think there’s something so special aboout that. It’s quite magical, it’s almost spiritual. I can’t remember how I wrote the first single All The Songs, I literally can’t remember. Neither can the people I wrote with, Jemima rang me the other day and was like “I can’t remember how we wrote that song,” she said “it’s really good but I can’t remember how we wrote it.” Neither can I, I know where we were. You just get together, you’re on the same pageaww my sausage dog has just laid down in the sun it’s so sweet, I found her on my dining room table the other day in a sun spot. HOW DOES A SAUSAGE DOG GET ON TO A DINING ROOM TABLE, I TAKE IT IT’S A VERY LOW TABLE? She’s quite a long one and she’s quite springy. She just pops up onto the chair and then she just pops up. It’s great when you eat food. I had to take her to the emergency vet because she ate a whole bloody bar of chocolate and I was like ugh jesus christ. BACK TO THE ALBUM, TELL ME WHICH SONG ARE YOU MOST EXCITED FOR PEOPLE TO LISTEN TO? That’s a difficult one, I would ssay the next single because it’s upbeat, it’s very summery, it’s slightly disco-y. Rankin who did the last video has done this. So I’m dancing on Worthing Pier, it’s kind of a Northern soul inspired video. I just think it’s a really great, happy song. I’VE SEEN SOME OF THE PHOTOGRAPHS

FOURTEEN // GNIMAG.COM


INTERVIEW // WILL YOUNG

FIFTEEN // GNIMAG.COM


INTERVIEW // WILL YOUNG AND IT LOOKED LIKE YOU WERE ON A BOAT OR A SHIP OR SOMETHING? Oh yeah the Dover to Calais ferry. It was absolutely freezing. IN THE PICTURES IT LOOKS LOVELY. That’s what’s so brilliant, you can take things that you think will look crappy and flip it around and suddenly it’s like magical. I like the ferry, I wanted to do it there because of what it represented in terms of the refugees, it was kind of like, with such a small space of water between us and Calais, yet with Brexit and everything it just gets so much. I found it a bit sad actually. No one is going to get that in the pictures but it doesn’t matter because in my head that’s the kind of story. I’M VERY DISAPPOINTED TO SEE NO BELFAST OR DUBLIN DATES ON THE UPCOMING TOUR. I know, it’s about the routing and all the theatres aren’t free, that’s another thing. OUT OF WHERE YOU ARE GOING, IS THERE A CITY YOU’RE LOOKING FORWARD TO? I always think Scotland’s really fun, Wales is really fun. Those are kind of the two that you always know that you’re going to get a

WILL YOUNG’S NEW ALBUM ‘LEXICON’ IS OUT NOW ON COOKING VINYL

SIXTEEN // GNIMAG.COM

great audience. So I would say those ones in particular. Otherwise no, I just like turning up and seeing what’s happening on the night. DO YOU HAVE TIME TO EXPERIENCE THE CITY? If I can, I really try to get out. Depending on where we are, I do try to get out and have a look at the town. I SUPPOSE IF YOU HAVE A GIG THE NEXT DAY THE LAST THING YOU WANT IS A LATE NIGHT Yeah but we tend to now, if we have a late night, to just do it on the tour bus and have a giggle. It’s basically like a disco on wheels. TELL ME BRIEFLY ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCE ON POP IDOL. It was great, it was amazing, it was a training for me really in how to do live TV so when it came to like singing live and things, I’d been doing it for 20 weeks so it didn’t daunt me at all. I grew up basically on a live TV show so I kind of know that really well and we just had a laugh. PRIOR TO THAT YOU WERE STUDYING POLITICS AT UNI, WHAT MADE YOU MAKE THAT SWITCH?

I wanted to be a pop star, I wanted to be a singer but I wanted to have a degree as well because I was very aware that percentage wise it was a shot in the dark. I think just having a degree, I wasn’t going to go into politics but just having a degree was useful for whatever job I would have gone into. But I think I probably would have stuck with music or worked in the charity sector I think. WHAT’S BEEN YOUR PERSONAL HIGHLIGHT IN YOUR CAREER? It’s difficult to pick one but I would actually pick the album Echoes as a whole because that’s when I thought that I’d finally done the record that I wanted to do. It’s not that I was anti-the other songs but I just felt like it was the unified pop record that I’ve always wanted and that’s influenced this record. TELL ME SOMEONE THAT YOU WOULD LOVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO COLLABORATE WITH. I think that would be Bjork. She’s extraordinary so that would just be incredible. TELL ME THE BEST PIECE OF ADVICE THAT YOU’VE EVER RECIEVED. Don’t worry about things that haven’t happened.


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OPINION // ALICIA PERRY

TRANSCEND PRIDE TO LIFE ALICA V PERRY I CANNOT BELIEVE I AM about to say this, but, it is the end of May! Happy days! June means Pride season is well and truly here and the world becomes a lot happier for the day. However, the old saying ‘pride comes before a fall’ is somewhat a harsh truth faced by many in our community the rest of the days of the year. Homophobia and Transphobia are an unfortunate realism experienced by a high proportion of the community ranging from derogatory comments and biased treatment, to stereotyping, hostility, intimidation and despicable assaults; physical and psychological with adverse emotional implications. Moreover, we cannot obtain a truly accurate picture of the breadth and depth of the problem as a lot does go unreported, determined by the level of acceptability of the affected individual. There is a certain commonality within our community that being LGBT+ brings with it expectations of abuse from society, however wrong it is, justified with reasoning such as ‘I’m used to it’ or ‘it could have been worse.’ Another added burden being the significance of proof as it can be very hard to ‘prove’ homophobia and transphobia even if it is starring you in the face. The majority of us just want it to go away, disappear, albeit we didn’t want it to happen in the first instance. It can be a hassle to report, some even feel like it’s too trivial. Some don’t even realise the abuse is unlawful. You can feel ashamed, embarrassed and humiliated. Some are very discreet about their identity or haven’t ‘come-out’ yet to their family and friends, conversely drawing attention to it treads on the risk of being ‘outed’ which can

contribute considerably to a person’s intensions and expectations. Now, with the growing importance and significance given to social media, online attacks, abuse, phobia and trolling has become rife in our community; and others. I guess what I’m trying to say here is that, while it is great to come out on Pride Day and celebrate, this must transcend into your everyday life. Be more patient with each other and show a better understanding to all of us under that LGBT+ umbrella. Just remember, in your eyes someone may look different, weird, funny, but they probably feel fabulous and so they should because they have the right and the freedom to do so. You, have the power to destroy that with as much as a smirk or a stare or a whatever negative post or tweet you send; so choose wisely. I believe we all have a moral obligation to respect one another, in turn improving the lives and the mental health of everyone of us. The imperative factor to remember though is that we should be proud of ourselves every single day and proud of our achievements and accomplishments. No matter how small or irrelevant you might think something is, although it makes you feel uniquely proud, rejoice in that and own it. Be mindful that a kaleidoscope would not exist without all of its tiny particles and reflect on how beautiful all those segments are in the phantasmagoria. When climbing a ladder of hope we forget about the steps we have already taken, all too consumed and frustrated at the steps that we are yet to climb. The more we permit ourselves to feel pride the more it will strengthen our self-esteem, self-worth and confidence, making us more robust and resilient for future adversity. It is not our inequalities and differences that divide us, it is our inability to appreciate, accept, understand and celebrate those differences. Many years ago I heard the most beautiful quote with profound meaning so in the spirit of pride I’d like to share it with you. It is to remind you that there is only one of you, on this entire planet of 7.7 billion people. There will never be another you, you really are irreplaceable, so don’t be scared to be happy. “There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique, and if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium; and be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is, nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep open and aware directly to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open. No artist is pleased. There is no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is on a queer, divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others.” Happy & Safe Pride 2019 everyone! In memory of beautiful young woman called Lyra. Rest in peace. This is an opinion piece from the columnist/contributor and not the opinion of GNI MAG / Romeo & Julian Publications Ltd.

EIGHTEEEN // GNIMAG.COM

SLANG!

FRIEND OF DOROTHY ‘Friend of Dorothy’s’ is a slang term used to mean ‘gay man’. It originated around the time of World War II, when homosexuality was illegal, as a way for gay men to identify each other without people understanding. It’s not completely known where the phrase derives from. Many believe it is from the lesser known 1909 sequel to ‘Wonderful Wizard Of Oz’: ‘The Road To Oz’ where Dorothy, after being told “You have some queer friends,” exclaims “The queerness doesn’t matter, so long as they’re friends.”

Others think the phrase came to be due to Judy Garland’s gay icon status. Either way everyone agrees that the term works because of Dorothy’s accepting nature and her willingness to care for anyone outside of the norm. In the early 80s, the Naval Investigative Service was investigating homosexuality in the Chicago area and heard the phrase being used frequently. Unaware of the phrase’s origin they began searching for this ‘Dorothy’ that so many gay men seemed to be friends with in the hopes that she’d have some important information but it seems they couldn’t find ‘Dorothy Queen Of The Gays.’


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OPINION // MICKY MURRAY

PROGRESSIVE POLITICS MICKY MURRAY I’M ALWAYS QUITE AN OPTIMISTIC person, I like to think that everything will work out well in the end, and that people in power will eventually do what is right. Of course I know this doesn’t always happen and it might be naïve to think that everything will work out okay, especially since we haven’t had a government in Northern Ireland in over two years, Westminster are in a right tizzy, and we’ve just elected MEPs to a government that we might not be part of in a few months, albeit possibly the most liberal and progressive line up of MEPs we’ve ever had across the UK and Ireland.

elected to represent Northern Ireland, whether it be in local councils or in Europe, and we now have more openly LGBTQ people in office. The surge in progressive politics is finally lifting off, and more and more people are jumping on board to ensure that the only way forward is by voting for progressive change.

I’m very aware though, that with the Talks process on-going in Stormont, and the Belfast Pride festival coming up in late July early August, that this could be the last time we take to the streets demanding Marriage Equality in Northern Ireland and we will then be able to focus our efforts on other LGBTQ rights such as the inequalities of Trans healthcare, the lack of a sexual orientation strategy, palliative care for LGBTQ people, and so many other issues that are effecting the LGBTQ community daily that aren’t being addressed.

We can’t discuss Pride season without talking about the great success that Pride in Newry have had over the past eight years, and this year they will be hosting UK and Ireland Pride 2019, another great accomplishment, with performers such as Claire Richards from STEPS, Heather Small from M People, Saara Aalto, and B*Witched, set to close with possibly the first ever rainbow firework display for a Pride festival on the island of Ireland, the North is definitely bringing it in terms of Pride in 2019, which shows that although we may be a minority group, we have an overwhelming level of support from the majority of people here, a level of support which is slowly being represented in all levels of government.

Although, I’m not completely alone in my optimistic viewpoint, the recent Local Government and European elections have seen more progressive, liberal politicians being

TWENTY // GNIMAG.COM

This progressive surge isn’t just happening in Belfast, or in politics, but right across the country, who would have ever thought that Larne would be holding a Pride festival? Now, I know people from Larne are very protective about their…town? But it hasn’t always been the most exciting or progressive place in the country, especially for LGBTQ people, but on 17th August they’re holding their first ever Pride Festival in the Olderfleet Bar with music, a BBQ, local drag performers, singers, DJs, and even Danny Beard from Britain’s Got Talent, and they still haven’t announced their headliner! My fingers are crossed for Vengaboys, I might be slightly too optimistic about that one though. But isn’t it great that a town like Larne aren’t only holding a pride festival, but are also going all out in their organising?!

I don’t know if it’s the excitement of Pride season, the progressive political surge as of late, or my general optimism, but I’m really looking forward to see the landscape of LGBTQ rights begin to change before Pride season 2020.

This is an opinion piece from the columnist/contributor and not the opinion of GNI MAG / Romeo & Julian Publications Ltd.

SING!

BORN THIS WAY LADY GAGA “Don’t hide yourself in regret Just love yourself and you’re set I’m on the right track, baby I was born this way (Born this way)” Born this way by Lady Gaga is the anthem of a new generation, it encapsulates the feeling of self acceptance and the want of so many for equality. The song itself has been described as a “freedom song” and has been the soundtrack to hundreds, if not thousands of pride parades all across the world since its release in 2010. The lyrics themselves discuss the feeling of self empowerment of not just the LGBT community but of all minorities. When asked about what this song ment for her and why she wrote it Lady Gaga said “I want to write my this-is-who-the-fuck-I-am anthem, but I don’t want it to be hidden in poetic wizardry and metaphors. I want it to be an attack, an assault on the issue because I think, especially in today’s music, everything gets kind of washy sometimes and the message gets hidden in the lyrical play.” The song as a single has been received to massive critical and commercial success with some critics calling it “A hymn for LGBT Christians” and “An immediate pop hit”.


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OPINION // SAM MCKINSTRY

CORPORATE PRIDE? SAM MCKINSTRY WHEN I GO TO PRIDE, I dress up, do myself up, and drink as much as possible it is pride after all. But I don’t see pride just as a big party or as an excuse to get wiped off my face. Pride to me is a celebration of our community and is a time to recognise the struggle our community has faced and to respect those who have risked and lost their lives in the fight for our rights. The parade is obviously filled with companies supporting their LGBTQ employees, which in my opinion is a good thing, what is not a good thing however is when companies take advantage of our sexualities just to increase their profit margins. Take Microsoft for example, they have released pridethemed products but they still donate to antigay organisations and politicians who fight against LGBTQ rights, doesn’t make much sense, does it?I know it in some way promotes pride and normalises it to some extent because if big corporations accept us then surely everyone else should some people would think, but the bigger picture is that a lot of major corporations could not care less about our queerness and want nothing more than to make money off of us. A lot of the people who go to pride, unfortunately, some in our community, see pride as nothing but a party. While I do agree pride is a time to let your hair down,

be yourself and have a good time, it is not just a party. I have spoken to loads of people who have said they simply do not care about the fight for our rights, and they don’t care about the people who have fought for us to be where we are today. People need to realise that pride is not a party to just get drunk, but a party to celebrate our community and how far we have come through the decades, but it also serves as a reminder for how far we still have to go. If you go to Belfast you will see the Free Presbyterians outside Belfast City Hall protesting against our community. Not only that, pride is a reminder of the privilege that we have. It is a privilege for us to celebrate who we are, while there are LGBTQ people across the world being literally murdered for their sexuality and gender identities. Saudi Arabia still kills gay men, countries across the globe still ban pride marches. We can’t forget about these people during our piss ups. Hopefully, one day Pride will simply be a month to be proud of who we are. We do not wear our sexualities or genders because it looks good, our sexualities and genders are who we are and they are not a product to be bought and sold. We are not a trend, we are people and we are part of a community which should stand up to corporations and tell them to stop profiting off our fight. If companies want to be seen as allies to the LGBTQ community they need to stop donating to homophobic politicians, they need to tell politicians to represent our and they need to support LGBTQ organisations through donations and proper representation. Having said that I hope you all have an amazing pride. This is a time to celebrate us for who we are, be proud and tell the corporations who profit off us to shove their ‘support’ up their ass. If you want to see how my pride goes feel free to follow me on Instagram @samckinstry or on twitter on @sam_mckinstry.

BUZZ!

MADONNA MEDELLIN Madonna is back with an all new single “Medellin” from her highly anticipated 14th studio album. The song, featuring Columbian singer Maluma has been banned from Radio 1 and people believe the station as branded the queen of pop “too old” for their audience, but that hasn’t stopped fans all over the world from listening and sharing the track like wildfire. One fan said: “I can’t handle this Madonna song I love it so much. I’m going nuts.” and another wrote: “Can’t stop listening to Medellín .” Her new album ‘Madame X’ introduces fans to a new ulter-ego Madame X who Madonna describes as “a secret agent. Traveling around the world. Changing identities. Fighting for freedom. Bringing light to dark places.” and adds “She is a dancer, a professor, a head of state, a housekeeper, an equestrian, a prisoner, a student, a mother, a child, a teacher, a nun, a saint, a whore and a spy… in the house of love.” A minute long trailer for the album featuring this new character has been dropped and it’s been announced the album will be released on June 14. As well as this the full tracklist has been released just to get fans even more excited for this brand new era of music. The songs are Medellin, Dark Ballet, God Control, Future (featuring Quavo), Batuka, Killers Who Are Partying, Crave (featuring Swae Lee), Crazy, Come Alive, Faz Gostoso (featuring Anitta), Bitch I’m Loca (featuring Maluma), I Don’t Search I Find and I Rise.

This is an opinion piece from the columnist/contributor and not the opinion of GNI MAG / Romeo & Julian Publications Ltd.

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INTERVIEW // YEARS AND YEARS

YEARS & YEARS OLLY ALEXANDER

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INTERVIEW // YEARS AND YEARS IT’S A BIG SUMMER FOR YOU, PLAYING LOTS OF OUTDOOR SHOWS ACROSS THE COUNTRY, INCLUDING NEWMARKET RACECOURSES. ARE YOU EXCITED FOR A BUSY SUMMER? AND HOW DO YOU FIND PLAYING THESE SHOWS AS OPPOSE TO YOUR NORMAL INDOOR SHOWS? I’m very excited; it’s the summer season, it’s party season every weekend. It’s gets a bit like Groundhog Day, which is quite surreal. But the appetite for live music is very healthy, which makes me so happy. There’s nothing better than playing a festival or an outdoor show and you get an outdoor party vibe. So I’m hoping to spread joy and to be dancing throughout the summer. THE BAND ARE GETTING BIGGER NATIONALLY, GROWING YEAR BY YEAR, DOES PLAYING A VENUE LIKE NEWMARKET RACECOURSES SHOW HOW FAR-REACHING YOUR MUSIC IS IN TERMS OF THE DIFFERENT AUDIENCES YOU APPEAL TO? ALL SORTS OF PEOPLE GO TO THIS EVENT, THEY GO FOR A DAY OUT AND HAVE A BIG PARTY, HOW DOES IT FEEL? It’s quite bizarre, when I was strapped for cash I was doing odd jobs and I did this catering job at Newmarket where I catered this really fancy group of people who were taking this coach to watch Barry Manilow I think. I was pouring their champagne standing outside looking over the racecourses and thinking, “Wow, this is really big!” and now I’m playing one. It’s pretty mental, I’m looking forward to it, and I’ve never done one before. HOW DO YOU GO ABOUT CHOOSING THE SETLIST? We have different versions of our setlist, one of them is called ‘the hour of power’, and it’s an hour of all the hits, you want your set to be up-tempo, and have a ballad or two in there, but for the most part we like to keep it up and dance around celebrating and for people to have the time of their lives. That’s what we aim to do

when we perform. BY THE TIME YOU PLAY NEWMARKET, PALO SANTO WOULD BE A YEAR OLD, HOW HAVE YOU FOUND THE REACTIONS FOR THE RECORD OVER THE YEAR? It’s such an overwhelming journey, that’s so cliché I can’t believe I said that! I’m so touched by how many of the fans stuck with us since the first album, we saw them on tour the first time round, and then we saw them again the second time round. They’re a few years older and the music means something different to them now than it did, but it’s still meaningful; that’s the coolest thing. I’ll always appreciate that so much. I’m so happy with the reaction to Palo Santo, it’s made me excited and hungry to put more stuff out there and do something different. YOU SEEM TO BE FULL OF SURPRISES, YOU’VE DONE SOME COLLABS, YOU DID THE TRACK WITH JAX JONES, YOU ALSO DID THE GREATEST SHOWMAN REIMAGINED SOUNDTRACK, HOW WAS ALL THAT? WAS IT OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE? When I started out in the industry I was pretty clueless and those opportunities were coming to us last year, it felt like it would be fun to do. Anytime we get asked to do something I’m like, “Hmm, will it be fun?” or “will it be something different?” and if it is I’d normally want to try it. It’s a nice feeling to be asked to be involved with another artists project. I think the more you can exercise your creativity – that’s the dream – so I always have fun doing that. HAVE YOU GOT ANY SURPRISES UP YOUR SLEEVE? IS THERE GOING TO BE ANY MORE COLLABORATIONS? OR COLLABORATIONS ON THE ALBUM? There’s definitely going to be more collaborations, but I have no idea what will end up on the album. In the past we’ve not had that but I’m 100% open to it and would love to make that happen. There are some really cool

people that we’re working with so that’s all to come. WITH SOME OF THESE COLLABS RECENTLY, THERE’S BEEN A LOT OF STANDALONE SINGLES, DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU HAVE ARTISTIC FREEDOM ON THESE FEATURES AS OPPOSED TO YOUR OWN ALBUM? It feels like a one off so you don’t think too much about how it sits in a larger body of work like an album. It’s fun. Everyone has different ways of working, it’s a different writing process, it doesn’t feel as hyper-personal. It’s just having fun in a studio and that’s always what I want to do – to get in a studio, laugh, and dance. COMING BACK TO THE ‘COME ALIVE’ TRACK WITH JESS GLYNNE ON THE GREATEST SHOWMAN REIMAGINED SOUNDTRACK, HOW DID THAT COME ABOUT? YOU WERE AMONGST SO MANY MASSIVE NAMES ON THE RECORDING. ARE YOU A FAN OF THE GREATEST SHOWMAN YOURSELF? Jess was doing a cover on the album and she asked if wanted to sing on it and I said ‘Yeah! Why not? That sounds like fun” so thanks Jess! I was obviously very flattered. The Greatest Showman is very theatrical and that’s very Palo Santo and Years & Years, so it made sense. YOU TOUCHED ON IT EARLIER WHEN YOU SAID YOU HAVE A PARTY AT A YEARS & YEARS SHOW, BUT YOU ALSO MAKE IT AN INCLUSIVE AND WELCOMING ENVIRONMENT FOR EVERYONE, HOW IMPORTANT IS THAT FOR YOU AT A SHOW? It’s the top priority. When someone comes to a Years & Years show I want them to feel like they are free to 100% be themselves. It’s about celebrating what makes us different and unique. What’s amazing about live music is you get to share the experience with other people; it’s so powerful. If you put out a message of inclusivity

and support, you’re allowing people to feel safe and I think that’s when you can really enjoy it, let yourself go, and have fun dancing like no one’s watching. We have a very unique fan base, everyone is different, but what unites everyone is the shared support and celebration for what makes us all different. YOU HAVE THIS POWERFUL MESSAGE, YOU PUT ON AN AMAZING SHOW, BUT A BIG PART OF IT IS YOUR FASHION. IS THAT ANOTHER CREATIVE OUTPUT FOR YOU? It’s something that I’ve grown into, fashion, style, and the look is part of the fantasy. Pop music for me is about the fantasy and drama, all my icons like Prince, Bowie, Beyoncé, Britney, it’s all about the visuals, what they wear and how they put something on and turn into a magical being on the stage. If you can’t play a bit of dress up when you’re singing pop songs then I feel sorry for you. GOING INTO THESE BIG SUMMER SHOWS, HAVE YOU THOUGHT MUCH ABOUT WHAT YOU’LL BE WEARING? ESPECIALLY SINCE IT’LL BE SCORCHING HOT. It’s going to be okay because I quite like a bit of nudity so I’m happy to show some skin if I need to cool down. I can always just wear a pair of trousers and just take my top off if all else fails. ARE THERE ANY SHOWS IN PARTICULAR THAT YOU’RE LOOKING FORWARD TO? Obviously all of them. Glastonbury is a really special one so that’s super exciting; we can’t wait to play that. We’re doing a lot of European festivals and getting out there is always nice to see fans in other countries, it’s going to be a fun summer. ANOTHER OF YOUR BIG SHOWS THIS SUMMER IS IN SCARBOROUGH, ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO IT? Woo! Scarborough, can’t wait! WORDS: Simon Neal, Chuff Media

TWENTY FIVE // GNIMAG.COM


INTERVIEW // ROCK OF AGES

ROCK OF AGES THIS HIGH ENERGY MUSICAL HAS AUDIENCES SINGING AND DANCING IN THEIR SEATS AS THEY TOUR THE UK, WE CAUGHT UP WITH ZOE BIRKETT, LUKE WALSH, JODIE STEELE AND KEVIN CLIFTON TO FIND OUT WHAT WE CAN EXPECT...

ROCK OF AGES COMES TO THE GRAND OPERA HOUSE ON 18TH JUNE FOR INFORMATION OR TO BOOK TICKETS CALL 028 9024 1919 OR VISIT WWW.GOH.CO.UK/WHATS-ON/ROCK-OF-AGES

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INTERVIEW // ROCK OF AGES FOR ANYONE WHO’S NEVER SEEN ROCK OF AGES, TELL US ABOUT YOUR CHARACTER. My character is Justice Charlier, she runs the strip club, or gentleman’s club shall we say. She’s very sassy, she’s a hard lady but underneathe she’s definetly got a soft shell. IT’S HARD FOR ME TO BELIEVE THAT 18 YEARS AGO WAS POP IDOL, THINKING BACK, DO YOU HAVE FOND MEMORIES OF THAT TIME OF YOUR LIFE? Absolutely, I was 16 years old and to be honestly a lot of it is still such a blur. It’s just one of those experiences that I’ll always be thankful for. It was a wonderful start to my career and I learned so much so young and I’ll always be forever greatful for it. IF YOU WERE GIVEN THE OPORTUNITY TO DO IT AGAIN, WOULD YOU? No, I wouldn’t do it again. A lot has changed in the industry thes days and I think I did it at the right time. WHAT IS IT THAT YOU LIKE ABOUT LIFE ON THE ROAD? This is only my second tour but it’s nice, I think, to get to see some of the fans that you don’t usually see. Different cities, different experiences. A lot of the time it’s seeing a lot of the fans that have supported you for such a long time that haven’t been able to see you in the West End.

YOU HAD A BIT OF A STINT IN BIG BROTHER IN 2013, HOW DID YOU FIND THAT? I would say quite boring, sounds really bad but it’s the truth. When your in this industry, especially theatre as well and TV and you’re working, learning scripts, learning songs, having concerts all the time, I’m always on the go. Big Brother was one of those experiences where really you had nothing to do apart from the tasks which are like a half hour of a whole day. Once you’ve got chatting to everyone and you’ve heard about all of their family businesses and everything and what they do and they like and they love and their favourite colour bordom kicks in heavily.

beautiful song and it’s such a story telling song. Where it sits in the show is probably the only place where it’s actually chilled and relaxed and you get to breathe and actually understand these character’s stories.

BACK TO THE SHOW, HAVE YOU GOT A FAVOURITE SCENE OR FAVOURITE SONG? Yeah, I’m quite lucky because Justice is quite sassy I get the sassy diva numbers. So Harden My Heart is a great number. Any Way You Want It is another of mine and I have like pole danced on stage and the girls do lots of amazing dances on poles and stuff so that’s always a great one as well like visually. Then Every Rose Has Its Thorne is like the kind of pivotal song in the story, it’s a very quiet moment where all the characters come together and sing a song about what’s going on in the story. It’s probably one of the only moments where you get a bit of quiet time because it’s an 80s rock show but Every Rose is such a

BACK TO TOURING LIFE, GIVE ME A TYPICAL DAY, WHAT’RE YOU GETTING UP TO? I’m a full time mummy. I have a little girl, I have a two year old. So that’s a whole other job in itself before I even start the show. I’m quite blessed, my mum is my full time nanny, my daughter comes with me to a lot of venues and also I’m able to commute to a lot of venues from home. I have a property business on the side so I have properties in the north and properties in the south of the country so I’m able to kind of stay in between which is lovely. So yeah I’m mummy up until 7pm then I get that wig on and them lashes and then I’m away, I’m Justice.

IF YOU WERE TO PUT GENDER ASIDE, WHAT PART WOULD YOU LIKE TO PLAY FOR A DAY? Definetly Stacee Jaxx. I’m actually such a fan of Jennifer Lopez and she put up a post of the week of her new video and she’s wearing this white cowboy hat with this amazing white cat suit and that’s kind of what Stacee Jaxx wears in the show as a man and I was like “I wanna wear that! I wanna be the female Stacee Jaxx!”

IN A MOVIE ABOUT YOUR LIFE STORY, WHICH ACTRESS IS GONNA PLAY YOU AND WHY? I don’t know. I love Angela Bassett. I’ve been a huge fan of her since watching her do the Tina Turner movie. Someone along that line.

ZOE BIRKETT

YOU’VE BEEN TO BELFAST AND DUBLIN BEFORE, IS THER ANYTHING IN PARTICULAR YOU ENJOY ABOUT COMING OVER HERE? The audiences I always think are wild. I did Dublin last year and it was cracking, it’s just brilliant. I think the last time I came to belfast might have been with Thriller, before I did West End with Thriller so that was like 2009 maybe. Actually did I do Bodyguard in Belfast? I think I might have. They’re always up for a good time regardless. WILL YOU GET MUCH FREE TIME WHEN YOU’RE OVER? A- We only really get a Friday so not that much and two shows Saturday.

TWENTY SEVEN // GNIMAG.COM


INTERVIEW // ROCK OF AGES TELL OUR READERS, WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE SHOW YOU’VE PERFORMED IN SO FAR? Strange enough, it’s Rock of Ages, It’s the we’re in now that’s coming to belfast in a little while. I’ve done it twice. The first time I done the show was on a cruise ship with Norweigen Cruise Lines and I made some very good friends and the show is a blast to me. It’s like the best of the 80s rock and glam-rock that you can think of al shoved into a two and a half hour musical with a brilliant script and it gives you a lot of chance to have a lot of fun. This time around it’s a new production of the show but it’s, I dare say, even more fun and I have also made a bunch of great friends within the cast who are phenominal at everything they do and it’s still got all the 80s rock music that I love so yeah it’s probably gotta be Rock Of Ages as my favourite. FOR ANYONE WHO HASN’T SEEN ROCK OF AGES, TELL US ABOUT YOUR CHARACTER? I play Drew, he is, what I’d describe him as I guess is a romantic lead. He has moved from Detroit to LA to hopefully make his living as a rock star, those are his dreams. As that is developing he ends up working in a place called the Bourbon Room which is where a lot of the action is set in the show and he meets a girl called Sherrie and a love stor ensues. Drew and Sherrie lose each other as the story goes on but as with any good musical they find each other at the end and sing Don’t Stop Believing at each other. YOU’RE A SINGER-SONGWRITER AS WELL, ANY NEW MUSIC COMING OUT? I’m writing things as we go along the tour, recording things when I can. It’s difficult ‘cause we’re travelling up and down the UK, it’s making it difficult to find a suitable space to record things. A few weeks ago I was recording with my head inside a cupboard that I padded out with pillows on the inside to make it suitable for recording. Some weeks I have to give up and just accept I can’t do any work but I’ve sent some songs off to so some people and hopefully they’re gonna look at them, my brother and I are hoping to start some kind of duo together. I’ve got some songs in the pipeline it’s just what ends up happening on tour is that things end up taking a whole lot longer than you’d have thought ‘cause you don’t get the hours that you need. things are in the works. IF YOU COULD SWITCH ROLES WITH ANYBODY WHO WOULD IT BE AND WHY?

TWENTY EIGHT // GNIMAG.COM

LUKE WALSH I would want to be Lonny. I don’t even have to hesitate, I wanna be Lonny. I guess I sould explain for the readers, just incase: He’s the narrator and he does a lot of interacting with the audience and our Lonny is fantastic, Lucas Rush, he’s phenominal at what he does, I sometimes catch myself watching him while I’m on stage. It’s written in a way you can get away with almost murder which he has a lot of fun with, and it’s definately a part which he has the most free reign over what he can do because of how the excelent script is written. Lonny was Russell Brand in the movie production and unfortunately in the movie Lonny was watered down from what you’re going to see in this production, which was a shame when I saw it i was gutted because it is one of my favourite characters. It’s just a lot of fun and he can get away with anything he wants and I’m slightly jealous any time I watch him doing it. WHO’S YOUR FAVOURITE ROCK BAND AND YOUR GO-TO SONG? My dad would always be listening to the Rolling Stones or The Who, that’s kind of the stuff that I ended up hearing all the time and there’s loads of Steve Perry which makes it’s way into the show as well. The one song that springs into mind, mostly because my dad, I don’t know why, never learned the words, is Satisfaction by The Rolling Stones. I have a memory of driving to a football match in the summer at some point and it started playing on the radio. That one in particular

just popped into my head now and it brings back fond memories so today Satisfaction is the one. WHILE YOU’RE TOURING WHAT’S THE ONE THING YOU MISS MOST ABOUT BEING AT HOME? Because we’re in digs all the time of varied shape and size, sometimes you’re sharing with someone, sometimes with the host, sometimes you’re in self-contained, I love to cook, so I don’t get to cook all the time and I miss being able to do that and also I very much miss my X-Box. HAVE YOU BEEN TO BELFAST BEFORE? WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO DOING? I haven’t been to Belfast before, I have a friend who lives in Rostrevor which is just south of the border and I’ve been to Newry for several New Years Eve celebrations. My friends wanted to go there, he organized it all, it was great. We went to some clubs, I could not tell you half of what happened. Yeah, we’ve been there a few years in a row, we made it a thing. WHEN YOU GET TO BELFAST WILL YOU BE DOING TOURISTY STUFF? Yeah, I’ll be staying in Hillsborough which apparently is quite a nice place. We’re planning on hopefully getting time to go to the Giants Causeway if we can fit it in but I’m not sure.


INTERVIEW // ROCK OF AGES HOW DO YOU FIND GOING FROM SOMETHING LIKE HEATHERS INTO ROCK OF AGES? I don’t want to say it was a bit of a deflate but it just went from crazy crazy crazy to oh I can chill and just enjoy Rock Of Ages. Heathers was like a 24/7 kind of responsibility. So many people were such big fans of it and it meant so much to so many people that it really did come with a kind of responsibility of putting that show on and being everything that everyone wanted us to be. So coming to Rock of Ages and going on a nice little tour is like I got to go into hiding a little bit and still perform. THE CAST RECORDING WAS RELEASED RECENLY, WAS THAT FUN TO GET INVOLVED WITH? Yeah, when we recorded that we had shows in the evening and so we were getting up, and I was shooting back from the shows, getting to bed, getting up at six, like coming all the way to North London, recording, goind to the theatre to do the show. We were all so knackered! So I was really nervous as to how it was going to turn out but then when it released everyone was buzzing off it and it sounded quite good so I was pleased. FOR ANYONE WHO’S NOT FAMILIAR WITH ROCK OF AGES, TELL US ABOUT THE SHOW?

It’s kind of a boy meets girl situation, things go wrong and then things go right, that really is the kind of basics of the storyline but the heart of Rock of Ages is the music, the stylistic qualities and the fact that you’re taken right back to the 80s. It’s sexy as hell and everyone will know the songs even if they think they’re not going to know the songs, they’ll know the songs when they start playing. There’s so many comedic characters and big characters that will just have you laughing and there’s moments to cry and soulful moments of justice. You know, it’s just a real feel-good kind of show and you can really sing along and the audience the audience are involved with Lonny, the guy who narrates the show, he’s fantastic, Lucas Rush who plays Lonny he’s a genius, he’s always the audience favourite and it’s just a really good, feel-good night and it’s sexy as well, the girls are like basically in near to nothing, so are the men, you get a good time. IN THE SHOW DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE SONG OR FAVOURITE SCENE? I think my favourite song is Hard On My Heart/Shadow Of The Night with Zoe. Actually I think both my favourite songs, ‘cause I also love Every Rose Has Its Thorn, so both my songs with Justice who’s played by Zoe Birkett, she’s like my sister now, we’ve known each other for years so it’s a real feel-good moment to sing those songs

with her. THIS IS KEVIN CLIFTON’S FIRST SHOW, WHAT’S HE LIKE TO WORK WITH? He’s so cute. He’s such a cutie. When he came his head was in the right place, his heart was in the right place. HAVE YOU HAD ANY WEIRD STAGE DOOR EXPERIENCES? ANYONE STALKING YOU? Obviously I have a few “loyal” fans let’s call them and I get some odd things to stage door. I’ve had a few knitted dolls which is an odd thing like “are you doing voodoo on me?” I also had some fans come all the way to Germany just to see Rock Of Ages when I started even though I was coming back to the UK with it just to show their kinda loyalty. It’s really sweet and people always ask me “Are you ok with fans wanting to speak to you?’ YES YES YES please do. We do this for other people, we are onstage for ourselves because we love doing it, but the dream and the gift of it is that we’re giving something to you guys so please yeah come talk to me, let me know what you think. I love that. ONE HOUR BEFORE THE SHOW, WHAT’S IN YOUR RITUAL OR ROUTINE? Depending on the show I think. When I was in Wicked and I played Elphaba I would have to warm up a lot more just because of the style of the songs and I’d have to take a lot more weight up in my belt and stuff like that. With Rock Of Ages I’m pretty chilled, I’m actually a bit of a nusence, I get ready at the 5 minute call, I’m so laid back like it’s disgusting. People get stressed out at me because I’m not a beginner so I start doing my makeup at the 5 minute call, get my costume on, maybe do a few lip trills and off I go. WHAT WOULD YOUR DREAM ROLE BE IF YOU GOT TO PICK ANY CHARACTER IN ANY SHOW? I think there are two that I’d like if they come over to England: Regina in Mean Girls and Elsa in Frozen.

JODIE STEELE

YOU’VE BEEN TO BELFAST BEFORE, WHAT ARE YOU MOST LOOKING FORWARD TO WHEN YOU GET OVER? I love the bars. Every night you can find a bar with an Irish band playing like it’s just so magical. It’s like the best thing in the world. We don’t get that in England so much. It’s just that Irish twang that they have when they play.

TWENTY NINE // GNIMAG.COM


INTERVIEW // ROCK OF AGES

KEVIN CLIFTON WHAT IS IT LIKE SWITCHING FROM STRICTLY COME DANCING TRAINING SESSIONS, AND THE HIGH OF WINNING THE SHOW WITH STACEY DOOLEY, TO TAKING ON THE ROLE OF STACEE JAXX IN “ROCK OF AGES”? It’s really exciting because I’ve wanted to do musical theatre for so long. I’ve talked about it quite a lot over the last couple of years, but everything has been so dance and Strictly focused, so when this opportunity came up I wanted to grab it with both hands. I feel like I’m switching roles from Strictly, as there I’m in my comfort zone, I’m the professional and Stacey is the celebrity trying to learn to dance whereas now I’m figuratively and literally becoming Stacee! Actually, one of my favourite facts is that that I obviously

THIRTY // GNIMAG.COM

just danced with Stacey Dooley on Strictly Come Dancing, and her full name is actually Anastacia Jaclyn Dooley, and her nickname is Stacey Jacs, so it seems like it was all meant to be!

about thinking I was the Jim Morrison of the ballroom! I never thought they’d want me to be involved in the show, let alone play Stacee Jaxx so when they suggested I come in and audition it was just unbelievable.

WHAT MADE YOU WANT TO BE INVOLVED WITH ROCK OF AGES?

HOW WAS THE AUDITION?

I first saw the show in 2009 on Broadway, when I was in New York with “Burn The Floor”, and “Rock of Ages” was on the next street over. I just loved it and went back and saw it two or three more times on Broadway and then saw it again when it came to the West End. I’m a big fan! I’ve always been a massive rock fan anyway, and before I was on Strictly I used to fancy myself a bit of a rock star. I used to have long black hair and eye makeup and black fingernails and used to swan

I think it went well! It was a bit daunting to be auditioning as a musical theatre performer, rather than as a singer. I was in “Dirty Dancing The Musical” before but that was primarily a dancing role. However, the director and choreographer, Nick, has an amazing ability to make you feel immediately comfortable. I didn’t feel like I was being judged so I just went for it! Could you tell us a little about the show? It’s the story of two wannabes that have


INTERVIEW // ROCK OF AGES headed to California to make it as stars, all told with the help of amazing 80s power rock songs. Drew wants to become a rock star, and Sherrie was to become an actress. They both end up working at this bar, waiting tables and falling in love. However, in walks this guy Stacee Jaxx who is the front man of a rock band. He’s the over the top, flamboyant megastar that all the girls want to be with and all the men want to be but at the same time he’s a bit of a villain – he’s pretentious and self obsessed, thinking he’s God’s gift to everything and ultimately he disrupts everyone else’s lives!

breathe differently as a singer than I do as a dancer actually. As dancers we take shallow, short bursts of air as we move, whereas when you’re singing and hitting these big notes you want to take in large amounts of air quite quickly and from quite low down. I’m training myself to be more conscious of my breathing and getting used to it. Otherwise I might run out of breath on stage! You don’t realise all these things until you start learning about them and it’s not just a case of thinking I can hold a tune therefore I can do a musical, there’s much more to it than that.

WILL IT BE QUITE FUN PLAYING SOMEONE A BIT VILLAINOUS?

WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST EXPERIENCE OF MUSICAL THEATRE?

Oh yeah. I can definitely tap into the pretentious nature of him – I think I used to be a bit like that, thinking I was a rock star when I was just a ballroom dancer, everyone goes through that sort of phase a bit though! I used to think I was really rock’n’roll when I am the least rock’n’roll person in the world!

One of my earliest memories is me and my sister sat in front of the TV watching “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang”. We used to get the fire guard from the fireplace and put it in front of us, pretending it was the car. We would sit there one behind the other singing! We used to get my Dad’s snooker cue out of the garage and do Me Ol’ Bamboo!

It will be fun to play Stacee as he’s so different to how I am on Strictly, and how people are used to seeing me. Although having said that, “Rock of Ages” is just as flamboyant as Strictly, and has the same sense of fun, although in a different way! WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO PREPARE FOR THE ROLE? I’m taking singing lessons to make sure my voice is strong enough to sing the role, particularly to be able to maintain it. It’s one thing to be able to sing in an audition but it’s another to do eight shows a week and belt out these amazing 80s tracks. DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE SONG YOU LOOK FORWARD TO PERFORMING? My first big song is Bon Jovi’s ‘Dead or Alive’, that’s Stacee’s big moment and I love that song. It’s his big opening in the show and you’ve really got to come on and make a massive impact with the audience, really get them going and show what kind of character Stacee is. It should be fun! WHAT ARE THE CHALLENGES OF PERFORMING THIS STYLE OF MUSIC?

When we were really young we came down to London to watch “Cats” and I remember being so blown away by the whole spectacle of it all. I remember sitting there and thinking this is amazing. Mum and Dad bought us the soundtrack on cassette, and I used to sit and listen to it all the time. DO YOU HAVE A ROLE YOU’D LOVE TO PLAY IN THE FUTURE? I don’t know specifically – I think this is it, being Stacee Jaxx! Like I say, Rock of Ages is my favourite show and it is just much fun, and you just have such a good time when you watch it. I’ve been a little bit obsessed with it for a few years so when they said about playing Stacee Jaxx I thought it was perfect, I’m going to be able to be in a show I love. YOU’VE TOURED BEFORE WITH VARIOUS SHOWS, IS IT SOMETHING YOU ENJOY, OR DO YOU FIND IT A CHALLENGE?

DO YOU HAVE ANY ‘MUST-HAVE’ ITEMS YOU TAKE WITH YOU? My podcast app on my phone, I’m constantly listening to podcasts on my phone, lots of motivational ones. My iPad too, so I can catch up on Match of the Day and stuff! DO YOU HAVE A GO-TO KARAOKE TUNE? My karaoke song is “Are You Gonna Be My Girl?” by Jet. I love doing that at karaoke but I used to really scream it out and not be able to talk afterwards! WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO DURING ANY DOWN TIME YOU GET? I’ve not had any downtime for a long time, but I’m a massive football fan. Scunthorpe United is my team! HAVE YOU EVER BEEN GIVEN A PIECE OF ADVICE, OR SOME WORDS OF WISDOM THAT HAVE STUCK WITH YOU? I can’t remember who said it to me, but I took it on board, “it’s not about doing nothing wrong, it’s about doing something magical”. I think people make the mistake of thinking to do a good performance they’ve got to be technically perfect, but there are some brilliant performers who can hold a crowd in the palm of their hands but they’re not always necessarily the best dancers, singers or actors. However, they can create magic and make people feel something. FINALLY, WHAT CAN AUDIENCES EXPECT WHEN THEY COME TO SEE YOU IN ROCK OF AGES? Don’t expect ‘Kevin from Grimsby’ as they call me on Strictly Come Dancing! It’s me in a completely different light, probably being a bit raunchier than you’re used to! I’m going to look completely different, but it will be a lot of fun and you should expect to have an amazing time.

I love it actually. I don’t have a problem with tour life, I quite enjoy it and find it exciting. When you’re on tour with a cast you really get to know them and you build a sense of family. It all feels like a bit of adventure.

I’ve spent a lot of time learning how to

THIRTY ONE // GNIMAG.COM


ONLINE // JESSICA KELLGREN-FOZARD

ONLINE // JESSICA KELLGREN-FOZARD

JESSICA KELLGREN-FOZARD IS A British youtuber who makes fun and informative videos about life, fashion and dealing with disabilities and chronic illness. As a teenager she was diagnosed with hereditary neuropathy with liability to pressure palsies (HNPP), which on top of being a nightmare to pronounce causes extreme palsy in the arms, patches of numb skin, difficulty gripping things, weakness and severe fatigue. She also has mixed connective tissue disorder (MCTD), an autoimmune disease in which the body’s defence system attacks itself which causes chronic joint pain, muscle inflammation, hypermobility and pulmonary hypertension. And if that wasn’t enough she also has Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS) which on top of a range of other things has led to her

becoming deaf and blind in one eye. Oh and also she’s a lesbian. You may think that from the description above her videos would revolve around sadness and sob stories but that’s the very kind of assumption she is working to eliminate. Through fun stories and a whole lot of positivity Jessica will brighten your day and teach you a lot while doing it, she spreads a message of acceptance through her videos and educates able bodied people on disabled issues as well as helping viewers with disabilities feel less alone. Her and her wife Claudia are positively adorable, shining a light on not just lesbian relationships but also on dating whilst gay and disabled and what it’s like to be marroed to someone with a carer and

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how genuinnely normal these things are. Jessica never really had a moment of realising she was gay but rather grew up feeling it was all completely normal and that what she felt for girls was just how everyone felt “didn’t we all want to marry Pocahontas?” Her parents were very liberal and had no real expectations for their daughter’s sexuality so coming out wasn’t really that big a deal compared to the other stuff happening in her teenage years. The videos she makes are are really the most uplifting, happy form of education and entertainment you will find online. With an infectious smile and a beautiful vintage fashion sense (as well as possibly the cutest dog you will ever see) Jessica’s videos will never fail to give you a new perspective on life and how we behave

toward others. No message is shoved down your throat but simply put across in a funny and heartfelt way which makes it really sink in. Jessica and Claudia’s truly wonderful outlook on the world could inspire anyone to appreciate the life that we have just a little bit more “In the same way we sometimes forget we’re gay and that it’s ‘a thing’, we also forget I’m disabled, or deaf. We’re just two people with our own way of communicating... and sometimes one of us needs to be carried upstairs.”

Photo credit: Facebook.com FBook: JessicaOutOfTheCloset Youtube: MissJessicaKH


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KWEEN // KITTY CATT

KWEEN // KITTY CATT FROM RUNNING ABOUT HER GRANNY’S STREET IN A BLONDE WIG, KITTY IS NOW ONE OF THE HOTTEST KWEENS IN BELFAST. HOW AND WHEN DID YOU FIRST GET INTO DRAG ? The interest in drag was always there, even before I even knew what it was! I remember as a little boy running about on my granny’s street with a terrible blonde wig and a broom thinking I was one of the witches from Hocus Pocus. As the years went by I got more and more interested in the sketches and videos online by Shane Dawson and the “Shoes” video that went viral too many years ago... I am really showing my age now. Getting into university was my first real connection to LGBT culture as I am from a wee rural town in Tyrone and anything gay is a massive no-no. I met queens out and about and got friendly with a few and eventually found my way into RuPaul’s Drag Race and it was literally like a lightbulb moment, this is how I got into it. So I got eye-shadows and basically finger-painted them on and got costume wigs to practice. IT WAS DREADFUL! But uni ended and I ended up coming home and back into that oppressive environment but the bug had bitten me. I needed to get away from that terrible time in my life and moved to Derry/ Londonderry and Kitty was born. WHERE HAVE YOU WORKED? When I started in Derry, there just so happened to be a competition starting where new queens could host their own night in Envy nightclub. After making the move to Belfast I have done nights in

Union Street/ Shoe Factory and Maverick with the ever youthful Lady Portia D. Competed in Opportunity Frocks several times and most recently was one of the final piece models for Belfast Alternative Fashion Week in Belfast Castle which was mind-blowing. As well as performing, the interest in YouTube videos never left me so I have started my own channel where I post weird and hopefully wonderful videos for anyone who just needs to put a smile on their face. Laugh with me or at me, I don’t care so long as you laugh! Kitty’s Corner is a safe place and have had several guests on in the past including Miss Kandy Carousel and my drag momma Onya Becks and multiple others lined up for future content. WHO HAVE BEEN THE BEST PEOPLE TO WORK WITH TO DATE? The best people is such an interesting question to ask and I don’t want this to be a Miss Universe kind of answer and say oh I love everyone... because I totally could do that! Way too nice for my own good haha. But by far the ones that have made a lasting impact with me would have to be Portia Diamonte, Onya Becks and my fellow wee country bumpkin, Alexis Cox. They make me feel just so at ease and I let my weirdo flag fly high with them. WHO WOULD YOU LOVE TO WORK WITH? Honestly, if somehow I got the

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chance I would love to work with Drag Race royalty, Yekaterina Petrovna Zamolodchikova, Katya, try to keep up. She is someone who resonates with me. Dances to the beat of her own drum and lets the world see the true weirdo within. Plus Kitty and Katya just sounds way too good. Failing her just collabing with any of the Youtubers I hold dear or like you know being Prince Harry’s personal assistant or something would do nicely. TELL US MORE ABOUT YOU, WHERE PEOPLE CAN SEE YOU PERFORM? Well you can always catch me on youtube, always! Hit the like button, subscribe all that craic! If you just wanna see my beauty in person because of like animal

magnetism and all I join Portia in Maverick periodically on Saturdays. AND! I am hosting a Pride Party on the evening after Pride in the Culture Club Belfast with Alexis Cox and Penny Cillen, 6-8pm. Guaranteed laughs, games, cabaret, possible licking... I’m a strange child. HOW CAN PEOPLE FIND YOU? INSTA, FACEBOOK ETC Well I am a considerate wee soul so I share my Instagram with boy me, Daz. @dcatt592 You can find me on my Youtube channel at https://www.youtube. com/KittyCattDrag My facebook like page is at www.facebook.com/ kittycattdrag


ART // CHARCOEN

ART// CHARCOEN WORDS: GAVIN RENNICK

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ART // CHARCOEN

IN THE HYPER-SEXUALISED WORLD we currently live in, I often question how the male and female form is portrayed via the eyes of someone else. What is real? what are we searching for and how do we get it. With the recent surge on the road to creating the body beautiful, have we actually stopped to look around and appreciate the beauty and wonder of the human form? Are the days really gone when your imperfections are the one thing that made you stand out from the crowd, is the cookie cutter image really what we should be looking for or have we become shallow as a human race? Self-obsessed or just completely warped, are we obsessed with becoming something we are simply not? We aren’t perfect and we are not the same, however with cosmetic enhancement and the odd filler here and there becoming the new human everyday standard when are we gonna stop the craving for PERFECTION. So I did some searching online of course and stumbled across an artist that celebrates the beauty within the male queer community and it has made me stop to think and actually start to look in the mirror at what makes me different and why I should maybe stop and smell the roses. From his digital art, it has opened my mind to actually love the differences that others might find attractive. Trust me guys I am very much taken by his work. I reached out and got speaking with him and he was kind enough to let me ask him a few questions. I hope his work promotes the same positive feelings it created within me and inspires you to stop take a step back enjoy an extra treat or two, maybe take a personal day to enjoy with you or your loved one or just stare endlessly at the hand-drawn digital artwork that he has created for real people across the globe. OK COEN, TELL ME A BIT ABOUT YOURSELF? For about 3 years I’ve been drawing guys, in all sorts and sizes. It’s my goal to portray them as powerful as I can. I want to celebrate sexuality, exhibitionism and fetish in my work. You can find me on Instagram and Facebook. I work digitally and portray real guys I meet through the online platforms. CAN YOU DESCRIBE YOUR APPROACH TO YOUR ARTWORK? I go for a realistic approach, so no cartoons. The guys contact me from all over the world: the United States, Europe, even as far as Australia. Anyone can connect with me really, on Instagram or otherwise. I run Charcoen as a business and the process is really simple: just send me a few photos and we go from there. Of course, you can file a special request. I’ve had many special demands, from specific poses to bigger muscles and very sexy gear (or the lack of it!). HAS THIS BECOME YOUR PASSION IN LIFE? It sure is a passion. The sheer joy of guys reposting the work to their profiles, being all proud and confident. It’s magical. They often cross boundaries they normally wouldn’t. I love that power and want to support it. Each new commission really motivates me to push on. Even though this is my passion, I also want to give back to my local community, and I do so in my regular job. WHERE DO YOU LIVE? One of the biggest cities in the Netherlands, Rotterdam. It’s an upcoming, modern place with an increasing amount of festivals and LGBTIA-events. Definitely worth a visit.

WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR ART? Before I started Charcoen I was always drawing random stuff but without any consistency. Charcoen was born by just making a few sketches of my boyfriend with charcoal, hence the nickname. It was just fun, but I got an unexpected wave of positive feedback. Needless to say it sparked my enthusiasm to create more, pushing myself to do better. Since then I’ve been drawing every free minute resulting in many commissions, a collaboration with renowned brand Cellblock13 and exposure on big platforms such as Gayromeo. I never could have foreseen any of it, really. I’m so grateful for the randomness of it all! Also, I truly believe fetish and sexuality is something to be proud of. It’s really great being able to elevate someone this way. HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO CREATE AN IMAGE? It takes a pretty long time! Often about 8-10 hours, drawn by hand. Especially if there’s leather or shiny gear involved. So many details! That’s also why I ask a small fee for commissions. Although when focused on a piece, I hardly notice hours flying by. WHAT IS THE MOST BIZARRE REQUEST YOU HAVE HAD TO DATE IN RELATION TO YOUR COMMISSIONED PIECES? I once drew a guy with a bondage fetish. That in itself is not so unusual, but his speciality was being bound underwater in a tiny aquarium. That really was a first. Also: I don’t think anyone should try that at home! WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE PIECE? They all have their own unique story, but my first commission really made me step up professionally. You can find the work on my Instagram under ‘commissions’. His image is the first one in yellow and a talented actor too. DESCRIBE YOUR ART TO THE COMMUNITY IN 5 WORDS. Only 5? Well, how about: ‘release your inner porn star’, lol DO YOU DO WOMEN PIECES? My current posts are all men. Glad you noticed! It just happened that way. I’m definitely up for drawing other genders. However, I haven’t had a single request to date! Maybe one of your readers? If you’re up for it, find me on Instagram! WHAT DOES EQUALITY MEAN TO YOU? Equality is an important value. To me, it currently is about breaking down imposed boundaries, restrictive stereotypes and bad legislation. Everyone is equal and equally important, in my perspective. However, I’m still hesitant to grab my lover’s hand in public. It’s is an everyday example of how much there is still to be done. HOW CAN OUR READERS FIND OUT MORE ABOUT YOUR WORK? My work is best viewed on Instagram, but also on my website (charcoen. com) and Facebook. If you like to be portrayed yourself, feel free to send me a DM or email, so we can talk about the commission in detail. Instagram: @charcoen Facebook: CharcoenNL web: Charcoen.com

THIRTY SEVEN // GNIMAG.COM


INTERVIEW // RIYADH KHALAF

RIYADH KHALAF // ONLINE HOMOPHOBIC BULLYING FORCED HIM TO CLOSE DOWN HIS YOUTUBE CHANEL FOR SEVEN YEARS, BUT YOU CAN’T KEEP A GOOD THING DOWN AND THIS OUT AND PROUD JOURNAILST HAS COME BACK STRONGER THAN EVER.

TELL OUR AUDIENCE WHAT A DAY IN YOUR LIFE CONSISTS OF? My day changes every single day and that’s why I love the job that I have because for a while I did have a pretty normal 9-5 working in a media outlet at like a news company. My life is sorta split between recording my BBC Radio 1 podcast and shooting content for youtube, doing voice-overs, interviewing people for a documentary I’m making or going on trips to different parts of the world to give speeches so it just depends on the day really. WHEN AND WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO START A YOUTUBE CHANNEL? Well, I was always a massive attention seeker from the day I was born. As a young guy there wasn’t really any outlet other than trying to be funny to my parents or have a laugh with other parents at local BBQs and I remember I came across this website called YouTube.com with shitty old dial-up internet and I just decided I can do this, this is what I’m going to do. I bought a webcam for what I think was about a tenner and I started making little skits in my bedroom and it just sort of grew from there. I had a growing channel and all of a sudden I got all this online abuse and homophobia just because of how I spoke and how I moved

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and it freaked me out so I stopped making videos for about seven years on the advice of the Irish police and they suggested the only way I could stop the online bullies and death threats I was getting was leaving YouTube. I went to broadcasting and Radio as a kind of antidote and I’ll cherish it and I went into traditional media and over the years I realised I need to go back home to youtube and so I did. HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH NEGATIVE COMMENTS ONLINE? I don’t really deal with them, I just sort of let them do their thing and I get on with my own life. It used to affect me hugely, I used to take it so personally and think “Oh my god they’re talking about me! I thought I was such a nice guy but obviously, I’m not.” I’d really put a lot of weight and importance on what they said but now I realise that a lot of these people have their own issues, they are angry about something else and you are just the vehicle for them to spit their venom and sometimes you’ve just gotta let them do it because there’s no helping them. I’m just looking for a tweet her- I rarely write back to them but if I do occasionally I just throw them some common sense and try to almost hold them back. “How long can Riyadh make a living out of being gay? You’re not

the only one calm down. BBC News I’m gay and it’s done nothing for me, I’d say get someone more inspirational such as India Willoughby #ShitTelly” and then I went on to his page and lo and behold the fucker was following me so I just wrote back and I said “Why do you follow me?” with a laughing emoji and then he wrote back “I only came here to take my mood out on the telly” with another laughing emoji and a crying emoji then retweeted my one. So it’s like ok you’re just an angry person and you wish that you could have worked hard and been a voice for the next generation and I’m sorry that you didn’t, there’s still time, but there’s no point in wasting your energy on that. I don’t care. WHAT MADE YOU PUT PEN TO PAPER AND BEGIN THIS PROCESS OF WRITING A BOOK? I had over the years so many thousands and thousands of LGBT people write to me from over the world saying everything from “I’m worried about coming out” to “My bullies in school are relentless I don’t know what to do” to “My parents are threatening to kick me out” to “I’m really really worried about being killed in the country that I live in for being LGBT” and I’d always try to direct these people when I could to a website that might help or a helpline that they could call


INTERVIEW // RIYADH KHALAF

or a video but there was never one place they could go. Then I thought right this is my chance to write a resource that will cover everything so I was writing it for them but for the whole process, I always had that vision of me who was lost at the age of 14 or 15 trying to figure out this big bad homophobic world that I lived in. I tried to write something that wasn’t mechanical necessarily and that wasn’t cold and kind of like 1,2,3 steps but something that actually had heart and had a positive outlook. WOULD YOU SAY THAT THE BOOK THEN IS PRIMARILY AIMED AT LGBT PEOPLE? It’s for everyone, It’s absolutely for everyone. It’s for the LGBT young person but it’s also for the parents, teachers, reformed bullies, aunty, uncle who comes in contact with them and wants to learn how can I be the best support and ally to this individual? How can I lift them up? How can I amplify their voice? How can I make them feel loved, supported and “normal” and not different, second class or others? Even though it’s sort of an unexpected audience that the book has attracted it’s the LGBT people who are well beyond the coming out process, they’re out, they’re proud, they love themselves and everybody knows about them, but they almost have started reading the book in retrospect. I’ve had messages from gay guys and queer people in their 40s and 50s who are really getting emotional and kind of going back to what it was like at that young age so I think for a lot of us who went through the coming out process, we feel as though part of our youth was stolen from us, that we didn’t necessarily have those young, carefree years. So they read the book and use it as a vehicle to get back some of what they had and relive the magic of figuring yourself out and fancying that guy in school and your first time and all of this. DO YOU SEE A FUTURE IN WRITING OR IS THAT IT DONE NOW? Never say never. I think for the moment I’m all booked out. I’m really going to use what I’ve learned through the process of writing the book and through speaking to so many incredible LGBT people to spur me on in

my life of broadcast, youtube, radio, TV and documentaries. It’s always an uphill battle and my goal is to just chase my dreams further and see how far I can push them. My ultimate goal is to have a TV talk show and to spread happiness and love as far as I can and just have a good time really. Life is short and I just think why not push it. DID YOU FIND WRITING A STRUGGLE? Oh yeah. Oh god yeah. It’s funny you know, I can sit in front of the camera and speak to thousands of people around the world, or I can stand on stage and deliver a speech that will leave people feeling something but when it came to writing I felt like oh my god where’s my voice? It was less about what I was going to write and more about how do I find that tone, that voice? It was like I had to find myself again. There were many chapters that were written that were binned because they just felt like I was faking it or it just didn’t feel authentic. Eventually, I found him, it was just as simple as going “Riyadh, just write as you speak!” It can be a bit rambly and a bit long but that’s why you have an editor to fix it and to chop out the long boring bits and make it a bit more concise. It is very much me and I think once I found myself I was on a role. There’s a thing called the ‘author slow state’ and this is where you inadvertently reach a point where your hands are writing almost too fast for your brain to keep up or no the other way round, your brain is going so fast that your hand can’t keep up. When you reach that moment it’s magic and you just have to keep going. TELL ME WHO YOUR BIGGEST LGBT INSPIRATIONS ARE... A- Well it’s gotta be Stephen Fry, he’s in the bulk and I’ve always looked up to him. He’s just incredible and he wrote a gorgeous piece for the book that was just so inspirational and so him. He’s been great just because he’s classy, he’s intelligent, he’s relatable, he gets people who aren’t necessarily LGBT allies, he wins them over with his relatability and his intelligence so I love him. If you’re anti-LGBT or if you’re a bigot he will absolutely smash that down to the ground with his intellect. Who else

do I love? I love Panty Bliss, Rory O’Neil another person who features in the book. An incredible, incredible person who has inspired me since I went to my first ever pride and I watched him give a speech on stage and I just thought wow. Graham Norton, there’s so many, to be honest, a lot of my queer inspirations are also in the ally space. For me it’s been a lot of strong female broadcasters like Oprah and Davina McCall, I’ve always looked up to them as kind of people that I thought were massive storytellers or just deeply respected and just really commendable. A FEW WORDS OF ADVICE FOR ANYONE READING THIS WHO IS STRUGGLING TO COME TO TERMS WITH THEIR SEXUALITY AND THINGS LIKE THAT? What I’d say is don’t rush it, this is your journey to take and you want to be able to look back on this in time and think that you did it on your own terms, in your own time, with your own style. The most important thing is that you come out to yourself and that you love yourself and that you eventually begin to feel pride. Do that by integrating yourself with your community, try and be present at pride even if it’s at the sidelines and in a quiet way. Watch queer films with representation of people like you, watch queer television, read queer books and just completely immerse yourself in what it is to be part of the community even if you don’t feel part of it in a physical sense. Over time once you’ve found yourself, begin to tell people “Hey this is who I am!” Don’t jump into the deep, close individuals like parents or best friends, use people on the outskirts as guinea pigs, coming out guinea pigs as I say in the book. People who you can kind of use as little testers to motivate you or to push you forward and then work your way back into the inner circle. Before you know it, in time, not only will you be proud of yourself but everybody will be there to support you too.

RIYADH’S BOOK YEA! YOU’RE GAY! (NOW WHAT?) IS OUT NOW.

THIRTY NINE // GNIMAG.COM


INTERVIEW // MATT SIMONS

MATT // SIMONS // EVEN THOUGH HE GREW UP IN PALO ALTO, CALIFORNIA, THE TECHNOLOGICAL CENTER OF THE UNIVERSE, SINGER SONGWRITER MATT SIMONS ISN’T NECESSARILY A TECH EXPERT. STILL, IT’S SOMEWHAT IRONIC THAT A SLEW OF INTERNET ADS HE POSTED ON FACEBOOK WHEN HE WAS PROMOTING HIS FIRST ALBUM, PIECES, IS WHAT LED TO HIS INITIAL BREAKTHROUGH. IT WAS THEN THAT HE LEARNED WHAT THE WORDS, “OVERNIGHT SENSATION,” TRULY MEANT. THOUGH HE’S BEEN STUDYING CLASSICAL AND JAZZ SINCE HIS CHILDHOOD—TAKING THE REQUISITE PIANO LESSONS BEFORE SWITCHING TO THE SAXOPHONE (“THE SAXOPHONE IS JUST COOLER,” HE CRACKED), AND HE’D BEEN GIGGING IN HIS NOW HOMETOWN OF NEW YORK TO SMALL CROWDS, HE FOUND HIMSELF SOMETHING OF A MINOR CELEBRITY IN THE NETHERLANDS. HE APPEARED AS A GUEST JUDGE ON THE DUTCH VERSION OF THE X-FACTOR. HIS SONG WAS A TOP SELLER ON ITUNES, FINISHING 29TH ON THE TOP SELLING SONGS OF 2013 IN THE NETHERLANDS. “IT OUT-SOLD THE LUMINEERS’ ‘HO HEY’; IT BEAT KATY PERRY’S ‘ROAR,’” HE SAID.

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INTERVIEW // MATT SIMONS

TELL US ABOUT GROWING UP, YOUR GRANDPARENTS WERE OPERA SINGERS, DID THIS INSPIRE OR INFLUENCE YOUR MUSIC? Yes, but I would say it had a more passive influence on my music. Like, they have music in their blood and it was passed on to me. That’s on my Mom’s side. My passion for music, however, comes more from my Dad. He loves learning and playing music more than anyone I know and shared that passion with me from a very young age. WHO HAVE YOUR OTHER BIG MUSICAL INSPIRATIONS BEEN? First, it was the Beatles. Immediately after learning how to play a few chords on the guitar, I learned the Beatles anthology cover to cover. After that I started listening to jazz music pretty heavily, lots of Charlie Parker, Sonny Rollins, Bill Evans, etc. Also, when I was about 13/14 I went through a big Frank Sinatra phase after being cast as Nathan Detroit in the school production of Guys and Dolls. DESCRIBE THE MATT SIMONS CREATIVE PROCESS FOR US… For me, it’s really important to know what I’m writing about before I start. I need a story to tell before I start putting lyrics down on a page. If that doesn’t happen, there’s a good chance I’ll end up with a song that essentially says nothing at all. YOU PLAY A WIDE RANGE OF INSTRUMENTS – WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE? Tenor saxophone for sure. I’ve spent the most time cultivating my sound on saxophone and for a while it really felt like an extension of myself. A part of me wishes I could have kept up the technique I had while studying at conservatory but I no longer have 4-6 hours a day to devote to playing it. Still, it’s the instrument I feel most comfortable on. YOUR LATEST ALBUM AFTER THE LANDSLIDE IS OUT NOW, IT SEEMS LIKE A FAIRLY PERSONAL STORY, TELL US ABOUT IT… It’s definitely the most personal album I’ve

written so far. I tried to capture all the highs and lows one goes through after a big, sudden life change. A breakup, new city, new career, etc. It’s exciting to be starting something new but also terrifying at the same time. It’s a unique hodgepodge of emotions. ON THE ALBUM, AMY’S SONG TALKS ABOUT WHETHER GOD REALLY GIVES A DAMN, THIS SONG WILL OBVIOUSLY RESONATE WITH MANY LGBT+ PEOPLE, WAS THIS INTENTIONAL? Definitely. It’s inspired by co-writer Amy Kuney’s (Ames) experience growing up in a devout religious community and not feeling the love and acceptance she deserved because she’s a lesbian. At the time, she was also dating a Mormon woman whose family would’ve literally disowned her if they found out about their relationship. In 2019, it’s just absurd that this still goes on in America (or anywhere) and we wanted to write about it and try to tell that story. I know for Amy it was really important for young people to hear this song because it’s a song she would have loved to hear when she was a teenager, grappling with trying to be true to herself but at the same time losing the community she loved and had grown up with. ANOTHER SONG ON THE ALBUM; CHAMPAGNE TEARS TALKS ABOUT RUNNING AWAY FROM WHO YOU ARE. THIS SONG SCREAMS OF PERSON COMING TO TERMS WITH THEIR SEXUALITY WITH THEIR FRIEND HELPING THEM WITH THEIR COMING OUT PROCESS. DID YOU WRITE THIS SONG FOR SOMEONE SPECIFICALLY? You know, I never thought about Champagne Tears from the standpoint of coming to terms with one’s own sexuality but it could totally work. I always thought of ‘champagne tears’ as a synonym for ‘first world problems.’ I pictured someone on a yacht somewhere fabulous sipping a glass of champagne realizing the people they’ve surrounded themselves with are vapid and terrible. Also, hating themself for wanting so desperately to social climb and fit in with these people. The influencer’s dilemma, if you will.

A SONG MOST OF US CAN RELATE TO – GETTING DRUNK AND CONTACTING AN EX WHO HAS MOVED ON. HAVE YOU PERFORMED THIS SONG LIVE YET AND WHAT’S THE AUDIENCE REACTION LIKE? Yes! I actually performed Dust on my October 2018 tour before it was released on the album in April 2019. My wife Cassandra is an amazing singer and joined me up on stage as the duet partner and it was kind of a fan favorite. We got married in September and it was a little honeymoon, a tour-moon. Don’t worry we had a real honeymoon a few months later that didn’t involve sleeping on a bus. YOU’RE TOURING EUROPE SOON, IS THERE ANYWHERE YOU’RE PARTICULARLY EXCITED TO SEE? Yes! There’s a bunch of new cities and countries on this Fall tour I’ve never played before. Sweden, Finland, Poland, Latvia, Lithuania and Israel are all new for me. ALL ACROSS EUROPE AND IN THE NETHERLANDS ESPECIALLY, YOU’RE REALLY WELL KNOWN. HOW DOES IT FEEL TO BE SUCH A GLOBAL SUCCESS? There’s no book on how to make a music career. It’s a journey I set out on from a (relatively) young age and just tried to see where it would take me. I’m so grateful that I’m able to travel the world and that people care enough to show up to see me play music. And I love that they sing along. WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN FIVE YEARS? Hopefully celebrating the release of my 5th LP (After The Landslide is my 3rd) and getting ready to go out on tour. As long as I get to continue doing what I’m doing, I’m happy. AND FINALLY, IF YOU COULD GO BACK TO YOUR HIGH SCHOOL SELF, WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE HIM? Oh god 18 year old me? Be more openminded. When you open your mouth and act like you know stuff about the world you sound like an idiot. That being said, somehow you’re gonna be alright.

DUST IS BECOMING A BIT OF AN ANTHEM,

FORTY ONE // GNIMAG.COM


. ICON .

ICON // CHER

Cher

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ICON // CHER

THE ‘GODDESS OF POP’ REALLY has done it all, every genre under the sun, in a career spanning six decades it’s truly impossible to find anyone who doesn’t love Cher at least a little bit. Young ‘Cherilyn Sarkisian’ always knew what she wanted but never thought it was possible, commenting “I couldn’t think of anything that I could do... I didn’t think I’d be a singer or dancer. I just thought, well, I’ll be famous. That was my goal.” Hoping to achieve this goal she dropped out of school at 16 and left for Los Angeles where her confident attitude in approaching industry professionals led to her meeting performer Sonny Bono in November 1962. Sonny was working with producer Phil Spector who began to use Cher as a backup singer on many recordings including The Ronettes’ ‘Be My Baby.’ Spector then produced her first single under the alias ‘Bonnie Jo Mason,’ but ‘Ringo, I Love You’ ended up comercially unsuccessful. Her career didn’t really begin to take off until after her marraige and the start of the folk-rock duo Sonny & Cher. Sonny urged Cher to have a solo career but she insisted they work together on account of her stage fright and thank goodness for it as her musical success story was officially launched with the release of their song ‘I Got You Babe.’ It reached number one on both the American and British charts in 1965 leading to years of popular releases from the two. Although by the end of the 1960s times were changing, during the height of the sexual revolution and drug culture Sonny & Cher’s monogamous lifestyle and anti-drug position led to them becoming known as sort of uncool. While more Rock & Roll groups like Led Zeppelin where rising in popularity Cher was up for a change of sound saying “Left to myself, I would have changed with the times because the music really turned me on.” But Sonny disagreed and so the Folk-Rock continued until it couldn’t anymore. At a particularly low point in their career, the duo started a nightclub routine. People in the crowd heckled them and Cher heckled right back. Sonny hated this behaviour so Cher heckled him and soon the heckling became the highlight of the night. Television executives took note of this and not much later ‘The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour’ was born. During the late 60s and early 70s Cher established herself as a solo artist with chart-topping hits such as ‘Gypsys, Tramps & Thieves’, ‘Half-Breed’, and ‘Dark Lady’. After her divorce from Sonny Bono in 1975 she returned to television with a solo show ‘Cher.’ Los Angeles Times exclaimed “Sonny without Cher was a disaster. Cher without Sonny, on the other hand, could be the best thing that’s happened to weekly television this season.” The show only lasted a short while but was met with glowing reviews. In 1979 she launched her comeback with the disco album ‘Take Me Home.’ Despite her initial lack of enthusiasm for disco music, she changed her mind after the success, commenting, “I never thought I would want to do disco ... [but] it’s terrific! It’s great music to dance to. I think that danceable music is what everybody wants.” ‘Come Back to the Five and Dime Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean’ marked her broadway dbut in 1982 and also began her careeer as a film actress after staring in the movie adaptation. She took a break from music to continue along the acting path for a while. This led her to her Academy Award for Best Actress in the 1987 fim ‘Moonstruck.’

A year later she comes out with another work of art ‘Heart of Stone’ causing controversy when the music video for the second single ‘If I Could Turn Back Time’ featured Cher straddling a cannon on a Navy Warship, wearing a thong which revealed her tattoos. She had gone from being “too square” in the times of ‘Sonny & Cher’ to “too extreme” now in the later years. It seemed no matter what she did would be met with backlash but, drowning out the backlash, there were also millions of fans making the album go triple platinum and the song perhaps one of the most memorable of her entire discography. After the haitus she signed with Geffen Records and came back with a bang releasing a string of iconic hits and eventually releasing ‘Cher’ which was certified platinum. Soon though her luck would change as in the early 90s she contracted the Epstein-Barr virus causing her to develop Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and rendering her unable to tour or to produce music on a normal schedule. The lack of work ended in her staring in infomercials to make money whilst out of action but fans complained at her for “selling out.” By 1998 she was back in action with everyone’s favourite dance-pop album ‘Believe’ with the iconic title track becoming the biggest selling single of all time by a female artist in the UK. The album marks the first use of AutoTune, a technique that has been used in nearly every pop song since. In 2002 she began her (first) farewell tour ‘Living Proof: The Farewell Tour’ which was extended on to 2005 and became one of the highest-grossing tours of all time. To retire now would be a travesty so in 2008 she signed a deal to headline the Colosseum at Caesars Palace for 3 years and her musical journey continued. On June 30 2013 Cher headlined the annual Dance on the Pier benefit to celebrate pride and the event sold out almost immediately, for the first time in years. Cher called and the people came, raising a load of money for LGBT charities as well as making it perhaps one of the coolest pride events ever. Recently she has returned to film for her first role since 2010, and as if starring alongside Meryl Streep in the Abba filled cheese fest that is ‘Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again’ wasn’t enough she released an album along side it. ‘Dancing Queen’ debuted at number three in the charts and for good reason. Can we really get any better than Cher singing Abba? And now of course like any great legend she gets a broadway show. The Cher Show is a Jukebox Musical based on her life that opened in December of last year. It stars three different actresses as Cher at different points in her life and hits like ‘Bang Bang’, ‘Believe’ and ‘If I Could Turn Back Time.’ Cher has won an endless list of awards including a Grammy, Emmy, Acadamy and multiple Golden Globes. She has also sold over 100 million records worldwide making her one of the best selling artists in history as well as the only artis to have a number one single in six consecutive decades. It’s clear why Cher is an icon and an inspiration to many, her beautiful and unique voice mingled with her “I don’t care what others think” attidude is a recipe for success.

FOURTY THREE // GNIMAG.COM


PRIDE // NEWRY

PRIDE IN NEWRY

WHILST THE ANNUAL PRIDE IN NEWRY FESTIVAL is in its eighth year, and while it is always organised by volunteers, this year’s festival will be on a different scale and largely a ’not to be missed’ ‘one off’, following a successful bid by the Newry Rainbow Community committee to host UK & Ireland Pride 2019. This is not only a first for Newry but it is a first for the island of Ireland. The event remains completely free and welcomes everyone. The Pride in Newry team hope with your support they can make this unique Pride Festival the most spectacular ever, coming as it does on the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots in New York and they are asking everyone to join them to help make Newry’s one and only UK and Ireland Pride Festival the most spectacular and memorable festival ever held in Newry keeping Newry, Mourne & Down as a return to destination for LGBTQI visitors from all parts of the Island and indeed the world. The global #stonewall50 celebration campaign includes New York, Vienna, and Newry. An incredible achievement for the dedicated entirely voluntary Pride in Newry team. As Pride in Newry takes place on the 31st of August it will be the perfect large scale event to close the Pride season. The key Pride In Newry themes remain as they continue to offer 10 days of free festival events, one of the most colourful parades on the island, a free outdoor festival concert with international acts including B*Witched, Heather Small, Claire Richards, Saara Alto, Sam Callahan, Donna Marie and many more, as well as a full sized funfair, community village, food stalls and a bar, all aimed at showcasing the diversity of communities and cultures in Newry and its surrounding

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area. The event closes for the first time with a spectacular fireworks display (A first for the Island of Ireland) and the official pride after party returns to Bellinis. Participants from as far away as New York (USA), Toronto (Canada), Vienna (Austria), and Sydney (Australia) have already confirmed their attendance as well as organisations from all over the UK & Ireland which will give Newry’s one and only UK & Ireland Pride 2019 festival a truly international flavour - Think Eurovision for free with even more rainbows! The Pride In Newry Festival has been so successful it is now listed in the top three NI Tourist Board Annual Event listings. In recent years, the Festival has had significant media exposure including BBC, UTV, Q Radio, Irish News, Belfast Telegraph, Gay Times, Attitude, GNI, GCN and many others covering. This year, Channel 7 News, Australia are attending to report on the festival and a BBC documentary is being filmed due to be screened in September. The event would not be possible without the ongoing support of Newry, Mourne and Down District Council (NMDDC), Northern Ireland Tourist Board (NITB), Newry Business Improvement District (BID), Unite the union and many many others… For more information see prideinnewry.com or follow ‘Pride In Newry’ on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Issu and Instagram.


UK & IRELAND PRIDE 2019 UK & IRELAND PRIDE 2019 SATURDAY 31ST AUGUST SATURDAY 31ST AUGUST WWW.PRIDEINNEWRY.COM WWW.PRIDEINNEWRY.COM

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PRIDE // WORLDWIDE PRIDE

WORLDWIDE PRIDE

FORTY SIX // GNIMAG.COM


PRIDE // WORLDWIDE PRIDE

SÃO PAULO PRIDE São Paulo pride is the gay event of the year! Since its small beginning in 1997 with a mere 2000 partisipants it has grown into one of the largest pride festivals in the world with millions coming from all over to take part. It was elected best in the world by Grindr and has officially been named the biggest pride parade in the world according to Guinness Book Of Records. 2019 marks 50 years since Stonewall which provides the theme for this years celebrations. São Paulo’s ‘gayborhoods’ come alive on June 18 with plenty of activities and parties to enjoy as well as the biggest gay club in the Americas ‘The Week’ being packed every night leading up to the parade. The actual parade takes place on Sunday June 23 and starts at 12pm outside of the Museum of Art of São Paulo and will have about 25 brilliantly colourful floats. The event will have performers both local and international and drag queens galore as colours line the streets and hundreds of thousands of people flock to Brazil to be a part of one of the largest celebrations of all time. For a fun vacation in the sun with a ton of great pride events to take part in definatly get to São Paulo for one of the most special pride celebrations that will ever take place commemorating the 50th anniversary of Stonewall. It’s a chance to party with over a million people who are proud to be themselves and just want to celebrate that with others who feel the same. If you think you have the stamina to last a week of the biggest dances, parties and marches of the pride season head down to São Paulo! WORLD PRIDE World Pride this year is taking place in New York. One of the most popular dance events in the world celebrates DJs from all over creating huge concerts and club nights in the Hammerstein Ballroom, Marquee and Terminal 5. The party runs 4 days starting June 27. SAN FRANSISCO PRIDE San Fransisco hosts one of the oldest pride festivals and this year’s celebration begins June 29 featuring 20 stages and venues with different performers and speakers over the weekend to keep you entertained no matter what you’re looking for. The parade takes place on June 30 starting at 10:30 AM and marches from Embarcadero to Civic Center with over 100000 spectators.

parade that takes you right to the beach for a crazy beach party to finish off the day. MUNICH PRIDE Munich Pride or Christopher Street Day remembers the Stonewall riots in June 1969 with a great cultural program that involves workshops, talks, concerts, parades and a high-heels race through the city. The festival takes place on June 13 and carries on through the night at City Hall. COPENHAGEN PRIDE Copenhagen pride involves one of the biggest drag shows performed for thousands of atendees to one of the most colourful Pride festivals out there. There will be loads of performers, parties and events to enjoy yourself at over the 5 days from August 13 with the huge parade taking place on the 17th. EUROPRIDE EuroPride comes to Vienna this year for one of europes most popular pride celebrations featuring tons of events, a pride village and park and a huge parade, the festival runs from the 1st to the 16th of June and the parade takes place on the 15th. BOSTON PRIDE Boston pride celebrates Stonewall with the theme “Looking Back, Loving Forward” which remembers the challenges of the past and looks fondly into the future and the great things to come. The parade starts from the Back Bay’s Copley Square around noon and finishes at City Hall to join with the rest of the festival on June 8. LONDON PRIDE London Pride is the UKs biggest Pride festival, it is packed with over 60 different events over a number of weeks which the official festival taking place on July 6 & 7. Over 300 groups and floats will be featured along with performers, music and parties throughout the weeks of celebration. DISNEYLAND PARIS Disneyland Paris welcome people from the LGBT community to a huge party with performances from Years & Years, Boy George & Corine, a magical parade and everything you usually love about Disney with a bit of fabulous flare. The event takes place on June 1 and costs £520 for a single adult with a 2 Night Package.

TEL AVIV PRIDE As one of the most popular gay spots in the world Tel Aviv has a remarkable Pride festival. On june 14 tens of thousands of people will flood in for drag shows and music and of course the amzing

FOURTY SEVEN // GNIMAG.COM


HAPPENING // GNI AWARDS

TIME TO NOMINATE THIS YEAR, THE FOURTH ANNUAL GNI AWARDS take place on 8th November in the Crowne Plaza at Shaw’s Bridge, Belfast. As ever this will be an amazing, pride filled gala awards evening. A red carpet leading to a pre-ceremony drinks reception, followed by a gourmet four course meal. Attendees will then enjoy the full award ceremony presented by Trudy Scrumptious and our very own Daniel May. After all the winners have been anounced the night will carry on into the wee small hours, dancing away to music from our live band. We are delighted that Santander are back once again as our headline sponsor at this fantastic event. Susan Allen, Head of Retail and Business Banking said; “We are delighted to be sponsoring these awards for the third year, particularly given how much focus they’ve helped add to the LGBTQ+ community in NI. We remain committed to actively supporting our friends, family and colleagues in NI – whether it’s through our support for vital local charities such as the Rainbow Project, supporting people to bring their whole selves to work, or joining with other forward-thinking businesses to call for equal marriage in NI. We can’t wait to see what more we can achieve by continuing to work together for equality.”

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Daniel May, GNI MAG Operations Director said; “Last year’s ceremony was filled with pride and celebration, we are delighted that Santander is on board for a 3rd year and we also see Kremlin Belfast, Kelly’s Cellars and Ulster Bank on board as sponsors, as well as The Rainbow Project as our Charity Partner. We aim to make this year’s event bigger and even better than in prior years. This year we will again honour people and businesses from twenty-five categories, people and businesses who have made a positive impact on our LGBTQ+ community here. Our charity partner at this year’s event is The Rainbow Project, Jayne Robinson (Sustainability Officer) quoted; “We are delighted to be the Charity Partner of the GNI awards for the 4th year running. Our partnership continues to grow each year, benefitting many LGB&/T people across Northern Ireland who maybe cannot make it to our centres in Derry or Belfast. We need to reach out to the more isolated members of our community and through publications like GNI MAG we are able to do that”. Nominations are now open for this year’s awards. To nominate go to gnimag.com/awards .


CATEGORIES

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HISTORY // ALAN TURING

HISTORY // ALAN TURING FOUNDING FATHER OF MODERN COMPUTER science, Alan Turing, was born in June of 1912 in London. Without his contributions to the world we wouldn’t have computers, smart phones, tablets and we may have never won the second world war. It’s difficult to imagine how the world would look without the existence of this brilliant man who died so young at the hands of society’s prejudice. From high school he presented a deep passion for maths and science, occupying his days with that rather than engaging in social activities. He had one close friend, a boy by the name of Christopher Morcom and it was him that inspired Turing to open up talk about his ideas. At somepoint in his school career though he began to develop strong romantic feelings for his best friend and when Christopher died suddenly from Tuberculosis, it broke his heart. This devistation compelled him to work harder and his desperate belief that Christopher’s mind lived on led to a fascination with the mind and brain that can be seen woven throughout his work. In 1931 he began at the University of Cambridge studying mathematics. In the liberal atmosphere in college he felt safe and began to express his homosexuality more freely as he engrossed himself in his work. After graduating he was elected to a fellowship at Kings College for his research in probability theory and he moved on to Princeton to study for a Ph.D. It was in Princeton that he came up with the Turing machine in response to the (long word alert) Entscheidungsproblem. It essentially sought an effective method for determining exactly which mathematical statements are provable within a given formal mathematical system. Turing’s machine came with the claim that everything that is humanly computable could also be computed by the machine and thus esentially encapsulates the same principles of the digital computer. Without the universal Turing machine laying out the basic mathematical groundwork it is likely that the development of computer systems would have come much later and we could all still be using a Commodore 64. After returning from the US, Turing joined the Government Code and Cypher School which took him to war. A small team of Polish cryptanalysts had deduced the internal writing of the German code ‘Enigma’ and developed a machine named the Bomba after the polish word for a type of icecream. The Bomba was fantastic but heavily relied on German operating procedures meaning that when there was a change in the procedures it was rendered useless. This is where Turing’s most well known achievement comes in. In the autumn of 1939 and the spring of 1940 Turing along with a team of other mathematicians and cryptanalysts developed a new coe breaking machine, this time named Bombe. Bombes were hugely successful and were used to decode about 84000 intercepted messages a month, two messages every minute. In 1942 he developed another machine to break messages encrypted by a German cipher machine ‘Tunny’ and by the end of the war he was rightly made an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE). Turing’s work greatly sped up the success of the British over Germany and perhaps secured it, this is certainly his most widely talked about work and whilst important there is certainly more to the mathematician.

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Whilst working on another project he met a woman named Joan Clarke. Turing tried to convince himself that this friendship was more than that and proposed to her but soon after told her of his ‘homosexual tendencies’ and ended the engagement. This put an end to him trying to pretend to be something that he was not, whilst he couldn’t really be ‘out and proud’ in a time where homosexuality was illegal, he did embrace this part of him and had various affairs and relationships with other men in secret. Now with the war over and won Turing was recrited to the National Physical Laboratory to create an electronic computer. He desigened the Automatic Computing Engine and it was the first complete specification of an electronic stored-program all-purpose digital computer. If it were made to his exact specification it would have been far superior to any computer at the time but his colleages felt that the engineering was too difficult and so a smaller version was made, the Pilot Model ACE. Meanwhile a group in Manchester had designed their own computer that functioned better than the Pilot Model ACE and was influenced by the Turing Machine. Turing travelled to Manchester and designed new systems to advance this computer, his programming system was then used in the first ever marketable electronic computer, Ferranti Mark I. Turing couldn’t stop there though, he delved into artificial intelligence and modern cognitive science. He led the hypothesis that the human brain was basically a part of a digital computing machine that could be trained to become more organised into a universal machine. He then proposed the Turing test to check if a computer is thinking. Soon after this he was convicted of “gross indecency” and sentenced to 12 months of hormone therapy. The criminal record meant that he could no longer work for Government Communications Head-quarters which meant the loss of a job that let him explore his great passion for code breaking. He continued to conduct experiments and study maths, science and code breaking until June 7 1954 when he was discovered in his bed, poisoned by cyanide, presumably from an apple that was found nearby (Turing always had one before bed). The official verdict was suicide but no motive could be established, many believe it was the hormone treatment but he died more than a year after the treatment ended and his close friend Peter Hilton stated that Turing took the treatment with “amused fortitude.” Suicide cannot be ruled out especially due to the tradgedy of Alan Turing’s later years but it is possible that his death was an accident as a result of inhaling cyanide fumes from the tiny laboratory next to his room or that the government, regarding homosexuals threats to national security, thought that Turing new too much and had him murdered. Whatever the cause, it is clear that his death was a great tragedy and he was treated unfairly despite his amazing discoveries and contributions to the modern world. In December of 2013, following a four-year campaign Alan Turing was finally granted a posthumous royal pardon, cancelling his criminal conviction. Whilst it’s a great stride in the right direction, thousands of gay men were criminalised during this time and many think that singling out an individual isn’t doing any real justice to the situation. It’s interesting to imagine how technolgy could be different, more advanced if only the world back then had been a more supportive and safe place for the gay community.


YOU!

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


FASHION // MALACHI

WEDDING SEASON THE LATEST BESPOKE SUIT COLLECTION FROM MALACHI MALACHI IS A MENSWEAR BRAND THAT EMPOWERS MEN AND CELEBRATES WHO THEY ARE THROUGH BESPOKE CLOTHING, SPECIALISING IN ONE-PIECE-SUITS. BRINGING TO THE FOREGROUND A VULNERABLE AND POSITIVE CONVERSATION AROUND MANHOOD. MALACHI ENDEAVOURS TO ELIMINATE THE SOCIAL AND HABITUAL BARRIERS THAT HAVE LIMITED MEN’S RELATIONSHIP TO FASHION AND MOST IMPORTANTLY TO THEMSELVES AS MEN. PROUDLY IN SUPPORT OF EQUALITY, FOUNDER JEREMY RICHARDS IS PASSIONATE ABOUT DESIGNING BEAUTIFULLY TAILORED GARMENTS FOR COMMITMENT CEREMONIES OF ALL TYPES. #LOVEISLOVE

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FASHION // MALACHI

MODEL- TATTOO ARTIST, RODRIGO SERAPHIM PHOTOGRAPHER- JEREMY RICHARDS ONE-PIECE-SUIT DESIGN- MALACHI GARMENT DESCRIPTION- THE TRUE BLUE TARTAN, WAISTCOAT ONE-PIECE-SUIT, WITH COMPLIMENTING BELT. BESPOKE ENQUIRIES AT WWW.MALACHIMEN.CO.UK

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FASHION // MALACHI

MODEL- CREATIVE MOVEMENT DIRECTOR, JAMIE NEALE PHOTOGRAPHER- ABDEL ABDULAI ONE-PIECE-SUIT DESIGN- MALACHI GARMENT DESCRIPTION- STREET-STYLE INSPIRED ONE-PIECE-SUIT, WITH PURPLE CORDUROY AND GREY SUEDE PANELLING. IT IS OUR SPIN ON A GREY SUIT. BESPOKE ENQUIRIES AT WWW.MALACHIMEN.CO.UK

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FASHION // MALACHI

MODEL- FOUNDER OF MALACHI, JEREMY RICHARDS PHOTOGRAPHER- JEREMY RICHARDS JUMPSUIT DESIGN- MALACHI GARMENT DESCRIPTION- LINEN BLEND, FLORAL PRINT JUMPSUIT WITH WHITE SPEED STRIPES. ALSO REGARDED AS ‘FUCK ME STRIPES’. BESPOKE ENQUIRIES AT WWW.MALACHIMEN.CO.UK

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FASHION // MALACHI

PICTURE TAKEN AT THE CIVIL PARTNERSHIP CEREMONY OF MALACHI FOUNDER JEREMY RICHARDS AND HUSBAND, JOSH SPEAR. PHOTOGRAPHER- DIMITRI DJURIC ONE-PIECE-SUIT DESIGN (LEFT)- MALACHI JUMPSUIT DESIGN (RIGHT)- MALACHI BESPOKE ENQUIRIES AT WWW.MALACHIMEN.CO.UK

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FASHION // MALACHI

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FASHION // MALACHI

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SIXTY // GNIMAG.COM


FASHION // MALACHI

MODEL- ARTIST/ PAINTER, JOSEPH LOUGHBOROUGH PHOTOGRAPHER- JEREMY RICHARDS SIREN SUIT DESIGN- MALACHI GARMENT DESCRIPTION- NAVY BLUE AND PINSTRIPE SIREN SUIT BESPOKE ENQUIRIES AT WWW.MALACHIMEN.CO.UK

SIXTY ONE // GNIMAG.COM


ACCESSORIZE // SUN GLASSES

ACCESSORIZE // SUNNIES SURE IT WOULD PURE BLIND YA OUT THERE, QUIT THE SQUINTING AND GRAB A PAIR OF FABULOUS SUN GLASSES. WE HAVE A LOOK AT A SELECTION OF THIS SEASONS STYLES FROM BURTONS, ACCESSORIZE, PRIMARK AND SWAROVSKI.

SQUARE SUNGLASSES BURTON MENSWEAR £12.00 ROSIE ROUND SUNGLASSES ACCESSORIZE £15.00

SELINA SQUARE SUNGLASSES ACCESSORIZE £17.50

MAN X KEM PRIMARK £2.00

SWAROVSKI X MARCOLIN SUNGLASSES SWAROVSKI £140.00 PIPPY PREPPY SUNGLASSES ACCESSORIZE £12.50

SIXTY TWO // GNIMAG.COM


FITNESS // WASHBOARD

FITNESS // ABS FOR PRIDE

IN THE LAST ISSUE I challenged you with a regime to give you the perfect pert BUTT in 28 days, with pride on the horizon I am after the perfect stomach, who wants to see this almost dad bod so I am challenging myself and all of you to a six week easy workout that should give us washboard abs that will make twinks jealous The key to getting a shredded midsection is your diet. You can work out all you want but you will never see the results unless you are eating good. For women, each of your three meals should have a palm-sized amount of lean protein, such as chicken or salmon. The rest of your plate should be vegetables. A couple of snacks during the day are OK, as long as they’re also only protein and vegetables. For men, the same rules apply but with two palm-sized portions of protein for every meal. Hydrate with a lot of water and lay off the carbs, sugar and booze. I know that last one will be tough but everything in moderation.

Then, comes the workout, simple strength training circuit three to four days a week. Do the following 6 simple exercises back-to-back, for 30 seconds each, resting only when necessary. All six moves equal one round. Rest 30 to 60 seconds, then repeat for up to eight rounds. If you’d like to make it more of a challenge, keep a pen and paper next to you and quickly jot down how many reps you’re doing of each move during Round 1. The next time you do the workout, try to beat those numbers. ___________________

ONE: BODY WEIGHT SQUAT Stand with your feet shoulderwidth apart and your hands behind your head. Keeping the weight in your heels, press your hips back to lower as far as you can without losing the natural curve in your lower back. Press through your heels to stand up, flexing your glutes at the top. Do this for 30 seconds.

TWO: REVERSE LUNGE Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your hands on your hips. Take a big step behind you with your left foot, then bend both your knees into a lunge until your left knee lightly touches the ground. Step back into your starting position and repeat with your right side. Continue switching for 30 seconds.

sides. Do this for 30 seconds.

THREE: BURPEE Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your arms at your side. Bend your knees into a squat, then place your hands on the ground between your feet. Jump your feet back to land in the top of a push-up position. Then, jump your feet back up to where your hands are, moving from a frog-like squat into an energetic jump in the air. Land softly. Repeat for 30 seconds.

SIX: PLANK Come to the floor on your hands and knees. Lower your forearms to the floor with elbows positioned directly under your shoulders. Then, step your feet back one at a time to form a straight line from head to heels. Brace your core and tighten every muscle in your body. Hold for 30 seconds.

FOUR: MOUNTAIN CLIMBER Get into the top of a push-up position, with your hands directly underneath your shoulders. Squeeze your stomach muscles and keep your butt and back in a straight line. Pull your left knee in toward your left elbow. Switch

FIVE: V-UPS Lay down on your back with your arms extended over your head. Lift up through your torso as you simultaneously lift your legs so that your whole body forms a “V.” Hold for a beat, then return to the laying down position. Repeat for 30 seconds.

Come pride if you see me adorning a belly top, you’ll know that I’ve practiced what I preached. If you do take on the challenge, please send us your before and after pics and we can include in our next issue. Email Editorial@gnimag.com Subject Ab Challenge

SIXTY THREE // GNIMAG.COM


Unite supports #MarriageEquality for all

Supporting all Northern Ireland’s pride events www.unitetheunion.org


LIFE!

COMING OUT, FAMILY, WEDDINGS, SCENE OUT, ADVICE, LIFE IS REAL!


REAL LIFE // GYASI J K SHEPPY

FROM DARNKESS TO DISNEY & BEYOND! BY GYASI SHEPPY (Gyasi: pronounced ‘Jacey’ like ‘Stacey’)

“If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years is that it only takes one person or one moment to change your life forever. To change your perspective. Colour your thinking. To force you to re-evaluate everything you think you know.

To make you ask yourself the toughest questions; Do you know who you are? Do you understand what has happened to you? Do you want to live this way?”

-Grey’s Anatomy

SIXTY SIX // GNIMAG.COM


REAL LIFE // GYASI J K SHEPPY DO I KNOW WHO I AM? ANSWER: YES It’s October 1990 and my mother boards a flight from England having just split up from my father. She was now unexpectedly a single mother with three mixed race kids of Jamaican decent, travelling to a Northern Ireland in conflict. Wayde 4, Simeon 2 and myself, who was just 6 weeks old. I can’t even begin to imagine how my mum felt, what was going through her mind? I am sure she did not think she could raise three children without a support network and thankfully she did not have to. Having been born and raised in Lisburn, my mum’s side of the family were all at home, here in Northern Ireland. She had her mother-‘Nanny Ethel’, her brothers, cousins and aunts all on hand to help with the fallout of my fathers infidelity. My mum, Karen, shares anecdotes constantly about how people, strangers, would react to her trips to the shops or into town with mixed raced children in tow. How people would ask her could they “have a look” into the pram to see what we looked like. Yeah, I know! So there we were the talk of the town in the early 90’s. From my knowledge we knew only one other mixed raced family in the area of Lisburn we lived in, a council estate. We were like something out of P.T. Barnum’s circus the way people would glare at us! Of course we didn’t think we were any different. But we were, and we were always told to be proud of that. We were also always reminded that people “pay a lot of money to go on holiday to look like us.” Fast forward a few years and my brothers and I are now settled into a Primary School which was a stone-throw across the field from our house. The arrival of my new brother, Kyle, meant our house was officially full. So I shimmied my little butt over to my Nanny Ethels house and it was there I would remain, until after her untimely death in 1999, until my late teens. My Uncle Nigel then took over raising me along with his daughter, my cousin Alison. Even though I was only 8 years old when Nanny Ethel passed away, I vividly remember her telling me and the rest of the family that I was going to be the one to be a someone, or do something great. But then that’s everyone’s granny’s job, to tell you you’re great, even if you are a little shit! Whilst in Primary School and running about the estate, the usual names would fly around; Coco Pop, Mars Bar, Monkey and “The ’N’ Word”. I knew it was wrong, but kids are kids. What was absolutely abhorrent was that some parents of said kids would send them out onto the street to call me names, these were our neighbours. It was then I started truly questioning not only my identity, but myself as a person and the man I wanted to grow up to be. I remember making conscious decisions

as to how I would react to the “casual racism.” Do I run home crying every time someone calls me a name? Do I call them a ‘Rice Krispie’? a ‘marshmallow’? I did both. I was not a pushover and I sure as hell was not going to be bullied. Just as kids do, they get bored of it and soon want to become your friend and of course their parents are now scundered that you’re friends and can’t look you in the eye. Yeah, we know what you told them to call us! I was a Sunday school kid who feared God. I still fear God and I am still a believer. So it was the teachings of the Church that informed how I viewed my world and how I should treat others. “Love thy neighbour” our Pastor preached every week and I tried to do just that. Sometimes I would even pray for “people who haven’t been nice to me” that they would be saved. I was 12, I’m a geg. It was these kinds of experiences growing up that made me make the decision to go to an Integrated High School.

It was here I knew I was gay. I distinctly remember feeling like I was having “bad thoughts” or thought “God could hear what I am thinking.” I knew, and still know, that he loves me regardless of my sexuality but I couldn’t shake this feeling as the years ticked by that attending my Church every week was wrong. “I don’t fit in here anymore” I thought over and over. I did fit in, I just felt I didn’t, so I left and never looked back. I had girlfriends in school. You know, the fake kind you hide behind so the footballers and rugby players don’t find out you’re gay? Yeah, that kind. Why was I SO embarrassed about coming out? Was it God? I was so conflicted my last few years in school, even though all my friends and family knew. I was all singing and all dancing at school. No one can know every single piece of choreography from STEPS concerts that well AND be straight! I had awkward moments and encounters in school just like any other person struggling with their sexual identity in their teens. I felt physically sick going to P.E. every week because I could hear the mutters of the “lads” wondering whether or not I was looking at them. I wasn’t, they were brutal. So I just stopped going every week and would go

down to the music rooms during those classes and sit and play my piano. Music was my outlet and I like to think it has shaped the man I am today, in everything I do. I knew I was gay, my friends knew I was gay, my teachers and family knew I was gay and STILL I couldn’t say it out loud. Why? I knew I was only going to tell people when I felt the time was right and the time was right as I left high school and I had my first boyfriend whilst I was playing ‘Chad’ and he was playing ‘Ryan’ in High School Musical. Albeit brief, and being 16, I was “in like” with this guy and low and behold, I told Karen that I am a gay. Her exact response was “I didn’t come up the Lagan in a bubble, now go eat your dinner!” and that was that. We still laugh at that response 12 years later. It’s official, I was out and there was no going back. Do I tell my father? DO I UNDERSTAND WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO ME? ANSWER: YES It’s now October 2008. A month after my 18th birthday celebrations. I was with my boyfriend of two years when my phone rang and it was my Fathers number. I had not spoken to him since he came over for my 18th birthday that September. I knew Mum had told him, but that was it. I anxiously answered the phone and brace myself for another awkward exchange, not knowing what is or isn’t about to come out of his mouth. The conversation went a little like this: Him: Your Mum has told me. Me: Yes? Him: I am just ringing to tell you.. Me: What? Him: I am just ringing to tell you that this will be the last conversation we have. I do not support your “lewd” behaviour or lifestyle, so all the best. Me: Emmmm, ok bye? Stunned. That was that. We haven’t spoken a single word or been in the same room since and I’m now 28 years old. For me, this was a turning point in my life in so many different ways. It was the moment my drive, ambition and passions were reignited and I was going to take on the world to prove to him that I can and will be someone who he should be proud of. It was also the moment I questioned everything about myself I thought I already knew. Already feeling confused, angry, unwanted, my relationship with my “first great love” or whatever people call it, was falling apart. I was 20. It was inevitable and coming for a long time and eventually to numb all sorts of confused thoughts, emotional pain and scars from new and sometimes abusive relationships, I discovered my vices, my

SIXTY SEVEN // GNIMAG.COM


REAL LIFE // GYASI J K SHEPPY poison. Turning into a young, single gay adult with “no one to answer to anymore” I experimented with drugs. That period of discovery and experimentation quickly spiralled into what I can absolutely look back on and see was nothing but addiction. I never saw it coming. It was too easy to get hold of in the surrounding estates, readily available and cheap. So here I am, hiding a habit, while trying to date and hold down a professional career. The pressure was becoming insurmountable. But it had me. Why do these bad things keep happening to someone who is trying so hard to share his good-self with the world? I very quickly became mentally weak, sad, tired of life. I now know I was clinically depressed, four years before I was even diagnosed. I didn’t know I was and it was even a shock to me, the comic, the joker of the friend group, so I literally battled every day, every month, up and down. Simply existing, not living. Work, home, parties, repeat. I was not only destroying my own body, mind and prospects in life, but those of my family as well. To the point I became homeless, on Christmas Day 2014. Enough was enough, and my family and I had a bust-up to end all bust ups. In hindsight I completely understand why and how it happened and my part in it. So there I was, out in the big bad world all alone. Finally, I get what I want, absolute freedom. Did things get better? Absolutely not. I wasn’t at rock bottom just yet. After living with a friend for over a month, I finally got a little place of my own, for one. As I went to bed every night I noticed my thought-track become similar. What if I didn’t wake up? What if I just went? And after a few months, that is exactly all I wanted, to simply

SIXTY EIGHT // GNIMAG.COM

go. I was alone, depressed and didn’t know how to survive anymore. I used food banks for me and my dog. I had no family to turn to, I was stubborn and didn’t want them to know how much of a mess I was. I had just a handful of friends, who were also becoming tired of me, and I get why, I was a burden not only on myself, but on them. Rock bottom was hit in the July of that year when I decided it was time go to. After months of ruining good things, relationships and friendships on all sides, Gyasi was done, but Gyasi couldn’t do it and he knew he couldn’t. There were always reasons to live, always. So when I finally reached out and was reminded of that teenage boy who wanted to change the world and BE that change, that’s when things took a turn for the better. DO I WANT TO LIVE THIS WAY? ANSWER: NO After seeking the right kind of help and guidance, that fire in my belly that was always there began to rage again. I genuinely felt like I was turning a corner, and I was. This was something I survived. I am the opposite of all that bad. I have an enormous will, an enormous heart and an enormous capacity for survival. I’ve taken all this darkness and I’m using it to help other people who are walking through the same. I have taken my darkest experiences that life has given me and turned it around and turned it into light. If the man that fathered me doesn’t want to see that then that’s on him. There was a moment years ago that I slipped, tripped and fell into the sound. And I thought to myself just for one moment “why fight? Why not just stop?”.

I didn’t fight. I stopped. The only reason I am here is the people who love me didn’t give up on me and because of that unwavering support and loyalty, I turned everything around. Travelled the globe working for Disney as a performer, became Creative Director at National Stage School and founder of my own theatre school with my career looking like it could thrive again. Fixed relationships with my Mum, my family, my friends and I have never felt more secure. More sure of who I am today. Recovering from a career threatening fracture to my ankle has rocked me to my core yet again but has been made all the easier because of these people. My people. I have got this! So my message to you is simple; Fight. Don’t give up on YOU, be PROUD of who you are, where you have been and where you are going. Even when it feels like the rest of the world has forgotten who you are. Because when your identity has been absolutely shaken to its core again and again and again, when you think you are sure of something or someone and it doesn’t turn out like you wanted. Life is still amazing, IF we want to see that. We have to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and look ahead because that, that’s your future. And that my friend, IS absolute freedom. HAPPY PRIDE! It is ok to talk and if you want to talk you can find me @: Instagram: GyasiShepp Facebook: Gyasi Sheppy If Gyasi’s story struck a cord and you feel you need help, contac the Samaritans on 116 123


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BEFORE

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COMING OUT // GARETH COCHRANE

COMING OUT // GARETH’S STORY GARETH COCHRANE, 34 IS A SALES ADVISOR FROM BELFAST BUT CURRENTLY LIVES IN KILLYLEAGH. HE DESCRIBES HIMSELF AS A VERY OUTGOING PERSON, WE ASKED HIM ALL ABOUT HIS COMING OUT EXPERIENCE...

WHEN DID YOU FIRST REALISE YOU WERE ATTRACTED TO THE SAME SEX? The first time I realised I was into othe guys was when I was in secondary school. The other boys in my class were talking about fancying girls but I wasn’t interested, it was the other guys who were catching my eye. I suppose I was just into my teens, so probably around fourteen years old.I DID YOU TELL ANYONE AT THE TIME? Back then I didn’t tell anyone, no definately not. I think it was a different time back then, things weren’t quite as accpeting as they are now, and I was embarrased, I’ve always been a confident person but I was really worried what other people would think of me. WHEN DID YOU ACTUALLY COME OUT? I came out properly when I was seventeen to some of my closest friends. I was worried what my parents would say, but then when I was eighteen my niece was born. I think this paved the way for me to tell them. In my mind I figured that it would ease the burden that I might not carry on the family line, and at least they’d have one grandchild. HOW DID YOU COME OUT? It was nerve wracking. I got my mum on her own and sat down with her. My stomach was in my mouth as the words fell from my mouth that I was gay. I really didn’t know what was going to happen next. Thankfully she told me that I was her son and the fact that I was gay didn’t change anything, she loved me regardless. I was nervous about telling my dad, I don’t know why because there was never any issues surrounding this, but regardless, I asked my mum to do it for me. It took her a while, aournd two months in-fact, but she told him. In the end I don’t know why I was so apprehensive about him knowing. When he was told he just said that he’d known since I was a child and it didn’t change anything he was ok with it..

SEVENTY // GNIMAG.COM

WHAT WAS THE REACTION OF YOUR CLOSE FRIENDS AND FAMILY? Looking back I don’t know why I was nervous, but hindsight is a great thing eh? Nobody had an issue with it, all of my friends and family were lovely about me coming out and the relief for me was amazing. I think most people had an idea that I was gay from an early age, so it was not an issue at all. I’ve heard it from other gay friends that it seems that those around us figure out that we are gay before we do ourselves, and this seemed to be the case.

MY NIECE WAS BORN AND IN MY MIND I FIGURED THAT IT WOULD EASE THE BURDEN THAT I MIGHT NOT CARRY ON THE FAMILY LINE, AND AT LEAST THEY’D HAVE ONE GRANDCHILD. WERE THERE ANY NEGATIVE REACTIONS AND HOW DID YOU OVERCOME THESE? I’ve had no real negativity regarding my sexuality Occasionally I get small minded kids looking at me funny, but I don’t really care about this - they’re young, they need educated. And I find this is the case when my friends tell me about negative experiences they have around their sexuality. Often it’s from an older generation who are mabye set in their ways, or just need re-educated, or even maybe they don’t personally know any LGBT peolple so they don’t really understand it. HOW HAS COMING OUT AFFECTED YOU? Coming out is the best thing I have ever done, it means I can be my self with no filter! WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO OTHERS THINKING ABOUT COMING OUT? For any one that is still to come out my advice is just be


COMING OUT // GARETH COCHRANE

who you want to be and come out in your own time when your’re ready. Don’t be pressured into coming out to suit someone elses beliefs or timelines, you will know when the time is right for you. ANY FUNNY STORIES ABOUT COMING OUT? When I had just turned eighteen I was in the Parliament bar in Belfast. I was out with a few friends and I was kissing some guy when a photographer came over and asked could he take our photo. Of course I said yes - I’d no idea what it was for. A few weeks later the photo appeared in the Belfast Telegraph, they were there doing a review on the nightclub. I wasn’t out to my parents at that stage so when the photo was in the paper my mum seen it and saw that I had my arm around the guy that I had meet. My mum was like what are you doing in a gay bar with your arm around some fella? I had to lie and say I was out with my sister (who is a lesbian and was out at the stage), I said I didn’t know the guy and he was just being friendly!

LOOKING BACK I DON’T KNOW WHY I WAS NERVOUS, BUT HINDSIGHT IS A GREAT THING EH? NOBODY HAD AN ISSUE WITH IT. SEVENTY ONE // GNIMAG.COM


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LOVE // AMANDA & CARA

THE BIG DAY // AMANDA & CARA

SIXTY NINE // GNIMAG.COM


LOVE // AMANDA & CARA

SO TELL US HOW YOU MET, WERE YOU SINGLE FOR A LONG TIME BEFORE YOU STARTED DATING ? Amanda: We met at an event for HERe NI a friend introduced us, I looked Cara up on facebook, I then told the said friend that I was going to pm Cara and ask her out. She convinced me that it would be better to wait until pride that Saturday as we would all be there. I spent the whole morning being sick with nerves and it took me the whole day to ask her to go for a drink. Cara: We met at a Pride event and meeting someone was the last thing on my mind! It just shows you- things happen when you least expect them! We met at at an event and Amanda asked me out on the day of Pride. HOW LONG AFTER YOU STARTED DATING DID IT TAKE TO POP THE

SEVENTY FOUR // GNIMAG.COM

QUESTION, WAS IT AN IMMEDIATE YES? Amanda: We had a long running joke where I would ask ‘when are you going to marry me?’ Cara’s reply was some day if you’re lucky. I think this started after a year and a half or so. The actual proposal was unromantic, we were leaving NYC that day and deciding what to do for our last few hours before our taxi came. I suggested we should go shopping for diamonds, Cara replied what? So I suggested we should go look. When we arrived at the shop Cara picked a ring that she wanted and looked at me and said I guess this means we are engaged. Cara: Amanda used to ask me to marry her and always used to say some day if you are lucky! She then asked me when we where in New York would I like to go and look at some diamonds! TELL US ABOUT YOUR BIG DAY...

Amanda: Our big day was in the Merchant hotel in Belfast, our whole bridal party got dressed in our house, our florist was the first to arrive then makeup and hair. The whole morning was very relaxed and suddenly it was time to leave, we travelled together to the Merchant with my Daddy and Ryan (Cara’s son, my step son) Our wedding coordinator met us and we spent some time getting photos taken on the steps. We met with the registrar and then it was time to walk up the aisle the nerves kicked in here, they only lasted a minute or two and they disappeared again. The dance floor wasn’t empty at any point during the day, we couldn’t have asked for a better venue, staff or guests. Cara: Our day was everything we dreamed of and more! Our nearest and dearest family and friends joined us. We had about 100 for meal and another 30 that evening. Our ceremony and dinner


LOVE // AMANDA & CARA

SEVENTY FIVE // GNIMAG.COM


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LOVE // AMANDA & CARA Amanda: Yes a few days later we jetted off to NYC our favourite place, we spent 3 days there in the freezing cold before moving on to Miami for a couple of days and then a wee taster 2 day cruise to coco cay in the Bahamas Cara: Honey moon was amazing! Headed to NYC (freezing) then to Miami and a curse for the sun. Also had a sneaky upgrade to Business class on way to NYC. ARE YOU INTO THE SAME THINGS? WHAT INTERESTS DO YOU HAVE THAT ARE DIFFERENT? Cara: Amanda loves baking and I couldn’t bake to save my life! Im a musician and

was all in the merchant. Our registrar performed the legal aspect and we also had a religious element to our ceremony also. As I’m musician - music was so important to me. For our ceremony we had Celtri (an Irish trad group that ive sang with), our niece Hannah sang ‘At Last” also. We had a harpist During the meal and the a band and DJ that evening. Amanadas dad walked her up the isle first and my son Ryan walked me up the isle after that. WHAT ABOUT THE FOOD AND DRINK? Amanda: The food we had for dinner was amazing and our guests informed us that the evening buffet was fantastic I think we both missed this as we were so busy enjoying our day. Cara: We had a gorgeous tasting menu in the merchant couple months before wedding. That night we had a room to ourselves, dedicated waiter, personalised menu then met with the head chef that evening to pick our menu. The food was unreal and our guests just loved the 4 mini desserts! Amanda made our gorgeous wedding cake and cupcakes. We had a massive sweetie table and in the evening also had a chocolate fountain when the evening Buffett was served. DID YOU HAVE A HONEYMOON?

SEVENTY SEVEN // GNIMAG.COM


LOVE // AMANDA & CARA singer and Amanda doesn’t do music at all but quite happy to listen our make the numbers up in my choir if I need them! We love spending the evenings in with our wee dog Oscar and cat Dora. Love going to family dinners. DO YOU DO EVERYTHING TOGETHER OR DO YOU LIKE TO KEEP INDEPENDENT? We do lot together! We even work together now as both of us work in the Belfast LGBT Centre! Amanda has her baking and Cara has her singing so we do things apart- but mostly love spending the limited spare time we have free together. HOW ARE YOU FINDING LIFE NOW, HAS ANYTHING CHANGED? Cara: Nothing much has changed- straight back to normal life and back to work! One thing that we are passionate about is the introduction of marriage equality here and we will both continue to campaign on this issue.

SEVENTY EIGHT // GNIMAG.COM


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

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AGONY AUNT // TRUDY SCRUMPTIOUS

SORT YERSELF OUT! TRUDY SCRUMPTIOUS I FANCY MY GIRLFRIENDS

he’s hungover and he’ll see you as the hero that you

BEST FRIEND, HELP!

are!

It’s

because

you you

can’t

I’VE WANTED TO BREAK UP WITH MY GIRLFRIEND

have!

can’t

have

FOR A WHILE NOW BUT HER MUM GOT REALLY

equal marriage focus your

ILL RECENTLY AND I FEEL GUILTY IF I LET HER GO,

attention on that!

WHAT DO I DO? Support her through this difficult time, and take small

I

CHEATED

SHOULD

I

(SOBER), TELL

MY

break up moment! (That’s very Eastenders of ya!) Continue to support and communicate with her, as you

Yes just don’t do it when

she’ll always respect you for that!

you are drunk! I WANT TO FIND MORE LGBT CENTRAL SHOWS/ BANGED

A

CLOSE

YOUTUBERS TO WATCH, ANY SUGGESTIONS?

FRIEND AND NOW IT’S

There are loads but I’m far to busy watching the demise

AWKWARD BETWEEN US

and rise of James Charles! He’s famous apparently!

WHAT DO I DO? It’s awkward after the sex?

WHAT’S A GOOD PICKUP LINE TO USE ON A

Was it that bad? Do it again

LESBIAN?

to be sure!!! I feel awkward

I’m great at building furniture.... especially when it’s

you used the word banged!!

tongue and groove!

A DUDE FRIEND OF MINE

WHAT’S A GOOD AND EASY HOUSEPLANT TO

TOLD ME HE’S GAY AND

LOOK AFTER, I KILL EVERYTHING I TOUCH!

LIKES ME BUT I’M NOT

The plastic ones from Ikea!

INTO HIM? You’ve still got it never lost

I STARTED CATFISHING MY HOT FRIEND, HE’S

it! Now show him your bad

STRAIGHT AND NOW I CAN’T STOP, HELP!

bits!

Let the forehead meet the hand, slap! Pretend you are the 6’5” built boyfriend of this cat fishing persona and

MY

DAUGHTER

HAS

A

GIRLFRIEND AND I CAN’T LET

HER

KEEP

you’re gonna whoop his ass if you ever see him! He’ll ignore ya right and quick!

LIVING

THIS MISTAKE, HOW DO I

I THINK QUEER EYE IS OVERRATED, HOW DO I GET

MAKE HERSTOP?

EVERYONE I KNOW TO STOP TALKING ABOUT IT

Let

her

learn

from

her

ALL THE TIME?

mistakes or you’ll learn from

Get them to watch Tati, James Charles and the Jeferree

yours .

Starr drama and they’ll forget they are even human.

I

COOKED

A

DATE

DINNER BUT I THINK HE DIDN’T LIKE IT DO I END EVERYTHING? Get him to cook for you, so

you

can

Leo from The Rainbow Project answers that pressing question...

judge

How often do lesbians and bi women need pap tests? I have been given lots of different answers over the years.

steps to slowly separating rather than one definitive

PARTNER?

I

SEXUAL HEALTH

want

something You

HELP!

him

right back! or get him a McDonald’s breakfast when

EIGHTY ONE // GNIMAG.COM

THIS WILL BE MY OF OUR SHORTEST ANSWERS, AS IT’S VERY MATTER OF FACT! LESBIAN AND BISEXUAL WOMEN SHOULD GET A PAP SMEAR AS OFTEN AS HETEROSEXUAL WOMEN. THAT IS EVERY 3-5 YEARS AFTER YOU’VE TURNED 25. IT IS MISCONCEPTION THAT HPV CAN ONLY BE TRANSMITTED VIA PENETRATION - IT CAN ALSO BE PASSED BY ORAL SEX, MUTUAL MASTURBATION, AND SKIN TO SKIN CONTACT (AKA IF YOU TOUCH THEIR WARTS - WHICH CAN APPEAR ON SOME STRAINS OF HPV). IT’S ALSO IMPORTANT TO NOTE THAT NOT EVERYONE WHO SHOULD BE GOING FOR A PAP SMEAR WILL IDENTIFY AS WOMEN. TRANS MEN AND NON-BINARY PEOPLE WHO HAVE A VAGINA SHOULD ALSO GET A PAP SMEAR AS RECOMMENDED EVERY 3-5 YEARS. MANY PEOPLE WORRY ABOUT GETTING THEIR PAP SMEAR THINKING IT MAY HURT OR BE EMBARRASSING BUT I CAN ASSURE YOU THE PROCEDURE IS QUICK, GENERALLY PAINLESS AND POTENTIALLY LIFE SAVING!


FAMILY // CONOR DOUGLAS

LGBT FAMILIES // CONOR’S STORY EIGHTY TWO // GNIMAG.COM


FAMILY // CONOR DOUGLAS

FOR MY SON, GROWING UP KNOWING THAT I WAS GAY AFFECTED HIM IN SCHOOL WITH BULLYING, OTHER KIDS MOCKING HIM BECAISE HIS PARENT WAS ‘DIFFERENT’ WHICH I FELT GUILTY FOR FOR A LONG TIME.

That is something that was in the past and weve matured through the years and learnt to have a matual respect for one another. For my son, growing up knowing that I was gay affected him in school with bullying, other kids mocking him becaise his parent was ‘different’ which I felt guilty for for a long time. But he always stood his ground and stood up to them; as far as he was concerned his dad is his dad no matter what his sexual orientation is! BECOMING A DAD WAS SOMETHING I never had planned for myself when I was young, I always knew in my head i was gay but hid that for many years, being 17 and finding out I was going to be a dad was the scariest thing I have ever had to go through, but in the end, it was the greatest gift of my life. Comparing life as a straight parent and an LGBT+ parent are no different really, if you bring your child up knowing all beliefs and orientations are normal, then thats what they will believe. My Son is now 15 years old and I’m a 32 year old man who dabbles in drag, with a long term partner. But to me and my son, thats our normality. Growing up with Ryan as a baby it was almost like I was his older brother as he didnt live with me after I came out and left his mother. That was hard. But I always maintained a close relationship with him and had him every weekend. There was many a time my sexuality got in the way with his mother that made her try and stop me from seeing him.

It’s a little harder now as Ryan is 15 and has more interest in his friends and his ‘girlfriends’ so I dont see him as often as I’d like. This can be hard as most parents see their kids everyday, though we are in contact daily and game together online and all that sort of stuff. He steals my clothes and we get along great. Just like every other family.

EIGHTY THREE // GNIMAG.COM


REAL LIFE // BRANDON CANA

REAL LIFE // A POST TROUBLES UPBRINGING

EIGHTY FOUR // GNIMAG.COM


REAL LIFE // BRANDON CANA

I GREW UP IN A FAR-MORE peaceful time for Northern Ireland, I barely have no recollections of The Troubles, unfortunately I had my own “troubles” to deal with. My first memory in this world is desperately needing the toilet at Royal Victoria Hospital, I finally get to the bathroom when suddenly, I pull my stitches out, I faint to the sight of blood and faeces. I was four years old… and just had surgery to fix an obstructed bowel, unfortunately trauma can imprint itself onto you to a superior degree that would take a lot of love to overturn. This is my story of self-acceptance and not letting negative aspects of your life define you. Persevere and please know it CAN get better for you. Would you like to know what my first words were? It was the whole alphabet at the age of six. Doctors had told my parents I was mute and potentially deaf. I went to St. Francis de Sales for my first year of primary school – a school for the blind, deaf and/or mute. I would spend every afternoon after school watching Countdown on Channel 4 - the irony. I was obsessive of Carol Vorderman’s pronunciation of vowels, consonants and numbers, yet I was never able to replicate. I wasn’t until my dad brought home a blackboard with the alphabet etched onto it. That same day, I spoke the entire alphabet in musical-form. “It’s a miracle!” exclaimed my mother, however it was the trauma of intense surgery at that age was the cause of my ‘quietness’. I was still quite sick from the surgery so for P2 I went to Cedar Lodge special school, for which I would spend the rest of my childhood and early adolescence until the time came for my A-Levels. I had grown quite attached to my new special school, even though certain teachers thought I was ‘de-frauding’ the system as I had no behaviour issues and I excelled with school work that I should have been placed in a “normal” school – for which I hate the term profusely. I was isolated and made to sit on my own in certain years. I made an attempt to change schools once before GCSEs begun, however I had grown too attached and dependent to this institution I had spent the majority of my life at, alongside

the mere ten to fifteen classmates I spent every-waking school day with. I eventually had to leave as the school didn’t provide A-Levels. I left with just 5 GCSEs – the only five they taught at the time and got myself to a local Boys’ Catholic college. I was asked if I wanted assistance during my A-levels, I without hesitation said no. I wanted to move on and leave the past behind. This was meant to be a new chapter filled with hope and potential which thankfully it was, but it was also the most traumatic aspect of my existence. Why? Because I finally had come to accept

DOCTORS HAD TOLD MY PARENTS I WAS MUTE AND POTENTIALLY DEAF. that I’m gay. I’m sixteen years old and I start my first, new day at this “rougher” college. I walk to school sweating with anxiety, not knowing anyone there. I walk into the large study room with all the sixth-formers and I take my coat off. My entire uniform drenched in sweat and very noticeably so. The whole room erupts in laughter. I’m mortified, I rush to the bathroom but the damage is already done. I’ve been branded yet again before my first new class had even begun. Thankfully, the remainder of the year went by smoothly. I made some good friends and did well in my results, especially Moving Image Arts, I had discovered a passion for media, film & photography. Unfortunately, the following year had to be one of the most turbulent yet. I was discovering my sexuality and had proceeded to have a few local hook-ups followed by online relationships with guys

my age, interestingly none from Northern Ireland or even UK or Ireland in general. The first was an American named Jayde – we lasted one-week… oh, young love. This was followed by Luis from Mexico. Luis and I were a little bit more serious. We actually skyped with one another unlike Jayden. I was on top of the world, truly felt like I found the one from this Mexican trainee doctor, but then we video sexted. I showed him my bloating young body and scar and he never messaged me again. I was bodyshamed and it hurt like hell. I always let my emotions get the better of me, I’m also a sensitive soul, it took months to recover from my first ‘real’ break-up. Next was Marcel, a mutual friend on Facebook from my other passion in this world – Eurovision. We got in touch through Facebook and got along very well, he hardly spoke English as he was Romanian but there was an instant connection. Things grew very fast between us. We would skype each night and I knew for sure he was legitimate. I taught him English even with my thick, quick Northern Irish accent and he made me feel loved for the first time truly. We had to meet, but I was still in school. So, I came up with a devious plan. I falsified a letter from my college saying there was a school trip planned to Romania to help out at the local orphanages. I would much rather, go along with this devastatingly un-true plan (that I was not proud of) than come out too my uberreligious parents, who previously made it quite clear their unacceptance to anything LGBT. I convinced my mother who signed it and booked the flights and accommodation for our first trip together. I messed up however and karma came to bite me in the butt. I would message Marcel in my class through the class computers. The college technicians monitored my entire messages and screenshotted them all. They thought I was being groomed and even though I was eighteen at the time this happened, they decided to intervene severely. One day, I was called-in to see the vice principal who showed me the screenshots. I denied it was a guy, said it was “Marcella” and they played along. They told me to

EIGHTY FIVE // GNIMAG.COM


REAL LIFE // BRANDON CANA

barely got into University where I got a first honours degree and ended up sorting my life out, it did take many years though. Marcel came over to us instead and it worked out for a few years. I guess that’s another story for another day. I fixed my self-esteem and got into better shape and had a chance to try out modelling. Last but not least I eventually met my kindred spirit and fiancé Jake and we’re now both living together in Belfast after I flew over for our first date in London. My relationship with my family couldn’t be better, especially after properly coming out. They’re now my biggest advocates. Finally I’ve gotten to work for some brilliant media places including BBC and at the Eurovision Song Contest. I look forward to the future, which I something I couldn’t of said back then. Ultimately, what I want to say is “stay strong and continue to believe in your dreams”. Take every traumatic moment and let it strengthen your character and make you a better person – wear it as a badge of honour. No one is like you, be yourself and be proud of it. Nobody is perfect and if I can take these life-ruining moments and make them into something positive and uplifting, then you most certainly can too.

use the school phone and contact my mother. A huddle of staff listened in, for some fresh gossip at the breaking of this schoolboy’s heart. They locked me in the principal’s office for four hours while they forced me out to my mother. My mum also had brought the falsified letter, the staff had finally pieced together the full narrative. The staff gave me an ultimatum, tell your mum the whole truth about your sexuality or you will be expelled first-thing tomorrow. My Mum and I got home and tears ran through from both sides. My mother was extremely angry, not even because of the fact I was gay, it was because I hurt her pride by being told by my school. It was the worst and best day of my life. I stayed strong and always looked to the future. I finished that horrid college,

EIGHTY SIX // GNIMAG.COM


Traditional Scissor Stylist Walk In’s Welcome £10 Cuts Eyebrow Waxing £4 No Fuss Salon

17 Union Street, Belfast

THE TEA ROOM

TEA. COFFEE. FOOD.

Thank you for being our friend

good home-cooked food Speciality Suki Tea Barista Coffee facebook/Instagram: TheTEAROOMFINAGHY

Finaghy Crossroads, 3 Finaghy Road North, Finaghy


SCENE OUT // SUPERVALU

SUPERVALU ZERO FUSS SUMMER PHOTOS BY MATT MACKEY, PRESS EYE.

EIGHTY EIGHT // GNIMAG.COM


SCENE OUT // SUPERVALU

WITH THE RETURN OF BRIGHT summer evenings and the succulent scents of smoky BBQs in the air, SuperValu is taking the hassle out of barbeque season, with an extensive new summer range. Featuring 30 new lines, perfect for the summer season, the range is part of a £250k investment from SuperValu into its meat offering. This exciting new range, available in stores across Northern Ireland, is packed full of your favourite summer flavours. From fresh cut meats to salads, cheeses and picnic favourites, SuperValu has got summer sorted. Check out SuperValu’s top five ingredients for a delicious summer season. FIRE UP THE GRILL: Nothing beats firing up the BBQ for the first alfresco meal of the season. This summer, SuperValu ranges will cut down your time in the kitchen, leaving more time to mingle with guests or simply sit back and enjoy the aromatic scents of deliciously marinated meat sizzling on the BBQ. The Prepared By Our Butcher and Fresh For You ranges include everything from traditional favourites, like burgers and sausages, to Chinese Pork Belly Ribs, Cajun chicken skewers, sizzling steaks and piri piri spatchcock chickens, ready to place straight on the BBQ with zero effort required. What’s more, SuperValu stores have their own in-house butcher, ready to offer handy tips, make recommendations and cater for all your BBQ needs. PREP-FREE PICNICS: Whether you are packing up a picnic for the park, or stealing a few moments to dine alfresco, SuperValu’s new summer range has everything you need to pull together a tasty nofuss basket of treats. With tasty local cheeses, fresh breads, mouthwatering salamis, flavoursome dips and tantalising tapas-style treats to choose from, your picnic will be the envy of your friends. All that’s left is to wait for some sunshine! PERFECT WINE PAIRINGS: Long and balmy summer evenings are the perfect time to enjoy a glass of wine, which is why SuperValu have selected an exclusive wine collection, handpicked to complement their summer range. Relax in the garden with the crisp flavours of a chilled white wine; find the perfect light summer rosé, such as the SuperValu favourite Bendel Cuvee Caroline Rose from Provence France (£8.49), to accompany your fish dish; or opt for rich red wine like the Cantina Tombacco Aglianico (£8), also available at SuperValu, to complement the charred and smoky flavours of barbecued beef or pork. BBQ and Beer When it comes to pairing food and drinks, wine seems like the obvious companion, but BBQs and beer also go hand-in-hand to make an excellent summer combination. SuperValu is home to a range of local craft beers and ciders, each boasting their own unique flavours and aroma. Exclusive to SuperValu, The JourneyMan IPA is bursting with fruity hop flavours, balanced hints of malt and biscuit, making the perfect accompaniment to your BBQ favourites. What’s more, did you know that the bubbles in beer cleanse your palate with every sip? SUMMER SERVES: Feeling the heat? Cool down with a quenching gin and tonic or fruity summer cocktail. Alongside their selection of wines and beers, SuperValu has a fantastic selection of carefully selected spirits, featuring a number of local producers including Jawbox, Shortcross, and Boatyard Gins. From simple summer serves to something more exotic, these spirits are perfect for getting the party started or winding down after a summer feast. For top tips, recipes and further information about the SuperValu summer range, visit www.supervalu.co.uk/summer or connect with SuperValu on Facebook, Instagram & Twitter, @SuperValuNI

EIGHTY NINE // GNIMAG.COM


ADVERTORIAL // RELATE NI

THE RELATIONSHIP PEOPLE RELATE NI DEAR RELATE NI I HAVE BEEN IN A CIVIL PARTNERSHIP WITH MY PARTNER FOR 4 YEARS. WE AGREED EARLY IN OUR RELATIONSHIP TO HAVE A FAMILY. AFTER MUCH DISCUSSION AND ADVICE WE DECIDED TO TRY IUI (INTRA UTERINE INSEMINATION) AND WERE LUCKY THAT OUR FIRST ATTEMPT WAS SUCCESSFUL. OUR SON WAS BORN A YEAR AGO AND MY PARTNER TOOK TIME OFF TO LOOK AFTER HIM WHILE I WORKED TO PAY THE BILLS. I NOW FEEL ISOLATED AS SHE IS MAKING DECISIONS ABOUT OUR SON WITHOUT DISCUSSING THESE. I RESENT HER FOR BEING AT HOME WITH HIM AND OUR RELATIONSHIP IS BEING IMPACTED. SHE THINKS I AM OVER-REACTING AND DOESN’T WANT TO TALK ABOUT IT. WE ARGUE ALL THE TIME WHICH I KNOW IS NOT GOOD FOR OUR SON. CAN YOU PLEASE HELP? VERONICA, STRABANE Dear Veronica Becoming a parent is a wonderful experience but we also know that it often causes a strain on couple relationships. It’s normal for one person to feel left out of decisions and you may not have as much time to spend together which can escalate these feelings. You have also identified that conflict between parents can have an impact on your son as he grows and develops, so it’s important to try and change this dynamic in your

NINETY // GNIMAG.COM

relationship. Often, individuals in a couple only see a problem from their own perspective and this can create distance in the relationship. At Relate NI, our experience highlights that often the source of relationship problems is that we don’t or can’t communicate effectively about what we want or need. It is important to make time for each other even though this can be more difficult when you have a small baby. If you are able to set aside even a few hours to be on your own to talk you might find that you both are struggling with different aspects of being a parent. Prioritising this shared experience could make you both feel less alone and open the possibility of further discussions to explore solutions. It can also re-kindle the couple aspect of your relationship now that you are both parents. Another option is couple counselling which could help by giving you both space to talk about any challenges and fears you may have in a safe space. Better communication can help you both as a couple and also as parents to improve your relationships as a family. Elaine Couples Counsellor – Relate NI DEAR RELATE NI I AM 20 YEARS OLD AND NEED SOME ADVICE. TWO YEARS AGO I TOLD MY FAMILY THAT I WAS GAY. I EXPECTED IT TO BE DIFFICULT BUT I WASN’T PREPARED FOR HOW MY PARENTS REACTED. THERE WERE CONSTANT ARGUMENTS WITHIN THE FAMILY AND MY YOUNGER SISTER BLAMED ME FOR EVERYTHING. I THOUGHT AS TIME WENT ON THINGS WOULD GET BETTER AS I TRIED TO HELP MY PARENTS UNDERSTAND, BUT INSTEAD THEY GOT WORSE AND I FELT CONSTANTLY ANXIOUS. I THOUGHT IT WOULD BE BETTER FOR EVERYONE IF I LEFT SO I MOVED IN WITH MY BOYFRIEND 5 MONTHS AGO AND I HAVEN’T HAD ANY CONTACT WITH MY FAMILY SINCE. LAST WEEK MY MUM TEXTED ME TO SAY SHE AND MY DAD WOULD LIKE TO MEET ME TO TRY TO RESOLVE THINGS. I REALLY MISS MY FAMILY AND WOULD LIKE TO RECONNECT WITH THEM BUT I AM AFRAID THAT THINGS WILL BE THE SAME AS BEFORE. MY BOYFRIEND SAYS THAT THEY NEED TO ACCEPT US AS A COUPLE BEFORE I CAN

HAVE A RELATIONSHIP WITH THEM. CAN YOU HELP? MATT, NEWRY Dear Matt It sounds like this has been a very difficult time for you. You have tried to help your family understand who you are but they haven’t listened or engaged. It is important to talk with people who will listen and understand how you feel without judging; this could be your boyfriend or a close friend or another relative. It is important for you to feel supported in addressing the impact of your relationship with your parents over these last number of years since you came out to them. Experiencing conflict within a family should not necessarily prompt the end of relationships. You now need to think about what type of relationship you would like you and your partner to have with your parents, sister and wider family, and what you are not willing to accept. If you have thought these things through, it will help you be clear with your parents about how you are feeling and what you want if you are to continue a relationship with them. You may also want to consider Relate NI’s Family Therapy service. The family therapist can help manage difficult feelings and encourage open and honest engagement in a safe environment so that you all can get a better understanding of the other’s position, start to consider individual and family needs and build on the strengths of your relationships. Christiana Family Therapist _____________________________

Northern Ireland’s provider of relationship support. Last year Relate NI helped over two thousand people of all ages, backgrounds, sexual orientations and gender identities to strengthen their relationships.

LOCATIONS Belfast, Foyle, Newry, Portadown, Coleraine, Ballymena, Bangor and Enniskillen.


Happy and healthy relationships are an essential foundation for our wellbeing. If your relationships don’t support your wellbeing, Relate NI can.

Happy Pride season from everyone at Relate NI

tel. 028 9032 3454

www.relateni.org


FAMILY // ADOPTION

ADOPTION // YES YOU CAN! THE LEGAL BAN ON SAME-SEX couples adopting was lifted in N.Ireland in 2013. As a result, the diversity of the adoption community in N.Ireland has been steadily growing. More and more LGBTQ couples and individuals are choosing adoption as a way to have a ‘forever family’. However, there are still those within the gay community who think that they cannot become adoptive parents & they are discounting themselves with preconceived ideas that they would not be considered to be the right ‘match’ for children who are waiting. There are many LGBT couples approved to adopt locally & the numbers are growing. Adoption UK is a national charity which supports adoptive families and its regional office in Belfast, established an LGBT Peer Support Group in April 2016 to meet the needs of our growing number of prospective and active adopters. Three years on we have nearly 50 members who meet to share support & advice, as well as hosting regular family activities which can be affirming for children adopted by LGBTQ parents. Your sexual orientation is not a factor in adoption. You can adopt as a single person or as a couple – whether you are married, in a civil partnership or living together. There is no credible evidence to suggest that LGBT parents disadvantage adopted children. Children are waiting…do it! WHAT HAPPENS: You will have an initial meeting with a social

NINETY TWO // GNIMAG.COM

worker to find out about you & provide some information about adoption. This is followed by preparation training to give you a chance to understand the needs of adoptive children plus enable you to consider all the implications of becoming adoptive parents. If you’re still keen to progress, then you will begin an assessment process which will look at your life, your experiences - including your capacity to parent including health & financial. Once the assessment process is complete a panel with adoption experience, make the decision on your approval to adopt. If approved, you are matched with a child/ren waiting for a ‘forever family’. Adoption UK will be with you all the way to offer advice & support through bespoke resources, training & access to local support groups.

however we quickly developed a great relationship with our social worker. We are active members of the Adoption UK LGBT support group and this has given us a real insight into the adoption process, the realities of looking after children in the care system and the experience of seeing new families grow. We are nervous but very excited about what the next step in this process will mean for us and our family.” Claire & Donna.

INVITATION ‘Adopting & Fostering with Pride’ – Answering Your Questions. Thursday 1st August, 7-9pm @ The Mac, Belfast. An evening event providing a chance to meet & hear from some adopters about their experience making their forever family. Contact: Adoption UK T: 9077 5211 E: ej@adoptionuk.org.uk

“The application process was quite intense, with every aspect of our lives being checked, but we understood why that was necessary. All the social workers were exceptionally supportive and we were not treated any differently than other adoption applicants. We adopted a sibling group of two children!” Paul.

TESTIMONIES “We were approved to adopt in December 2018, after 12 months of assessment. It was daunting, in particular given the complexities of life for LGBT couples in Northern Ireland,

“Eugene and I (Fergal), found our experience within the Southern Trust very straight forward and actually quite enjoyable. Would highly recommend any LGBTQ+ couples to consider adoption.” Fergal.

Process: What do you have to do? For information: Contact the Regional Adoption & Fostering Services – T: 0800 0720 137 www.adoptionandfostering.hscni.net/ adoption or contact me at Adoption UK T: 9077 5211


TEST!

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


RECOMMENDED // MARTY KEARNEY

RECOMMENDED // MARTY KEARNEY DEAD TO ME // ALL I SHOULD REALLY WRITE about this show is …. Christina Applegate has a show on Netflix go watch. Thank me later, but as I need to fill space I can tell you that Dead to Me is one of the best shows on the air at the minute. Fact,even our Editor Tony said this about Ms. Applegate and I quote “She could pish on a wall and id love it” This dramedy about grief also stars Linda Cardellini and the on screen chemistry between these two is on Parr with Meredith and Christina from Greys Anatomy and in my opinion better than Grace and Frankie. James Marsden also stars who seems to be getting better with age. I was able to watch this in one binge and I recommend you do to. The sooner you do a second season will be announced. So go. DO IT NOW! If you don’t your dead to me! Pun intended.

WHAT/IF // THE CRITICS ARE CALLING WHAT/IF the worst show Netflix has made yet they go on to say that they can’t get enough of it. A guilty pleasure. A case of so bad its good. But you have nothing to feel Guilty about by watching this show I’m already a few episodes in and I love it. Created by Mike Kelly who bought us Revenge one of the best shows ever. What makes What/ If so good is the camp, seductive and sometimes over the top performance of Renne Zellweger. She plays the shows antagonist Anne Montgomery. Between Chicago, Bridget Jones and soon to play Judy Garland she’s one in my top 5 movie actresses, Zellweger is becoming a Gay icon in her own right. I’ve loved her from her career making performance in Jerry Maguire #YOUHADMEAT HELLO. What/IF also stars Jane Levy, Glee’s alumni Blake Jenner and Brothers & Sisters hottie Dave Annabel. This Cruel Intentions meets Basic Instinct guilty pleasure needs to be added to your watch list.

NINETY FOUR // GNIMAG.COM

Choose Choose your favourite your favourite show show or purchase or purcha GrandGrand OperaOpera HouseHouse Gift Vouchers Gift Vouchers now at now goh.co.uk at goh.co.


RECOMMENDED // TV & FILM

FOSSE/ VERDON // I LOVE ANY EXCUSE TO write about the work of Michelle Williams, I’ve done so a few times now. Fans of Broadway and musical theater will love this period drama based on the relationship between Director and Choreographer Bob Fosse and his wife Gwen Verdon. Fosse was the Director of the original Broadway production of Chicago and director of Cabaret and All That Jazz his wife Gwen Verdon was credited of being one of Broadways greatest actresses and dancers having won four Tony awards and was the first to play murderess Roxy Hart in Chicago. Played by Sam Rockwell and Shelly Williams as I like to call her this is definitely a contender for the upcoming Emmy awards.

JESSICA JONES // THIS WILL BE THE LAST season of Jessica Jones so I’d like to play tribute to the show, In my opinion she along with Karen Page from Daredevil (Debra Ann Woll) are the best characters in the whole marvel cinematic universe along with Gamora, Nebula and Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) who soon has her own show coming out called Wandvision but more about that when it actually comes out. Netflix cancelled all their Marvel properties due to the fact that Disney will be bringing out their own steaming service later this year but I’m Glad Jessica Jones is the last of these shows to be shown. Save the best to last if you will. After I read the synopsis for the third season I got the goosebumps. “ The titular super-strong private detective played by Kristen Ritter will have to repair the broken relationship with her friend Trish (Rachael Taylor) to take down a highly intelligent psychopath who crosses their paths” I said it before and I’ll say it again Trish Walker destiny to become Hellcat and this season It better happen. Also ending this summer is Orange is the new black, its times like this you have to say… Don’t be sad its over be happy it happened.

NINETY FIVE // GNIMAG.COM

THE BEST IN LIVE ENTERTAINMENT THIS SUMMER

More than 25 sunny shows to choose from


RECOMMENDED // MARTY KEARNEY

X-MEN: DARK PHOENIX // I LOVE LOVE LOVE THE X-MEN movies and can’t wait until they are introduced to the Marvel cinematic universe. I’ve already created my dream cast but more about that when an official announcement is made (Could be waiting a while). In the franchise we have the original trilogy. Three Wolverine movies. The Deadpool franchise is a spin-off and of course the prequels. Dark phoenix is the fourth and last of the prequels before the franchise is revamped for the big move back over to marvel. In X-Men: The Last Stand, the dark phoenix was a sub plot and although many say it’s one of the worst X-Men movies I liked it. My only criticism is that they butchered Rouges character played by Anna Paquin so much so her scenes where cut from days of future past, and even in the Rouge Cut edition she had

3 minutes of screen time. I sincerely hope when Marvel recreate the x men Rouge is a key character and is the sassy southern belle she portrayed in the animated series and has the power of super strength and able to fly. Any way back to Dark Phoenix. My favorite character from Game of Thrones Sansa Stark aka Sophie Turner takes on the lead role in this movie and no doubt will out shine Jennifer Lawrence James McAvoy and Michael Fasbender. Although delayed over a year for reshoots to make the movie better I hope it’s well worth the wait. The last X men film Apocalypse was a disappointment for most critics and audiences but will the latest in the franchise rise up like a phoenix or go down in flames. Dark Phoenix is in cinemas now.

THE LION KING // THESE DISNEY LIVE REMAKES CAN be hit or miss sometimes. Kenneth Branaghs Cinderella was a hit, Beauty and the Beast, well nothing will beat the Original. I hear Dumbo wasn’t great even though it starred Colin Farrell and I’ve yet to see Aladdin. The best of these remakes was Maleficent they took the tale of Sleeping Beauty and told if from the eyes of the villain and it worked. By no means is that what The lion king should do. Directed by Jon Faverau who bought a live adaption of the Jungle Book to life now brings us one of the best movies ever and it couldn’t be in better hands. One of the things I’m looking forward to the most is that most of the original songs are in the movie and Beyoncé is the cast. Though I’ve read theories and it would be amazing if they came true. Are Pumbaa and Timon a gay couple? And while Simba “just can’t wait to be king” I just can’t wait to see this movie. Best to make it a family day out.

NINETY SIX // GNIMAG.COM

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RECOMMENDED // MARTY KEARNEY

SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME // I NEED THIS MOVIE, I really need this movie to be good, I was very disappointed in Endgame, I thought the middle act was slow and don’t get me stated on the end and the fact that there was no post credit scene. Far from home will be the last movie of the third phase of the marvel cinematic universe. I’m looking forward to seeing Cobie Smulders back as Maria Hill as she hasn’t had much to do since her debut way way back in Avengers Assemble here she will play the second female lead after Zendaya the scene stealing acrobat from The greatest showman. It will be interesting to see how all those who were dusted by the snap adjust to being back five years later. And I’m sure some questions will be answered. Tom Holland for me is the best Spiderman there’s been, and I can’t wait to see his interactions with Nick Fury (Samuel L Jackson). And making his marvel cinematic debut is Jake Gyllenhaal #YUM will play Mysterio, from the trailers he seems to be a good guy but you don’t need spidey sense to see the twist coming as Mysterio is a major villain in the comics. Enjoy this one guys it could be the last Marvel movie we could get in a while. Information and dates regarding phase four will be announced shortly after the movie’s release. I think I’ll start a tradition and throw a Marvel themed party every time a new phase is announced, here’s hoping this tradition lasts for years to come with X men and Fantastic four coming back to the Marvel cinematic universe I don’t see why it wouldn’t.

CHILD’S PLAY // I’M CHUCKY WANNA PLAY? The chucky movies where more of a comedy than horror but love or hate the Childs Play franchise you have to admit it’s resilient. With an Original trilogy. The Bride of Chucky era (Jennifer Tilly’s best work) and more recently a few direct to videos films. Not surprisingly Child’s Play has been given a remake and from the team who made 2017’s IT. Aubrey Plaza stars and the single mom who must save her son Andy from the possessed doll. One thing that will surely be missed is Brad Dourif who has voiced Chucky throughout the entire franchise, he has passed the torch or rather knife to Luke Sky Walker himself Mark Hamill who kills it as the voice of The Joker in the Batman animated movies but I feel he’s a poor substitute for the original voice of chucky. These remakes don’t really surpass the original apart from maybe IT, mentioned earlier, but that’s doesn’t stop us from going to see them.

NINETY SEVEN // GNIMAG.COM

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TESTED // THE GRAND CENTRAL

SLEEP OVER // GRAND CENTRAL HOTEL IF YOU ARE A FAN OF THE FINER THINGS IN LIFE THIS REVIEW WILL BE RIGHT UP YOUR STREET. WE HEADED TO THE SUPER-OPULENT GRAND CENTRAL HOTEL, THIS IS HASTINGS NEWEST HOTEL ON BEDFORD STREET IN BELFAST’S CITY CENTRE. NINETY EIGHT // GNIMAG.COM


TESTED // THE GRAND CENTRAL ANYONE WHO LIVES, WORKS OR visits the city regularly will be familiar with the hotel and its history. Second in size to only one other building in Belfast the Grand Central was previously Bedford House, an office block with retail space on the ground floor, this was completely transformed into a ‘Grand’ hotel which opened it’s doors less than a year ago, boasting 300 rooms, functions rooms, 3 restaurants and the piece de resistance the Observatory, a bar on the top floor which gives the most beautiful panoramic views of Belfast. The Hotel is over 23 floors and towers over its surrounding in the City Centre, in comparison to the Sky Scrapers of New York City this is a baby, though in Belfast it makes a statement.

most amazingly comfortable bed. When my guest finally made an appearance we enjoyed a quick glass of wine then headed for dinner in the Grand Cafe. I must mention before speaking of the food just how accommodating the staff were, my guest was held up in traffic then got lost on route, meaning I had to catch our reservation twice, this was no issue at all. Now on to the food OMG, I mentioned earlier than I had previously dined in the hotel so I knew we were in for a treat. It was now 7.30 pm so bellies were rumbling and ready for some grub lol.

So let’s dive in, be prepared to add to your bucket list lol

Check in was effortless as one would expect though more pleasant than usual, I was asked about my day, we had a general chat and I was asked if I needed a wake-up call then confirmed times for dinner, breakfast etc. I was given my key and shown to the lift with a warm smile.

Our attentive server took a drinks order, explained specials and gave us a few minutes to look over the menu. Having already had a sneaky peak online I had a fair idea of what I wanted. We ordered some bread for the table to share, served with Balsamic Vinegar, Rapeseed Oil, Tapenade and Butter. This was by no means your bog standard bread basket it was a fresh Belfast Bap just out of the oven and light bread crackers, so delicious we had to refrain ourselves from devouring the lot.

My room was on the 14th floor I believe it was a Deluxe Family room or an Executive Twin, wow wow wow, I was blown away from the second I opened the door, in terms of sheer size this room something else. Decked out with 2 super king size beds, each could easily hold 3 adults, a magnificent bathroom which comprised of twin sinks, a walk-in waterfall shower and a lavish free standing bath. There was also the usual appliances, TV, Kettle, Iron etc and an amazing view over City Hall. This was pure heaven for me though unbelievably they do offer larger suites for those that really want the special treatment. While waiting for my guest to arrive I made the most of the bath that had been calling my name from setting eyes upon it. I started to fill it and noticed more extra’s, robes & slippers, treatments & oils and such in the bath/shower and even a Seahorse rubber bath toy. I love how they have really thought about the entire experience. I spend this next hour or so just chilling and watching telly while sprawled out across the

Dinner was perfect, we could have been complete slobs and squeezed in a desert though we decided to order a Carafe of Sauvignon Verdejo instead while letting our food digest. There was such a nice chilled atmosphere, we enjoyed sitting for a while chatting, people watching and enjoying our wine, the hotel is so cosmopolitan, across from us was a large group of men from America and to the other side was an eastern europoan family. So modern just as a 21st-century establishment should be

With my office a short 10 minute walk away I was eager to get out of work and off to the Grand Central, I arrived at approx 4pm, having been in the hotel on 2 separate occasions before though only for food and drinks I was particularly keen to see the rooms. On approach the hotel has a special feel, at the main revolving door I was greeted and offered assistance with my bags and shown to the reception area on the far left of the ground floor, on the right is the Grand Cafe and the central space is used for waiting, relaxing and booking the Observatory.

salad in the Culloden Spa a few months back and this brought me right back to my poolside lounger. It was so fresh packed with pickled beetroot, candied Walnuts, poached pears with a light balsamic dressing. I could eat it again right now even though its 8 am while I do this write up lol. My guest also having to loosen her belt orders a small portion of the Spaghetti with juicy King Prawns. She tells me it was delicious and loved the Chilli & Garlic Oil.

By this stage, it was touching on 11pm so we decided to grab a quick drink in the Observatory before heading out in town. The views are simply breathtaking, imagine as it was night they were even more beautiful, I was also surprised just how busy it was up there. After some exploring out and about it was time to retreat to the 14th floor, we draped ourselves across the bed, chatted for a bit and fell asleep. The beds really were amazing, I usually would wake for a drink or to use the bathroom though I clearly was that relaxed I slept right through to 8.40am. Now, that’s the sign of a great bed if there is one. With work calling we quickly had a shower, gathered our things and were on our way, unfortunately, we didn’t have time for breakfast though from the fabulous food experiences I have now had on 3 occasions I’m sure it would have been splendid In a nutshell, I couldn’t fault a thing, we had such a lovely stay the hotel and restaurant staff really looked after us, only negative being the length of stay, one day is never enough especially when in the lap of luxury.

To start I opted for the Seafood Chowder and my guest had the Chicken Wings, the Chowder was divine, packed with Salmon, Haddock and Cod in a super rich moreish sauce served with a side of Guinness Treacle bread. The wings were crispy and Korean Style with just the right amount of heat.

Thanks for a great experience I am certain I will be back soon and I’ll be sure to book longer and get breakfast this time If you are interested in booking visit www. grandcentralhotelbelfast.com their summer Bed, Breakfast and free upgrade offer is from only £70pp (based on 2 sharing)

As you can imagine after the amount of bread I had already devoured making room for a main may be a struggle so I decided to order the Irish Goats Cheese Salad, I had a similar

NINETY NINE // GNIMAG.COM


FOOD // THE PARLOUR

FOOD // THE PARLOUR THIS EDITIONS FOOD REVIEW TAKES us to The Parlour, those not familiar it’s a stone’s throw from Queens University on Elmwood Avenue. This is the place to be if you want to grab a quick drink, a wallet pleasing bite to eat or if you’re at a loose end in the evening as each night they have entertainment. My guest is a regular though I confess to having driven past on many occasions though never popped in until now, we were on route to see a show in the Lyric so now was the perfect time to see what all the fuss was about. It was a Tuesday evening at approx 6pm when we arrived, I was surprised to find that the place was particularly busy, typically bars/restaurants tend to be quieter early in the week so it was a nice coming to a place with a great atmosphere. We were seated on a reserved table that was facing the bar and ordered drinks while looking through the menu. My guest and I decided to share a bottle of Rose wine. On examination of the Menu it was apparent that Pizzas were the speciality, I had a nosy around and at the back of the restaurant they had a massive wood burning pizza oven, being a lover of pizza, it would be so wrong not to give one a try. There were 13 options to choose from and there was also a choice of bases which I totally loved, with summer holidays approaching I am trying to watch the waist line so we decided to get the healthiest base option which was Wholemeal Wrap, to top we went for the classic pepperoni. I can honestly say the pizza was perfect, so thin crispy and supper moreish. All options ranged from £6 to £9 wow. We shared the pizza and decided

to try a few other things, my guest went for the Chicken Goujons with chunky chips and I ordered the Parlour Platter. In hindsight this was way too much, the platter would easily be enough for 3 people, filled with Chicken Wings, Wedges, Cocktail Sausages, Onion Rings, Salad and a selection of dips. I gave it a good attempt though at least a third was left so we had it boxed up to bring home. Other options on the Menu were Burgers, Lite Bites, Pasta, Frites and Sides. When I return, I will definitely be getting a Pizza again though I also love the sound of the topped Frites, hand cut chips with a selection of toppings. Option 4 will be the one for me, smothered in Pepper sauce with Mushrooms and Onions, I am salivating as I type lol. I briefly mentioned the entertainment earlier, they have Live music 5 nights a week, weekly bingo on a Wednesday and quiz on Thursdays so be sure to pop in and check it out. They also do weekly offer’s, different deals available from Monday to Friday nights such as Main Course and glass of wine for £10 on Tuesday, Frites and a Pint for £8 on a Thursday and on a Friday night you can get any Pizza and Bottle of wine for only £18. To see all the entertainment and offers visit the website www.parlourbar. co.uk We had a lovely evening at the Parlour, thanks so much to the staff and Chef for looking after us and being so accommodating. The Parlour Bar - 2-4 Elmwood Avenue, Belfast. T: 028 90686970. Words by Daniel May

ONE HUNDRED & ONE // GNIMAG.COM


FEATUREL // G.O.T. COUNTRY

NORTHERN IRELAND // G.O.T. COUNTRY

ON MY LAST HOLIDAY, I MET a cracking couple, Frank and Johnny. It didn’t take long for us to become really good friends, especially when we had in common a great love and passion for Game of Thrones (the final episode had just aired the previous week!). Frank’s such a fan he even has Targaryen tattoos. Being from Northern Ireland I am extremely proud that I can boast about the amazing good fortune that Game Of Thrones has brought for NI’s travel and tourism economy. So, I invited my new pals (pals for life!) over for the last Bank Holiday weekend in May so they could experience some of the many GOT attractions our wee island has to offer. THIS IS THEIR STORY … In the not too distant past, very soon after the last emotion-packed episode of Game of Thrones, three unlikely knights: Sir Johnny of Catrine, Sir Frank of Gartcosh (both of House Glesgay) and their bannerman Martin of Lisburn, set out on a three-day adventure to discover what Belfast has to offer the diehard GoT fan. The nonstop itinerary, organised by Martin for his Scottish pals, included the “Game of Thrones Touring Exhibition”, a road trip to a few of the filming locations used for the show around Co. Antrim and the “GoT To Escape” room in Belfast city centre; not to mention a good sampling of the buzzin’ nightlife and great restaurants located in and around Belfast. We had expected to enjoy the weekend but were, in fact, totally blown away by what Belfast has to offer and by the rugged beauty of the countryside and coastline. SO HOW DID IT ALL STACK UP?

ONE HUNDED & TWO // GNIMAG.COM

Our trip started on the Friday with a super-quick EasyJet hop across the Irish Sea from Glasgow (30 mins); we were met by our host and guide Martin at the bustling Belfast International airport; all three of us only having barely recovered from a fab holiday in Gran Canaria where we had enjoyed the Maspalomas Bear Carnival… but hey, that’s a whole other story!. After a much-welcomed cocktail or two at the Northern Whig bar (sure went down a treat) we headed straight to the “Game of Thrones Touring Exhibition” at TEC Belfast. With no idea of what to expect (having avoided spoilers at all costs!) we entered the huge, darkened exhibition space to find a feast for the GoT fans’ eyes: an awesome (and impressive) display of costumes, weapons and props from the world’s biggest TV show. There were also plenty of photo opportunities as you wandered, slack-jawed, around the exhibition rooms (including a chance to capture, forever, three beefy guys hanging from the infamous Wall and screaming for their Mammies!); certainly, more than enough photo ops to fuel our attention-seeking Instagram accounts for at least another week! The GoT exhibition is an amazing mix of immersive environments with interactive areas and multimedia content. Each of the exhibits is accompanied by plenty of background detail – if you can take your eyes off Arya Stark’s lethal “Needle” sword or Jaime Lannister’s golden hand long enough to read! We would have loved to have seen some of the actual filming sets (given the proximity of the studios and GoT being the show to end all shows when it comes to sheer scale!) but seeing so many of the beautiful costumes,

armour, weaponry and props up close was a joy to behold and in NO way were these Celtic boys disappointed! The “pièce de résistance”, for us, was walking (unawares) into a gloomily-lit reconstruction of the Red Keep cellars and coming face to face with glowing dragon skulls! These are major props from the show and it was such a blast seeing them up close; to add to the shock and awe of their appearance they were beautifully lit and yes, you can truly almost imagine that these are indeed REAL dragon skulls from the days of the Targaryens (oops, getting all teary-eyed again here!). The tour ends with the ubiquitous gift shop which has some super merchandise for all GoT fans; from a small replica of the “Hand of the King” pin costing a few pounds to a stunningly-detailed replica of the silver “Mother of Dragons” chain worn by Danaerys in the final season, setting you back over £3000! Leaving the exhibition, smiling ear to ear,


FEATURE // G.O.T. COUNTRY we were shocked to realise that some of the actual Kings Landing set is STILL STANDING behind the exhibition car park! Even over a year after filming was completed, the burnt out ruins of the famous city (and some CGI green screen) can clearly be seen over the barriers. Now, obviously, no GoT fan is gonna pass up this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity … so we ran right over and had a peek through a 20cm gap in the fence; for a few wee minutes, we tried to imagine the Mother of Dragons flying overhead, unleashing her fiery fury on the people down below! Reality soon gave us a kick and so it was back to the pub followed by some excellent Chinese food from Martin, our host’s, local takeaway! Saturday started early as the plan was to fit in as many of the GoT locations in NI as we could. That didn’t stop us from making our first stop, at Martin’s recommendation, “The Coffee House” in Andersontown. There we had the biggest fry we could find! After consuming our combined body weight in fried soda farls, eggs, bacon, black pudding, sausage, mushrooms, tomatoes, potato bread and chips, washed down by damn fine coffee too, we squeezed into Meredith, Martin’s bright, slightly camp, yellow Fiat 500, and set off out of the city and into the country …

The first stop on the road trip was the stunning “Carrick-a-Rede” rope bridge. Though the bridge itself, linking the mainland to the tiny island of Carrickarede, doesn’t appear in GoT it’s easy to see how it inspired the Iron Islands location where Balon Greyjoy met his end! The National Trust bridge is at the end of a pleasant walk (and descent) along the stunning coastline. The waves exploded into the rocks far below as we gingerly (but bravely!) crossed the bridge, trying not to look down too often! The nearby Larrybane Quarry is the site of Renly Baratheon’s camp on GoT and it’s here that we were first introduced to Breinne of Tarth

as she fights Ser Loras Tyrell. Today it is the car park but it’s easy to see why the producers chose this spot on the NI coast. Following a quick coffee and scrummy carrot cake at the Weighbridge Café (mostly scoffed by Johnny boy!) we headed to the stunning Ballintoy Harbour. The harbour has a fine looking restaurant and lots of coastlines to explore as land and the sea crash together at this picture-perfect stop on our road-trip. It’s truly breath-taking and doesn’t take much imagination to see it as Lordsport Harbour in the Iron Islands in GoT! Next stop courtesy of our guide was legendary UNESCO-listed “Giant’s Causeway”. Surprisingly, the world-famous rock formations were never used as a location on GoT (though nearby caves and beaches were) but when Martin told us how close it was, we couldn’t miss such a great opportunity. Such a busy place, with visitors clearly from all over the world. The audio guide was a great help and well-produced, taking you step-by-step from the amazing visitor centre to the Causeway itself, pointing out everything of interest in the surrounding land and sea. Travelling inland again, our last (but certainly not the least) stop on our NI GoT road trip was the mystical and enigmatic Dark Hedges. This beautiful tree-lined avenue was planted by the Stuart family in the eighteenth century and became the “Kingsroad” in Season 2 of GoT when Arya Stark, dressed as a boy, escaped King’s Landing in the back of a cart. This was a highlight of many highlights of our amazing day! Slightly exhausted after the day’s events which were surprisingly emotional at times we headed to our AirBnB apartment in the Queen’s Quarter (make your own jokes up) for a quick scrub-up before heading ‘out-out’ for our big Saturday night on the town. Our first stop was the Made in Belfast restaurant in the Cathedral Quarter. We were lucky to get a table as the place was rammed, atmosphere buzzing and drinks soon flowing. The food was outstanding. Following our meal, we headed to The Maverick for a few drinks and then upstairs to Boombox where we danced (well, we did our best after a day on the road) into the wee small hours! There was a great crowd, and as they say Belfast, great Craic! Saturday night ended with Frank stuffing his face with chips and curry sauce (courtesy of the Spaghetti Arms) and Johnny and Martin insisting they couldn’t eat another thing while systematically going around accepting dirty chips (we need these in Glasgow!) from random friendly locals and tourists alike! Sunday morning, lazy morning, in preparation for the exciting day ahead. Yet another fry (this time from the local deli near our Rugby Road apartment) while we filled each other in on the blanks and shenanigans from the previous night. ( Drunk dear? Us dear? NEVER dear!). Paracetamol and plenty of fluids all round and we were ready for our wee outing to the GoT Escape The Room. Situated on Church Lane, steps away from Belfast’s thriving Cathedral Quarter, this class wee place also doubles up as an eatery. Entering the place, we

were struck by the smell of the food. Amazing! Biggest regret of the day was not getting to sample it! But yeah, we’ll be back! The Escape Room itself is great “craic” and you don’t have to be a diehard GoT fan to enjoy this. If you’ve done an escape room before then you’ll know the basics – i.e. you’re solving clues and riddles against the clock, and you have to escape! This really was one of the highlights of the weekend. We were given one hour but being the academics (and huge GoT fans) that we are we needed a wee bit of extra time. In fact, we would still be trapped if it wasn’t for the not so subtle clues fed to us via the video link! We won’t give anything away but if you go along, be prepared to have to think, like really REALLY hard (and don’t squeal like a bunch of girlies as we did!). We can’t wait to go back and try the other Escape Rooms and will definitely be trying the food out next time. Once we gathered ourselves together following the GoT Escape the Room finale, we headed on a mini pub crawl. First stop the Thirsty Goat. Us Glasgow boys loved it! Brilliant live music and a nice, vibrant atmosphere. This was followed by a wee visit to the Harp bar which was heaving with people of all generations with more excellent live music to lift the place and encourage a good singalong! The staff in both venues could not have been more friendly and we felt right at home. Dinner on Sunday night was high-end burgers for all (Best Burgers Ever) at The Grill (the sister restaurant of Made in Belfast). All of us guys were in agreement that the staff were very friendly and welcoming and more than just a wee bit handsome too (especially our waiter, wee Conor!). After a round of drinks (we do like a nice dessert) we went on to finish the night at the drag show in Union Street. All in all, we had an amazing night out in a fabulous city with amazing folk!

ONE HUNDRED & THREE // GNIMAG.COM


JUNE 2OTH - JUNE 3OTH


TRAVEL // COSTA RICA - SAN JOSE

COSTA RICA // SAN JOSE WORDS: GAVYN ANDREWS

ONE HUNDRED & FIVE // GNIMAG.COM


TRAVEL // COSTA RICA - SAN JOSE

FIRSTLY I WANTED EVERYONE TO

the different regions that make up Costa

hours during the week or weekends from

think a little more outside the box for

Rica from white-water rafting, kayaking in

outside the city to come and experience

holidays or adventures and so Costa

the Jungle Rivers to zip lining across the

the nightlife which is one of the best in

Rica may not have been on your radar

rainforest.

the region. You will find that all the gay bars and clubs, saunas are very close to

of holiday destinations but hopefully by the time you have finished reading

Key to any long or short trip to the

each other allowing for easy partying

this it will have given you further insight

country is a stop in San Jose the

and cruising. If you are simply looking to

to the region and maybe inspire you to

countries capital and is often seen as the

experience the Gay scene in Costa Rica

give it a try. If you fancy the opportunity

hub for any stay to the county. San Jose

as a stop- over destination then I would

to experience truly lush rainforests

is home to around 70% of the country’s

recommend that you simply stay in the

with towering trees, a close wildlife

total population. The city is sprawling

city itself and usually Friday –Sunday is

encounter, alluring live volcanoes and

with districts and wide streets because it

the perfect time to party and explore

picturesque beaches then this small

was first established back in 1783. The

what’s on offer. The bars and clubs have

Central America country has it in

cities main Drag is Paseo Colon and

a good international mixed vibe but

abundance and is just waiting for you to

runs east from Parque Metropolitana

I think offer something quite unique

start your own journey with them.

La Sabana into downtown. I highly

compared to other destinations which I

recommend you take in the Cathedral

have been to before.

Global tourism is ever changing and

which was built back in 1871 and the

protecting the planet that we all

local national museum.

The Gay scene is very welcoming and friendly and San Jose likes to share its

share and call home is now impacting peoples holidays choices. Due to

The Gay scene in Costa Rica is very much

party nights out with its different bars

this destinations and tour operators

centred in San Jose and many travel for

and clubs giving each equal opportunity

are increasingly looking into more environmental friendly accommodations, carbon off setting and the increase in Eco Tourism is one of the fastest growing sectors in the tourism industry. Costa Rica due to its unique landscape and global setting means that it leads the way in Eco Tourism. Costa Rica is 25% protected national parks due to its unique biodiversity. Costa Rica is a Spanish speaking destination so all those trips to European Spanish holiday’s resorts over the years will have paid off for your visit to this stunning country. Lying between the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea as well as bridging the continents of North and South America, Costa Rica offers an intense series of diverse landscapes from Volcanic misty jungle forests too tropical sun drenched beaches you won’t want to leave. Personally I think it is an adventures dream destination because you can find all types of activities in all

ONE HUNDED & SIX // GNIMAG.COM


TRAVEL // COSTA RICA - SAN JOSE

Travel Tips Costa Rica San Jose I have listed some of the key areas I think anyone should experience when visiting Costa Rica and hopefully this should also help you decide on the type of accommodation choices you would like and which resorts or locations suit your individual holiday needs. I highly recommend mixing your accommodation choices and experience Beach, City and Jungle lodges. - Arenal Volcano – Adventure Capital - Manuel Antonio - National Park - Tamarindo Beach – Surf & Sunsets - Conchal Beach–Shell beach - Gulf of Papagayo - Calm Waters - Rio Pacuare – White water Rafting for visitors to experience more of the

Getting to Costa Rica is very easy and is

When traveling in Costa Rica you will

scene as well as creating an overall

just over 10 hours from a UK airport such

come across so many locals who are

better experience through themed

as London Gatwick with airlines such as

referred to as Ticos (men) and Ticas

nights and events. San Jose is famous

British Airways, Aero Mexico, Delta as

(women) and they really are some of

for its Male underwear Boxer & Briefs

well as some Tour Operator’s flights with

the happiest people on the planet. The

parties but because the venues can be

TUI Holidays. Price for flights can vary

saying Pura Vida (Pure Life) is at the heart

pretty small they get pretty crowded and

from around £350 upwards.

of the Costa Rican lifestyle so don’t be expecting anything to go at a fast pace

you will often see plenty on the streets in

because it’s all about later here.

underwear only. ( Shame That lol) People

Just before I go and because its Pride

come here to hook up, party, have cheap

season (Yes I am a little excited too!!!!)

drinks experience the Go Go boys and

you will be glad to know that Costa

Costa Rica really is an amazing

the main parties tend to happen on

Rica Pride takes place every June and Is

destination and you might even say it

Saturdays. If you are not familiar with me

called The Marcha De Diversidad (Gay

could be a once in a lifetime destination

I am 100% into my dance music venues

Pride Parade) in San Jose and this year

and if that Is the case when you plan

and the best club in Costa Rica has to

is on the 26th June starting at the Gay

your trip you must try and get a mix of

be Club El Teatro (Saturdays) This club

beach area called Manuel Antonio. My

everything to experience the special local

has an excellent reputation and is hands

advice is pack light after all those Go

fresh fruits, the huge local wildlife and

down the best only opening Friday and

Go boys don’t wear very much and it

of course its weather which offers warm

Saturdays. This is the biggest and best

would be rude not to join them. Finally

temperatures all year round with a good

Gay venue in town with amazing Dance ,

everyone is welcome so regardless where

mix of plenty of sun and refreshing rain

electro and top 40 Music all show casing

you are from and how you like to party

showers. The best time to visit is the dry

the venues light effects and go go

Costa Rica welcomes you and hopes to

season running from December through

dancers it also has some of the best drag

see you soon.

to May.

acts you will see.

ONE HUNDRED & SEVEN // GNIMAG.COM


TESTED // HEX CONDOMS

HEX // CONDOMS I ENJOY SEX, LIKE REALLY enjoy sex! And as my preference is not to have one regular sexual partner, my choice of protection is the barrier option - condoms. For me they are a necessary evil. Personally speaking they upset the flow and let’s be honest the feeling just isn’t the same I was scrolling through social media on my phone when I came across an advert for a new type of condom and it got me intrigued - I’m always on the lookout for a better condom. The branding on these condoms caught my eye, it looked fresh, modern, clean even. Clicking through to their website I done a wee bit of research, they are made by Lelo who are already a forerunner in the “intimate leisure” industry, but the big difference is in the structure. In layman’s terms it’s made of hexagons rather than a strip of latex. According to the blurb the hexagons allows body warmth to be transmitted between partners for a more sensitive and more intimate sexual sensation. They are perfectly smooth on the outside, but textured on the inside, the hexagonal web within flexed and stretches to fit a wide number of shapes securely. So, I asked the people at Lelo to send me some condoms to try out. Before the week was out they’d arrived, discretely packaged of course. Opening the envelope I found three boxes; a box of three original, a box of 12 original, and a box of 12 respect (XL). Being a wee design freak I have to say I appreciated the packaging, there are pix to the right here, beautifully designed and executed boxes. That’s as far as I got that day, I was heading off for the weekend so I put a box of 12 in my bag (I was feeling lucky) and got on the boat. Settling into my hotel room that evening I tapped on that pretty little Grindr icon on my phone to check out some local talent. It wasn’t long before a guy was on his way over (I love being fresh meat in a new area). He arrived, we got down to business, and when the moment arrived I reached for my Hex condom. First thing I noticed was the condom packaging. Sounds silly but it had a matt finish, this is handy because it makes it non-slippy and easier to open. As the condom came out it looked just like a regular condom, thankfully, I was half expecting very defined hexagon outline on it which would have made my dick look ridiculous. I put the condom on as normal and carried on my business. There was a definite difference in sensation to the brand I’d normally use. Obviously I could still tell I was wearing a condom, but, I didn’t feel as tight - not in a “this is gonna slip off” kinda way, but just a more natural fit I suppose. I’m quite a girthy guy and these condoms were a more comfortable fit. Once the deed was done I removed the condom, and it was only then that I noticed a subtle hexagonal pattern on the inside. Would I personally recommend these even if I hadn’t got them for free? Yes, I’d suggest that if you’re a condom user like me, then you should give them a go, as I said above, they fitted well and the “ride” felt more natural. Get some at www.lelo.com

ONE HUNDRED & EIGHT // GNIMAG.COM


TESTED // WAR PAINT

FACE // WAR PAINT

OUR FRIENDS AT WAR PAINT kindly posted us a Full Set of their products, to try out. Well first and foremost we are completely in love with the sheer black packaging, it screams “hands off Sister lol” and the fact that all the products are Vegan and animal-friendly is a real bonus and a must for so many people. Woman’s makeup products have been around for centuries in some shape or form though men’s products are still relatively new though thankfully the stigma for men using makeup is rapidly becoming a thing of the past, thanks to fabulous forward-thinking brands such as War Paint and the growing number male celebrities, bloggers and your average Joe Bloggs that want to look good and feel good. Men’s skin tends to be more oily and prone to spots, using regular makeup could easily cause irritation and make things worse. War Paint having started it’s journey some 20 years ago has really given a lot of thought into tailoring their range for men. The products are packed with: - Vitamin E to protect against dreaded sun damage - BHA which reduces pores, blackheads & prevents spots

- Tea Tree Oil which has antiseptic & inflammatory properties which improves skin condition and fights acne.

of clear prestige sign that doesn’t look like you have a face full of makeup just a naturally great complexion.

So let’s dive into some of the products. The Tinted Moisturiser, the first thing I noticed was the smell, was lovely. So easy to apply, blended in easily and left no marks as some tinted products would do. The Concealer, I’m not sure if I was supposed to use the sponge to apply, I used my finger and put under my eyes to hide those dreaded dark circles and it worked a treat. I loved the Bronzer and Anti-Shine Powder, my skin I’d describe as combination sometimes is very dry and other times especially later in the day can appear oily so the Anti Shine is right up my street, while the Bronzer gave my face that much-needed glow, on first glance I thought it was going to be too dark though it was fab, I used a small amount on my cheekbones, down my nose and across my forehead

What was in the box, what is the price point? Concealer - £18 – Combined with Tea Tree Oil for a cleaner finish for your pores, 50p of every sale gets donated to the charity CALM. Tinted Moisturiser - £22 - Our Tinted Moisturiser is a foundation, moisturizer, and concealer product all in on. Foundation - £24 - Our Foundation is thicker and provides a consistent coverage with a precise droplet applicator. Bronzer - £19 – Giving a bronzed matte finish, our Bronzer is best applied using our Powder Brush. Powder Brush - £7 – Produced specifically for pressed powders in the shape of a heel. Anti-Shine - £18 – Translucent powder that produces a perfected matte finish. Face Sponge - £6 – Latex-free, our sponge produces an even blend for your liquid products.

Being the day time I decided not to try the Foundation, I’ll save this for the weekend, I did apply a bit to the back of my hand and it was a perfect match for my skin tone. To wrap up I really loved all the products, all quick and easy to use and give the impression

To order any of the products or for more info visit: http://www.warpaintformen.com https://instagram.com/warpaintformen https://facebook.com/warpaintformen

ONE HUNDRED & NINE // GNIMAG.COM


ADVERTORIAL // MACEDONIA FOR THAT SMILE MAKEOVER

MACEDONIA SMILE MAKEOVER SO I WON’T GIVE YOU a full sob story about my disaster smile, though in short, I had my teeth knocked out in my teens and ever since I have had to get crowns to improve my smile. Many people think crows/veneers are a quick fix, though this simply isn’t the case. Well, it hasn’t been for me. Throughout your life your gums recede, some crowns could look great at 10 years old... while others may need to be replaced after 5 years. Unfortunately, there is no set lifespan.

much deliberation, I decided to book in to get the perfect smile I had always dreamt off. I must admit I was apprehensive as anyone would be discussing going abroad for a procedure, though with Barry being from Ireland he put me at tremendous ease. We tailored a package then started to arrange my holiday to Macedonia for my treatment.

From coming home people always ask the same questions... so I’ll answer them to give you all an insight. WHAT IS MACEDONIA LIKE AND WOULD YOU GO BACK?

In my teens my treatment was on the NHS and also being 20 years ago, the results were never good. The teeth size and colour didn’t match and things always seemed to go wrong.

OMG, it is such a beautiful place, Barry arranged for me to be collected from the airport and brought to my apartment which was approx a 10-minute walk from Skopje, which is the capital in Macedonia. The 5 days that I was there flew in, though I had plenty of time to explore, eat in loads of fabulous restaurants and do a few excursions. I took the cable car up to see the Millennium Cross, which was unbelievable. Then I went to Matka Canyon. This was amazing... the views were breathtaking while on the boat and inside the caves (you need to check this out)

Until about 7 years ago I made do with what I had, although moving jobs allowed me to look to get a more pleasing result from dentists that specialise in crowns, implants etc. For the first time in years, I was getting what I needed/wanted but the cost was bank busting. Last year I started to see ads on social media for Dental Care Macedonia. I was intrigued, so I sent them a message. This was when I met Barry Denton, their marketing manager. Over a series of months we discussed my issues, I sent pictures and videos for the dentist to see, then after

Barry helped with everything from booking my flights, checking me in and even emailing my boarding passes. I honestly have never had such a stress free time arranging a trip away.

I love travelling and exploring new places, though Macedonia was only a country’s name I had heard on Eurovision and never on my travel radar. If you’re wondering where it is... it’s beside Greece and Bulgaria. (Boy has my opinion changed).

ONE HUNDRED & TEN // GNIMAG.COM

While I was there and on reflection I cannot believe how cheap the place was, I don’t think I spend €150 the entire trip and I didn’t scrimp one bit. I even learned some History, did you know


ADVERTORIAL // MACEDONIA FOR THAT SMILE MAKEOVER Skopje was Mother Teresa’s birthplace and she lived there the first 18 years of her life? Neither did I until I passed the beautiful memorial house. I spent a good hour there learning and taking pictures before exploring the Square, Fortress and markets, golly I wish I was back there right now. HOW WAS THE PROCEDURE AND HAVE I HAD ANY PROBLEMS?

What a gentleman. His team were all so chilled, didn’t even feel like I was in a dentists tbh. I honestly cannot wait to return to Skopje, the place, people, food etc. was nothing short of amazing. It cost me just less than €200 for my flights so I have no excuse to return.

Info DR IVICA LUKANOSKI GIVES US THE LOWDOWN...

It was effortless for me, though I’m sure it was challenging for Dr Ivica. My teeth were in really bad shape so he had his work cut out for him.

If you have any dental issues I couldn’t recommend Dr Ivica enough from Dental Care Macedonia. Touch base with them on Facebook or Whatsapp Barry on 00353 89 439 7722 and get that smile you deserve.

The actual process was super easy. On my 2nd day, I spent a couple of hours in the surgery getting my old crowns out, moulds were taken and temporary teeth were fitted while my new teeth were tailor-made in the lab.

Nowadays dental care costs are really high. Finding a dental treatment with the best quality which at the same time is affordable, is really difficult. Here, in Dental Care Macedonia you can find both.

Thanks to Dr Ivica, Barry and all the team and for also introducing me to a country that has gone from relatively unknown to on my favourites list.

Providing high-quality services, Dental Care became one of the best dental clinics in Skopje, Republic of Macedonia, and a worldwide reputation. Additionally, we are offering each client a 60% to 80% discounts for the dental treatments compared with all Europe countries.

I enjoyed the next 3 days seeing and doing things then returned to have my new teeth fitted the day before I was due to go home. This took 1/2 the time my first appointment did. My teeth/gums were sensitive for the following 10 days or so though this was nothing some ibuprofen couldn’t fix lol. Now a month down the line my teeth are perfect. I wish I had gone years ago, though looking forward, I know exactly where I’ll be going for treatment and a holiday.

Words by Daniel May

WAS IT EXPENSIVE? Absolutely not, a similar procedure at home would easily be 5 times the cost plus I got to have a holiday to Macedonia.

Dr Ivica is nothing short of a genius, so down to earth and friendly, he even gave me a lift to the surgery on one of the days.

Skopje, the capital of Macedonia is one of the best cities for dental tourism supported with perfect air or road connections worldwide. Dental Care Macedonia is a dental practice founded back in 2002 and ever since is representing the best destination for a perfect smile. Our dental practice is equipped according to the latest trends with a comfortable interior and friendly atmosphere allowing 100% patients satisfaction. Our team consists of brilliant and high professional dentists chosen by more than 7000 satisfied patients. Our main goal is taking care of our patient’s well-being and providing smiles to each one of them. Our practice exists more than 17 years for one reason only – perfect smile for everyone. Our dental office team consists of 5 certified and highly educated dentists, as well as 4 dental assistants and all of them, have only one goal – providing every patient with a beautiful smile. We can proudly say that our dental practice is following and applying the latest innovative technology to all our patients. With using the best worldwide dental technology, our team can promise to the patient’s complete well-being.

ONE HUNDRED & ELEVEN // GNIMAG.COM


SEX // TOM OF FINLAND

SEX // TOM OF FINLAND BORN NEAR THE FINNISH TOWN of Turku in 1920, Tom of Finland—real name Touko Laaksonen—is credited with singlehandedly popularising the leather daddy culture of the latter half of the twentieth century. (Think Freddy Mercury, Jean Paul Gaultier, and Marlon Brando’s iconic ne’er-do-well Johnny in László Benedek’s ‘The Wild One.’) A contemporary of famed photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, Laaksonen’s highly stylised homoerotic depictions of macho beefcakes—usually uniformed, strategically hirsute, unapologetically provocative— defined a generation. Laaksonen is a household name in his native Finland, a national icon on par with reindeer, the northern lights and Moomins. In 2017 a titular biopic of his life by ‘Tolkien’ director Dome Karukowski wowed critics and Finns alike. With his bulging biceps, chiselled features

and ridiculously well-endowed manhood, Laaksonen’s best-known creation is his alter ego Kake; his moustachioed face graces everything from emojis to vodka, Taschen retrospectives to stamps. Now he has a new home: featured on a range of accessories at Misstique, the award-winning adult superstore in Belfast’s bustling gay quarter. Tom of Finland Seaman cum-scented lubricant looks and smells just like real jizz. This water-based formula is super-slick for all your sex and masturbation needs. Compatible with toys and condoms alike, this easy-to-pump lube comes with an exclusive Tom of Finland dog-tag. The Tom of Finland desensitising fisting formula is ultra lubricating. Containing 5% Benzocaine, this slightly numbing cream relaxes the anus and prepares you for easy penetration. The oil-based formula provides the maximum amount of slickness and is specifically formulated for the deepest penetration.

ONE HUNDRED & TWELVE // GNIMAG.COM

The Tom of Finland deepthroat spray is designed to maximise comfort during oral sex, with a gentle numbing agent that allows you to get deeper and go longer. The trigger-style spray allows the desensitising formula to reach the back of the throat and has a pleasant menthol taste. A portion of the proceeds benefits the Tom of Finland Foundation, dedicated to protecting, preserving and promoting erotic art. WRITTEN BY MISSTIQUE Misstique is located at : 27 Gresham Street, Belfast, BT1 1JL and at 281 Gallowgate, Glasgow G4 0TR www.misstiquebelfast.co.uk


HAPPENING // GALWAY FILM FLEADH

GALWAY // FILM FLEADH GALWAY FILM FLEADH IS A worldrenowned platform showcasing the very best Irish and international cinema. For 31 years we have brought the cream of Irish and international features and documentaries from around the world to Galway. A unique moniker for a unique festival, there are no red carpets in Galway, only a common passion for the greatest art form of modern times. Our mission is to curate a programme of international cinematic excellence for our audiences, to provide a platform for Irish cinema and Irish talent at a local, national and international level in addition to creating an environment that facilitates engagement between film audiences and filmmakers. Join us this July as we proudly present our 2019 programme, packed with exciting feature films, fascinating documentaries and fabulous shorts in addition to playing host to wonderful filmmaking talent for one magical Festival week. Plan your Galway Film Fleadh now, join us for our public interview, opening film, closing film and all the moving, thrilling and thought-provoking films in between! All will be revealed when the full Fleadh programme launches this month. You can avail of special ticket packages for multiple film screenings. Contact box office for details. #FilmFleadh31 31st Galway Film Fleadh Tues 9 - Sun 14 July 2019 www.galwayfilmfleadh.com GLIMPSES OF GALWAY The Irish Film Institute returns to the Fleadh with a wonderful new programme of archival films made in and about Galway. These precious snapshots of Irish life range from the silent movie era in the 1920’s, right

through to the 1970’s. Includes compelling and rarely-seen amateur and professional footage of Galway city and county. *All Tickets Are Subject to THT Booking & Development Fee €1/Ticket MY FOOLISH HEART Dir: Rolf van Eijk Stunning modern noir film starring Galway’s own Steve Wall (The Stunning, The Walls, Vikings, Silent Witness, Moone Boy) as jazz legend Chet Baker. NEVER GROW OLD Dir. Ivan Kavanagh Closing Film Irish Premiere of a terrific old-fashioned western, starring Emilie Hirsch and John Cusack and shot in Connemara. Don’t miss this exciting fast-paced action movie set on the infamous California trail during the 1849 gold rush, where loyalties spin like the barrel of a gun. This screening will be followed by our closing night party. EXTRA ORDINARY Dir. Mike Ahern, Enda Loughman A driving instructor must use her supernatural gifts to save a lonely man’s daughter from an aging rockstar looking to use her for satanic sacrifice. A mustsee black comedy starring Maeve Higgins and Barry Ward. Cast and crew will be in attendance. A BREAD FACTORY, PART ONE A BREAD FACTORY, PART TWO With Tyne Daly Director Patrick Wang makes a welcome return to the Fleadh following the success of previous features In the Family and The Grief of Others. ‘Hypnotic’ – The NY Times AGNES VARDA TRIBUTE

ONE HUNDRED & FOURTEEN // GNIMAG.COM

Tribute to Agnès Varda, legendary filmmaker and French new wave pioneer who passed away earlier this year. This Varda classic captures Paris at the height of the 60s in an intriguing tale expertly presented in real time about a singer whose life is in turmoil as she awaits test results of a biopsy. L’UNE CHANTE L’AUTRE PAS (1977) Spanning more than a decade, this film traces the intertwined lives of two women during the struggle of the 1970’s French women’s movement, with which Varda was personally involved. VAGABOND (1985) Using a largely non-professional cast, with an unforgettable performance from Sandrine Bonnaire as the free-spirited Mona, Varda’s splintered portrait of this enigmatic woman is told through flashbacks from those who encountered her. THE GLEANERS & I (2000) Varda films and interviews gleaners in France in all forms, from those picking fields after the harvest to those scouring the dumpsters of Paris. LA POINTE COURTE (1955) Anticipating the style and attitude of the New Wave, Agnès Varda’s directorial debut remains as fresh and original as the day it was made. VARDA PAR AGNÈS (2019) The filmmaking pioneer’s final film, finished just before her death, in which she sheds light on her experience as a director, bringing personal insight to what she calls, ‘cine-writing’, travelling from Rue Daguerre in Paris to Los Angeles and Beijing.


Galway Film Fleadh 9th-14th July 2019

Galway Film Podcast

Galway Film Fair 11th–14th July 2019


Profile for GNI MAG

GNI MAG ISSUE 37  

We are beyond excited to have WILL YOUNG on our cover for our 2019 Pride issue. He talks to us about his new album Lexicon and about the se...

GNI MAG ISSUE 37  

We are beyond excited to have WILL YOUNG on our cover for our 2019 Pride issue. He talks to us about his new album Lexicon and about the se...

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