Sunday, 28 November 2010

BIG BOTHER

[Originally published in July 2009 issue of Bent: http://mag.bent.com]

So it's here again. Big Brother 302. Or something like that. This year we have the usual smattering of homos, ethnics and fruitbats allegedly representative of the UK. No, actually, even Big Brother doesn't claim its contestants to be anything but the scum sieved off the local public swimming bath. But luckily, this year the contestants don't seem quite as vile and two-dimensional as last year. I even have the fortune of saying I met two of the contestants.

Yes, Rodrigo Lopez is a friend of mine from the Leeds gay scene, where he was often spotted in Queens Court and Mission, until he mysteriously vanished. Now, of course, we know he went into the BB house and had his Facebook profile deleted by mandate of the games rules.

Rodrigo was actually the last person from Leeds I'd have expected to see on BB. He's always been a laugh with his friends and quite a confident, bubbly person, but next to many of the bigger personalities on the scene he's positively . . . shy. He's well-behaved (for the most part), and doesn't even slag it about. Why he chose to enter the programme is a mystery to us all—but we hope he wins.

Charlie, on the other hand, I can understand. He too has been out in Leeds a few times, but I also met him when I was judging Mr Gay UK in 2007. He was Newcastle's heat winner and lost out to the lush Daniel Broughton. I remember the event well, with Andy Scott Lee, Michelle Heaton, James Sutton and The Sheilas all on hand to make it a successful night of oiled nipples and sock-stuffed swimwear.

Charlie was outgoing even then. You could tell he had bags of personality. He was good looking and he knew it, but he was no more arrogant than your average gay man. Indeed, it's no surprise to me at all that so many gay men enter the competition. So concerned with their image and their popularity, entering Big Brother seems almost a prerequisite to joining the club.

Charlie's sexy and feisty, flirty and cool; Rodrigo's handsome and cute, modest and fun. They couldn't be more different. And already our Rodrigo's firm favourite to win (at the time of writing, at least, so he could be out by the time you read this). Well I hate the show and doubt I'll be watching, but I'll dip in every now and again to see how he's doing. Maybe I'll even turn up at one of those godawful Big Brother's Big Mouth shows and worm my way into the audience with a band of scantily clad go-go boys and a drag queen or two. Then we can stand by the sidelines waving inappropriate placards and ignoring Davina when she asks us not to say fuck or bastard.

Maybe if I make enough of a scene they'll ask me to take part next year. No one quite makes a scene like Beyonce. I wouldn't accept their offer, of course, but it'd nice to be asked. Or maybe not.

Sunday, 21 November 2010

STRAIGHT TO BED

[Originally published in Bent: http://mag.bent.com]

Straight boys are always good in theory. But in practice, they can be so disappointing it'd be better to sleep with a waxwork Anne Widecombe for all the fun it'd give you. I learned this the hard way.

A couple of months back I was out with some friends in a straight club. As it got later and later and later, people peeled off from the group to go home, have sex or collapse in a roypnolled mess in the corner, leaving me and my best mate Amy on our own. We went to Club Mission together and this strange, although rather hot, guy came and sat with us. Since it was a gay night, I assumed he was trying to chat her up though. Inevitably, she went off to screw her drug dealer and I was left with him. When I decided to leave he asked if he could join me, and I said yes.

An hour later, my cum all over his chest, I rolled over and went to bed. It was hardly worth it. He didn't have a clue how to blow a guy and had even less of a clue about how to take it. Contrary to popular belief, a guy shouldn't just lie there and think of England.

Then a week or so ago, Amy went out and pulled a guy. He was a bit of a chav but fit. His friend, however, was even hotter, and soon revealed to Amy that he was gay but not yet out. She brought him back to mine as a 'present' and I proceeded to fuck him. Again, it was a bit of a waste of time. He didn't have a clue and I ended up pleasuring myself to get off.

But it got worse. My friend Paul was at the house too and was meant to be staying over. Once we'd cleaned up the mess and the coast we clear, we invited him in to get into bed. Platonically speaking, I wanted him to be comfortable. That was all. But the closet-case had another idea. Instead he spent all night trying to coax the both of us into a threesome and then, every time I went to the toilet, tried to blow Paul off. Paul had a boyfriend so wasn't interested, and I found the whole thing rather cringe-worthy. True, our closeted friend had probably never met a gay man before—at least, not two as hot as us—but was it really necessary to be so persistent? He slipped his hands down Paul's pants on a number of occasions, and I had to physically stop him molesting the poor boy whilst he was asleep. Luckily, Paul was creating a barrier between the closet-case and myself.

The next day was even worse. He wanted my number. He wanted to see me again. I simply said no. Then Paul was kind enough to give him a lift home, and the closet-case tried luring him in for sex. Paul said no and floored the accelerator, left with memories of the closeteer saying how much he'd love to be his boyfriend.

Since then, we've been verifiably stalked. Oh, it's fun to have a few stalkers every now and again, but this one keeps scaring off the boys approaching my house and it's having a serious impact on my sexlife.

So it seems 'straight' men leave something to be desired. A knowledge of the male anatomy, surprisingly, is one. A sense of restraint and decorum is, perhaps, another.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

EATING FEET

Okay. This is the curse of the gobby, opinionated columnist. Occasionally (perhaps frequently) we put our feet in it. This is perhaps why we're perfect as columnists. We don't mind saying whatever we want to say. But unfortunately, it will ultimately be our downfall.

Gossips like me can't help but gossip. It's not necessarily about malice (although, when people get angry, we all say things we shouldn't). It's usually because it's expected of you. The columnist is a gossip with the privilege of getting their words in print. When you're out and about, people expect you to regale them with interesting stories, shocking statements and outlandish acts. So you do. Society probably needs it, because without these morsels of salacious interest life would be a hell of a lot more boring. If we can't show people how outrageous and morally dubious we are, how can your Average Joe measure himself against us? How can everyone else know they're not that bad if they don't allow us to be bad instead?

Indeed, there does seem to be a recognition of this. Gossips seem to get away with gossiping, because most people just roll their eyes and say, 'Beyonce's at it again!'. It's kind of our licence to thrill. And in a way, they want us to be naughty. They want us to be bad. It reminds people that even though they abide all the rules and act with perhaps too much obedience, they do have the option of rebelling against social etiquette and being an iconoclast—simply because we gossips do.

However sometimes we cross the mark. It can be easier than you'd think. Especially because we're expected to be controversial anyway and each individual has differing levels of acceptability when it comes to just how controversial they want us to be. Some friends will forgive you for headbutting them during drunken New Year's Eve parties, whilst some will get frosty with you for tugging on their hair. I guess in these cases you have to ride it out. Gossips do get a lot of leeway, and often people will take a while to cool down before coming round anyway, and chalking it up to 'one of those things'.

I'd say, though, that rather than being nasty people, most gossips are the opposite. They are overly social. They flit from crowd to crowd, entertaining as they go along, and usually cock up mainly because they're trying to please too many people at once. Tip: you can't. If you piss someone off, let them cool down and get on with their own lives, and don't stoop to getting petty. After a while they'll realise you have no problem with them and it was just an innocent mistake, and then will feel guilty for holding a grudge themselves, before relenting.

Sunday, 7 November 2010

PRESSING TRUTHS

[Originally published in Nov 2009 issue of Bent: http://mag.bent.com]

I saw a Facebook group calling for people to boycott The Sun. I didn't really bother to look at it, because I didn't realise people still read that thing. But apparently, they do. And what a bastion of impartiality it is, taking a glance at their website! Hype, sleaze, celebrity trainwrecks, immigrant-baiting. You know, the sort of thing you get on the Fitlads forums, but just presented in a much less funny, more sinister way.

Looking over the tabloid press' interests this month, in fact, I've noticed a few things that have pissed me off. First, the obsession with Stephen Gately's death. Sure, he died after drinking for eight hours, but that's the equivalent of going out at 8pm and getting back at 4am. Call me an extreme example (and I am), but I've had 33-hour drinking binges before. Eight hours seems . . . pretty average to me. So to hype it up as if he leads a life of sleaze is just to scandalise a very normal, very down-to-earth bloke. And so what, he and his boyfriend took a friend back to their place? Big deal! Gay men can have platonic relationships. Besides, when 'binge'-drinking, who wants to do it on their own?

Then I ran into my friend Rodrigo from Big Brother. I remember the trashy celeb-gossip magazines messaging Rodrigo's friends on Facebook and offering them money for stories. Unfortunately, they'd already decided what story they wanted to print and were just looking for someone to attribute the made-up quotes to. In the end, they failed, and instead blamed the claims of Rodrigo's alleged family heartache on 'a university friend'. That's press speak for 'someone we made up to tell a good story'. Rodrigo didn't mind about this, but explained people reading the magazines still can't tell when something is patently made up, and then accost him and hurl abuse as if the stories were true. Yet when it came to asking the press if they wanted innocent photographs of his birthday bash (which I helped him organise at Oracle in Leeds), they weren't interested unless they unveiled some salacious gossip they could print on their front pages. Unfortunately, guys, with Rodrigo what you see is what you get. You're unlikely to get anything juicy about him, because he is a genuinely nice guy.

True, writers have creative licence. But surely only if they're writing fiction? Columns and opinion pieces are different. People expect them to be ridiculously outrageous. However, you don't expect cover stories and supposed 'real-life' tales to be made up. Most people, I think, are capable of spotting the difference, but it always surprises me the number who can't.

Just for the record: when the papers start saying Drew Barrymore has been caught dogging with Martians in a pink Skoda off the Isle of White, they're probably pulling your tail. If more people looked at what they read with a little scepticism (feel free to question this all you want; I encourage it), then we might end up with people actually voting in elections, forming educated opinions and realising reality TV stars are not your property to abuse as you see fit. Just for the record, you understand. Just for the record.