Favourite 3 Writers:
07:27, 23 Mar 2018
Will there be a 2016 edition of winning entries?
07:04, 4 Oct 2016
Reading the feedback on my last entry, which gave a fictionalised account of a true story: the founding of a gay football team, I felt some reflection was in order:
Did I downplay the extent of homophobia prevalent in 1991:
The story contains a pretty clear indication of the likely homophobia that would be faced and one clear incident. Beyond that, I kept it to one side because I wanted to focus on the forming of the team. The plain fact is that, except when directly faced with the likelihood of homophobia or some imminent attack, gay men themselves sidelined it - in order not to allow it to dominate their lives. Indeed, getting on with life and pushing boundaries [such as forming a football team] are seen as ways of having fun, developing communities and challenging homophobia - but by focusing on themselves and their activities rather than on homophobia, per se. There have been, and still are direct political steps taken against specific acts of homophobia - and always will be, I hope. [The Orlando tragedy is a case in point].
Did I get dangerously close to simply writing stereotypes?
Well, Kevin [who makes quiche for the players at matches] does exist - though his name was changed. I have met numerous Kevins in different arenas. Many gay men play to their notions of gayness[and stereotype, by implication] and, of course, many do not. This is common with the community groups - for complex reasons: fun, acceptance, creating an in-crowd, the embracing of the complexities of Camp, a coded shorthand concerning aspects of what Susan Sontag and others called a gay sensibility.
Played out in more public arenas [as Kevin and Don do at their first game, against a straight team] Camp becomes subversive, political, a way of fighting back that often undermines "the enemy" without resorting to violence. When Kevin challenges the opposing team, he is using his camp behaviour as a direct challenge: "we are here". I hope this came across.
One reviewer commented that s/he liked the story because there were no women in it. Tania is in it and she's a woman. In fact she is the key scorer on the team.
In the "noughties" I carried out some academic research with a colleague into the emergence of amateur gay football and interviewed members of numerous teams in the UK. It was a moving and enlightening experience that contributed to my understanding of my own sexuality - and to my admiration for the many people involved in the league [yes, there is now a league].
I attended The International Gay and Lesbian Football Association tournament in London a few years ago. It was an exhilarating experience but I was astounded by the Mexican team [the only one in their country so they regularly play high profile matches against straight teams at home]. They appeared in kit that was the brightest pink imaginable. Before kick-off they proceeded to perform a highly flamboyant short dance routine that clearly owed much to the "war" chants beloved of teams from other sports. This performance was pure camp and was clearly an unequivocal announcement of their joyous presence. Stereotypes? It's camp ... for a purpose. And because they enjoy it. It's who they are.
19:47, 9 Sep 2016
Is "Hour of Writes" a space in which to experiment? I think so. But there is no way to convey that to your entry readers ... so you are a little at the mercy of their preconceptions. But then, why should they be concerned about your experiments? They will read and consider .... and comment.
12:43, 6 Sep 2016
There are acts of terror, shootings in the street, beatings, ill-treatment of people with disabilities, children and the homeless - rude people on trains, buses, in supermarkets, bricks thrown at the window of a passing car. And always there is someone on hand to film the exact moment. How does that happen? Are some of these acts staged for the camera? Are some people just habitual voyeurs walking around with the phone camera permanently poised for action? Does nobody want to help? Given the choice between being Nelson Mandela and Stephen Spielberg, which would you choose?
08:26, 18 Jun 2016
The cricket and the frog sing different songs. But neither is quiet.