Posts Tagged ‘The Informers’

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faggotry.

July 7, 2009

Something which I don’t understand, beyond pure and simple prejudice (which is of course a large part of the answer, but humour me), is why gay men generally are stereotyped as not being able to keep it in their pants.  In The Informers any gay person has multiple lovers, smiles lasciviously at young surfer boys, and talks with a lisp and a limp wrist.  My limited experience of gay bars sorta betrays the same stereotype.  But of course, it’s a generalisation, and not every single gay male is like that.

In the UK, the word “fag” is not used, and we have “poof” instead.  But in the US, “fag” is used more for very effeminate gays (or “queens”, another word I hate!), the type I have briefly summarised in the above paragraph.  (In the UK, “poof” is used for more or less anyone who is gay, and “fag” is a cigarette.) It’s considered an offensive term, for obvious reasons, but at the same time, it is also used as an effective summary of fey gay behaviour.  Even gay people such as Perez Hilton use the term (setting back gay equality fights about 30 years in the process), though that particular situation resulted in Perez getting punched in the face by will.i.am’s tour manager, and the rest of the world cheering and wondering why it had taken so long for Perez to get even just a taste of his own medicine.  And this leads me onto a different exploration of how a stereotypical gay man (“gurrrrl!!!!”) behaves.

In gay clubs, the more camp people seem to equate being a “bitch” with being “fierce”.  Exhibit A: the existence of Sasha Fierce (Beyoncé’s alter ego), who is in turn a garish caricature and a fabulous performer.  Exhibit B: Ex-Pussycat Doll Carmit Bachar’s new song:

I can empathise with having a no-mess attitude and looking fantastic and fashionable – those things are undeniably great.  But why idolise sleeping around, stabbing people in the back, spreading rumours and getting a bad reputation?  I mean, those things are each individual’s choice but not really an attractive choice IMO.  And apart from the sleeping around (as far as we know), that’s exactly what Perez Hilton does, making a fantastic living in the process.  I stopped reading his blog a couple of weeks ago because although his news scoops were quite interesting, I detested his attitude, his blatant favouritism of Lady GaGa and Katy Perry (who are not all that) and utter hatred of others without any rationalisation.  And I thought, rather than feed into his way of life and his success, I would make a point of getting my news elsewhere.

In using the derogatory term in the title, I’m trying to understand or explore not only why all gay men are stereotyped in such an unflattering way, but also why certain gay men seem to embrace this stereotype, apparently in order to “fulfill their gayness” and put themselves in the correct box.  I would never want to be defined by a stereotype, let alone such an offensive one, and I think that it’s important to aim to be more than a generalisation, and aim to be yourself and the best you can be.

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just another day.

July 6, 2009

I don’t know if anyone else finds this, but when you’re into a book, you start narrating your life in your head in the same style as the author.  As I’ve mentioned in either the last post or the one before, I’m currently reading The Informers by Bret Easton Ellis, and its characters have a profound disconnect from their lives, for various reasons (daily medicating their lives with a curious combination of drugs, sex, anonymity and fame) rendering their day-to-day experiences utterly soulless and colourless.  So in this period of unemployment (now entering week 4! yay.) I can feel a veneer filming over my eyes with every day that passes, stopping me from becoming too depressed with the boredom of not having anything to do, but also stopping me from enjoying the things I do to distract myself from that boredom.

There’s only so many times I can call the hospital asking politely if they have any hours yet (why employ me for a job – I have a contract!!! – which effectively doesn’t exist) before I become disheartened.  There’s only so many times you can go to the gym and gaze at the sexy but incomprehensible Scottish bodybuilder (who now says hello to me, he’s a nice enough guy) before it becomes passé and I snap back to the reality of the treadmill.  My body is getting better but my standards are way out of reach because I always dreamed of being a singer and a fashion model.  I can have a coffee + refill at Starbucks and read my book and occasionally converse with someone else or people watch, and I find myself trying any tactic to escape my life and immerse myself in others’.  I go shopping and find nothing I want to buy – now, my friends will tell you that there must be something seriously wrong for this to be the case, but my standards have been raised by fashion magazines, and until River Island stocks Dior Homme (when not even Dior Homme’s website stocks the new season of Dior Homme!) I’m never going to find the clothes I want, yet alone at a price I can afford in my currently unemployed state (though by some stroke of luck, I’m not actually strapped for cash… yet).  So I just spark up another cigarette and numb myself as I walk along the street looking fierce in my Prada sunglasses (I dyed my hair black yesterday so it matches the shades… talk about reverse accessorising), because at least I can look the part even if it’s a lie.  Well, I am fierce, of course, but it doesn’t seem to be getting me anywhere, and that’s the most frustrating thing of all.  So I try to escape that feeling of frustration, and end up escaping most emotions.

This became a bit of a moan, sorry.  On the plus side, I do look good and I’ve had plenty of time to spend with my family (my friends seem to have things to do – how I envy them).  I’ve also nearly finished my album, so I’ll keep updating y’all with that progress in the rare event that somebody reading might care… I am really proud of the concept, the sound and the songs, and I look forward to trying to promote it and release it and all that biz.  I’m reading more books and that makes me feel a little more educated and in touch with the real adult world.  After all, I’m a real adult and I suppose these are real adult feelings that I am learning to get to grips with.  But I always dreamed of something more, and although at 23 yo this is hardly the end of my life (well, you never know, but you know what I mean), I find myself all the same desperately questioning that “surely this can’t be it?!” University this September will hopefully kick-start things back into productivity… I should look at the plus column of my life because I’ve done really well so far… I guess I just don’t do inactivity or stasis or whatever you want to call it very well… it feels like limbo to me.  And until things get more exciting, today was just another day in a long string of days.  I hear that that is how some people define life… but I’m looking for a bit more than that.  Here’s to hoping that we all find more.

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things i used to do.

July 4, 2009

This month of not having a job has reminded me, in a way, of how my summer holidays used to be when I was a child at school.  The freedom to do what I wanted, spending lots of time with my nan, and also getting very very bored has brought me back a few years.  In fact, when I was complaining about my boredom to a friend this morning, his words in reply were “you sound like a little child!”  (I responded “Shut up.”  I have a sense of humour!) But boredom affects us all.  And I don’t need to write about boredom, because to be honest this blog is designed (in part) to counteract that!

So after being bored until lunchtime, I watched the Crystal Maze (a programme I used to watch when I was a kid; I remember it was a treat to be allowed to stay up and watch this “late-night” television!) and then decided to go to Starbucks, read some book (I’m currently reading The Informers by Bret Easton Ellis – it’s pretty good, and coincidentally a lot of the characters’ malaise stems from the boredom of “having it all”, a boredom I have yet to experience for myself!) and have some thinking time to myself.  And as I wrote memos in my phone of possible topics for discussion (this was third or fourth down the list, FYI… the others will appear soon, stay tuned!), it occurred to me…

This morning when I wrote a note for my mother, who was at work, that a friend of hers had called, I felt the strange sensation of a pencil in my hand as I jotted the details of the conversation on the post-it.  I say “strange” because it is very rare these days for me to actually pick up a pen or a pencil and physically write something.  I’m forever attached to my laptop, unless I’m out of the house in which case I bought my Prada II phone for the very fact that I have the internet, I have a QWERTY keyboard and I can twitter and msn and browse the net and drop texts in seconds, without being near my comp or having to lug it around.  It is on this phone that I write memos of song lyrics and hooks that occur to me, topics to talk about on this blog, and items I see when I’m shopping and want to research online more fully when I get home. But I don’t really write things anymore!  A year on from university, and having done my finals where I had to become swift with the pen (having typed the vast majority of my essays through the course on the computer, of course), I now don’t need to pick up a pen very often.  At work, it was only to jot the names of fragrances on blotters, or to fill out the figures in various books.  Writing a note at the end of the day detailing tasks completed and to complete became a laborious chore because, having grown accustomed to typing things in a flash on the computer, I have a lot to say and writing it in the old-fashioned way takes more time than I usually allot.  So in short, writing things down is an unusual sensation.

Tonight, after a lovely dinner of steak, salad and garlic bread (mmm) I sat at the piano and made up a tune for about 10 minutes.  I had piano lessons from age 5 to 11, but I’ve always kept up my skills and I consider myself a fairly accomplished pianist, though I now play sporadically.  When I finished, my mother asked me what I had played, and I responded that I had just made it up as I went along.  She was very impressed and said, would I be able to replicate it?  I said no, but I could quite easily incorporate bits of it into another spur of the moment composition.  She said “You need to write it down!”  Let alone the fact that it takes ages (for me, at least) to write out music, I would never be bothered to do that and I don’t have the memory span; I would have to record it first so I had a concrete copy to work with.  Recording it was the first thought that entered my head, but 10 years ago, I wouldn’t have had the facility to do that!  15 years ago, we didn’t have the internet at home; 10 years ago, I didn’t have a mobile phone.  Life changes, technology advances and the old skills get left behind in the dust.  That’s evolution, and there’s certainly nothing wrong with that, but writing things on a post-it and playing a piece on the piano brought me back nostalgic feelings, just as does reading books for pleasure (an idea all but destroyed after 4 years of a literature-centric languages degree), which is something I am trying to get back into, reigniting my voracious appetite for books that I had as a child and teenager (except now I like to think that the books are better 😉 ).  So today I was able to remark upon how far I have come as a person, how our norms have changed and we expect things much more instantly, and how the old days weren’t so bad if we just tap into our oft-neglected reserves of patience.