Big Gay Brighton

I was considering how I might incorporate the word lesbian into the title of my Pre Brighton Pride Blog. That’s what this is, FYI. It’s that fateful time of year when every gayer in London does the Dirty Weekend in Be-Right-On.

Yes, the girls pull out their pussy flaps and the boys all shave their balls, and for three days and three nights a small niche on the south coast becomes a big gay hive of hedonism. Brighton gets BIG. And gayer, as roaring homosexuals release the lion within. I can hear the growling already!

The Telegraph hates it and proclaims mob culture has unleashed an abomination in one of its Home Counties and the Guardian prints colourful pictures of the few who still have their clothes on.

Well, that’s what possibly happens in some very niche bits of Brighton. From what I saw last year, it’s far more tame. Apart from the obnoxious overplaying of Madonna songs on outdoor speaker systems. Most of it involves oodles of homogenous lesbians and their matching girlfriends strolling around either staring at each other (pairs) or the strangers they fancy but can’t talk to (singles, like me). I can’t quite remember what the boys were up to, or indeed if there were any…

Daytime frolics are contained within Preston Park and the obligatory post park piss up occurs at a late-licence venue of the individuals’ choice. Or on the beach. Cheap as lesbian chips.

Or not. The whole thing takes place in a very overpriced tacky seaside resort where dickheads like me pay stupid prices for shoebox size rooms. I can see the appeal to Londoners – it’s home from home but with beach. Also, this year the Met Office thinks there is an above average chance that God will piss on everyone’s LGBT chips. Thanks in advance for that.

At the end of last weekend – and it sounds and feels like a long time ago already – I booked an unnecessarily expensive hotel for the coming weekend in Brighton, for the homosexual extravaganza that is BRIDE (Brighton pRIDE). Maybe that’s why this week is going so slowly…

I like Brighton but I’m really not the Gay Pride type, ever. I’ve been to two Prides, and the first of those was only because my girlfriend at the time made me go. Then there was BRIDE last year, which I attribute to the Pull of the Pack. I didn’t want to be the only lez left in London, so I went. This doesn’t explain my excitement.

Now admittedly I enjoyed BRIDE a lot more than I thought I would, but not enough to make me want to do it ritually. Yet here I am preparing to go to my second Brighton Pride in as many years. And paying more than I’d pay for a good 50mm camera lens for the privilege. And being alternately thrilled and spilled by the idea. So what is it that’s making me act in this odd homosexual way?

It’s certainly not the value factor. Be-Right-On if fucking expensive. Even a Russian Oil Tycoon would question why he was paying penthouse and coshing in a kennel. It’s not the beach either – those pebbles are painful even after a day’s drinking. And, if you believe the Met, it’s not for the sun. Perhaps it’s the pier…

BRIDE definitely stands out from the Pride crowd with its added attraction of the sea. We’ll forget the feet busting pebbles for now. The sea is the sea. BRIDE also seems to attract an above average number of lezzers, the importance of which varies according to my mood and level of intoxication. So maybe that’s it – sea air and Wah Wahs.

Whatever it is, I warmed up like a hot coal in a sauna when one of my pals suggested booking ourselves a tiger’s den for the weekend and heading down on Friday night to ‘do Pride’. Thoughts of waking up by the (sunny) beach having breakfast and strolling to a park full of girls who will all want to either Be Us or Do Us, is a nice thought. And one that keeps reappearing in my mind.

And, yes, before you ask, I’m sure that’s exactly how it will be when we get there at the end of the week. Three days and counting, bad boy.

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Her Naked Skin

I’ve just been to see a play that has completely refocused my views on militant suffragetes. Seeing a very convincing re-en-action of a woman being force fed via tube and funnel while strapped to a chair and gagged was pretty horrific. Seeing the same woman graphically and audibly slit her wrists in the next scene added to a very believable display of human pain.

Her Naked Skin is playing at the National Theatre till October in rotation with Middleton’s Revenger’s Tragedy. I recommend it to anyone who’s ever been too lazy to vote. I’d also recommend it to any girl who likes kissing other girls. And to Sarah Waters fans.

On the voting point: I’d like to think that next time I can’t be arsed to walk 400m to my nearest polling station, I’ll think of this play. Even if it means voting for the modern day equivalent of the Monster Raving Looney Party and Screaming Lord Such, then I must fucking vote.

An ex-girlfriend of mine used to say this to me, repeatedly. But, as with anything that sounds even remotely like nagging, it was quickly scanned, filtered and directed towards the junkmail part of my mind. I often used to jokingly refer to my ex as a militant suffragette too. Which is still amusing, because she frequently assumed the prone position…oh, only joking. No, she was just pretty assertive when asserting herself, that’s all.

However, now I have bit more context with my militancy, I probably wouldn’t do that. She would never have thrown herself under a horse, anyway. Everyone knows Emily Davison died after chucking herself under the King’s horse at the Derby. That should be incentive enough for any female to go vote. But for some reason it’s not. Probably because the story is impersonal and while shocking, struggles to stand out from the plethora of other shocking stories everyone with a radio/TV hears about on a daily basis.

The author of Her Naked Skin, one Rebecca Lenkiewicz, also did a great job of conveying the pain and mystification that goes with being dumped and having your lesbian heart broken for the first time. So perhaps what I’m saying is that having had a bit of lesbian subtext added to my suffragette city, I’m sold. I wish I was less lez-centred sometimes…

The ‘I think we should part’ chat part of the play was awesomely raw. The aftermath likewise. It was written completely from the point of view of the person being ditched – playwrights don’t dwell on the nice times. So with broken hearts, slit wrists and tubes down throats, this play entertained me for three hours and left me feeling pretty damn bad for not getting off my comfortably placed ass and voting last time I had the chance. It didn’t make me feel bad for hating ex-girlfriends, though!

As an aside, the play wasn’t all grim tales and foreboding faces. There’s a brilliant scene where the suffragettes are doing some shooting practise, and head suffragette bellows the instruction ‘cock!’ This induces schoolgirl tittering among the ladies, which I couldn’t help myself joining in with, perhaps a little too loudly in a hearty period drama style chortle.

This play certainly wasn’t quite the wholesome frolic some in the audience might have been expecting. There were some excellent lezzery jokes which were either lost or tactfully ignored by the largely white, straight and middle aged audience. There was also all manner of skirt lifting, tonguing and general lesbian fiddling ongoing, as the period piece panned out. Hot collars abound.

As one of my Homies artfully pointed out, being one of the first nights it was probably full of Telegraph readers who’d traded in their two-for-one-hotel-and-bus-ride-in-from-Surrey coupons. So, the shocked faces and stunned silences added to the air of naughtiness and made the ‘unspeakable act’ seem, well, pretty unspeakable. What fun!

Girls Like Us

Over the past year or three I’ve been reading a slightly tossy lezzer magazine called Girls Like Us, or GLU. It started in Winter 2005 and I can’t remember how I first heard about it but the fact that the first cover was ‘Peaches doing Gia’ may have had something to do with it.

The magazine was set up by a pair of Amsterdam Dykes who were clearly bored with the mainstream likes of DIVA and Curve. The whole thing looks a bit like a big American Apparel advert (which is a good thing) and is more than a little bit top shelf (again not a bad thing). And, as the title suggests, it’s all about ‘Girls Like Us’ – where ‘Us’ is the tossy lezza editors, Katherine Hero and Jessica Gysel.

Last night I was reading the Spring 2008 Issue – a bit late, I know – when I spotted something rather amusing. A while back I remember an ex of mine contemplating the idea of selectively tidying her twat into the shape of the GLU logo.

Before you ask, I’m not sure how the muff shaving conversation came about. Anyway, I never for one moment doubted that she was capable of doing it, but while we were together she didn’t (this was probably a good thing from my point of view, at the time). So I forgot about the whole thing…

Until now. Imagine my surprise and amusement to stubble, sorry stumble, across a not unfamiliar looking picture of a GLU logo-shaped beaver on page 79 of the latest issue. (Should point out it’s the little black logo in the corner of the diagram – not the red stripes!)

GLU logo

GLU logo

A quick check of the credits confirmed my suspicions: that yes, my ex had, as promised, shaved the Girls Like Us insignia into her bush, photographed it and sent it off to the magazine, conveniently in time for their hair-themed issue. What are the chances…?

Men Who Look Like Old Lesbians

Please check out Men Who Look Like Old Lesbians. It’s the funniest Lesbian-related thing I’ve seen in a long long time. It’s certainly the funniest Lesbian Interest Blog I’ve ever read.

There’s also an amusing run down of the Top 25 Men Who Look Like Old Lesbians in an article on the Cracked website:

http://www.cracked.com/article_15788_top-25-men-who-look-like-old-lesbians.html/

My personal favourite? Dana Carvey

Dana Carvey - Man Who Looks Like An Old Lesbian

Dana Carvey - Man Who Looks Like An Old Lesbian

In Cracked’s words

He Is:
Comic. Actor. Drummer. Impersonator of the President Bush with more successful foreign policy. In 1990s, he partnered with fellow SNL alum and man who looks like an old (or middle-aged) lesbian, Mike Myers, in a series of successful films about life in the suburbs.
Looks Like:
The runner of a rescue service for emotionally abused cats.

90210 on a Saturday Night

The long lonely quiet Saturday night shifts I find myself doing far too often are having some nasty side-effects on my wallet (which, incidentally, they are supposed to help by adding extra cash to my monthly cheque).

One of the things I always have to do on shift – regardless of how busy it is – is monitor the news wires. I scour them for possible stories that I might need to add spokesperson comments to/generally be aware of/rebut. When it’s quiet it’s a well known fact that silly stories start to appear. Hence, the expression ‘silly season’…

This can mean anything from three-eyed cats stuck up drainpipes to people who knit jumpers from their deceased relatives’ hair. No joke. However, tonight’s example was slightly more interesting, from my point of view:

SHANNEN DOHERTY BACK IN HIT SERIES
Page 1: 20:42
Actress Shannen Doherty will return as Brenda Walsh in a new series of hit 90s show Beverly Hills 90210.
The CW network says her character is now a famous director who is invited back to stage a musical at her old school.
She will guest star in “multiple episodes” CW said today, making the announcement at a meeting of the Television Critics Association in Beverly Hills.
She will be reunited with a few members of the old West Beverly High School gang. As previously announced, Jennie Garth will return as Kelly Taylor, now a guidance counsellor at the school, and Tori Spelling will be back as Donna Martin, who owns a boutique.
Also back is Joe E Tata, again playing Peach Pit cafe owner Nat.
Courtesy PA newswire

This has helpfully helped me to rediscover my passion for Beverly Hills 90210, the iconic nineties US TV show. This puppy was The OC of its day and if you were a nineties teenager who didn’t fancy either Luke Perry or Shannen Doherty then you were a weirdo.

I was odd because I preferred bit part actor Brian Green (who played the slightly eccentric David Silver). Where’s he now? After a failed hip-hop career – yes, he was very cool – he slunk back to bit parts in lesser known movies, accordingly to Wikipedia.

Photographic evidence suggests he’s still hot man-shizzle, though. Anyway, when I start re-watching, I have a feeling my taste may have not-so-much developed, but rather completely changed sex.

I mentioned ‘re-watching’ just a moment ago. That’s because thanks to an excess of spare time spent eBay-ing after spotting this story on the wire, I have now bought the t-shirt, eyed up a copy of the OST (with free poster) and am currently the highest bidder on a sealed box set for the complete Series One, region 2.

Check out this glorious piece of nineties nostalgia and try telling me you aren’t a little bit tempted. Color Me Badd !!! I’m already considering how to make my bedroom look a little bit more like the Peach Pit (that is certain to impress the girls)…

Beverly Hills 90210 OST – track listing

1. Bend Time Back Around – Abdul, Paula
2. Got 2 Have U – Color Me Badd
3. Right Kind Of Love – Jordan, Jeremy
4. Love Is – Williams, Vanessa & Brian McKnight
5. Just Wanna Be Your Friend – Puck & Natty
6. Let Me Be Your Baby – Williams, Geoffrey
7. Saving Forever For You – Shanice
8. All The Way To Heaven – Watley, Jody
9. Why – Dennis, Cathy & D-Mob
10. Time To Be Lovers – McDonald, Michael & Chaka Khan
11. Action Speaks Louder Than Words – Kemp, Tara
12. Beverly Hills 90210 (theme) – Davis, John E.

p.s. I know Jason Preistley was always a little bit odd-looking, and that whole slightly incestuous Brandon-Brenda-brother-sister-similar-name thing put most normal people off fancying him, but the music video he did for the re-release of Roy Orbison’s I Drove All Night is pure 1990s black and white bliss. Fit!

Watch it here. More than once.

Rubbish Lesbian

I was clearing out my blog archive when I stumbled upon this little gem. It was clearly written when under the influence, as I would never describe myself as the homely water-drinking, book-in-bed type. Especially not when I’m single and, as Ben Kweller would put it, Wasted and Ready.

I try so hard sometimes to be a good lesbian. Like tonight when I genuinely really tried to appreciate the popular lesbian bar, Rush, in Soho. I was with my pal, The Nicky, who is always fine company. Yet it was terrible. The music, the clusters of girls who simultaneously eye up anything (in a pair of G-Stars) that moves yet wont talk to anyone but their mates – they look angry if your stare lingers anywhere near the air they’re breathing…

I’m much happier now I’m at home with my new Claude Cahun book and a nice glass of water. Ready for sleep.

Exposed

I never considered how it might feel to share one of my photographs with someone else. I mean really share, in real three-dimensional life – it’s totally different to putting scans on the internet.

It’s weird. I feel exposed. I know that sounds obvious – especially since taking pictures is all about exposing – but I really hadn’t thought about it before. I know I put my photographs on my website and my Flickr page and tell anyone who will listen/read to go and look at them, but this is different. I don’t generally let people see my work in real life. Even most of my good real life friends haven’t seen my prints. It’s even more rare that I actually let people touch my photographs. And, it’s even less likely that I’d let anyone see, let alone touch one of my negatives.

Today I collected a 20×16″ black and white resin print made from one of my medium format negatives, by a complete stranger at the Metro Imaging lab in Clerkenwell. And it was weird. I felt sick when I took the negative in to the lab, but going back to collect both negative and print was far worse. It was a bit like giving away a little piece of me and giving someone a licence do what they wanted with it. I’ve never let anyone else print from one of my negatives before.

So, when I eventually got the print home and got over the shock at seeing one of my photographs enlarged to such a triumphant size, in all it’s black and white glory, and realised that it had been printed back-to-front, I was a bit ruffled.

I now feel used – or, a bit like I’ve been cheated on by a girlfriend. Over the past few hours the numb feeling of unidentified discontentment has slowly moulded itself into a barbed point. Like one of those illegal fishing hooks. It’s not very nice. I’m doing my best to convince myself to go back and demand a reprint. I know that will involve handing over the negative again, but I will do it. I promise myself.

Jocelyn

Jocelyn