Queer As Cucumber
There's no doubt the effect Queer As Folk had on both Manchester and the UK. As a result of the Channel 4 drama, the city's Gay Village became a booming tourist destination and the nation had its first real exposure to the Gay Community, lifting the lid on a previously taboo and unseen world. Life couldn't be more different now. Manchester has become an inclusive and diverse city, welcoming hundreds of thousands of gay people throughout the year, while the LGBT have become starkly visible on TV, film and in the press. So it seems only right somehow that writer Russell T Davies is revisiting this community nearly two decades later with his trio of dramas Cucumber, Banana andTofu, reflecting what this community has now become.
The Gay Community is one rich with potential for drama. With its inherent openness, communal gravitational centre and common stories of rejection and/or triumph, it's surprising that its representation on screen as a whole has been absent for so long. Token gay characters litter soaps and TV dramas, but taking the full leap into gay-centric mainstream TV...
A School for Gays?
If you'd asked me aged fifteen whether I'd have liked to have gone to an LGBT school, I would have grasped the opportunity with both hands. I, like many young gay people, suffered greatly at the hands of homophobic bullies and having the option to remove myself from them would have greatly improved both my self-esteem and my attainment. However, there was no such thing in rural West Wales at the time, so I was forced to suffer through hours of mental and physical torture in the name of education. With proposals for the first LGBT school now approved and set to open in Manchester, the proposal has been met with a lot of opposition from both outside and inside the Gay Community - but with as much focus on preventing and tackling homophobic bullying as there has been in recent years, what grounds could there be for opposing this scheme to help its victims?
The main argument is about segregation. As it stands, there are many young people in Manchester so institutionalised by living their lives within the confines of the Gay Village that they have cut themselves off from the rest of society. Those who have chosen to can already...
February will be a Queer (Contact) kinda month...
February is LGBT History Month. Each year, the month aims to highlight and tackle homophobia, increase the visibility of LGBT people and raise awareness of issues affecting their community. In Manchester, to coincide with this nationwide initiative, Queer Contact is presenting its annual festival to celebrate LGBT arts and culture. Throughout the year, Contact Theatre presents and produces events in its spaces and elsewhere, which showcases established and emerging LGBT arts and culture, but this festival is its climax. Running from 5 - 15 February, it features a fantastic mix of drama, dance, music, comedy, cabaret, film, exhibitions and more, presenting the best in local talent alongside national and international artists.
Barry Priest is Queer Contact's Producer, and works alongside Contact’s Artistic Director, and other members of the programming team (including their young producers RE:CON)...
An open letter to Vladimir Putin
Dear Mr Putin,
As a road user, I would like to personally thank you for undertaking the ground-breaking research that will keep me safe. After all, any reforms that keep the public safe will definitely spread around the world as we follow in your trail-blazing footsteps. I've often wondered why there are so many accidents on the roads, so thank you for finally being able to categorically prove it to be the fault of transsexual and transgendered people. We'd all been thinking it after all - the link between road safety and gender identity is obvious! It just took your great mind to make the link.
Thank you also for understanding how a person's sexual desires effects their concentration and depth perception. I met an exhibitionist once and it was clear he had impaired reaction times. We all know that fetishism is directly linked to...
We are ALL Charlie
Every time a person speaks, he/she express themselves in some way. They may be speaking honestly, telling the wildest of lies or heavily censoring their real opinions, but whatever they say is an expression of thoughts and ideas formed in their own minds. Whether these are influenced by others, heavily indoctrinated or pure innovation, everybody has the right to say what they are thinking. This is the fundamental definition of Freedom of Expression...
That time a movie caused an international crisis
Nobody has ever claimed that The Interview is a good film. By all accounts, critics and audiences all seem to be giving it a vaguely half-hearted "it's alright", but the artistic quality and/or entertainment value of this James Franco and Seth Rogan screwball comedy is not what seeing this film is about. Never before has it been more important to be able to watch a film...
Haus of Phag's Top 20 Films of 2014
The wasteland between awards seasons (aka. summer) is usually populated with blockbusters and action franchises to keep the public entertained when it rains constantly from April until September. Except where were the big hitters of any actual quality this year? Where were the record-breaking opening weekends and the “essential next chapters” in those oh-so-important tentpole franchises that keep movie studios solvent? It’s as though each studio was relying on another to release something, hoping that the public wouldn’t notice the big hole in their release schedule, before eventually pretending Guardians Of The Galaxy was what they were all building up to. What an anti-climax...
Haus of Phag's Top 40 Singles of 2014
Arguably 2014 has been one of the weakest years in music in a generation. With the majority of established popstars on hiatus or limping through with featuring spots, the charts were dominated by techno-lite one-hit-wonder dance acts featuring singers who can sing and do little else. Where last year was dominated by infectious pop tunes, this year has seen Jess Glynne and Jess Glynne-alikes take centre stage. How very dull it’s been...
"Back then I didn’t pick up a camera and document what was going on, but I wish I had. This time round, I’m not making the same mistake” - Lee Baxter
If you go out on the Queer Alt scene in Manchester, chances are you will have come across photographs by Lee Baxter. Frequently in attendance and photographing the performers at Cha Cha Boudoir and Drunk At Vogue, as well as the revellers themselves in all their Technicolor feathered-and-glitter glory...
"This booty wouldn't survive if I was on meth" - Pam Van-Damned
Flamboyantly dark performer Pam Van-Dammed is stepping away from the now dissolved Tranarchy. Like other members of the collective, she is focusing on new projects and heading in new directions. With her own music project on the way, plus appearances at nights like Mother's Ruin this weekend, she caught up with Haus of Phag and explained why she doesn't like to be referred to as a faux queen, or a drag queen full stop...
Gay? Queer? Or faggot?
It's always struck me as odd that some people choose to use the word 'queer' to refer to their sexuality. While the concept of having a word that envelopes the breadth of the spectrum of human sexuality makes perfect sense, the use of that specific word is something that doesn't necessarily sit right with me. I understand that the Gay Community has reclaimed the word from its previously offensive and homophobic root, but it's a word that essentially means 'weird'. Why has a word with such negative connotations become something that we have tried to load with enforced positivity when, essentially, that's not what the word means? And why choose a word that's modern primary meaning is still laden with negativity as our broad all-encompassing term to umbrella over all sexualities?
Lives on the (tram) line
The other day, I was saying good bye to my boyfriend before getting on a train. It was just he and I on the platform, accompanied by a drunk who had been plaguing us since we got there. We clearly both decided that kissing in front of this man was unwise, so when the train arrived we hugged and I got on the train, followed closely by the drunk, who proceeded to sit right beside me. "Is that your boyfriend?" he asked and my immediate response was "No." I hated saying that, but I knew for my own safety, it would be unwise to say otherwise...
Haus of Phag reviews:
The Imitation Game ****
Living in Manchester, I know Alan Turing as a name that's etched deep into the cannon of its most famous and prized and alumni. But it's not a name that's universally known. Due to its burial deep inside Britain's state secrets for more than fifty years, more was publicly known of Turing's tragic downfall than the key role he played in (not just British, but world) history until recently. In reality, his name should carry the same weight as the greatest thinkers ever to have lived, but unlike the others, he is a war hero too. Arguably, his work saved the lives of 14 million people. Could Einstein say that?...
Battle of the Bulge(watch)
Over the last decade, the male form has become arguably as objectified as the female. Male vanity and grooming is at its height; we are all expected to be in shape and if you're young and in the public eye, it has become expected that you be fit, healthy...
Desperately Seeking Susan.
In the last few months, Manchester has rallied together online to support a quiet and timid figure, who is gradually evolving from a reticent recluse to become the newest figure on the Queer Alt scene. Though everyone has clubbed together to support Susan as she makes her first baby-steps into the nightlife, she has still never been to a party. So obviously it has fallen to Black and Blonde to throw one for her! But is Susan finally ready for her debut? Or is she more concerned about her missing cat and the monotony of her daily routine? Haus of Phag caught up with Susan for a chat...
"I guess it's my secret exhibitionism" - JP Dubois
In Gay World, some pornstars are as famous as any other celebrity. But beyond websites and the films we all watch in secret, how much do we actually know about the people we might not recognise with their clothes on? Does it ever cross our minds that they exist beyond the realms of sex?...
The men. And the Mountains. - Barry Stockton
"Some of my art has been stolen!" Barry told me gleefully as we sat in his living room, which is so elaborate it could easily be a film set. "My paintings were bought by a friend in the US, but his house was broken into and nothing was stolen but the paintings. When he told me over the phone he thought I'd be upset, but I thought it was fabulous! My work had been targeted by art thieves!"
Mother's Ruined. Again.
I'll give the programmers of Mother's Ruin one thing; they sure are committed to variety. The point of a cabaret night is always to showcase work from a broad spectrum of mediums, but by Liza, October's Roadhouse Rehab was a veritable Old Curiosity Shop of the wyrd and extreme. From screamo interpretations of Jessie J to deformed drag queens, the night felt almost like an underground Weimar kabarett on the black Roadhouse stage...
Get a ROOM!
I’m sure nobody really appreciates witnessing a full-on PDA. We've all had occasions when we’ve been sat uncomfortably close to an over-amorous couple on a train or bus and it almost always makes you feel uncomfortable that anyone would want to flaunt such an intimate moment in public, daring you to watch and boasting about their “passion”...
"We want you to come, dance all night and go home with someone you didn’t come in with." - Hot Space