Sunday, February 06, 2005

Gustav (*swoon*)

there was a brilliant bit on the (new season asap pleeeease!) spasmodically hernia-inducing Green Wing when the obnoxious full-on godsgift anaesthetist, Guy, is trying to impress our doctor heroine, Caroline, by singing along to Queen on the CD player in her car. she (the glorious Tamsin Greig whose surprisingly dull day-job is as Debbie Gerrard in The Archers) glances at him slightly askance and expresses surprise at his taste. he has no idea what she's talking about, and carries on gurning. finally she says, "well, with Freddie Mercury being gay and all." whereupon his expression freezes for slightly too long before he carries on mouthing the words to 'we will rock you' with moderately reduced enthusiasm for a few seconds. "well, of course," he says, "I knew that."
it's always been the case that some artists' non-heterosexuality has been more or less discreetly coded into their work (the incredibly effervescent Liberace as the Elton John of his day, for ex) although it's only relatively recently that to out oneself in the entertainment industry has not been career-suicidal. the minefield of gay-denial in Hollywood, for instance, has gradually been self-exploding as a multitude of macho myth cluster-bomblets in the form of the reputations of legion male actors whose careers exemplified American manhood are being triggered on the delayed-action time-fuse of either their belatedly fessing up or being outed as they approach senility and/or die.
women have always been better at spotting the deceptions than men. they've also always been more forgiving. which is how the reputations of such as Doris Day and Rock Hudson survived unscathed - there was a universal recognition amongst the women in the audience (and it's always really been women who take men to the movies, not vice versa) that the perfect heteros they were performing were just that - performances. throughout the fifties and most of the sixties, performing sexual perfection was de rigeur - the perfect family, the perfect job, the perfect wife, the perfect car, the perfect marriage, the perfect house - you couldn't buy into one without buying into them all. faking it was universally recognised as the only way to go, so there was nothing particularly odd about an obviously bent pretty-boy pretending to make love to a clean-living shiny-cheeked girl (who, it was said, preferred the company of women herself). actually, there was probably a secret satisfaction to be derived from the fact that their boyfriends and husbands just didn't seem to get it.
very little has really changed other than that the pink economy has burgeoned (nothing legitimates the marginal as effectively as profit) and, assisted by the parallel increase in the number of gay voices in the media, the balance of representation has tilted, if anything, in favour of the gay world-view. the proportion of testosterone-addled apes to oestrogen-balanced sensitives remains, I suspect, much the same - it's just that the former has less credibility as a dominant sub-species than in the good old days.
if a fag-hag is a straight woman who chooses to hang out with gay men, I wonder if there's a gender-reversed equivalent, and whether I'm turning into one. I say this because I've had it confirmed recently - through dabbling with the excellent Audioscrobbler - that my musical taste is essentially 'effeminate'. as a man, I feel a little self-conscious, for instance, at taking so much pleasure in the music of such women as, say, Tori Amos, or PJ Harvey, or, most recently, Gustav (*swoon*), when, so clearly, so much of their sexual appeal is a gal-thang. it could simply be that, Tiresias-like, I'm hermaphrodising with increasing age and (ha!) wisdom: I'm certainly no longer engaged in any of that competitive posturing that's incumbent on a boy's affiliation with the tribal stuff of heavy metal (except that I have met a couple of surprisingly girly-girls who were very much into heavy metal - and don't forget Rob Halford, front man of Judas Priest for three decades, who famously came out in 1998), and am no longer susceptible to the vocal wiles and wherefors that enmesh we puny men in these sirens' songs. except that I know for a fact that this simply ain't the case. when I go 'Gustav (*swoon*)' I mean 'Gustav (*swoon*)', and no amount of move-along-please, nothing-here-for-you from the scary lady bouncers outside the gigs I imagine she plays in downtown Vienna would deter me from trying to get my besotted fix.
ah well, if I can't have her, I can at least share her.
enjoy genua

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