Maybe it's time to bring back branding?
Poor Rodney Chester, who probably thought he did a good job playing Alex in Noah’s Arc (which indeed he did) might well be wondering what he’s done to deserve the constant attacks on his character - and the characters of the other actors in our favourite gay drama (which it is).
Blog Rod 2.0, normally a jolly good read, is one of the many gay blogs which expresses the opinion that actors who play gay characters are bound to declare their true sexuality to the world. The reason for this viewpoint being that if that actor playing a gay character is in reality gay, then therefore it’s his duty, as a gay man, to tell everybody that he’s gay, and take on the responsibility of being a Role Model for gay people. The outrage on the part of militant gays seems to stem from actors in Noah’s Arc refusing to comment on their sexuality, rather than denying that they’re gay (although many would have us believe it amounts to the same thing). In a radio interview to promote the DVD release of season 2 of Noah’s Arc, Rodney Chester responded to a comment about being gay with a perfectly reasonable, “Who said I was gay?” Reasonable, I say, since he himself hasn’t said he’s gay. And if Rodney Chester hasn’t said he’s gay, then it ain’t my business or anyone else’s if he is or not.
Several of the actors in Noah’s Arc have taken this stance, and why shouldn’t they? They’re ACTORS. What goes on in their private lives has no relevance to their work - that‘s why it‘s called private life. Unfortunately, the cult of celebrity has blurred that line, and it’s now received wisdom that people in showbiz aren’t entitled to a private life. As Rod 2.0 puts it, “At best, the sexually ambiguous branding helped attract female fans; at worst it, alienated gay male fans.” Rubbish. If the “sexually ambiguous branding” does alienate a few righteous fags who think it’s their call what an actor does in their private life, whose loss is it? Did they stop watching Oz because Adewale Akinnouye-Agbaje isn’t really Nigerian? Or Silence Of The Lambs because Anthony Hopkins doesn’t really eat people?
Stop worrying about the actors being gay, not being gay, being out, not being out, and just be grateful that they do such a good job - for all of us.
Charley waits for Brian. It's not looking good for him.
"Look at the state of the garden Bri. God almighty.That fence needs paintin' in'all. And when are you gonna do sumfink about the leakin' roof? Call yourself a man? Git in the caravan, I need a seein' to. NOW!"
"We don't talk like we used to Bri."
"That's 'cos I can't get a word in edgeways, darlin'."
"Bri are you gonna eat like that? I slave over a hot stove all day. Bri, say something. I'm not being funny or nuffink but this isn't the sort of life I wanted for myself. Bri! BRI!"
"Fetch me pipe and slippers there's a good girl."
"I'm a hen-pecked 'usband. Git me outta here."
"Stop faffing about Bri and git in 'ere you. Yer dinner's on the table."
Charley finally makes Brian pass out. Well, wouldn't you?
Pictures courtesy of Digitalspy.co.uk
This snippet from Metro (a free commuter paper in the UK) is several months old, as I've only just peeled it off the fridge where it's on permanent display, and scanned it.
Now you too can enjoy the sight of these fine specimens of manhood on your very own computer.
I had the misfortune to live in Australia from 1990, when I was ten years old, until 2002, and my experiences in that country were largely negative. Australians have successfully marketed themselves as happy-go-lucky, honest, fair-minded, non-discriminatory folk, but in truth are exactly the opposite of that. Xenophobia and racism, dressed up in an obsessive national patriotism that’s drummed into school children Nazi-style, is the order of the day. As an immigrant child I suffered racist bullying - taunted about my accent, my nationality (oh, the jokes about stupid Irish people and the IRA had me rolling in the aisles), and even my skin colour (I’m Irish, so too white for the perfectly tanned Aussies). Teachers were too busy singing the national anthem, or waving the Aussie flag to notice, and the truth is that in Australia, anyone who doesn’t look or sound “true blue Aussie” is ripe for victimisation. When I was seventeen, I started dating boys; my first boyfriend was Aboriginal, and simply being at his side I was given the dubious honour of seeing how our true blue Aussies view the black population - with suspicion, fear and disgust. The racism that Sean endured was, in turns, blatant and subtle, but always present.
I recall one occasion when a group of drunk Aussie Blokes threw a drunk Aboriginal woman off the last train of the night in Perth, whilst various authority figures turned a blind eye. On another occasion, an Asian woman with a toddler, having the gall to speak in her own language, provoked a fellow (Aussie) traveller, who was seething with anger, to remark spitefully as he left the train that she should “use English, [she] doesn’t know what country she’s in.” The woman didn’t bat an eyelid, suggesting that incidents of this kind were frequent enough.
Since I’ve lived in London, I haven’t managed to escape the Aussie curse. They’re everywhere. Despite proclaiming at every opportunity that Australia is the best country in the world, they can’t seem to spend enough time elsewhere. London’s a particular draw for the Aussie pest - in parts of West London you’re more likely to hear an Australian accent than any other - that, or be forced to step over an inebriated Aussie backpacker vomiting into the gutter. They even have their own pubs in the capital, where all the Aussies who flock to London congregate with other Aussies, or white South Africans (another subject in itself). Despite insisting that immigrants assimilate and take on the Aussie way of life in their own country, they stick to their own kind when overseas.
On 11th December 2005, the racial tensions bubbling away under the carefully crafted façade of tolerance in Australia, finally erupted into race riots. White Australian men attacked and assaulted two Middle Eastern men in separate incidents. At least three far-right organisations were involved, with slogans like “We Grew Here, You Flew Here", "Wog Free Zone", "Aussie Pride", and "Ethnic Clensing Unit". Towards the end of the year, drive-by shootings were occurring and a church next to an Islamic centre was set on fire.
As an aside, one only has to look to popular culture for proof of Australia’s dislike of the unlike. Despite Australia claiming to be a racial melting pot, the nation’s two long-running national soaps, Neighbours and Home And Away, both of which have been on since the mid-1980s, have never had a non-white face as a series regular. That’s right, in twenty years the country’s telenovellas haven’t notched up one single Aboriginal or Asian face. From my own experience, non-white faces on Australian television were rare. But it isn’t all doom and gloom, with broadcaster SBS devoted to “the multicultural voice of Australia” - and a good job it does too. I discovered the work of Tsai Ming Liang through the network, a sitcom from Singapore and Glenroe, a telenovella from Ireland, and films from every corner of the globe. But no one in Australia watches SBS - viewing figures are so low they often can‘t be measured.
I never could find a job in Australia. I guess my face, or voice, appearance didn’t fit. I never had a friend or lover who was Australian. Chinese? Tick. Malaysian? Tick. Korean? Tick. Visiting African-Americans? Tick (a marine and someone touring with Mariah Carey, for the record).
The Australian Big Brother incident might have been blown out of proportion, but it’s absolutely indicative of Australia: it’s an ugly place. I’m glad I managed to get out.
For diehard Doctor Who fans its a bizarre - if pleasant - state of affairs. It's pretty fair to say there was nothing remotely sexy about the world's longest-running science fiction series between 1963 and it's last episode in 1989. After its cancellation, the gap was filled by a range of original novels pusblished by Virgin, which were peppered with sex and swearing. Russell T. Davies, creater of Queer As Folk, penned the first intimation of gay sex in Doctor Who, with buff blonde cop from the future Chris Cwej hopping into bed with a boy from a 1990s London council estate.
Doctor Whowas revived by the BBC - and Russell T. Davies - in 2003, and was a huge hit, now into a third series with a fourth coming next year. The show saw its first bisexual lead with John Barrowman playing Captain Jack, and its first gay kiss, between Jack and the Doctor (and later Jack and himself - don't ask). A raft of out gay actors have appeared, as well as straight actors who have previously played gay characters, and spin-off show Torchwood was a hotbed of gay sex antics. But the sexing-up of Doctor Who has been an acknowledgement of its large gay following, rather than growing organically from the show itself, which started life as an early evening children's adventure series.
Doctor Whois on BBC1 on Saturdays. The London Pride parade starts at 11a.m. on Saturday 30th June.
And now for something completely vacuous - just for the weekend. A recent bulletin on myspace on this subject plunged me deep into thought on this most serious of subjects. Just who are the sexiest men (and boys) on television right now? Here's my top ten dishes - but who are yours? The list is in alphabetical order (except for the J.D. Williams, who fully deserves the top spot) and comes complete with a token white boy. Enjoy.
01) JD Williams, The Wire ("Bodie")
J.D. Williams? Where do I start? He's racially ambiguous, so everyone's free to love him. He usually plays callous thugs, yet he has the face of an angel. Is it the lips? The eyes? Or that caramel-coloured, taut'n'toned physique we see tied down to a prison bed, naked, being caressed by Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje in an episode of Oz? Or do we just love a bad boy?
02) Aml Ameen, The Bill ("PC Lewis Hardy")
Aml Ameen might be better known for his role as Trife in Kidulthood. He's very, very, very cute - a lil luscious Londoner, in fact. If the London police uniform works for you, you'll be in heaven.
03) Luke Bailey, Casualty ("Sam Bateman")
In Casualty he played the hospital's bipolar receptionist. Anybody wanna look after him?
04) Gregory Keith, Noah's Arc ("Trey")
Like 'em big? They don't come much bigger than this strapping hunk of beefcake.
05) Mike Lombardi, Rescue Me ("Mike Silletti")
Rescue Me: there's so much testosterone sloshing about that you're in greater danger of drowning than being caught in a fire. In the show, this prime slice of Italian manhood is cute'n'dumb - a combination I'm partial to myself.
06) Adam Rodriguez, CSI Miami ("Eric Delko")
Lips. Lips. LIPS! Just imagine...
07) Henry Simmons, NYPD Blue ("Detective Baldwin")
Never before has a man so big, in every conceivable way, strutted across the screen. He's also staggeringly beautiful. Anyone catch THAT sex scene in NYPD Blue a few years ago? I did. I'm still recovering.
08) Daniel Sunjata, Rescue Me ("Franco")
Another big strapping New York fireman. Apparently Daniel Sunjata appeared in a play in which his character sexually assaults another man, a concept his hyper-masculine character on Rescue Me couldn't even comprehend. Which is a good thing. Obviously. Who saw the episode in Season One in which the crew bet upon who has the biggest appendage? Brings a tear to the eye...
09) Christian Vincent, Noah's Arc ("Ricky")
Well. Ricky. What can I say? You either want to be him, you want to do him, or you want to be done by him. Go on, admit it.
10) Reggie Yates, Doctor Who ("Leo Jones")
Yeah, the picture sucks (a good one's hard to find), but this yummy London lad, previously a youth TV presenter, is now starring in the current series of Doctor Who, playing the semi-regular brother of new girl Martha Jones. Needless to say, he's delicious and scrumptious. Someone recently pointed out to me that he also looks like one of my best friends, but I'd still do him. Reggie, I mean, not my mate. Probably. Is that wrong?
The logo (referred to as a "brand" by everyone involved) is targeted at young people, in the same way that "trendy" BBC youth television of the 1980s was (i.e. a bunch of middeclass suits getting around a table and brainstorming what the kids are into these days). To this end, the jagged logo has a hint of graffiti art about it (or that's what they'd like us to think). Reaction has been largely negative - The People don't like it, but what do they know about art?
The phrase "deformed swastika" has been bandied about. It also has an air of the Nazi SS logo about it, which is nice. The BNP will be pleased. People who love the 1980s will also be pleased, since it looks like it was designed back then.
An online petition has been launched to scrap the abomination, and has already been signed by 5000 Londoners.